Canadian Helicopter Down off Greece

The 5 missing in the helicopter crash are now officially declared as presumed dead.
5 military members missing after helicopter crash now presumed dead

An RCAF investigation team were scheduled to leave Canada today to begin work on the crash investigation.

The PM and Defence minister have both released statements.

The flight recorders were recovered and will be analysed at the National Research Council in Ottawa. The wreckage itself though may be as much as 3,000 metres below the surface of the sea.

The debris is scattered over a wide area, which one defence analyst has said may indicate a high speed impact with the ocean. However, he emphasised that this only speculation until we have actually seen important parts of the wreckage.
Bummer. RIP.


The service history of the CH-148 Cyclone with the RCAF has not been an auspicious event. Multiple year delays, and now this crash.
Not a good result. RIP.

'Former Canadian Armed Forces officers say it appears a naval Cyclone helicopter struck the waters off Greece with sudden and massive force, and investigators may face challenges determining what caused the tragedy without recovering the aircraft.

'The crash took the lives of six military personnel when it went down Wednesday in the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to the Halifax-based frigate, HMCS Fredericton.

'The Canadian Forces members have been identified as Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald of New Glasgow, N.S.; Capt. Kevin Hagen of Nanaimo, B.C.; Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin of Trois-Rivieres, Que.; Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke of Truro, N.S.; Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins of Guelph, Ont.; and Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, originally from Toronto.

'Retired Colonel Larry McWha the former commanding officer of 423 Squadron, which flies CH-148 choppers out of the helicopter base in Shearwater, N.S., says images from the area show the debris field of the crash is not large and the oil slick isn't widely spread out, suggesting a high-speed and violent crash that caused some portions to break off immediately.'

The helicopter apparently crashed within sight of multiple witnesses within two miles of the ship as it was perparing to land on the ship.
Canadian Forces chopper crashed in full view of multiple witnesses, military confirms
Call sign 'Stalker' — the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter that crashed last week in the Ionian Sea off Greece — was only moments away from a scheduled landing aboard HMCS Fredericton when it went down in full view of horrified shipmates who were preparing to receive it aboard the frigate.

"There were eyewitnesses to the accident," said Dan LeBouthillier, head of media relations at the Department of National Defence, in an email.

"As part of their investigation, the Flight Safety investigation team will conduct interviews with these eyewitnesses."
The CBC have multiple sources telling them that at the time of the crash the helicopter was doing a fly past of HMCS Fredericton for photographic purposes, known as a "Brownie Run". During this manoeuvre it suddenly pitched forward and crashed into the sea.
Flight control software glitch haunted Cyclone helicopter during trials
Multiple defence sources tell CBC News that at the time of the crash, the Cyclone was conducting a high-speed, low-level photo pass of HMCS Fredericton, a manoeuvre known in the air force as a "Brownie Run" after a NATO standard camera.

Without warning, the helicopter suddenly pitched forward and "flew into the ocean," said the sources, who were granted anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
Suspicions are lingering around the flight control system of the Sikorsky Cyclone, which had a major glitch due to a software bug in 2017, causing the grounding of the entire fleet of Cyclones.
The CH-148 Cyclone helicopter has what the air force calls a "triple redundant" flight control system — and during a 2017 training mission off Nova Scotia, all three of those computers momentarily failed at once.

It was a major software glitch, alarming enough to ground the fleet for nine weeks.

At the time, the military described the incident publicly as a "severe bump" which reset the controls and caused the aircraft to briefly and suddenly lose altitude. The pilot managed to recover and land safely.
At the time in 2017 the DND and Sikorsky admitted there was a problem but didn't give details. The CBC's current sources however are saying that all three triply redundant computers reset themselves, something that could lead to a crash if it happened at low altitude.
The March 9, 2017 incident involving a software glitch aboard a Cyclone is a matter of public record. What wasn't fully revealed at the time, the sources said, was the fact that all three interconnected computers inexplicably reset themselves — something that could have led to a catastrophic crash.
Sikorsky worked on the problem and put out a fix for the software bug, and this fix was installed in the helicopter which recently crashed.
When the grounding of the fleet ended three years ago, the Cyclones continued to operate for a period of time under a series of flight restrictions while their manufacturer, Sikorsky Aircraft, addressed the software issue through a pre-planned upgrade. (...)

The Cyclone software was upgraded on at least 14 of the 28 Cyclones ordered by the air force, including the one that crashed off Greece in late April. The work on the aircraft was on a tight timetable because the air force had started to retire the CH-124 Sea King maritime helicopters after over five decades of service.
Currently all of Canada's Sikorsky Cyclones are grounded again, pending investigation.
An "operational pause" was imposed on the entire Cyclone fleet after the crash; essentially, the fleet is grounded again while investigators analyze data from the aircraft's twin flight recorders. Last week, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the investigation could take a year or more.
The DND have been not very forthcoming about the crash, initially remaining silent about the crash, then downplaying the proximity of the helicopter to HMCS Fredericton and avoiding mentioning that there were witnesses.
The first reports of the accident came from local media and Greece. It was NATO — not the Canadian government — which initially confirmed the aircraft had gone down.

In subsequent public statements, DND downplayed the notion that the helicopter crashed close to HMCS Fredericton — and the fact it happened in front of witnesses was withheld entirely for almost a week after the accident.
The body of one crew member and partial remains of another have been recovered. The crash took place in very deep water, which will make salvage operations difficult.

The Sikorsky Cyclone went through a very troubled development process with numerous problems, with Canada seriously considering cancelling the order at one point due to Sikorsky not meeting deadlines or requirements. The decision however was made to ignore some of the problems and technical failures because of a combination of the government of the day not wanting to be seen being responsible for a procurement fiasco, and because of the increasing age of the Sea Kings making it urgent to get a replacement in service.

There is no evidence published in the press at this time that the recent crash was related to that previous history, but it is worth noting that the helicopter has not had a great record so far and that previous problems had been swept under the carpet.
Why do people think abdicating direct control and making suggestions to a couple of computers in the hope they'll do what you want is a good idea when it comes to critical situations like flight controls?
They think it's a good idea? Probably easier to look at things that way with the MB ride home as an option when the FRED gets into a strop and goes on strike.
A recovery ship, the EDT Hercules is on the way to the scene of the RCN helicopter crash in the Ionian Sea to attempt to recover the helicopter. The ship left Soudas Bay in Greece on Monday and is expected to reach the crash location in two days.
Recovery ship on its way to Cyclone helicopter crash scene in Ionian Sea
In a statement issued Monday, the Department of National Defence said the EDT Hercules vessel is expected to take two days to arrive at the crash site, which is about 22 nautical miles east of Catania, Italy in the Ionian Sea.
The rest of the story is basically a rehash of previous events.
RIP the Canuck comrades. I hope Canada gets to find out whatthe causes and solutions are, for the sake of all Canadians in service.
Why do people think abdicating direct control and making suggestions to a couple of computers in the hope they'll do what you want is a good idea when it comes to critical situations like flight controls?
Because it massively opens up your flight envelope far beyond the capacity Of humans to cope with.
When computer programs kill people, you have to wonder if we are taking the right route
Plenty enough people killed people in the early era of flying to strongly suggest that removing humans from decision loops was a positive thing.
Until it doesn't.
If you want to remain perfectly safe don’t get in an aircraft.

In the mean time, if you want to eek out every 0.001% of combat air performance then you need to hand over control to something that is quicker and more accurate than a human.
But still decides whether the suggestions it receives are a good idea or not.

Adding another level of vulnerability to a target is something that makes my arse twitch.
But still decides whether the suggestions it receives are a good idea or not.

Adding another level of vulnerability to a target is something that makes my arse twitch.
wait until you have a computer deciding when to launch missiles on your behalf, and a human literally cannot do the maths and finger movement quick enough to deal with supersonic missiles...
Quite happy for the computer to do that. I prefer to be in control of the up-diddley-up-up stuff myself.

I'll leave the whizz bang stuff to the Nintendo generation. As an infantryman I'll just use my elbows to snuggle deeper in my hole in the ground and act like a crocodile in a still pond.

When it comes to aviation, I like a bit of string to pull which does what I want it to do. The type I operate has recently been upgraded with lots of bells and whistles, effectively removing capability in its design role, rather than enhancing. At least it still has a bit of string I can pull though.

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