The loss of a Snowbird jet during one of the Snowbirds’ performances in the U.S. certainly has air force investigators brooding over the accident, looking for clues as to its cause.
“We took an operational pause, our air force wanted to see what happened to the aircraft, so they’re looking at all the root causes,” according to Lt-Col Bandet, who serves as the Snowbirds’ team lead.
It was during a performance at the Atlanta Air Show in the U.S. state of Georgia on October 13 that one of the Tutors, piloted by Captain Kevin Domon-Grenier, crashed into a field near the town of Hampton, Georgia. No-one on the ground was injured, but Domon-Grenier was hospitalized overnight with minor injuries after successfully ejecting from the out-of-control aircraft. “He’s back 100 per cent,” said Lt-Col. Bandet. “It takes a little bit of time, but no ill effects, he’s doing well.”
The team of Snowbird pilots, who had returned to Canada a week after the incident, returned to Georgia last week to fly their CT-114 Tutors home to their base at CFB Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan. Up until then, the Tutors had been grounded, leading to the cancellation of the remainder of the team’s performances for the 2019 season.
“They’re going through [the aircraft] with a fine-tooth comb to see what’s going on,” said Lt.-Col. Denis Bandet.
Next year the Snowbirds will be marking their 50th anniversary as Canada’s air demonstration team. Planning is underway to highlight the event with special themes.
Photo by Steve Drinkwater