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Military lifts order grounding Snowbirds team, some restrictions still in place

OTTAWA — The Snowbirds are allowed back in the air after a deadly crash this spring saw the aerobatic team’s iconic jets grounded in British Columbia for more than three months.

The Royal Canadian Air Force says the Snowbirds’ Tutor jets will return from Kamloops, B.C., to their home base in Moose Jaw, Sask., over the next two weeks and resume flying with some restrictions. 

The Tutors were grounded after a crash in Kamloops on May 17 that killed the Snowbirds’ public affairs officer, Capt. Jennifer Casey.

While a preliminary investigation suggested a bird strike was responsible for the crash, it also raised concerns about the Tutor fleet’s ejection system.

The system was also flagged in another investigation into a Snowbird crash in the U.S. state of Georgia last year, which was caused by a problem with the engine.

The Snowbirds previously cancelled their demonstration season for this year and Air Force officials say the team will focus on getting reacquainted with the aircraft and resume flights gradually.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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