Photo by Gerry Metzler
The Royal Canadian Air Force has grounded its fleet of Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclones, news reports have said. This comes about one month after an aircraft experienced what reports have called a “severe bump” during a training flight. The problem reportedly corrected itself, and the aircraft landed safely. However, Sikorsky and the Air Force are currently investigating.
So far, reports said 11 Cyclones have been delivered to the Air Force. There have been no indications of a timeline for this most current grounding. In January, news outlets said the Air Force temporarily grounded the CH-148s to check for potential tail rotor problems following a Sikorsky S-92 incident in the North Sea. The Cyclone is a militarized version of the S-92.
The CH-148 is meant to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings. However, reports say the program is behind schedule and has faced multiple setbacks. The original contract was reportedly signed in 2004, and deliveries were to start in 2008. However, the aircraft did not meet Canadian government requirements, and the manufacturer and the government reached a new agreement thereafter.