According to the Canadian Armed Forces, the plane — used to transport the prime minister to international events — was being towed at the military airbase in a hangar at CFB Trenton, Ont. on Oct. 18, 2019 when it sustained “significant structural damage.”
Airbus and General Electric assessed the damages and determined that the jet could only be return to air in August 2020, Lt. Col. Steve Neta, director of Air Force Public Affairs, told CTVNews.ca in an email statement.
The crew was switching out tow tractors to move the massive plane into a space not normally used to store the aircraft when it started moving forward on its own, despite chocks being in place and the parking brake being on.
“Attempts to stop the aircraft by the tow crew were unsuccessful,” the military said in its report from the investigator. The right engine struck one of the tow tractors and the nose hit the hangar structure, stopping it.
The investigation into the incident “will focus on materiel and human factors,” but there is no indication of how much the repairs to an already aging plane will cost.
Neta added that there are four other aircrafts that can be used, depending on requirements.
“Aside from the VIP one that was damaged, we have two that are configured for passenger travel while the other two are configured for air-to-air refueling and cargo,” he said.
The CC-150 Polaris is a multi-purpose, twin-engine, long-range jet aircraft. It can be used for passenger, freight or medical transport and air-to-air refueling. The Polaris can reach a speed of up to 1029 km/h carrying a load of up to 32,000 kilograms. It can carry up to 194 passengers, depending on the particular aircraft tail number and configuration.
All five CC-150 Polaris aircraft are stationed at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. During its years in service, the Polaris fleet has transported vast amounts of supplies to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel deployed on missions all over the globe.
As part of the Air Force Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) program, two CC-150 Polaris aircraft have been converted to strategic air-to-air refuellers for Canada’s fleet of CF-18 Hornets. The Polaris MRTT is capable of transferring 36,000 kilograms of fuel to receiving aircraft over a journey of 4,630 kilometres. One Polaris tanker can ferry a flight of four CF-18 Hornets non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean.
Photo credit: Royal Canadian Air Force
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