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News Release

CH-149 Cormorant Limited to SAR Operations Only

CAS - NR04/04/01 - April 1, 2004


CFB WINNIPEG – The Air Force has limited its fleet of 15 Cormorant helicopters to search and rescue (SAR) operations only until more details are known about the March 30th crash of a Royal Navy Merlin Mk1 helicopter.


The Cormorant and Merlin helicopters, both manufactured by Augusta-Westland Industries, share similar components. One of these components, the tail rotor half hub assembly, is currently the focus of the Merlin's crash investigation.


Last night, IMP, the aircraft maintenance contractor, began a thorough inspection of all tail rotor half hub assemblies and replaced defective components. This ongoing inspection is being done as a precautionary measure based on preliminary information about the Merlin incident and previous concerns with deficiencies in some of the Cormorant tail rotor half hub assemblies.


Current concerns with the tail rotor half hub assembly is what prompted Brigadier-General Paul McCabe, Acting Commander 1 Canadian Air Division, to limit each aircraft to SAR operations only after individual inspections are completed. “Although the Merlin and the Cormorant are employed in very different roles, I believe that it is prudent to limit our operations until more details surrounding the Merlin's crash are known,” he said. Brigadier-General McCabe added that the current limitation would be re-evaluated as the Royal Navy investigation into the Merlin's crash progresses.



On a somewhat associated topic congrats to Acro for winning CH124 CMRO contract.

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