CF188796 Hornet - Epilogue

Report / June 20, 2017 / Project number: CF188796 - E Category

Location: Cold Lake, Alberta
Date: 2017-06-20
Status: Investigation complete

Two CF188 pilots (call signs Mig-1 and Mig-6) completed individual Maple Flag missions uneventfully in the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range and returned to base together as a two-ship formation. Mig-1 led and Mig-6 was the wingman. In order to deconflict with the other aircraft returning to base Mig-1 and Mig-6 maintained a higher airspeed to the airport.

Overhead Cold Lake aerodrome runway 13R at 1500 ft above ground level and a speed of 470 knots, Mig-1 entered the overhead break in a right hand turn followed three seconds later by Mig-6. During the overhead break Mig-6 set the throttles to idle, initially set the bank angle to 81 degrees, and pulled up to 6.8g in order to slow the aircraft in preparation for turning final with gear down and locked.

Mig-6 did not perform the anti-g straining maneuver, and was flying with a loose fitting g-suit with comfort zippers undone. Two seconds into the overhead break and at 6.8g, Mig 6 almost lost consciousness. Mig-6 experienced short term (approximately 5 seconds) impairment of cognitive and motor functions, and the aircraft began descending towards the ground. Mig-6 heard the audible warning from the Terrain Alert Warning System, and with improved cognitive and motor functions, Mig-6 pulled 7.0g and avoided the ground by 270 ft.

Mig-6 climbed away from the ground and now fully recovered, advised Mig-1 of the need for assistance and the desire to land. Mig-1 notified air traffic control to give them priority to land and calmly assisted Mig-6 to a safe landing. Mig-6 was met by first responders and taken to the 4 Wing base hospital for evaluation.

The evidence demonstrated no aircraft or aviation life support equipment (ALSE) malfunction. The incident occurred due to human factors. The pilot was knowingly flying with a loose fitting g-suit. The g-suit was loose fitting due to pilot weight loss, and lack of adherence to an ALSE - Canadian Forces Technical Orders requiring a g-suit on body fit check to be completed every six months.

The safety recommendation is to incorporate the g-suit inspection requirements and pilot responsibilities regarding g-suit fitting into an appropriate aircrew publication to provide lasting education/awareness for CF188 pilots.

 

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