A military investigation has found that a software glitch played a major role in the deadly crash of a Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece last year.
The military’s flight safety directorate says manual inputs to the flight controls overrode the aircraft’s automation system, causing the naval helicopter to plummet into the Ionian Sea, killing all six personnel on board.
The report lists several recommendations, including the need to modify flight control software and establish a working group to review operational requirements around complex turning manoeuvres for the new CH-148 Cyclone.
The Cyclones are typically deployed on board Canadian frigates and used for search and rescue, surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.
The crash of the Stalker 22 on April 29, 2020, marked the third incident involving a Cyclone, with defective software blamed for one of the helicopters’ suddenly dropping several hundred feet during a test flight in 2017. Another had a “hard landing” on a ship in February 2019.
Capt. Kevin Hagen, from Vancouver Island, was one of six Canadian Armed Forces members who died in the crash on April 29.
Hagen was born in Nanaimo but spent time in Ladysmith, Quadra Island, and Victoria, where he graduated from Lambrick Park Secondary in 2007. The 30-year-old had also been a member of the 848 Royal Roads Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.
Several restrictions were placed on the helicopters after the 2017 incident forbidding crews from performing certain manoeuvres.
With files to the Canadian Press.