Flight Safety Investigation Report for Kamloops Snowbirds accident

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**** RCAF Release

Flight Safety Investigation Report for Kamloops Snowbirds accident

Location: 1 NM east of Kamloops airport, BC
Date: 17 May 2020
Status: Investigation Completed

The accident involved a CT114 Tutor aircraft from the Canadian Armed Forces Air Demonstration Team (Snowbirds) enroute to Comox, BC to reposition in support of Op INSPIRATION. The aircraft was number two of a formation of two Tutor aircraft.

Following the take-off, a loud, impact-like sound was heard by both occupants and the aircraft then experienced a loss of thrust. The pilot initiated a climb straight ahead and then elected to carry out a left-hand turn back towards the airport. The manoeuvre resulted in an aerodynamic stall halfway through the turn before the pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft. Both occupants subsequently ejected and the aircraft was destroyed upon impact in a residential area. The passenger was fatally injured and the pilot received serious injuries. Evidence gathered during the investigation revealed that both occupants’ ejection sequences were outside of the ejection envelope.

DNA evidence collected from the engine’s internal components confirmed the ingestion of a bird as witnessed from video evidence; however, the damage it caused was insufficient to cause a catastrophic failure. Rather, it resulted in a compressor stall that was never cleared.

The investigation recommends a directive be published which outlines the aircrew’s priority where an emergency during the take-off or landing phase occurs and has the potential to result in an ejection near or over a populated area.

The investigation also recommends further training on engine-related emergencies be practiced in the takeoff/low-level environment. It is also recommended that the practice of storing items between the ejection seat and the airframe wall cease immediately.

Finally, further research is recommended into the potential options that would stabilize the CT114 ejection seat from any tendency to pitch, roll or yaw immediately following its departure from the ejection seat rails.

Quick facts

  • The epilogue to the report can be found on the Flight Safety Investigation Reports webpage at the link below.  For a copy of the full report, media are asked to contact Media Relations at the Department of National Defence.
  • The report makes five preventative and safety-focused recommendations, three of which are focused on operations and two on the aircraft and its systems, with the aim of minimizing the potential for a similar accident to occur in the future.
  • The 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron is currently training at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Sask., for the 2021 Show Season. Safety focused operational restrictions will continue to be in place for flying and maintenance activities.
  • The Tutor Life Extension Project was recently approved to modernize the Tutor aircraft and enable it to continue flying for the Royal Canadian Air Force until 2030. This project is forecasted to reach an initial operational capability by October 2022 and will upgrade aircraft with new avionics and instrumentation, to include a glass cockpit, to ensure compliancy with Federal and Canadian Air Regulations. In parallel, a separate project is underway to improve the aircraft escape system through upgrades to the current parachute and harness design.

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