The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) officially lifted the operational pause on CH148 Cyclone helicopters. The pause was placed as a precautionary measure following the April 29th incident in the Ionian Sea that claimed the lives of six members of the CAF.
Lt.-Gen. Alain Pelletier, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division said flying operations for the CH148 Cyclone fleet will resume in the coming days.
He was joined with Col. John Alexander, Flight Safety and Airworthiness Investigative Authority and Brig.-Gen. Nancy Tremblay, Aerospace Equipment Program Management, representing the Validation Authority within the CAF. Collectively the three members assess and ultimately decide whether Canada’s military aircraft are fit to fly.
According to Col. John Alexander, during the Cyclone’s return to aircraft procedure, in its final manoeuvring turn to land on the ship, the aircraft did not respond as the crew would have expected. This means the crew was subjected to a sort of nose-dive, for which they would have had no previous experience prior to the event. He said the accident was unavoidable based on their low altitude, as well as the lack of time the crew had to realize the aircraft was not responding to their inputs.
Now that the CAF understands what has happened, Col. Alexander said the flight safety investigation will focus on the why. He said their focus will be on the analysis of the aircraft systems, and the human factors that go behind everything related to identifying those preventative measures.
Col. Alexander said because of its complex nature, the investigation will take many months to identify all the potential active and latent factors. That will have to happen before the CAF can make its final recommendations, in the form of a flight safety investigation report.