VICTORIA -- The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will return to Vancouver Island next month for training before their 2021 tour begins.

The aerobatics team will be in the Comox area from May 4 to May 26 for training ahead of their international tour, which will celebrate the team's 50th anniversary.

The Snowbirds are returning to Vancouver Island for the first time since the team was grounded for much of 2020 due to COVID-19 and a fatal crash in Kamloops last May.

On May 17, 2020, a Snowbirds plane is believed to have struck a bird mid-flight. Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey, the team's public affairs officer, died after trying to eject. The pilot of the plane, Capt. Richard MacDougall, survived the crash but sustained serious injuries.

In December, the Snowbirds released their tentative 2021 performance schedule.

Performances are scheduled to take place in Canada and the U.S. between June and October, though the team notes that the dates are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are looking forward to celebrating our 50th season with Canadians in 2021," said Lt.-Col. Denis Bandet, commanding officer of 431 Air Demonstration Squadron on Dec. 8.

"We are going to ensure that we follow recommended health measures in order to see our fans again in a safe environment this season," he said.

With files form the Canadian Press.