Air drive chief stands by Cyclone helicopters regardless of emergency touchdown, deadly crash

2021-05-05 14:01:24

The commander of the Royal Canadian Air Drive says he has “full confidence” within the army’s new Cyclone helicopters regardless of a rising variety of incidents that embody final 12 months’s lethal crash off the coast of Greece and an emergency touchdown in a Halifax park final month.

In an unique interview with The Canadian Press, Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger performed down the emergency touchdown as a precautionary transfer and defended the choice to let the Cyclones again within the air regardless of unanswered questions concerning the downing of Stalker 22.

“Sure, I’ve full confidence within the plane,” he stated. “In every case when there’s an accident, we do not rush. We take our time. We’re very deliberate as a result of we have now to be proper. That is critical enterprise.”

Meinzinger’s feedback adopted a commemoration final week of the one-year anniversary of the downing of Stalker 22, which killed six Canadian Armed Forces members, the biggest single-day lack of life for the army in additional than a decade.

Additionally they coincided with an ongoing investigation into the causes of the crash, after a preliminary report final June urged the helicopter’s autopilot was preventing the pilot’s instructions when it crashed at excessive velocity into the Ionian Sea.

Grasp Cpl. Matthew Cousins, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Brenden MacDonald, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin and Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke died within the crash.

Miron-Morin’s mom, Marie-Claude Miron, has since questioned why the Cyclones, which solely began flying actual missions in 2018, had been allowed again into the air lower than two months after the crash when the explanations stay beneath investigation.

“We’d like (the report) to grasp,” Miron stated final week. “Once they informed us the identical sort of helicopter was flying once more, one month after the accident, I obtained so mad. It was incomprehensible. It felt like Max gave his life to check a machine.”

The Cyclones are usually deployed on board Canadian frigates and used for search and rescue, surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.

Meinzinger expressed optimism flight-safety investigators would produce their report quickly and dedicated to briefing the households as quickly as it’s completed.

“That work continues, and it will likely be accomplished professionally and totally,” he stated of the investigation. “As soon as it’s accomplished, the primary people that shall be briefed would be the households earlier than it’s made public.”

But Meinzinger additionally defended the choice to let the Cyclones get again into the air final June, saying: “In fact, we would not have made that call flippantly. Quite a lot of overview and technical and operational recommendation went into that.”

The air drive commander went on to reward the air drive personnel and procedures used to find out whether or not a aircraft or helicopter is secure to make use of, and famous that the Cyclones have flown quite a few missions since Stalker 22 crashed.

A kind of different helicopters was pressured to make an emergency touchdown in Rainbow Haven Provincial Park on April 13 after a warning gentle alerted the crew of an issue with the primary rotorhead, which is the place the shafts of the blades be a part of the rotor.

The army says the helicopter was towed to close by 12 Wing Shearwater the place the issue was mounted, and it has since resumed flying.

“This was on absolutely the low finish of concern,” Meinzinger stated of the incident. “The crew did what any crew would do, which is land, name a tech, have them have a look at the plane after which get it again flying quickly thereafter. I’ve no considerations.”

A lot of the dialogue after Stalker 22 crashed surrounded the Cyclone’s lengthy and problem-plagued improvement, with producer Sikorsky Plane even now nonetheless creating the plane’s software program to satisfy the army’s full necessities.

The crash of Stalker 22 was really the third incident involving a Cyclone, with a software program glitch blamed for one of many helicopters immediately dropping a number of hundred toes throughout a take a look at flight in 2017. One other had a “laborious touchdown” on a ship in February 2019.

A number of restrictions had been positioned on the helicopters after the 2017 incident forbidding crews from performing sure manoeuvres.

Lt.-Col. Invoice Thomey, commanding officer of 423 Squadron at Shearwater, stated final week that the resumption of flights after Stalker 22 was accompanied by new coaching and updates to flight manuals so pilots are conscious of the issue and find out how to reply.

Requested if the software program of the flight management system has been modified, Thomey responded: “That (data) will all come out in due time with the discharge of the (security) experiences.”

Two of the army’s 16 Cyclones are presently assigned to ships: one on HMCS Calgary and the opposite on HMCS Halifax. There are nonetheless 11 helicopters to be delivered to Canada by the American producer.

— With recordsdata from Michael Tutton in Halifax

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Could 5, 2021.

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