Canada’s closest equivalent to America’s Air Force One is grounded until at least next summer.
And one military source with knowledge of the aircraft is questioning not only why the aging plane is being replaced — but whether it should ever fly again.
The crash in question happened on Oct. 10, almost two months before the military released details about the incident in a statement online on Monday following requests for information from Global News.
An incident summary described the collision as taking place inside an aircraft hangar in Trenton, Ont., and after being moved to an area not normally used by the plane, was stopped and awaiting a tow into the hangar with both the parking brake and chocks in place.
Chocks are basically wedges placed against wheels to prevent them from rolling.
But the plane began rolling on its own, right over the chocks.
“Attempts to stop the aircraft by the tow crew were unsuccessful,” the military statement said.
It went on to note that the right engine of the aircraft hit a tow tractor inside the hanger while the nose collided with the hangar wall.
“The aircraft sustained very serious damage,” it added.
Damage to the engine of a CC-150 Polaris aircraft is shown above. The Department of National Defence
The plane will be out of commission until at least August 2020 and an investigation is underway.
However, the incident raises questions about the aging fleet of the Royal Canadian Air Force and whether trying to fix the more than 30-year-old planes is worth it.
The Canadian Forces operate five of the aircraft — a CC-150 Polaris.
Two of them, however, are outfitted for air-to-air refulling, meaning there are effectively just three — now two — available for the combined functions of transporting the Governor General, the prime minister, the highest-ranking dignitaries and the Royal Family.
The aircraft damaged in the collision was the only one outfitted with a cabin suite on board and painted with the Government of Canada logo.
The non-refuelling aircraft are also used for troop transport and have been used to fly Canadian troops into central and eastern Europe as part of the NATO mission to deter Russian aggression in the region.
Back in September, the campaign plane used by the federal Liberals was also grounded after an unexpected incident.
A bus carrying media assigned to cover the campaign crashed into the plane’s wing, forcing the campaign to hire another plane until the damage could be assessed and repaired.