Links   Media   Travel   Airports   Maps   Weather   Slides   Archive


Autopilot issue contributed to naval helicopter crash that killed six: investigation




Ionian Sea, about 85km from the Island of Cephalonia - Greece


The occupants on board of the crashed CH-148From top left: Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough and Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald. From bottom left: Capt. Kevin Hagen, Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke and Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin. (Credit: Department of National Defence)


An RCAF Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone (S-92) helicopter (148822), operating by 12 Wing, from HMCS Fredericton (FH337), a Halifax-class frigate, crashed into the Ionian Sea. The area of the accident falls within Roma FIR and the SAR mission is carried out by the Italain Authorities. One body was found and five occupants were missing.

The Canadian Armed Forces confirmed the death of one sailor, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough of Nova Scotia, as the identities of the five missing crew members:
Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald from New Glasgow, N.S.
• Capt. Kevin Hagen from Nanaimo, B.C.
• Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, from Trois-Rivieres, Que.
• Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke from Truro, N.S.
• Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins from Guelph, Ont.

The helicopter was flying from Halifax-based naval frigate HMCS Fredericton as part of NATO’s Operation Reassurance. The CH-148 Cyclone lost contact during an allied exercise over the Ionian Sea on Wednesday, 29-Apr-2020.

The Cyclones are typically deployed on board Canadian frigates and used for search and rescue, surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.

The CH-148 Cyclone was cutting-edge tech when it became the Canadian military's new maritime helicopter. After a crash killed six service members, investigators are being confronted with some awkward questions about how ready both the machine and the military were for fly-by-wire.
Industry experts said the digital system opened up a world of new possibilities for flight operations and the future of helicopter aviation in general.
That was because the U.S. manufacturer, Sikorsky, had — at the time — never built a helicopter which didn't have a mechanical link between the cockpit controls and the main or tail rotors.
In the Cyclone, flight control computers do all of the work. Unique to the Cyclone was the so-called "flight director" mode, which is closely linked to the flight control system and allows maritime helicopter pilots to automate search patterns, among other things.

One aviation expert has concerns.
"Going to a fly-by-wire system, with no mechanical links, is not for the faint of heart and needs pretty detailed knowledge about software and hardware and all of that sort of thing," said Shawn Coyle, a former Canadian military pilot and civilian accident investigator.
There are just a few helicopters in service around the world with that kind of technology. They include the European-designed NH-90 and the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey.
The scarcity of fly-by-wire choppers has led to a shortage of expertise.
"There are very few people who've done a certification on fly-by-wire control system on a helicopter," he told.
"Doing something with software is not always easy," he said, adding programmers don't always think "of everything."

A military investigation has found that an autopilot issue played a major role in the deadly crash of a Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece last year.
As a pilot guided the naval helicopter into a tight turn, a built-in autopilot took control and sent the aircraft into the Ionian Sea, killing all six personnel on board. The process played out even though the pilot received no training or cockpit indicators to warn of how the automation system would respond in that "very specific" circumstance, the Defence Department said in a release.

The crash of the Stalker 22 on April 29, 2020,caused the worst single-day loss of life for the Canadian Armed Forces since six soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on July 4, 2007.
It 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.
Several restrictions were placed on the helicopters after the 2017 incident forbidding crews from performing certain manoeuvres.
The report lists several recommendations, including the need to fill in gaps in flight training manuals, modify flight control software and establish a working group to review operational requirements around complex turning manoeuvres for the CH-148 Cyclone.

The report says the aircraft's certification did not include testing of what would happen if a pilot overrode the autopilot more than "momentarily" while making a tight turn to land on the flight deck in a "final complex" manoeuvre.
The helicopter's autopilot, or "flight director," was not intended to be overridden for extended periods, the report indicates, despite the fact that pilots "regularly" overrode the system without manually pressing a button on their control stick, called the cyclic.
The software issue was a key cause, but not the only one, said Brig.-Gen. John Alexander, the flight safety director at the Royal Canadian Air Force who authored the report.
"This accident was not the result of one single causal factor, but a combination of several and could have happened to any other crew on any other day," he said in a statement.
Flying publications contained information that may have been "confusing or misleading,"included "incomplete" sections on automation and lacked manoeuvre descriptions essential for use in the field, the report states.
The autopilot response was "unknown to the manufacturer, airworthiness authorities, and aircrew prior to the accident," Alexander said.
His report follows one from Canadian Armed Forces board of inquiry and obtained by The Canadian Press that made six recommendations. Five involved better training for pilots to make them aware of the potential problems that could occur if they override the autopilot.
It also recommended creating special cockpit signals pilots could use to warn each other about overriding flight directors for extended periods of time. However, that suggestion is not shared in the more recent analysis from the flight safety directorate.
The new report says pilots must be well trained to almost instantly press a single button on their control stick to disengage the autopilot if they're not getting the response they want out of their controls. But automatically disengaging the autopilot might pose its own risks in some situations, especially when a pilot believes the autopilot will keep functioning, according to the study.
The report instead argues that the software — and its "accumulation of these biases"— needs to be addressed by Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft, the century-old manufacturer of the Cyclone.
Constant alertness is another recommendation.
"Crews must guard against complacency by remaining mentally engaged in flight operations and employ standardized operating procedures," Alexander said in the report summary, stating that "ineffective" crew resource management contributed to the crash.

However, it’s not as simple as making a quick fix because changing one part of the Cyclone’s existing software could have unintended consequences elsewhere.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2021.



В Ионическом море потерпел крушение палубный вертолет ВМС Канады

Греция, в 46 морских милях от острова Кефалония в Ионическом море


Канадская фрегата Fredericton (FFH 337)20.01.2020 - Канадская фрегата HMCS Fredericton (FH337) - THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Darren Calabrese


В Ионическом море во время учений союзных сил альянса потерпел крушение палубный вертолет из состава ВМС Канады.
Во время учений НАТО, примерно в 50 милях от острова Кефалония в Ионическом море, потерпел крушение палубный вертолет CH-148 Cyclone (148822), базировавшийся на канадском фрегате Fredericton (FFH 337). На борту находилось шесть человек. Известно об обнаружении тела одного погибшего. Причина крушения является проблема в программе автопилота.
Вертолет СН-148 – это противолодочная версия коммерческого вертолета Sikorsky S-92, предназначенная для замены морских вертолетов Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King. Первые вертолеты CH-148 Cyclone ВМС Канады начали получать в 2015 году.



Хеликоптер на НАТО се разби в Йонийско море, има загинали


Гърция, на 85 км от о-в Кефалония в Йонийско море


Вертолет CH-148 Cyclone на палубата на фрегатата "Фредериктън"22.01.2020 - Вертолет CH-148 Cyclone на палубата на фрегатата "Фредериктън" (сн. Симон Арканд/ Кан. ВС)


Хеликоптер на канадските военновъздушни сили, Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone (S-92) с бордови номер 148822 от 12 ав. крило към фрегатата  "Фредериктън" участвал в НАТО-вското учение "Reassurance", с шестима души на борда, се е разбил в международните води между Гърция и Италия. Открити са останки от вертолета, както и тялото на мл. лейт. Abbigail Cowbrough. Издирването на останалите 5-ма от екипажа е прустановено.

Абби е девойка от Нова Скотия, Канада, известна и като талантлива изпълнителка на гайда от състава на музикална група. Пленителна с чара и уменията си очевидно притежава и славянски гени по линия на майка си, която се казва Таня.

Вертолетът CH-148 Cyclone (S-92) е първият на фирмата Sikorsky създаден по новата технология "лети посредством жица", която изключва механична връзка между лостовете за управление в кабината и винтовете с перки осигуряващи полета. Технология, която до голяма степен зависи от бордовите компютри и въведения им софтуеър. Според експерт новият метод изисква допълнителни умения от екипажа и като цяло не е за хора със слаби сърца.

На 28.06.2021 бяха публикувани резултатите от разследването. Установява се, че главна причина за катастрофата е бъг в програмата (софтуеъра) на автопилота. Ако пилотът въведе вертолета в остър завой и така се опита да преодолее зададените инструкции и параметри на полета в автопилота, то последният отнема контрола от екипажа и насочва машината безнадеждно към повърхността. До катастрофата, този проблем с автопилота не е бил известен дори на производителя.


Връзки   Медии   Пътуване   Летища   Карти   Време   Слайдове    Архив
Ссылки   СМИ   Туры/Путевки   Аэропорты   Карты   Погода   Слайды   Архив
Links   Media   Travel   Airports   Maps   Weather   Slides   Archive

29.04.2020 - AircrashConsult