The RCAF says a sudden loss of engine power led to the ejection of a Snowbirds pilot and loss of the aircraft just before the team’s performance at the Atlanta Air Show on Oct. 13. The Directorate of Flight Safety released its preliminary report on the crash earlier this week. The short report said that Snowbird 5, Capt. Kevin Domon-Grenier, performed a routine pre-show check while inverted and after rolling level added power to rejoin the formation. The engine didn’t respond normally and the plane started losing altitude. Because he was already at a low altitude, Domon-Grenier decided to eject. While he suffered only slight injuries, he reported “anomalies” with the ejection and all the RCAF’s Tutors were grounded.
The Air Force spent the last six weeks poring over the accident information and wreckage and determined last week that the planes stranded in Georgia could be flown back to Moose Jaw. The investigation into the crash and the ejection snags is continuing but the ferry flight is a good sign that the aircraft will remain serviceable. “At this point, we have received enough information from investigators to resume wings-level flight in order to return our jets to our home base,” said Snowbirds Commander Lt. Col. Mike French. “However, we need to let the investigators continue to work before we resume full operations.”