Joined: May 08, 2005 Posts: 1078 Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 8:54 pm Post subject: Corrosion grounds DND Cormorants
OTTAWA -- The Department of National Defence has grounded four of its 14 Cormorant helicopters after discovering corrosion in the vehicles' fuel bays, close to the floor.
"They will be grounded until they are repaired," DND spokeswoman Sharon Godsell said.
The corrosion in the four helicopters is scheduled to be removed next month.
There are 10 other helicopters still to be inspected, and they will also be withdrawn from circulation if they are affected by the same problem.
The helicopters were brought into service in the Canadian Forces between 2002 and 2004.
The discovery of the corrosion is recent and its impact is being assessed by military experts.
"DND is in the process of determining the fleet-wide significance and its impact on the operations of our fleet management," Ms. Godsell said.
An industry source said it is not surprising to find corrosion in a search-and-rescue helicopter that frequently flies just above the ocean, over salt water.
The maintenance crew will be expected to find a solution to ensure that the problem does not reappear.
The corrosion was identified in a routine inspection of four helicopters.
"They're on the ground because they've been taken apart for the inspections. They're going to fix it before they reassemble them," the source said.
This is not the first time mechanical problems have affected the aircraft. The first five Cormorant helicopters delivered to the Canadian Forces in 2002 suffered from vibrations and cracked windshields.
In 2004, the Cormorants were grounded after developing cracks in their tail-rotor hubs.
The Cormorants have also conducted a number of successful missions. In 2003, a crew rescued 16 members of the Finnish cargo ship Camilla in a single flight.
In 2004, a Cormorant crew fought raging seas, gale-force winds and craggy cliff faces in a desperate race to save four fishermen cast adrift in the waters off the shores of eastern Newfoundland.
However, this summer, three airmen died when their Cormorant helicopter crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia. The helicopter plunged into the water during a night-time training exercise in what was deemed a human error. Four other people were injured in the crash.
The CH-149 Cormorants were purchased to replace the Labradors as search-and-rescue helicopters. The Conservative government bought the helicopters, only to see the Liberal government cancel the purchase in 1993. _________________ Serving the Civil Helo Industry - www.heliopsmag.com
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