An operational pause has been ordered for the entire fleet of Snowbirds aircraft after one of the planes was damaged during an incident in northern B.C. last week.
The Royal Canadian Air Force said in a statement Wednesday that a “deliberate, detailed and broad risk analysis” will be conducted on all 20 CT-114 Tutor aircraft flown by the Snowbirds. The aircraft will not be allowed to fly again until the review is completed.
“Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft cannot be flown unless they are determined to be airworthy and safe to fly,” said Maj.-Gen. Iain Huddleston, commander of the First Canadian Air Division, who ordered the operational pause.
“We will return the fleet to flying operations when it is safe to do so, in accordance with our rigorous airworthiness program.”
The grounding comes after a CT-114 Tutor flown by a Snowbirds pilot was damaged during takeoff from the North Peace Regional Airport in Fort St. John, B.C., on Aug. 2.
The pilot, who was not injured in the incident, was headed towards Penticton to join the rest of the Snowbirds fleet for the Penticton Air Display.
The fleet ultimately cancelled their show at the event. The Snowbirds last performed at the Fort St. John Air Show on July 31.
The RCAF is currently investigating the cause of the accident, and will also assess whether the incident poses any risk to the rest of the fleet.
— With files from Global’s Amy Judd