Snowbird 1

Designed and manufactured by Canadair to RCAF specifications for a twin- seat jet trainer, the Tutor began production in September 1961. Canadair designated it the CL-41 and the first aircraft was taken on strength by the RCAF in 1963, as the CT-114. Canadair supplied 190 Tutors to the Air Force, with only one design change: by government direction, the Tutor was equipped with the General Electric J-85 jet engine, built on licence by Orenda Ltd. of Toronto.

Although the aircraft’s primary purpose in the RCAF and the CF was as a trainer, it was chosen for Canada’s internationally renowned aerobatic team, the Snowbirds. Painted in distinctive red and white colours, the Tutor has been the jet of choice for the Snowbirds since their creation in 1971. In 1978, the Snowbirds attained squadron status.

As 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds have been regular visitors to the Comox Valley and 19 Wing in particular. Every spring they arrive for training and have performed at the Comox Airshow. 
The museum’s Tutor is painted in classic Snowbird colours, to honour the contribution the Snowbirds have made to the Air Force nationally and in Comox in particular. In 2012, as part of a joint project between the City of Courtenay and the Comox Air Force Museum, the Snowbird was erected as an off-site display at the Comox Valley Visitors Center  in Courtenay. Snowbird 2


Manufacturer: Canadair

Designation: CT-114

Model No: CL-41

Role: Trainer

TOS: 1963

SOS: In Service with 431 Air Demonstration Sqn, the Snowbirds

Number Built: 190

Comox Sqn/Unit Use: 431 Sqn deploys to Comox every spring for deployment and over-water training.


Crew/Passengers: 2 (pilots) in ejection seats

Power Plant: one Orenda J-85 CAN-40 Turbojet with 2,950 lbs thrust.


Max Speed: 486 mph (782 km/h)

Service Ceiling: 42,000 ft (12,863 m)

Range: 1940 miles (1,563 km)


Empty: 4,895 lbs (2,220 kg)

Gross: 7,397 lbs (3,335 kg)


Span: 36 ft 6 in(11.13 m)

Length: 32 ft (9.7 m)

Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m)

Original Cost: $425,000

Facts verified by Brian O’Cain-Aircraft Archivist, CAFM.