Author Topic: Griffon Crash  (Read 7602 times)

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Harry

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Griffon Crash
« on: July 19, 2002, 00:09:00 »
Another unnecessary set of deaths.  These choppers are overloaded, unsuitable and from a military use application, barely operational.  Correct me if I am wrong, is this not the third incident of this nature where a Griffon has gone done during a SAR Op.  First was Northern Labrador, and another in Quebec.

Two killed in crash of Canadian Forces helicopter
Last Updated Thu Jul 18 23:29:28 2002
GOOS BAY, LABRADOR - A Canadian Forces helicopter crashed in Labrador Thursday night, killing two crew members.

CH-146 Griffon
Courtesy DND  
There were four people on board the Griffon helicopter. A spokesman for Canadian Forces, Lt.-Cmdr. Denise Laviolette told CBC News that "at approximately 6 o‘clock we were advised that the helicopter had crashed. We then sent assets to look for the Griffon. At quarter to nine the crash site was located by another Griffon out of goose Bay."

The downed helicopter was found in a wooded area about 45 kilometres northwest of Goose Bay.

It was returning from an aborted search and rescue mission when it suddenly lost contact with its base.

It was looking for an overdue boat in the Hopedale area in northern Labrador.

The missing boat arrived safely at Davis Inlet so the search was called off on Thursday afternoon.

About 50 minutes later the Halifax centre was advised that the chopper had gone down.

Written by CBC News Online staff

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Re: Griffon Crash
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2002, 09:02:00 »
Trying to find something positive in all of this, the French aircrew showed much class and compassion by assisting our Air Force - BZ:

Jul. 20, 2002. 01:00 AM

Air base gathers to grieve
Close-knit community in shock
 
CFB GOOSE BAY, Nfld. (CP) — Members of central Labrador‘s small but close-knit military community gathered in a huge hangar yesterday to share their grief as word spread that a helicopter crash had claimed two of their own and injured two others.

It was unclear what caused the crash, but a military spokesman confirmed the CH-146 Griffon helicopter was flying through steady rain when it went down Thursday 80 kilometres from Goose Bay.

Before friends and colleagues gathered yesterday at Hangar No. 9 — home to 444 Combat Support Helicopter Squadron — a big Labrador search-and-rescue helicopter was dispatched at first light to retrieve the remains of Capt. Colin Sonoski, of Mississauga and Capt. Juli-Ann Mackenzie, of Weyburn, Sask.

"The Canadian Forces members who went out there to recover the bodies are also friends of the two captains," said Capt. John Pulchny, spokesman for the air base.

"It was extremely hard for them to do what they did."

The bodies were later taken to St. John‘s, Nfld., in a French military cargo aircraft which was on a visit to Labrador.

None of those who emerged from Hangar No. 9 would speak to the news media. "We‘re not like any other base in Canada ... in that we only have 94 Canadian members here," Pulchny said. "The impact from two of the pilots being killed in a terrible accident like this, it‘s extremely shocking."

A memorial service will be held tomorrow at the base chapel. Cpl. David Pawulski was listed in stable condition at a hospital in Goose Bay, likely suffering from several fractures.

Search-and-rescue technician Sgt. Mario Michaud was airlifted to a hospital in St. John‘s, Nfld., where he was listed in critical condition.

The military‘s Director of Flight Safety office was examining the wreck yesterday.
Junior officers and NCOs who neglect to guide the thinking of their men are shirking a command responsibility.
-Feb 1955 Cbt Forces Journal
Those who appreciate true valour should in their daily intercourse set gentleness first and aim to win the love and esteem of others. If you affect valour and act with violence, the world will in the end detest you and look upon you as wild beasts. Of this you should take heed.
-Emperor Meiji: Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors, 4 January 1883

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Re: Griffon Crash
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2002, 09:50:00 »
Helicopter wreckage scattered a ‘few hundred metres‘
Last Updated Sat, 20 Jul 2002 23:20:50

ST. JOHN‘S - Investigators have found a piece of wreckage that may provide clues about a military helicopter crash that killed two pilots during a search and rescue mission in Labrador.

They recovered the tail rotor of the CH-146 Griffon helicopter after visiting the crash site for the second time, Capt. John Pulchny confirmed Saturday.

"It was not found with the body of the Griffon," he said. "It was found a few hundred metres away."

Analysts familiar with helicopter crashes say the aircraft may have hit a tree as it came down to the ground.

But they also point out the pattern of location of the rotor may represent something more serious – namely, that it might have broken off during flight, possibly because of metal fatigue.

Thursday night‘s crash, 80 kilometres northwest of Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay, killed Capt. Colin Sonoski of Toronto and Capt. Juli-Ann Mackenzie of Weyburn, Sask.

Two others on board were injured. Sgt. Mario Michaud remains in critical condition, while Cpl. David Pawulski is in stable condition with fractures.

The crew was initially supposed to take part in the search for a boat that was reported missing off the Labrador coast. But the vessel was later reported safe.

After the helicopter was ordered to return to the base it crashed in the wilderness.

Military officials say it could take several weeks before they know the cause of the accident. They have confirmed, however, that the Griffon was flying through low clouds and steady rain when it went down.

Padre David Greenwood, who spent most of Saturday counselling colleagues of the two pilots, will be holding a memorial service Sunday in the Northern Lights Chapel at the air base.

"I think it‘s a shock and it‘s grief," he said. "These people were serving their country and they were out on a search and rescue mission, and they were doing their duty."

Colleagues described Sonoski, 39, as a dedicated family man, who was married with two children. He had served at the base for about a year.

Mackenzie, 30, was remembered as a straight-A student, whose childhood dream was to fly search-and-rescue helicopters.

She was married and had started working at the base only a few months ago.

Written by CBC News Online staff

+++++

Tail rotor found far from crash site
Two survivors recovering in hospital, military says
By Michael MacDonald / The Canadian Press

CFB Goose Bay, Nfld. - The tail rotor from a military helicopter that crashed in Labrador last Thursday, killing two pilots, was discovered more than 700 metres from the mangled wreck, a spokesman for the Canadian Forces said Saturday.

While it‘s too early to draw conclusions, military investigators will draft a preliminary report within days if they discover the downed CH-146 Griffon helicopter had a design flaw that affects the safety of the other 98 Griffons operated by the military, none of which have been rounded.

It‘s the second time a Canadian Forces Griffon has crashed since 100 of the small aircraft were purchased in 1992 for $1.2 billion. In 1996, four crew survived after a Griffon ditched off the coast of Labrador during a snow squall.

A subsequent investigation found the crew was partly to blame because they relied too heavily on night-vision goggles to get through bad weather.

On Friday, a military spokesman confirmed the latest Griffon to crash was flying through steady rain about 80 kilometres northwest of Goose Bay when it slammed into a hill covered in trees.

"It was totalled," said Capt. John Pulchny, spokesman for Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay, a flight-training base in central Labrador that is used by several NATO allies. "It‘s very rough ground. Lots of bugs - black flies and mosquitoes. It‘s wilderness."

The crash investigators - members of the military‘s Director of Flight Safety office - also hope to draw some clues from the helicopter‘s flight-data recorder. The so-called black box was pulled from the wreck late Friday.

In the days ahead, the wreckage will be methodically examined by experts who have set up a small camp in the bush. Eventually, the battered helicopter will be lifted out of the woods and brought back to the base.

On Sunday, hundreds of military personnel and civilians were expected to gather at the Chapel of the Northern Lights to pay tribute to those killed.

Padre David Greenwood will lead the memorial, which will feature several readings from Scripture, but no eulogies.

"Although there‘s shock and trauma, there‘s a warm sense as well," said Greenwood, who is also a lieutenant in the navy. "They were doing something they loved . . . they were doing something heroic."

The downed helicopter was attached to 444 Combat Support Squadron, which includes about 50 servicemen who work mainly on search-and-rescue and airlift missions for the thousands of allies who train annually at CFB Goose Bay.

Meanwhile, the two crew members injured in the crash - Sgt. Mario Michaud and Cpl. David Pawulski - were recovering in hospital Saturday.

Michaud, a search-and-rescue technician, suffered multiple fractures and was listed in critical condition at a hospital in St. John‘s.

"He was pretty beaten up," said Pulchny.

Pawulski, the flight engineer, was listed in stable condition at a hospital in the nearby town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He suffered slight injuries, but has so far declined to speak to the media.

"He has been playing with his children, so he is doing quite well," Pulchny said Saturday as a dozen, screeching F-16 fighter jets from the Netherlands practised takeoffs and landings at the base. "He has very high spirits."

It was Pawulski who used a satellite phone to report the crash to the rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax.

"His actions were heroic," said Pulchny, noting that Pawulski had to work fast to stabilize Michaud, his badly injured colleague.

"Going through a tragic crash like that, and being able to keep your cool knowing your friends are in bad shape . . . that is heroic. His actions may have saved Sgt. Michaud‘s life."

The chopper crashed shortly after it lifted off from a remote fuel depot about 100 kilometres northwest of Goose Bay. It was supposed to take part in a search for a missing boat, but was called back to the base after the vessel was spotted.

Pawulski reported the crash about 6 p.m. local time. He and Michaud were lifted out of the rugged hills by another Griffon just before nightfall.

The bodies of the two dead pilots - Capt. Colin Sonoski, 39, of Etobicoke, Ont., and 30-year-old Capt. Juli-Ann Mackenzie of Weyburn, Sask. - were recovered the next day and brought to St. John‘s, Nfld., for an autopsy.

Brig.-Gen. Paul McCabe, the former commander of 5 Wing Goose Bay, said the base is still in a state of shock.

"The mood is very sombre right now," he said Saturday, a day after he transferred command to a new officer.

"I went into the squadron yesterday . . . and it was very quiet. People were deep in their thoughts and supportive of each other. That‘s the greatest strength we have in the military: we work so hard together, but we also share in our sorrows."

McCabe was supposed to transfer his command on Friday, but the ceremony on the tarmac - complete with a military parade - was cancelled when he learned of the crash.

"In every mission we do, we train for this kind of event," he said. "But nothing can train you for this . . . These were people we worked with and knew personally. That‘s what makes this situation so difficult for all of us at 5 Wing."
Junior officers and NCOs who neglect to guide the thinking of their men are shirking a command responsibility.
-Feb 1955 Cbt Forces Journal
Those who appreciate true valour should in their daily intercourse set gentleness first and aim to win the love and esteem of others. If you affect valour and act with violence, the world will in the end detest you and look upon you as wild beasts. Of this you should take heed.
-Emperor Meiji: Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors, 4 January 1883

Harry

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Re: Griffon Crash
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2002, 17:57:00 »
The tail rotor is a lead to my comments.  I have friends in both 403 and 408.  The birds are almost at their max out.  They have for the most part a 1000-lb load haul limit (including crew).  This is after all the add ons, not including a hoist and FLIR for SAR.  There is a history of tail related fatigues since the 412 went on line.  I was on one in 98 that almost suffered a catastrophic tail rotor failure during a stall maneuver.

When will DND seriously consider that they didn‘t get the best chopper for the dollar, and that it has been modified to almost dangerous operating levels.

It isn‘t that they can‘t handle the loads they have, it is that they are ALWAYS operating within their near max design limits.

Take an Iltis, you can get away with overloading it every now and then on Ex.  But keep it maxed out and it will fail.  Same with the Griffon.