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

$2 raise for some health care workers in Alberta over a month late

Delay isn’t from Alberta Health, spokesperson confirms

Wind warning issued for central Alberta

City of Red Deer and Lacombe under wind warning

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Central Alberta naturalists fear pristine headwaters will be contaminated by coal mine

Chutes of the Ram constitute one of Earth’s ‘most beautiful’ spots

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

SpaceX’s historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station

SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically

Ottawa pledges millions to promote holiday travel in Canada during pandemic

Funding announced include $30 million originally earmarked for attracting foreign visitors

Sweats are in, slacks are out: Could ‘work-leisure’ become business as usual?

Many desk-dwellers are opting for sweatpants as work-from-home era has loosened up dress codes

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

Increase is part of the government’s pledge to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage

Most Read