Canada’s operational pause of CH-148 Cyclone fleet lifted

The Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier, has lifted the operational pause on the CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter fleet.

The return to flying operations follows a thorough risk assessment that outlined mitigation measures to ensure that aircrews understand the conditions that led to the crash and how to avoid or resolve them.

While the Directorate of Flight Safety investigation continues, information that the investigation uncovered to date —primarily from the Cyclone’s flight data recorder — allowed the investigative team to replicate the conditions in the CH-148 Cyclone flight simulator and rule out any mechanical failure. This revealed that the aircraft’s flight director was set to hold a specific altitude and airspeed. Thus, during the complex manoeuvering turn to align with the ship, the pilot’s inputs were significantly different from the autopilot settings and the aircraft did not respond in a way that the crew was expecting. The investigative team has confirmed that this rare anomaly only occurred under a very specific and narrow set of circumstances. The crew would have had no previous exposure or experience on how to handle this situation.

Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, Commander Royal Canadian Air Force, said: “With these circumstances now clearly understood, the RCAF has completed a detailed risk assessment and is implementing mitigation measures to allow for the safe resumption of flying operations.

“I truly appreciate the professional efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces airworthiness authorities who have contributed to both the investigation and risk assessment. I have the fullest confidence in their work, the Cyclone fleet, and our ability to safely return the maritime helicopter community to flying operations. We will do so in memory of our fallen.”

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