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Snowbird jet crash in Kamloops, B.C., Canada

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  • #31
    Zoom climb to best glide speed, glide aiming to the river, and eject. Yes, hindsight is always 20/20.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---


    • #32
      This is a snowbird trainer talking in this article. Explains the protocols, but not the turn.

      When Snowbird 11 Capt. Richard MacDougall took off from Kamloops Airport May 17, he likely realized within moments he was about to experience engine failure in what a former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and trainer says was the worst possible scenario.

      After watching video of the takeoff, corresponding actions and ensuing crash, Stephen Fuhr says MacDougall's options were extremely limited.

      "He was low and slow and that is a terrible place to have a problem,” he said. "If a plane is high in the air when a problem occurs, they have more time to consider options. In this scenario, that was not the case."

      Fuhr has flown 2500 hours in the CT-114 Tutor Jets used by the Snowbirds, and he spent years training new pilots how to fly them. Fuhr, who grew up in Kamloops and was also Kelowna-Lake Country MP from 2015 to 2019, said it appears MacDougall followed protocols to minimize the danger before the crash into the Kamloops neighbourhood of Brocklehurst, resulting in the death of passenger Capt. Jenn Casey, the team's public affairs officer. Both Casey and MacDougall managed to eject from the plane, but while Casey didn't survive, MacDougall landed on the roof of a home and miraculously survived but sustained injuries and is currently recovering in hospital.

      While the Flight Safety Team has not yet confirmed the cause of the crash, Fuhr said judging by the footage, it appeared to be engine failure.

      When a pilot faces this issue, they need to assess their situation and follow protocols accordingly.

      Fuhr said Capt. MacDougall’s initial actions were in line with RCAF training.

      "He zoomed out of the formation to avoid any kind of collision potential with the other airplane,” he said.

      The pilot’s initial goal is to get away from hazards, which were in this case the other airplane and the ground, he said.

      The next step is to try and restart the engine.

      Fuhr explained there are typically three procedures to follow, and a pilot must choose one based on how much time they have. The first two procedures have a higher success rate, but take longer to perform.

      The last one is used when the pilot has very little time to act.

      "Given where he was in time and space, close to the ground, slow and not having barely any time… there’s a button he can push on the throttle,” he said.

      This is called the air start, which excites ignitors in the engine to restart it.

      “If his engine’s not running at the time that he apexes in his zoom… It’s time to get out,” he said. “There’s no more time.”

      In the Tutor jets, the highest probability for a successful ejection occurs when the aircraft is 150 feet above ground and an airspeed of 60 knots, at minimum.

      "If you end up outside that ejection envelope, the odds of success go down dramatically,” Fuhr said.

      He added that given sufficient altitude, pilots have the ability to perform a low-key, which is a forced-landing maneuver practiced in training.

      However, he estimates that Capt. MacDougall was 800 to 900 feet too low to take that action.

      Fuhr said it appears the parachutes consequently did not have enough time to inflate, based on the footage he has seen.

      Some concerns have been raised regarding the age of the Snowbird Tutor jets, which were built in the 1960s.

      However, Fuhr said that age is not a primary factor in the safety of an aircraft.

      "When the plane is signed off by the maintainers as being serviceable, it’s as safe as it was the day it came off the production line,” he said.

      While the plane may age, the safety standards it is required to meet are the same as the day it was built.

      "The air force and the Snowbirds are expert maintainers,” he said. “We can have every confidence that the airplane that took off that day was airworthy and fit to fly.”

      Although an aircraft may still fail, the possibility is reduced to the point where the odds are very remote.

      "The only thing that really determines the lifespan of an airplane is fatigue on the airframe itself,” he said.

      As long as the frame meets safety standards, maintenance can be done on the rest of the plane indefinitely.

      While the knee-jerk reaction may be to replace all old planes with new ones, Fuhr said this isn’t necessary.

      "We see new planes crash,” he said. "These things can happen, and the age of the aircraft isn't necessarily going to play a big factor in the reason why."

      The investigation into the Snowbird crash is ongoing, and the cause of the crash has yet to be released.

      There are multiple avenues through which flight safety officers can gather information, Fuhr said.

      They will look through the paperwork detailing the maintenance history of the plane, inspect the physical components recovered from the crash, study video footage of the incident and conduct interviews with witnesses and the pilot.


      • #33
        Originally posted by Schwartz View Post

        Did you watch the video? There was no plane to the right. He climbed well above his partner and that airspace is deserted right now. I am inclined to think he stalled it trying to make an impossible turn back to the airfield or somewhere off to the left where he thought he could land.
        Yes, Schwartz, I watched the video. There WAS a plane to the right, that was taking off and probably going to be climbing.

        When you watched the video from one mile behind, did you consider that the other plane may very likely have been out of view of the pilot, blocked by the wing.

        Yes, WE can see that he had vertical separation for a right turn, but I’m guessing that procedure (and common sense of not turning towards an airplane that you HOPE you are above, but can’t see) might USUALLY be the better choice- even if not this time.

        As to why he stalled/ $ is on a mechanical problem or unfortunate distraction/rapid speed decay, as you say.
        Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.


        • #34

          They are now suspecting bird strike.

          Military investigators are pointing to video footage as the reason they suspect a bird strike was responsible for last month’s deadly Snowbird plane crash in British Columbia.

          The crash occurred on May 18, shortly after two of the Snowbirds’ iconic Tutor jets took off from the Kamloops Airport while participating in a cross-country tour aimed at boosting Canadians’ morale during the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Video posted to social media shortly after the crash showed one of the planes climbing a few seconds after leaving the runway before rolling over in the air and plummeting into a residential neighbourhood.

          The crash killed Captain Jenn Casey, the Snowbirds’ public-affairs officer who was riding as a passenger, while the pilot, Captain Richard MacDougall, sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Both ejected from the plane seconds before it hit the ground.

          No one on the ground was seriously hurt.

          In a preliminary report released Monday, investigators confirmed that a close examination of video showed a bird very close to the plane’s right engine intake “during the critical phase of takeoff.”

          “The investigation is focusing on environmental factors (bird-strike) as well as the performance of the escape system,” the report added.

          The crash was the second for the Snowbirds since October, after another one of the aerobatic team’s Tutor jets went down during an air show in the U.S. state of Georgia. That had prompted questions about the safety of the Tutors, which are 57 years old.

          But the preliminary investigation report appears to confirm the suspicions of former air force officers that a bird was likely to blame for the crash in Kamloops, which came only a few weeks after a military helicopter went down off the coast of Greece.

          Six people died in that crash.


          • #35
            So looking at the history of the Snowbirds reveals that a bird strike ingested into the engine caused one to crash at their home field of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1973 but the pilot escaped that incident. Its no surprise with their long history that this has happened before but its proof that it has caused this plane type to crash in the past, or in another way of saying it cause the plane to become uncontrollable, or under a minimum altitude that its unlikely to safely recover from, like Kamloops here.