General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, speaks at a news conference in Ottawa on April 30, 2015. While military investigators search for answers into Sunday’s deadly Snowbird crash, one former chief of defence staff says the aerobatic team’s 57-year-old Tutor jets is a “fantastic” aircraft. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Retired defence chief defends Snowbirds’ ‘fantastic’ Tutor jets

The Snowbirds’ planes are 57 years old

While military investigators search for answers into Sunday’s deadly Snowbird crash, one former chief of defence staff says the aerobatic team’s 57-year-old Tutor jet is a “fantastic” aircraft.

Retired general Tom Lawson understands why people would be questioning the safety of the Snowbirds’ jets given their age and because Sunday’s crash in Kamloops, B.C., was the second for the aerobatics team since October.

But the former fighter pilot, who served as Canada’s top military officer from 2012 to 2015, says the planes are in good condition and have been well maintained over the decades by the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Sunday’s crash occurred shortly after two Snowbirds took off from the Kamloops Airport during Operation Inspiration, a cross-country tour aimed at boosting the morale of Canadians struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

While an investigation is underway, Lawson says video of the incident suggests the Tutor jet’s engine lost power — possibly after striking a bird — before it plunged to the ground.

Canadian Armed Forces public affairs officer Capt. Jennifer Casey was killed in the crash while Capt. Richard MacDougall, the pilot of the aircraft, sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

READ MORE: One dead in Canadian Forces Snowbirds plane crash in Kamloops

READ MORE: Flight to honour Snowbirds after fatal crash set to take off from Abbotsford’s airport

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusMilitary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A stand in solidarity against racism and discrimination

A diverse crowd led by youth marched from Cranbrook’s Spirit Square in… Continue reading

Letters to the Editor

Performing Arts Festival postponed; Wildfire protection; Understanding in the world today

Local photographer raises over $5,000 for Cranbrook Food Bank

Damien Vincent raised the money through his version of the Front Porch Family Photo project

PHOTOS: Momma black bear and cubs spotted in Townsite

A momma black bear and her two cubs, spotted getting near The… Continue reading

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read