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Initial investigation complete on Snowbirds crash in Fort St. John

Improperly assembled oil filter behind hard landing of aerobatic jet Aug. 2

The initial investigation into August’s crash of a Canadian Snowbirds jet in Fort St. John has been carried out.

In a release issued Wednesday, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s DFS (Directorate of Flight Safety) confirmed that an “improperly assembled oil filter” was behind the engine failure that caused the hard landing of a CT-114 Tutor shortly after take-off from the North Peace Regional Airport Aug. 2.

“The investigation is now analyzing the human factors that may have contributed to the occurrence,” said a National Defence statement.

As a result of the findings, an order grounding one remaining jet in Fort St. John and the rest of the fleet in Penticton, scheduled to perform at an airshow at the time, has now been lifted.

“The Operational Airworthiness Authority implemented the operational pause on August 8 after consulting with the RCAF’s Directorate of Flight Safety (DFS) investigators and with experts from the Technical Airworthiness Authority within the Department of National Defence,” the release continued.

The news comes as a relief to Commander 1 Canadian Air Division, which oversees the Snowbirds program.

“Thanks to the thoroughness of our investigative processes, we have been able to conduct a complete risk analysis that has shown it is safe for the CT-114 Tutor fleet to resume flying,” said major-general Iain Huddleston.

A decision, though, has been made to cancel the remainder of the schedule for the foreseeable future, even as the jets have been given clearance to return to their home base in Moose Jaw.

The Snowbird aircraft still in Fort St. John will return to home base in Moose Jaw next week.

“While we are all very pleased the team can resume flying, the decision to cancel their remaining performances was a difficult one. Looking forward, we will provide the Snowbirds with the support they need as they build towards their 2023 show season.”

The incident remains under investigation by the DFS.

The pilot was unharmed in the crash.

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