The Canadian Forces Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor fleet has been ordered to be grounded until a “deliberate, detailed and broad” airworthiness risk assessment can be completed.
In a statement released by the Royal Canadian Air Force, the operational pause comes after one of the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron's spare aircraft crashed in Fort St. John, B.C. on Aug. 2.
The operational pause was ordered by the Operational Airworthiness Authority for the RCAF, Maj. Gen. Iain Huddleston with consultation from the Directorate of Flight Safety investigators and technical airworthiness authority experts from the Department of National Defense.
“Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft cannot be flown unless they are determined to be airworthy and safe to fly,” Huddleston said in a written statement.
“Given that the cause of this accident remains to be determined by the Airworthiness Investigative Authority, I have ordered an operational pause on the CT-114 Tutor fleet as we continue the investigation and commence a thorough operational airworthiness risk assessment process. We will return the fleet to flying operations when it is safe to do so, and in accordance with our rigorous airworthiness program.”
The airworthiness assessment will look at whether the accident and its causes pose any risk to continue flying the aircraft and what mitigation measures can be put in place to lower the risk.
The Snowbirds had previously announced the cancellation of airshows in Penticton, White Rock, Abbotsford and Edmonton.