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May 22, 2020 | Local, Aerospace

Des experts peu convaincus de la nécessité de remplacer les avions des Snowbirds

Publié le 20 mai 2020

Deux experts soutiennent que les avions utilisés par les Snowbirds sont des avions fiables, malgré leur âge. La question de la vétusté des CT-114 Tutor a resurgi après l'accident en Colombie-Britannique qui a coûté la vie à la capitaine Jenn Casey.

Conçu par le fabricant aéronautique Canadair dans les années 1960, le CT-114 Tutor fait partie intégrante des Forces armées canadiennes (FAC) depuis 1964. Utilisé comme avion d’entraînement, jusque dans les années 2000, le modèle est toujours utilisé par les Snowbirds, le 431e escadron de démonstration aérienne des FAC. La base d'attache des Snowbirds est à Moose Jaw, en Saskatchewan.

Aux yeux du président honoraire de l’Association de l’Aviation royale canadienne, André Deschamps, le CT-114 Tutor est un avion très robuste, bien bâti, solide et très simple. Il est parfait pour les pilotes, car il n’y a pas trop de matériel excessif à s’occuper.

Ancien chef d’état-major de l'Aviation royale canadienne, André Deschamps pense que l’écrasement du CT-114 des capitaines Kasey et MacDougall est dû à une perte de puissance soudaine du moteur de l’appareil.

clairement pas assez pour continuer de voler, explique le lieutenant-général Deschamps.

Selon lui, ce défaut de propulsion de l’aéronef peut être dû à une multitude de raisons.

Outre une cause naturelle, comme un oiseau happé par la turbine de l’avion, ce type d'accident peut aussi être causé par un contaminant dans l’essence [...] Ça peut être atmosphérique, ou ça peut être un bris mécanique à l’intérieur du moteur, note André Deschamps.

Un remplacement complexe

En attendant les résultats d’une enquête sur les causes exactes de l’accident tragique de Kamloops, et malgré l’âge de ce modèle d’aéronef, André Deschamps affirme qu’il est vraiment dur de remplacer cet avion, à cause de ces qualités d’opération.

Un point de vue partagé par Mehran Ebrahimi, directeur de l’Observatoire de l’aéronautique et de l’aviation civile de l’UQAM. Même si ces avions ne sont pas éternels (...) il ne faut pas considérer que, parce que ces avions-là sont vieux, ils sont automatiquement dangereux, précise-t-il.

Le premier ministre Justin Trudeau s’est d'ailleurs entretenu à plusieurs reprises, en fin de semaine, avec le ministre de la Défense au sujet de la sécurité et de l’âge des avions des Snowbirds, selon les informations de La Presse canadienne.

Une question aussi d’ordre financier

De plus, la question financière entre rapidement dans les considérations gouvernementales à ce sujet. Dans un document datant de 2015, la Défense nationale du Canada estimait le coût de remplacement des Tutor entre 500 millions et 1,5 milliard de dollars.

C’est beaucoup d’argent. Dans le contexte actuel, avec la trésorerie des gouvernements, ajoutez à cela la COVID-19, comment ça va se passer, questionne M. Ebrahimi.

Selon André Deschamps, le remplacement des CT-114 entre dans une politique plus large de changement des avions d’entraînement pour les pilotes de chasse canadiens.

Le programme de remplacement existe. (...) Il faut allier ça avec d’autres ressources. On ne veut pas acheter une flotte unique, qui existe seulement pour les Snowbirds, précise M. Deschamps.

Différentes options sont là, prêtes à être évaluées, selon l’ancien chef d’état-major. Il va y avoir des décisions éventuellement, dans les années prochaines. Mais pour le moment, les Tutor sont encore sains.

Une réflexion qui fait écho à un autre document de la Défense nationale du Canada, qui fait partie du Plan national de défense 2018, qui annonce la prolongation de service des CT-114 Tutor : la fin de vie des aéronefs, initialement prévue pour 2020, y est repoussée à 2030.

Le CT-114 Tutor s’est révélé une plateforme très résistante, facile à entretenir et à mettre à niveau, et dont la fonctionnalité peut être maintenue à long terme, reconnaît la Défense nationale questionnée au sujet de ce plan de remplacement des CT-1.

Dans son courriel transmis à Radio-Canada, le gouvernement fédéral conclut : Les Forces armées canadiennes prévoient conserver les Snowbirds comme marque distinctive de l’Aviation royale canadienne

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1704413/snowbirds-ecrasement-kamloops-casey-tutor-defense

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    April 23, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

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  • First two used Australian fighter jets arrive in Canada on Sunday

    February 18, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    First two used Australian fighter jets arrive in Canada on Sunday

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    January 16, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval

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