COLD LAKE, Alta. – The pilot who died in the crash of a CF-18 fighter near the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan on Monday was a 29-year member of the Canadian Armed Forces for a decade.
Colonel Paul Doyle, commander of 4 Wing Cold Lake, announced Tuesday that Captain Thomas McQueen was engaged and living with his wife in Cold Lake, Alberta. He was from Fisherville, an Ontario community south of Hamilton.
According to Colonel Doyle, the young man was “an incredible person (…) dedicated to the service of Canada.” He was recognized by his peers for his “energy and dedication,” he added.
The Chief of Staff of the Defence, General Jonathan Vance, said the captain McQueen was in the service of the Royal Canadian Air Force for 10 years.
He had served in overseas missions, particularly in Eastern Europe and with NATO air strikes of the international coalition in Iraq, said Colonel Doyle.
In a press release issued in 2014 the captain McQueen was also mentioned as one of the few pilots selected to escort Santa Claus during his annual sleigh parade.
The single-seat aircraft that Captain McQueen flew Monday crashed during a routine training mission at the Air Weapons Range Cold Lake. Another plane was involved in the simulation of an air-ground attack.
An investigation is underway to determine what happened. Colonel Doyle did not provide details Tuesday about the circumstances of the incident or say whether Mr. McQueen was able to eject from the aircraft at the time of the crash.
“Operating a supersonic jet fighter-under dynamic maneuvers is not something we take lightly, has he said. We make sure to train and prepare ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism. ”
The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences to relatives of the driver.
“This incident painfully reminds us of the dangers to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces day to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. Their courage, bravery and sacrifice embody what characterizes the Canadian identity, “he said in a press release.
The range of Cold Lake, which covers an area of 30 000 square kilometers in Alberta and Saskatchewan, is the busiest airbases aircraft-hunters in the country. The base serves as a training school for all pilots of the Canadian army.
At least 10 drivers were killed in crashes CF-18 since the army acquired its fleet of 138 aircraft hunters in 1980 for $ 5 billion.
Monday’s incident came a week after Ottawa announced plans to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornet on an interim basis, pending a permanent solution to replace its aging CF-18.
The Royal Canadian Air Force had indicated that 77 CF-18 devices would be able to fly until 2025.
The federal government, however, that many of these aircraft are out of service due to maintenance problems.