New Brunswick

Snowbirds' Moncton stop cancelled after ejection problem

Technical issues have forced the cancellation of an expected Snowbirds performance in the Moncton area next week.

After problem is solved, parachutes in CT-114 Tutor aircraft have to be retested and repacked

The Snowbirds performing in Moncton in 2020. (Guy Leblanc/CBC/Radio-Canada)

Technical problems that could undermine the safety of an emergency ejection have forced the cancellation of a Snowbirds performance in the Moncton area.

The Canadian Air Force's aerobatic team was scheduled to perform over the city this coming Wednesday.

But a technical issue with a tool that sets the timing for parachutes during ejection has caused the planes to be grounded.

"We have full confidence that this issue will be resolved in a safe manner, working with a third-party aviation contractor and our own technical and maintenance experts," said Maj.-Gen. Eric Kenny, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division.

The Snowbirds were scheduled to fly over the Moncton area on June 29, but technical difficulties have cancelled those plans. (Guy Leblanc/CBC/Radio-Canada)

After the problem is solved, the parachutes in the CT-114 Tutor aircraft will have to be retested and repacked, a news release said.

The cancellation comes two years after a Snowbirds aircraft crashed in Kamloops, B.C., killing one of the two crew on board.

Capt. Jenn Casey, the public affairs officer for the aerobatics team, died after she was ejected from the aircraft.

A final report on the crash stated a bird strike caused an engine compressor failure.

After his aircraft lost power, the pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall, tried to turn back toward the airport. During that manoeuvre, "the aircraft entered an aerodynamic stall and the pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft," the military said in a statement.

    The final report said MacDougall and Casey ejected from the aircraft "at low altitude and in conditions that were outside safe ejection seat operation parameters."

    Video evidence showed that Casey's ejection seat also flew backwards for a few seconds after it was clear of the aircraft, something investigators have been unable to completely explain.

    The Department of National Defence said there is no link between the current issues and the 2020 crash. The Snowbirds say they're working hard to get the problem fixed in time for Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.

    Had the Moncton show gone ahead, it would have marked MacDougall's first time with the Snowbirds since the 2020 event. He was set to be the on-stage narrator of the Snowbirds performance this week.

    MacDougall, who received his private pilot licence at the Moncton Flight College, was posted to the Snowbirds in 2019.

    Corrections

    • An earlier version of this story said the pilot who survived the 2020 crash, Capt. Rich MacDougall, was scheduled to fly in the Moncton event. In fact, he was scheduled to be the narrator of the show, on stage, during the performance.
      Jun 27, 2022 11:20 AM AT

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