The remaining six Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor jets will be departing the Kamloops Airport on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning for their home base at 15 Wing Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan — exactly four months after the tragedy that saw them grounded at Fulton Field.
The CF Snowbirds will also be conducting one test flight on Thursday afternoon, during which the public can expect to see one jet aircraft in the vicinity and may hear loud jet noise.
The test flight is for a jet that required an engine change while grounded at YKA.
“These flights are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure public safety at all times,” Snowbirds public affairs officer Becky Major said in a press release.
Two planes are scheduled to depart Thursday and four tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, members of the public are asked to refrain from attending the airport to view the aircrafts’ departure.
“The Snowbirds are deeply appreciative of the support received from Kamloops and local First Nations in the wake of the tragic accident on May 17 but, to ensure the health and safety of community members, we ask that people not gather at the airport,” Major said.
The departures are subject to weather and operational requirements, meaning exact timing may vary.
Four of the planes departed over the past two weeks, the first two on Sept. 1 and another pair on Sept. 10.
On May 17, one of the jets leaving Kamloops Airport en route to Vancouver Island on the cross-Canada Operation Inspiration tour crashed in Brocklehurst, killing military public affairs officer Capt. Jennifer Casey and injuring Capt. Richard MacDougall, the plane’s pilot. Casey and MacDougall ejected and landed on a Schreiner Street property, while the aircraft came down in a yard about a block away.
The entire fleet was grounded pending a probe into the crash.
In June, the Royal Canadian Air Force released a preliminary report, confirming it is exploring a bird strike as the possible cause of the crash. Footage of the accident appears to show a bird in very close proximity to the plane as it was taking off.
“The investigation is focusing on environmental factors (bird strike) as well as the performance of the escape system,” the report stated.