A lengthy investigation has revealed that a bird strike and subsequent power failure were the causes behind a fatal Snowbirds crash in B.C. in 2020.
The CT-114 Tutor aircraft crashed on May 17, 2020, shortly after takeoff from the Kamloops airport while the Snowbirds were on a cross country tour. Capt. Jenn Casey was killed and pilot Capt. Richard MacDougall was injured.
“The investigation found that ingestion of a single, small bird into the engine of the aircraft ‘Snowbird 11’ following take-off resulted in a compressor stall and a loss of thrust,” the defence department stated in a Monday (March 29) news release.
“Upon loss of power, the pilot initiated a climb straight ahead and then a turn back towards the airport.”
At this point, the plane entered an aerodynamic stall and the pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft. Both Casey and MacDougall ejected from the jet at low altitude, and neither had enough time for their parachutes to activate fully.
The final results of the investigation echo a preliminary report released last summer that showed a bird appearing to enter the engine.
The defence department recommendation identified a need to conduct additional training for CT-114 aircrew to better prepare them for engine failure at low altitudes shortly after taking off, to “clarify the command to ‘eject’, publish a directive to clarify how aircrew should prioritize an ejection-scenario near or over a populated area, and research potential options to stabilize the ejection seat from any tendency to pitch, roll, or yaw. “
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