Maintenance Glitch Downed Snowbirds Aircraft

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An improperly assembled oil filter led to the crash landing of an RCAF Snowbirds jet at an airport in northern British Columbia on Aug. 2, 2022, that ended the popular team’s show season. An investigator’s report released by the RCAF on Sept. 21 says the engine on the CT-114 Tutor failed just after takeoff from Fort St. John Airport on what was supposed to be a ferry flight back to the team’s home base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The team had left Fort St. John the day before in other aircraft to prepare for a performance in Penticton, B.C., about 800 miles away in southern British Columbia. The Penticton show and every one since has been canceled because of the incident. The team was scheduled to perform three shows in California in early October.

The report says the engine failed with a “loud bang” just after the pilot had started to retract the landing gear. The aircraft was still over the runway and the pilot decided to try to land but the gear did not fully deploy. “The unlocked landing gear collapsed under the weight of the aircraft, and the aircraft skidded off the departure‑end,” the report said. “After approximately 1000 feet of travel, the aircraft impacted the airport perimeter fence at low speed and came to rest. The pilot secured the engine and immediately egressed the aircraft.” The pilot wasn’t hurt, but the plane is a write-off. Investigators discovered the improperly assembled oil filter, and the investigation is now focused on “the human factors that may have contributed to this occurrence.”

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