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Snowbirds... If not the Tutor...


Mitch Cronin
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Perhaps a suitable replacement for the Tudors.

Northrop Grumman Unveils Trainer

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By Russ Niles | August 20, 2016

 

 

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Northrop Grumman has rolled out its clean-sheet contender for the Air Force’s advanced trainer competition. The unnamed aircraft looks a lot like the T-38 it will replace but will have all the advanced electronics the Talon doesn’t. The Air Force says the T-38 is no longer an effective fighter trainer for pilots who will be flying fifth generation fighters and is buying 300 jet trainers. The Northrop Grumman offering saw light of day for taxi tests at Mojave Airport in California. It was built by company subsidiary Scaled Composites, which is based in Mojave.

The aircraft has a single GE F404 turbofan engine with wing root inlets. BAE Systems and L-3 Communications are filling the avionics bay, which is in many ways the heart of the aircraft. Other contenders for the contract are Raytheon-Leonardo’s M-346, Lockheed Martin’s T-50 and Saab-Boeing with a still-to-be-unveiled clean sheet design. All of the aircraft will have a sustained turn rate of 6.5 G, tanking capability and at least 10 percent better fuel economy than the 1960s-vintage T-38.

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Ask the Blue Angels and TBirds why they never follow the SB at a show.  The SB always close, or are separated by several acts.  Talking years ago when the Tudors were grounded, to a Thunderbird and the most anticipated question was that finally the SBs couldn't do a 9 ship take off.  For all the US bravado, they realize the SBs do something they can't.

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I would take issues with some of the criticism directed at 431 Squadron here.  What do we have in this country that inspires real national pride and represents our country with Skill Professionalism and Teamwork?  Double dare you to watch this.....

 

 

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3 hours ago, Johnboy said:

I would take issues with some of the criticism directed at 431 Squadron here.  What do we have in this country that inspires real national pride and represents our country with Skill Professionalism and Teamwork?  Double dare you to watch this.....

 

 

It seems the major concern re the Snowbirds is not criticism but the need to replace their aging aircraft.  

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1 hour ago, boestar said:

The fact that the Snowbirds do what they do in the equipment they do it in, speaks volumes.  They are the best of the best.

I don't think anyone will disagree with you boestar.  This is of course why we need to keep them but also provide them with updated aircraft as the best before date of their present fleet was quite some time ago.

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I took my family to our yearly Abbotsford Airshow.  Having twin 13 years old, this year was different from previous years.  This year, after watching the Snow Birds outperform the Breitling Team (at least in our opinion they did), both of them started mumbling about how 'cool' it would be to fly for the military.  Also, they were in awe at watching the long line of young and old waiting to get the Snow Bird pilots autograph!  The Snow Birds are wonderful ambassadors for the Canadian Military but do need an equipment change.  The Hawk gets my vote!

 

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1 hour ago, hollywud said:

I took my family to our yearly Abbotsford Airshow.  Having twin 13 years old, this year was different from previous years.  This year, after watching the Snow Birds outperform the Breitling Team (at least in our opinion they did), both of them started mumbling about how 'cool' it would be to fly for the military.  Also, they were in awe at watching the long line of young and old waiting to get the Snow Bird pilots autograph!  The Snow Birds are wonderful ambassadors for the Canadian Military but do need an equipment change.  The Hawk gets my vote!

What did you think of the Waco Taperwing with the jet engine? I thought it was pretty amazing.

 

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Hi J.O, funny you should ask.  We thought, like many others that the show had ended so we got into our car and found ourselves hopelessly trying to exit.  Then we heard and saw the 'Waco' doing it's thing.  I heard a jet engine but couldn't make where the sound was coming from.  We decided to stay put instead of leave, jumped out of our car and watched and marvelled at the Waco flying.  In fact, it turned out to be one of the highlights of the show in my opinion.  It was crazy what this machine could do - especially climbing vertically and literally watching it hang on the prop/jet thrust.  We loved it!

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4 hours ago, hollywud said:

I took my family to our yearly Abbotsford Airshow.  Having twin 13 years old, this year was different from previous years.  This year, after watching the Snow Birds outperform the Breitling Team (at least in our opinion they did), both of them started mumbling about how 'cool' it would be to fly for the military.  Also, they were in awe at watching the long line of young and old waiting to get the Snow Bird pilots autograph!  The Snow Birds are wonderful ambassadors for the Canadian Military but do need an equipment change.  The Hawk gets my vote!

 

Gotta admit, in its time, the Tutor was the jet trainer of choice. Today's jet trainer of choice is The Hawk.

What do existing and past Team members have to say about this airframe as a replacement for the CT-114?

Edited by Moon The Loon
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9 hours ago, Malcolm said:

I don't think anyone will disagree with you boestar.  This is of course why we need to keep them but also provide them with updated aircraft as the best before date of their present fleet was quite some time ago.

Don't you think we should give the front line soldiers, sailors and airmen updated equipment first? Never going to happen with JT though.

Edited by mo32a
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The front line should get a front line fighter.  The Demonstration Squadron would be fine with a trainer, whatever trainer that may be.  The hawk is a good choice.

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  • 3 years later...

Snowbirds may soon fly home from Kamloops Airport

News from Kamloops This Week – link to story

Airport manager Ed Ratuski said the planes have been getting ready to depart and Brocklehurst residents have likely noticed more activity around them as they get ready to leave.

Michael Potestio / Kamloops This Week ~ AUGUST 20, 2020

SnowbirdsThe red and white Snowbirds remain on the ground following the May 17, 2020, crash in Kamloops. Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO/KTW FILE

The Snowbirds jets that have been grounded at Kamloops Airport for more than three months could soon be on the move to their home base in Moose Jaw.

Airport manager Ed Ratuski said the planes have been getting ready to depart and Brocklehurst residents have likely noticed more activity around them as they get ready to leave. article continues below 

“From what we understand, it will be sometime next week, but it’s been changing day-to-day,” Ratuski said.

On May 17, a CT-114 Tutor Snowbirds jet leaving Kamloops Airport en route to its next stop on the cross-Canada Operation Inspiration tour crashed into a Brocklehurst neighbourhood, killing military public affairs officer Capt. Jennifer Casey and injuring the pilot of the aircraft, Capt. Richard MacDougall.

The entire fleet was then grounded pending a probe into the crash.

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

“The investigation is focusing on environmental factors (birdstrike) as well as the performance of the escape system,” the report stated.

Snowbirds public affairs officer Lt. Becky Major said technicians are doing maintenance work on the jets, but noted there are no dates for departure yet.

She said the planes will not depart without first letting the City of Kamloops know, adding the fleet is still waiting for its operational pause to be lifted once the investigation into May’s crash is completed.

“There’s still things that need to be signed off [on],” she said.

Major said crews have been doing preventive maintenance work on the aircraft since they were grounded and just last week were running the engines, though the planes have not yet been flown.

A pause could be lifted ahead of an investigation wrapping up if enough information has already been gathered, which was the case with an air force fleet during an investigation into the April 29 crash of a Cyclone helicopter in the Ionian sea, Major said.

“But we’re still just going to wait and see,” she said.

© 2020 Kamloops This Week

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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/snowbirds-allowed-to-fly-again-3-months-after-fatal-crash-1.5697979

Quote

The Snowbirds will be allowed to fly again after being grounded for three months following a crash in Kamloops, B.C., that killed Capt. Jennifer Casey.

The Royal Canadian Air Force says the jets will be leaving Kamloops for their home base in Moose Jaw, Sask., over the next two weeks, resuming flying with some restrictions.

The remainder of the Snowbirds' 2020 air demonstration season has been cancelled.

 

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SNOWBIRDS TO FLY AGAIN

Grounding order lifted

  • Calgary Herald
  • 25 Aug 2020
  • LEE BERTHIAUME
img?regionKey=ZfYvAnJmISVrQJU7Qtn10Q%3d%3dJONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES The Snowbirds’ Tutor jets sit behind a fence at an airport in Kamloops, B.C., where one of them went down in May, killing Capt. Jennifer Casey, the team’s public affairs officer. The aerobatics team is being allowed back into the air after being grounded for more than three months.

YOU’LL PROBABLY SEE A BIT OF A DIFFERENT SHOW NEXT YEAR, WHERE WE’LL AVOID SOME LOW AND SLOW-FLYING MANOEUVRES, IF YOU WILL, TO ALLOW IN THE EVENT OF ANOTHER BIRD STRIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, TO BE ABLE TO HAVE MORE TIME TO REACT.

— COL. RON WALKER

WE’VE LOOKED AT THE WHOLE FLYING SHOW AND SOME OF THE MANOEUVRES, AND THAT REVIEW IS STILL UNDERWAY.

OTTAWA • Canadians can expect to see a different Snowbirds show next year — including fewer low-level and low-speed manoeuvres — as the military is placing new restrictions on its famed aerobatics team following two crashes in less than a year.

The restrictions were revealed Monday as the Royal Canadian Air Force announced the Snowbirds’ iconic Tutor jets were allowed back into the air after being grounded for more than three months following a deadly crash in British Columbia.

It’s believed the plane went down after striking a bird shortly after takeoff from Kamloops on May 17. Capt. Jennifer Casey, the team’s public affairs officer, was killed after trying to eject, while the pilot, Capt. Richard Macdougall, sustained serious injuries.

The crash was the second in less than eight months after another Tutor went down in the U.S. state of Georgia in October. A flight investigation found a problem with the plane’s fuel-delivery system and flagged concerns with the ejection system.

A report released in June found that the ejection seat got tangled with the pilot’s parachute as he tried to escape. The pilot sustained minor injuries.

Similar concerns about the ejection system were raised by investigators after the Kamloops crash, which remains under investigation.

Col. Ron Walker, commander of the Snowbirds’ home base in Saskatchewan, 15 Wing Moose Jaw, said the Tutors have remained in Kamloops as investigators have pored over the causes of the two crashes and worked to ensure the planes are safe to fly.

Yet while the lifting of the grounding order means they can now be flown back to Moose Jaw, Walker said it could actually take a couple of weeks for them to return. That is because the pilots have to be recertified to fly the planes.

While such recertification is required and usually completed each year, Walker said that “because the pause has been so long, most of the qualifications and currency that the pilots have has lapsed.”

“So we’re going through a special process — a bit unprecedented, frankly — to recertify the pilots,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview.

Even after the Tutors are back, there are no plans for aerobatics shows this year. The Snowbirds cancelled their demonstration season earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather,

Walker indicated the team will start looking to next season.

That season is likely to look different for the Snowbirds and spectators, as Walker said there will be new restrictions on the Tutors’ minimum flying height and speed are following a detailed risk assessment that was launched because of the two crashes.

“We’ve looked at the whole flying show and some of the manoeuvres, and that review is still underway,” he said.

“But you’ll probably see a bit of a different show next year, where we’ll avoid some low and slow-flying manoeuvres, if you will, to allow in the event of another bird strike, for example, to be able to have more time to react.”

There are also new rules on the minimum length of runway from which the Snowbirds will fly, which Walker acknowledged could prevent the team from participating in some communities’ air shows.

Walker could not say how long the restrictions would be in place, including whether they might remain until the Tutor fleet, which is more than 55 years old, is replaced.

The Air Force is also ordering additional maintenance and preventive measures on the Tutors, including special engine inspections before flights are allowed to resume. And it is replacing the engines on three out of 23 of the planes.

“We determined there were some engines that had high amounts of flying hours on them,” Walker said. “So those are being replaced. And there’s a few additional preventative measures that are being implemented on the technical side or the maintenance side.”

While the restrictions aim to give pilots more time to react, they do not address the concerns raised about the Tutors’ ejection seats, which a military report in 2016 recommended should be upgraded.

The Department of National Defence has said it is in the early stages of assessing ways to upgrade the ejection system as part of an overall refit of the Tutor fleet to keep it flying through 2030.

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After the crash, the Snowbirds take flight in Kamloops

From Kamloops This Week – link to story

For video of the takeoff – click on the link above

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

Snowbirds departureA pair of Canadian Forces Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor jets take off from Kamloops Airport on Tuesday morning. It marked the first time the iconic red ad white jets have been airborne since the May 17 crash in Kamloops that claimed the life of Capt. Jennifer Casey and injured the pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall. The rest of the squadron’s planes will be flown to home base in Moose Jaw later this month.Photograph By DAVE EAGLES/KTW

The first two of 10 Canadian Forces Snowbirds CT-114 Tutor jets grounded at Kamloops Airport were flown home to Moose Jaw on Tuesday morning.

Once back at base, the jets will be used to train other pilots in order to retrieve the remaining eight planes in about two weeks, article continues below 

The jets have been grounded since a May 17 crash in Kamloops claimed the life of Capt. Jennifer Casey and injured the pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall.

Speaking to reporters on the tarmac of Kamloops Airport before takeoff on Tuesday, Lt.-Col. Denis Bandet, the Snowbirds’ commanding officer, said the departure marked the beginning of the squadron moving forward with pilot and technician training for 2021.https://www.youtube.com/embed/zCYFLJ5D3ro?wmode=opaque&autohide=1&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kamloopsthisweek.com&widgetid=1

The Royal Canadian Air Force has had a team of engineers examine the planes in preparation for their return home, Bandet said.

“We took the time to sit back and look at everything through a microscope,” he said.

“We went through every bit of systems on the airplanes, from the motors to the avionics to the structures, to make sure that everything we’re doing with the airplane is proper and ready to go ahead.”

Bandet said that process took time, which is why the jets have remained at the airport for the past three months.

“We’re happy at this point we’ve assessed the risk and that we have every confidence in the Tutor moving forward. I wouldn’t be standing here today if I didn’t have the confidence in the airport to get in,” Bandet said.

Bandet and Capt. Logan Reid flew the two jets out of Kamloops on Tuesday.

Capt. Alexandra Hejduk, public affairs officer with 19 Wing Comox, said the two jets will be used to train other pilots who require more flying time.

As the jets have sat for more than 90 days, additional flying time amongst the pilots is needed to get their currencies up, so permission was granted from Second Canadian Air Division commander Brig.-Gen. Denis O’Reilly to fly a minimal number of the jets to home base in Moose Jaw for training, Hejduk said.

Snowbirds departure A Snowbirds avionics crew member inspects one of the two Snowbirds jets, which departed Kamloops Airport on Sept. 1 – Dave Eagles/KTW

She said those eight pilots will be in Kamloops within two weeks to fly the other eight jets to Saskatchewan .There will be a public service announcement issued at that time for their departure, but the RCAF has asked that members of the public refrain from visiting the airport to see the jets leave due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Bandet said they are excited to get back in the air and he hopes for an eventual return to normalcy reminiscent of the demonstration squadron’s operations in the past.

“On behalf of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Canadian Armed Forces, 431 Air Demonstration Squadron and 15 Wing Moose Jaw, I want to extend my thanks to the community of Kamloops, the residents of Brocklehurst and the First Nations community,” Bandet said. “The outpouring of support has been outstanding and we felt it resonate all the way back to Moose Jaw — and it’s helped us get through this difficult period.”

On May 17, a CT-114 Tutor Snowbirds jet leaving Kamloops Airport en route to its next stop on the cross-Canada Operation Inspiration tour crashed into a Brocklehurst neighbourhood, killing military public affairs officer Casey and injuring pilot MacDougall.

The entire fleet was then grounded pending a probe into the crash.

In June, the RCAF released a preliminary report, confirming it is 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.

“The investigation is focusing on environmental factors [birdstrike] as well as the performance of the escape system,” the report stated.

In August, the fleet’s operational pause was lifted, with some flying restrictions, clearing the way for the planes to be flown back to base, though the investigation into the crash continues.

In the past few weeks, maintenance crews have been in Kamloops, ensuring the Snowbirds jets are ready to fly when the decision to take them back to Saskatchewan was made. Members of that crew recently spent a day of team bonding at the disc golf course on McArthur Island (that story is online at kamloopsthisweek.com).

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