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Software Fix Following Naval Helicopter Crash Not Complete One Year After Report

Software Fix Following Naval Helicopter Crash Not Complete One Year After Report

HALIFAX –


One year after software flaws were confirmed as the cause of a naval helicopter crash that killed six personnel, the Defence Department says it has found a solution but is still working on a timeline to complete the project.


A flight safety investigation review released in June 2021 found that the autopilot controls of the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter plunged the aircraft into the Ionian Sea as the pilot was turning sharply to return to HMCS Fredericton on April 29, 2020.


The pilot was unable to regain manual control from the automated system before the helicopter hit the ocean. Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Brenden MacDonald, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin and Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke died in the crash.


Following the release of the report, Mary (Missy) Cummings, a director of the humans and autonomy lab at Duke University, told The Canadian Press that the pilot’s inability to regain control from the automated software was “a very serious problem” that needed “to be addressed forthwith.”


Cummings, the former director of the U.S. Navy’s advanced autonomous rotorcraft program, saidshe was also concerned the problem hadn’t been caught during airworthiness certification, because she said the issue was foreseeable.

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Last week, the Defence Department declined interview requests and instead provided an emailed response to questions from The Canadian Press on the Air Force’s progress to fix the software issue.


Media spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said Sikorsky, the aircraft’s manufacturer, its subcontractors, and the Defence Department have considered proposed changes to the flight control software, adding that both Sikorsky and the Royal Canadian Air Force did followup testing.


“As a result, a…

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