Author Topic: Various Problems with The Cormorants- Merged  (Read 23451 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Various Problems with The Cormorants- Merged
« on: September 30, 2005, 11:18:17 »
Tail rotor cracks and spare parts cited as impacting aircraft availability.


Quote
Canada Temporarily Redistributes SAR Helicopters to Cover for Decreased Availability of CH-149
 
 
(Source: Canadian Department of National Defence; issued Sept. 29, 2005)
 
 
 WINNIPEG --- Two Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters will be temporarily redistributed to eastern Canada due to the decreased availability of the CH-149 Cormorant helicopter. As a result, the Cormorants used in SAR operations at 8 Wing Trenton will be temporarily replaced by the CH-146 Griffon helicopter by mid-October. This is expected to remain in effect until at least the Spring 2006 timeframe. 
 
This redistribution of aircraft will allow better management of the Cormorant fleet while availability challenges are being addressed. It will provide the remaining Cormorant squadrons with a sufficient number of available aircraft to better maintain air crews' skills and proficiency levels, while focusing the unique capabilities of the Cormorant on demanding coastal SAR missions. 
 
The CH-146 Griffon will become the primary helicopter to conduct SAR in the Trenton area of responsibility. Three Griffon helicopters will provide SAR response in the area spanning from Quebec City to Thunder Bay and from Canada's North to the Great Lakes area. These Griffons, which frequently conduct SAR missions, will be reallocated from other locations. Griffon operations at their home units will not be adversely impacted. 
 
The Commander 1 Canadian Air Division made this decision in order to provide the most effective and efficient use of available Cormorant helicopters across Canada. This was necessary because this fleet's availability has been affected by ongoing problems associated with cracks in its tail rotor assembly and a shortage of spares for various helicopter components, including main gearboxes and main rotor heads. 
 
This lack of available aircraft had the potential to impact the essential training of Cormorant air crews. 
 
"After assessing the situation, SAR helicopters will be redistributed temporarily to allow us more flexibility to conduct essential Cormorant training and to utilize the Cormorant for demanding coastal SAR missions," said Major-General Charles Bouchard, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division. "I am very confident that our well trained and professional crews will continue to provide a high level of SAR service across the country." 
 
DND continues to work towards developing a solution with AgustaWestland, the original equipment manufacturer, to determine the cause of cracking in the tail rotor assembly; and IMP Group Ltd., the aircraft maintenance contractor, to address spare parts availability. 
 
-ends-

http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bin/client/modele.pl?session=dae.4308111.1089903978.QPadasOa9dUAAESlMZk&modele=jdc_34
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Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2005, 11:39:36 »
Lemon alert!!! I am hoping they will be able to rectify this problem much like I hope the Victoria's problems will be eventually fixed.
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
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Offline mz589

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2005, 12:03:10 »
Lemon alert!!! I am hoping they will be able to rectify this problem much like I hope the Victoria's problems will be eventually fixed.


Ever wonder what would have happened if we'd have bought the full complement of these dogs that was originally proposed?

Maybe the bugs would have been worked out by now or maybe we'd be stuck in an endless cycle of unreliabliity.


Offline Chris Pook

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2005, 12:15:38 »
Anybody know if we bought the manufacturer's recommended support package?
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Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2005, 12:47:40 »

Ever wonder what would have happened if we'd have bought the full complement of these dogs that was originally proposed?

Maybe the bugs would have been worked out by now or maybe we'd be stuck in an endless cycle of unreliabliity.

If it was just the CF having reliability issues then I would be inclined to agree but it sounds like everyone who has bought/ordered them are having the same issues.
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
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Offline Wizard of OZ

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2005, 15:41:05 »
Hmmm maybe the Griffion is not as bad as it seems at least it stays in the air.  I knock on wood as i say this.  And to think I just read somewhere that they were thinking of taking two or three of these birds to the stan to fly in the higher altitudes there. Or maybe this is all a big cover operation for that move.  I heard that they ordered a lot of tan paint in Trenton.
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Offline Inch

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2005, 16:10:32 »
If it was just the CF having reliability issues then I would be inclined to agree but it sounds like everyone who has bought/ordered them are having the same issues.

Correct, my Det Commander is Royal Navy and he said the RN Merlins are having the same problems.

With the titanium tailrotor hub and main rotor head on the S-92, it's nice to know we shouldn't have the same types of problems when we get them.

We (Sea Kings) have been holding SAR standby off and on for the past year to cover for the lack of serviceable Cormorants. Pretty sad when the media's favourite whipping horse turns out to be the work horse of the coastal areas.
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2005, 16:54:28 »
Pretty sad when the media's favourite whipping horse turns out to be the work horse of the coastal areas.

And yet there is little mention of that fact to be found in the media.
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Offline SF2

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2005, 19:28:18 »
it was pretty crazy news to us in Petawawa.....

Usually we hear rumors of this first, but not this time.  Funny how alot of the Griffon guys kill to get a cormorant seat, only to be thown back in the mirabel monster...

Offline CTD

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2005, 19:51:36 »
buy new sea kings

Offline SF2

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2005, 19:57:04 »
doesn't make sense

Offline kj_gully

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2005, 20:35:55 »
Hmmm maybe the Griffion is not as bad as it seems at least it stays in the air.   I knock on wood as i say this.   And to think I just read somewhere that they were thinking of taking two or three of these birds to the stan to fly in the higher altitudes there. Or maybe this is all a big cover operation for that move.   I heard that they ordered a lot of tan paint in Trenton.

LOL!!! Hah, I don't think the Army wants a chopper for two hours at a time ( time between rotor inspection) Pray for us!

Offline daniel h.

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2005, 00:13:25 »
With the titanium tailrotor hub and main rotor head on the S-92, it's nice to know we shouldn't have the same types of problems when we get them.


Could you describe how these aspects of the S-92 is different than than Cormorant? In other words, what differs on the Cormorant that makes them break down, other than who built them? (Italian and British cars aren't known to be reliable either....I'll shut up now. ;D)

Offline Inch

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2005, 10:25:41 »

Could you describe how these aspects of the S-92 is different than than Cormorant? In other words, what differs on the Cormorant that makes them break down, other than who built them? (Italian and British cars aren't known to be reliable either....I'll shut up now. ;D)

I'm not a Cormorant pilot, but my understanding of the tail rotor on the Cormorant from talking with friends that do fly them is that the Cormorant tail rotor hubs are composite material. Composites are known for their strength, in one direction, but they're also known for their ability to break without warning. Just watch an NHL game and you'll see how easily composites can break without warning.

The design of the Cormorant's tail rotor hubs is also a bit of a problem, there's weak spots in the design. It's kind of hard to describe, but basically, it's a piece of composite material with a square shape in the centre. It looks kind of like your computer monitor, the half hub would be the white case while the screen itself would be the hole, you see corner to corner it isn't very thick and this is where the cracks are occurring.

The S-92 avoided all this by using titanium vice composites for their tail and main rotor hubs, couple that with a different design and it's safe to say we won't see the same problems with the S-92/H-92/CH148 when we get them. They will probably have different problems since they are new after all, but I'm confident that they won't have tail rotor problems.
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Offline carpediem

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2005, 15:42:40 »
There is a detailed article explaining the Cormorant tail rotor half hub problem in the Summer 2005 issue of flight comment.

See page 18 of:

http://www.airforce.forces.gc.ca/dfs/pdf/Flight_Comment/2005/Summer2005_e.pdf
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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2005, 18:41:02 »
Quote
We (Sea Kings) have been holding SAR standby off and on for the past year to cover for the lack of serviceable Cormorants. Pretty sad when the media's favourite whipping horse turns out to be the work horse of the coastal areas.

And THAT call usually comes at 1600 on a Friday just as you're about to crack open a beer at the mess.
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Offline Inch

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2005, 20:57:55 »
And THAT call usually comes at 1600 on a Friday just as you're about to crack open a beer at the mess.

Ain't that the truth. A few months ago I was out doing a compass swing, it was around 17:00 and the vast majority of the Wing was already into the beer and they called us on the radio to "ask" us if we would do SAR standby until noon the next day. Of course the answer was yes, we were stood down later that night so not much came of it.
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Offline daniel h.

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2005, 01:04:21 »
There is a detailed article explaining the Cormorant tail rotor half hub problem in the Summer 2005 issue of flight comment.

See page 18 of:

http://www.airforce.forces.gc.ca/dfs/pdf/Flight_Comment/2005/Summer2005_e.pdf


One more question if I may:

If the problem is literally one part or one section of the helicopter, couldn't the makers of the helicopter redesign this one section, and improve an otherwise great helicopter? Couldn't they even fabricate a new part and add them to helicopters currently in service and eliminate the problem? Isn't this kind of thing covered under a warranty in such an expensive purchase?


Offline h3tacco

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2005, 09:16:45 »

One more question if I may:

If the problem is literally one part or one section of the helicopter, couldn't the makers of the helicopter redesign this one section, and improve an otherwise great helicopter? Couldn't they even fabricate a new part and add them to helicopters currently in service and eliminate the problem? Isn't this kind of thing covered under a warranty in such an expensive purchase?



I think that is exactly what Augusta-Westland is doing. From what I hear they already redesigned the rotor hub once  but that the new design ended up failing more often. Someone a lot smarter than me estimated that at a minimum it would  take another year to redesign, build, test and the new part. But I guess we will have to wait and see.


Offline Inch

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2005, 09:27:19 »

One more question if I may:

If the problem is literally one part or one section of the helicopter, couldn't the makers of the helicopter redesign this one section, and improve an otherwise great helicopter? Couldn't they even fabricate a new part and add them to helicopters currently in service and eliminate the problem? Isn't this kind of thing covered under a warranty in such an expensive purchase?



They've already done a redesign and the cracks reappeared in a different spot, only this time with a lot less flight time on the part. It would be possible to redesign the entire tail rotor, but adding an entirely new tail rotor to the helicopter would require an entirely new set of data to be acquired. Things like icing trials, controllability and vibration analysis would all need to be done from scratch, that kind of info isn't just done in a matter of weeks, it could take years to gather that kind of info. If you add an entirely new part, it could just transfer the stress somewhere else as was evidenced with the tail rotor mod that's already been approved.

As far as classifying it as a great helicopter, IMO, a helicopter needs to be tried and tested under the harshest conditions and come away without so much as a scratch. The Blackhawk, for example, is a helo I would say is a great helo. It's been battle tested in 2 Iraq wars and a ton of other peacekeeping missions and it's been in service since the late 70's/early 80's. But I guess calling a Cormorant a great helicopter is a matter of personal choice, I know I don't call it a great helicopter, another term comes to mind, piece of.........
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Offline kj_gully

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2005, 11:57:23 »
To add to the redesign comments... The "US 101" http://www.teamus101.com/index.cfmis the new presidential transport helicoptor. It will have a substantively more robust tail rotor design. We impatiently await the completed design of that component, as well as any new improvemnts that North American ingenuity can come up with. In the meantime, we wait, and hope.

Offline daniel h.

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2005, 14:32:45 »
They've already done a redesign and the cracks reappeared in a different spot, only this time with a lot less flight time on the part. It would be possible to redesign the entire tail rotor, but adding an entirely new tail rotor to the helicopter would require an entirely new set of data to be acquired. Things like icing trials, controllability and vibration analysis would all need to be done from scratch, that kind of info isn't just done in a matter of weeks, it could take years to gather that kind of info. If you add an entirely new part, it could just transfer the stress somewhere else as was evidenced with the tail rotor mod that's already been approved.

As far as classifying it as a great helicopter, IMO, a helicopter needs to be tried and tested under the harshest conditions and come away without so much as a scratch. The Blackhawk, for example, is a helo I would say is a great helo. It's been battle tested in 2 Iraq wars and a ton of other peacekeeping missions and it's been in service since the late 70's/early 80's. But I guess calling a Cormorant a great helicopter is a matter of personal choice, I know I don't call it a great helicopter, another term comes to mind, piece of.........



Except for that whole "Black Hawk Down" thing. ;D

Offline SF2

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2005, 14:45:28 »
Quote
Except for that whole "Black Hawk Down" thing.
don't think there's any helo out there that will still fly after taking an RPG to the tail rotor

Offline Inch

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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2005, 15:07:09 »
don't think there's any helo out there that will still fly after taking an RPG to the tail rotor

Amen to that!
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Re: CH-149 Cormorant Redeployed
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2005, 22:53:31 »

Except for that whole "Black Hawk Down" thing. ;D

another aviation expert  ::)