The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak

Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

A Canadian Forces Snowbirds plane followed emergency protocols during a Monday (May 10) morning practice in the Comox Valley as the aircraft had a suspected bird strike.

Capt. Gabriel Ferris, the team’s public affairs officer (PAO) noted the pilot followed protocols and with an abundance of caution landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems.

The technicians and flight safety team will begin their assessment and evaluate the situation, he said. Once the aircraft is cleared by their maintenance team the plane will be able to fly again.

Nearly a year ago, a Snowbirds crash in Kamloops claimed the life of PAO Capt. Jennifer Casey and injured pilot Capt. Richard MacDougall.

In June 2020, the Royal Canadian Air Force released a preliminary report, confirming it was exploring a bird strike as the possible cause of the crash. Video footage of the accident showed a bird in very close proximity to the plane’s right engine as it was taking off.

In late March 2021, the RCAF’s Directorate of Flight Safety released its final report on the accident which confirmed that a single small bird was sucked into the engine of the aircraft following take-off, resulting in a compressor stall and a loss of thrust as the aircraft was trying to climb.

Following a one-year pause on their annual spring training in the area due to the pandemic, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds arrived May 4 in the Comox Valley.

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area.



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