Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Captain Thomas McQueen was killed when his CF-18 Hornet crashed on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range during a training mission. He was a 10 year veteran and had deployed to eastern Europe in addition to logging some combat time in the Middle East.

“We are deeply saddened by this terrible event,” Col. Paul Doyle, commander of 4 Wing Cold Lake, said at a news conference Tuesday in Cold Lake. “This is something as a team we’re coming to grips with.

“I personally knew Capt. McQueen, as I had the privilege of instructing him at 410 tactical fighter operational training squadron when he was learning to fly the [CF-18] Hornet.

“I can tell you first-hand how much of an incredible person he was, and he was dedicated to the service of Canada.” – CBCNEWS

The cause of the crash has not been determined. Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, located in Cold Lake, Alberta is one of two Canadian bases with CF-18’s. All Canadian fighter jet training takes place at Cold Lake.

Canada has approximately 100 CF-18’s in service that were originally delivered in the 1980’s. 19 CF-18 Hornets have crashed since the Royal Canadian Air Force began flying them.

20 Years Anniversary CF-18 Hornet
20 Year Anniversary CF-18 Hornet Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, during exercise Maple Flag 2002 – Courtesy of SSgt. Derrick C. Goode, USAF [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The CF-18’s are expected to be phased out of service in the next five to ten years being replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. However, it was recently announced that Canada will seek to purchase 18 Super Hornets as an interim measure until a replacement is finalized.

Featured Image Courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force