In our Aug/Sept issue, Rob Erdos muses on float flying and we discuss night aerial firefighting. Plus: Air Canada in the pandemic, KF Aerospace at 50 and Canadians in the Battle of Britain.
Ten CT-114 Tutor jets flown by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds are returning home to Canada from Georgia on Nov. 27, 2019.
The Snowbirds have been on an operational pause since Snowbird 5 was forced to eject before a show at the Atlanta Speedway on Oct. 13, 2019.
The investigation has advanced enough that the Royal Canadian Air Force is confident the CT-114 Tutors parked at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Ga., can be safely flown home to 15 Wing Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan. Another operational risk assessment will be conducted prior to resuming regular aerobatic training flights.
“When flying air demonstrations, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds operate in tight formation, conducting loops and rolls in our signature formations. At this point we have received enough information from investigators to resume wings-level flight in order to return our jets to our home base. However we need to let the investigators continue to work before we resume full operations,” said LCol Mike French, the Snowbirds’ commanding officer.
Once the fleet returns to full flying operations, there will be a better assessment of the impact on the Snowbirds’ schedule. At this point annual spring training in Comox, B.C., will be delayed at least a month. The full effect on the Snowbirds’ 2020 schedule is not clear at this time and the schedule has not yet been released. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds spend the winter months training for the upcoming season. Approximately 80 training missions occur before spring training in Comox, B.C., to prepare for the upcoming season.
Capt Kevin Domon-Grenier sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital as a precaution following the ejection. The jet crashed into a farmer’s field and there were no injuries on the ground.
The Snowbirds cancelled their final show of the season, which had been scheduled to take place in Houston, Texas, the weekend following the accident.