...Snowbirds Flying Again

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Canada's Snowbirds aerobatics team also was grounded last week, after a fatal midair in Saskatchewan, but they are already back in the air, after a preliminary investigation apparently found no evidence of mechanical failure. Some critics, however, are saying the Snowbirds should be grounded for good and their $10 million (Canadian) budget directed elsewhere, CBC News reported Tuesday. The aging CT-114 Tutor jets, which are older than the pilots who fly them, should be retired, they say. "It's a luxury," said former colonel Michel Drapeau, "and I think the time has come to question [it] and possibly do without." The lack of a rescue helicopter at the Moose Jaw air force base also came under criticism last week, but it did not affect the rescue, officials said. It took 47 minutes for rescuers to drive to the wreck. Helicopters at the base were eliminated in a previous round of budget cuts. The two pilots had been practicing a head-on crossing loop when they collided. Capt. Miles Selby died, but Capt. Chuck Mallet ejected and was treated for minor injuries. A final report is expected to take at least a year.