Retired general Tom Lawson understands why people would be questioning the safety of the Snowbirds’ jets given their age and because Sunday’s crash in Kamloops, B.C., was the second for the aerobatics team since October. CP photo

Retired defence chief defends Snowbirds’ ‘fantastic’ Tutor jets

Retired general understands why people would be questioning the safety of the Snowbirds’ jets

OTTAWA — While military investigators search for answers into Sunday’s deadly Snowbird crash, one former chief of defence staff says the aerobatic team’s 57-year-old Tutor jet is a “fantastic” aircraft.

Retired general Tom Lawson understands why people would be questioning the safety of the Snowbirds’ jets given their age and because Sunday’s crash in Kamloops, B.C., was the second for the aerobatics team since October.

But the former fighter pilot, who served as Canada’s top military officer from 2012 to 2015, says the planes are in good condition and have been well maintained over the decades by the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Sunday’s crash occurred shortly after two Snowbirds took off from the Kamloops Airport during Operation Inspiration, a cross-country tour aimed at boosting the morale of Canadians struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

While an investigation is underway, Lawson says video of the incident suggests the Tutor jet’s engine lost power — possibly after striking a bird — before it plunged to the ground.

Canadian Armed Forces public affairs officer Capt. Jennifer Casey was killed in the crash while Capt. Richard MacDougall, the pilot of the aircraft, sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 recovered cases continue to rise in Alberta

69 more recoveries Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,048

Bentley Farmers Market to open June 6; Lacombe Wednesday Market waiting for Music in the Park

Precautions and protocols lead to board approval of Bentley Market

City of Lacombe council highlights – May 25, 2020

Next scheduled Council Meetings is June 1, 2020, at 5 p.m. (Committee)

Town of Blackfalds denied AB Family Resource Network Funding

Town of Blackfalds, Lacombe FCSS applied for ‘hub and spoke’ Family Resource Network funding

Part of C&E Trail closed for road repairs in Lacombe

Motorists are advised to seek alternate routes

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The Lacombe Express covers the stories that matter to you and to our community

Sociologist among $100K Killam Prize winners for work on health-care inequities

Sociologist among $100K Killam Prize winners for work on health-care inequities

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Fate of two Canadians could be affected by Meng decision: former ambassador

Fate of two Canadians could be affected by Meng decision: former ambassador

‘Don’t be like Toronto:’ Calgary mayor warns against large gatherings in parks

‘Don’t be like Toronto:’ Calgary mayor warns against large gatherings in parks

Newfoundland community devastated as three fishermen found dead, one missing

Newfoundland community devastated as three fishermen found dead, one missing

Justin Trudeau says he’ll take COVID-19 antibody test once available

Justin Trudeau says he’ll take COVID-19 antibody test once available

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

Federal deficit likely now at $260 billion due to COVID-19, PBO says

Federal deficit likely now at $260 billion due to COVID-19, PBO says

Most Read