Tutor crash is the second in 7 months for the Canadian demo team.
A Canadian Forces CT-114 Tutor jet trainer belonging to the 431 Demonstration Squadron, The Snowbirds, crashed shortly after take off earlier today May 17, 2020.
A video posted on social media shows the jet taking off from Kamloops Airport at about 11:30 a.m., bound for Comox, as part of a 2-ship flight. Then, the Tutor, flying as number 2, can be seen breaking the formation to the left, climb rapidly to gain altitude before starting to descend towards the ground.
— Victor Mario Kaisar (@supermario_47) May 17, 2020
What seems to be a double ejection can be observed in the video (the aircraft is a two-seater, so it’s quite likely that the two ejection seats are fired even though just one pilot was aboard), although the footage does not show the chutes deploying. Photos seem showing at least one of the military aboard (we don’t know how many were in the cockpit at the time of the incident) landed on a roof.
Snowbird crashes in Kamloops. pic.twitter.com/l5qQHOf7tR
— Steve Delaney (@TheKamloopian) May 17, 2020
In a report published by the Kamloops This Week news outlet, reports from the scene said;
“Gurjit Sidhu witnessed the crash and told KTW a pilot was seen on the roof of a house, reportedly with back and/or neck injuries.” The report went on to quote the eyewitness of the accident as telling reporters, “I just saw, in the sky, something falling. I saw a pilot ejected, then I heard a big noise, like a bomb”.
According to media reports, the aircraft was part of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds flight demonstration team and was taking part in an Operation Inspiration flyover in honor of first responders and health care workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Forces flyover operations are similar to the “America Strong” flyovers in the U.S..
It’s the second crash in about 7 months for the Canadian team: on Oct. 13, 2019, a CT-114 crashed before an airshow performance 13 miles southwest of the Atlanta Motor Speedway outside Atlanta, Georgia. The pilot ejected safely.
Previously, on May 18, 2007, Snowbird #2 flown by Capt. Shawn McCaughey crashed near Malmstrom AFB outside Great Falls, Montana. The cause of the fatal accident was reported as the failure of a restraining strap according to the investigation.
On October 9, 2008, Captain Bryan Mitchell died in a crash along with Canadian Forces photographer Sgt. Charles Senecal outside Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The CT-114 Tutor aircraft involved in today’s crash is a lightweight, one-engine, straight-wing jet trainer that first flew in 1960. The aircraft remains in service with the Canadian Forces 431 Demonstration Squadron, The Snowbirds, and with the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment.
The Canadian Forces have reported that Capt. Jennifer Casey, PAO of the team, died in the crash. She was flying with pilot Capt. Richard MacDougall, who remains in serious, but “not life-threatening” condition according to a post on Twitter from the Snowbirds.