Tuesday, April 11, 2017

RCN Sea King Buzzes Tourists in Guam

By: Isa Baza, Guam News News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

The US military is investigating a Canadian helicopter that flew low over Guam's tourism center on Sunday, in a flight that one Federal Aviation Administration official says does not adhere to standard regulations.

Hundreds of people were sprawled along Tumon Bay on Sunday morning. The United Airlines Guam Marathon - which boasted over 4,000 runners - had just come to a close when a RCN CH-124 Sea King helicopter flew just 50 feet above the shoreline. Swimmers could be seen below the chopper which was spotted both in Tumon and Ritidian just before 11am.

According to military officials, the helicopter did not belong to the local military or the National Guard. Joint Region Marianas spokesperson Lieutenant Tim Gorman later confirmed it belonged to the Royal Canadian Navy. He said the chopper had taken off from HMCS Winnipeg, one of two Royal Canadian Navy Destroyers currently visiting Naval Base Guam, and was en route to Andersen Air Force Base.

Lieutenant Gorman said, "Although the helicopter was in FAA approved airspace, we have reminded our partners to be good neighbors and to avoid disturbing heavily-populated areas."

A representative from the FAA - Agana Tower air traffic control manager Stephen Carter - said because he was not aware of the specific circumstances surrounding this incident, he could not conclude whether or not it violated FAA regulations. However, after reviewing the video he did confirm that standard regulations dictate that a helicopter should not be flying over highly-congested areas at an altitude below 500 feet, adding the regulation is in place to ensure safety in case an aircraft needs to make an emergency landing.

Lieutenant Gorman confirmed the incident is under investigation.

Monday, April 10, 2017

RCAF Cyclone Helicopters Grounded

By: David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen 

The RCAF has ordered a temporary halt of Cyclone helicopter flight operations.

Crewmembers onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) MONTREAL conduct vertical replenishment training with the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter during Exercise SPARTAN WARRIOR 16 in the Atlantic Ocean on October 31, 2016.

Photo: MCpl Jennifer Kusche, Canadian Forces Combat Camera 
“The Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division ordered a temporary pause of flight operations for the CH148 Cyclone, which remains in effect as of April 7, the RCAF noted in a statement.

“The order was issued after a Cyclone experienced a momentary change in the descent rate during a training flight on March 9. This momentary change self-corrected and the pilot safely landed the aircraft.”

The aircraft involved belongs to the Royal Canadian Air Force and was operated by a Royal Canadian Air Force crew.

“As a safety precaution, a temporary flight operations pause was ordered on March 12 for the fleet of CH148 Cyclones while the Royal Canadian Air Force, Director General Aerospace Equipment Program Management and Sikorsky work together to determine the root cause of the incident,” the RCAF noted in its statement.

Eleven CH148 Cyclones have been delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force of which three are operated by the RCAF for the purposes of operational testing and evaluation – it was one of these aircraft that experienced the momentary change in the descent rate.

“The duration of this pause will result in a delay in the overall CH148 Cyclone pilot training program, which is why we are highlighting this situation now,” the RCAF noted in its statement. “Maintenance training on the CH148 is not affected. We do not know at this point if the pause will have any impact on the overall program or timelines.”