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CAF says April 29th Cyclone crash was “unavoidable”

Today 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.

Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division says 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 these three members assess and ultimately decide whether Canada’s military aircrafts are fit to fly.

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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 nor exposure prior to this event on how to handle the situation.

He says the accident was unavoidable based on their low altitude as well as the lack of time the crew had to realize that the aircraft was not responding to their inputs.

Col. Alexander says now that the CAF understands what has happened, the flight safety investigation will focus on the why.

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He says their focus will be on the analysis of these aircraft systems and the human factors that go behind everything related to identify those preventative measures.

Col. Alexander says because of its complex nature, the investigation will take many months to identify and appreciate all the potential active and latent factors before the CAF can make its final recommendations in the form of the flight safety investigation report.

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