Pipa News |
Lieutenant General Eric Kenney, the new commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, sees a bright future for the Snowbirds despite planes being grounded after a plane crashed after a hard landing at Fort St.
Speaking to CBC after their installment ceremony at the National Air and Space Museum in Ottawa, Kenny said he is optimistic about the future of the Snowbirds and “looks forward to exhibiting them at the 2024 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force”. Huh.”
The team flies in a CT-114 Tutor aircraft built more than 50 years ago but the aircraft are regularly inspected and maintained by military personnel.
In June, a problem with the deployment of the parachute system during the ejection sequence led to the cancellation of several airshow performances for the team.
A bird attack incident in May 2020 claimed the life of Captain Jane Casey, a public affairs officer with the aerobatics team, when her parachute failed to open. The pilot suffered serious injuries in the accident.
Despite a series of recent incidents and a tragedy involving the planes, Kenny said there was no point in changing the fleet.
“We have a really rigorous airworthiness program that factors into everything you want to see,” Kenny said. “Each of those incidents has gone through a rigorous process to talk to the aircrew and ground crew to make sure they are confident flying that plane.”
The Snowbirds’ former commanding officer, Lt Col. Robert “Scratch” Mitchell shares Kenny’s faith in tutors. He told the CBC that airplane maintenance is “measured more in terms of hours of flight on an airplane than in terms of their year of age.”
Mitchell said that at regular intervals, aircraft are “essentially disassembled and rebuilt and rebuilt anew”, with all military aircraft undergoing regular inspections and annual maintenance.
There is no clear timeline for when snowbirds may return to fly.