Losses and Aviation Safety

Snowbirds’ CT-114 Tutor jet crashes after takeoff. Clip shows Ejection but pilot’s status is unknown.

On May 17, 2020 a Canadian Armed Forces CT-114 Tutor aircraft belonging to the Snowbirds demonstration team crashed in Kamloops, BC.

On May 17, 2020 a Canadian Armed Forces CT-114 Tutor aircraft belonging to the Snowbirds demonstration team crashed in Kamloops, BC.

According to the Kamloops Airport emergency crews were responding to the crash as defence officials were scrambling for details about the incident, the second involving one of the aircraft of the aerobatic team in less than a year (the May 17 crash follows the downing of another team’s CT-114 in the US state of Georgia last October, where the team was scheduled to perform in an air show. Capt. Kevin Domon-Grenier sustained minor injuries when he ejected from the Tutor).

As reported by CP24, Sunday’s crash occurred the same day the Snowbirds were scheduled to make a trip from Kamloops to Kelowna as part of Operation Inspiration, a cross-country tour aimed at boosting the morale of Canadians struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video in this post shows two Snowbirds’ CT-114 taking off from what is believed to have been Kamloops Airport.

One of the aircraft subsequently climbed into the sky before rolling over and plunging to the ground. The video appears to show at least one person ejecting from the plane before it disappears behind a stand of trees and an explosion is heard.

The BC Coroners Service has not confirmed a fatality

“A Canadian Forces Snowbirds aircraft has crashed in the vicinity of Kamloops, B.C.,” the Department of National Defence said in a statement.

“This is a developing situation. Our number one priority at this time is determining the status of our personnel, the community and supporting emergency personnel. When appropriate, more information will be made available.”

Officially known as the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds are Canada’s demonstration team whose purpose is to “demonstrate the skill, professionalism, and teamwork of Canadian Forces personnel”.

The team flies 11 CT-114 Tutors, nine for aerobatic performances, including two solo aircraft, and two for spares, flown by the team coordinators. Approximately 80 Canadian Forces personnel work with the squadron full-time.

The Snowbirds, which have been performing since 1971, continue the flying demonstration tradition of previous Canadian aerobatic teams, that include the Siskins, the Blue Devils, the Golden Hawks, and the Golden Centennaires.

H/T Andrew Timmerman from Finn Aviation Photography

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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