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Cryptic Sea-king Story


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Cryptic Sea-King accident cause!


Turn of a Screw led to Sea King Accident


Josh Pringle

Sunday, August 29, 2004


The cause of a crash involving a Sea King helicopter in February 2003 is now known.


A report by the military's directorate of flight safety says two turns of a screw led to the accident.


The document says air force mechanics made an adjustment error.


The chopper slammed into a destroyer, which was on its way to the Persian Gulf to participate in the war on terrorism.

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Well, this almost explains it!


Two turns of a screw lay behind Sea King crash on destroyer deck - report


Michael Tutton

Canadian Press


Sunday, August 29, 2004



HALIFAX (CP) - Two turns of a screw caused the spectacular crash of a Sea King helicopter onto the deck of a Canadian destroyer at sea last year.


A report prepared by the military's directorate of flight safety and obtained by The Canadian Press states that air force mechanics made an adjustment error in a system that controls how air flows to one of the helicopter's two General Electric T-58-100 engines.


The crash occurred on Feb. 27, 2003, as the destroyer was on its way to the Persian Gulf to participate in the U.S.-led war on terrorism.


The report says that as the aging helicopter lifted off the deck of HMCS Iroquois, the pilot gave the aircraft too much power. Seconds later, the pilot rapidly decelerated.


Normally, at that point, settings on the helicopter's air vein inlet systems - which control the flow of air to the engine and help ensure the proper mix of fuel and air - would compensate for the sudden change.


But the report says the tuning error with the system was enough to cause an engine stall at a crucial moment, and within moments the 9,300-kilogram aircraft slammed back onto the destroyer's deck.


"As the pilot decelerated and decreased the amount of fuel going into the engine, there was too much air flowing still, therefore the fuel-air mixture is poor enough to cause a stall," a source said.


When the Sea King crashed, its rotor blades disintegrated and spewed shrapnel. Several pieces pierced a hangar door, breaking the hand of an Iroquois crew member.


All four members of the Sea King's crew escaped the aircraft. Two of them suffered minor injuries.


At the time, Iroquois was about 1,000 kilometres southeast of Halifax, performing training operations prior to joining the anti-terrorism Operation Apollo.


Opposition members at the time called the crash an "embarrassment" as it forced the Iroquois to sail to the gulf without an aircraft.


Maj. Paul Dittman, the air force's lead investigator of the crash, confirmed the primary cause. Asked how a minor adjustment might lead to a crash, he replied: "When you look at a jet engine, a very physically small adjustment to the inlet air vein screw . . . a quarter turn of the screw has a large impact."


"The adjustment was exceeded by two full turns . . . and this is what likely caused the compressor stall."


Dittman said his full safety report and its recommendations would be out "shortly." It has been finished since June 30, and is awaiting a final signature from his superior.


Procedures have been changed to ensure the same error with the engine tuning won't be repeated, he added.


However, a former commander of the Sea King squadron in Shearwater, N.S., argued the error raises questions about the helicopters, and about the replacement aircraft the military has recently announced.


Larry McWha, a former air force colonel, has acted as a consultant for AgustaWestland, which lost a bid to provide Cormorant helicopters as a replacement for the Sea Kings.

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its rotor blades disintegrated and spewed shrapnel. Several pieces pierced a hangar door, breaking the hand of an Iroquois crew member.



Spewed shrapnel...


Only a broken hand aint too bad in my book. Have heard of worse in that type of accident.


I thought the Pilots did a great job to get the machine back onto the ship, and not into the drink.

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