Snowbird pilot makes emergency landing after hitting bird

A Snowbird pilot flying out of 19 Wing Comox on Monday made an emergency landing after striking a bird.

The pilot was taking part in the Snowbirds’ 9:30 a.m. practice at the Island facility, where the aerobatics team is conducting training ahead of its 2021 tour.

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This is the team’s 50th year.

“There was a bird strike and the pilot followed procedure and declared an emergency,” said Snowbirds public-affairs officer Capt. Gabriel Ferris. “An emergency doesn’t mean that the aircraft is on fire or that it’s going to crash; it just means that he’s going to have priority to land on the airfield.

“The pilot was able to fly the aircraft safely. He didn’t have any problems flying the aircraft.”

Nine aircraft fly in formation for the Snowbirds, and two more are brought along to be spares.

The Snowbirds have been in Comox since May 4.

Ferris said the pilot followed normal procedures and called an emergency for a suspected bird strike.

A bird strike by one of the Snowbirds Tutor jets led to a 2020 crash near Kamloops. Public-affairs officer Capt. Jennifer Casey, who was a passenger, was killed after ejecting.

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