CH124424 Sea King - From the Investigator

Report / December 2, 2014 / Project number: CH124424 - E Category

Location: CYA 102, South of Victoria, BC
Date: 2014-12-02
Status: Investigation Ongoing

The crew was conducting an Operational Training Unit (OTU) pilot tactical instructional trip off Vancouver Island when the occurrence took place.  The crew was conducting a free stream manoeuvre, which requires the helicopter to climb vertically from the hover, in order to lift the sonar cable and transducer from the water without the transducer being dragged.  As the occurrence aircraft was a CH124B model, it was not equipped with a sonar, so the sonar procedures were simulated.

The free stream was conducted by the student pilot under a blind flying hood with the flight control auxiliary hydraulic system selected off.  As the helicopter climbed through 300 feet, pitch attitude increased and the helicopter started to drift backwards and downwards.  The instructor pilot took control and attempted to stabilize the aircraft and descent rate.  However, instead of stabilizing, the descent rate increased significantly and an attempt was made to fly out of the descent.  With insufficient altitude, the instructor pilot levelled the aircraft and cushioned the landing on the water.  

After an assessment of the aircraft condition, the crew lifted off from the water and returned to Victoria International Airport. 

The preliminary investigation has indicated that the helicopter was serviceable at the time of the incident.  The investigation will focus on human factors as well as supervision during deployment planning.

Note: This occurrence is classified as a Class II investigation based on the Safety of Flight Compromise Level (SFCL) of HIGH. There were no injuries to personnel.  Damage to the aircraft is being assessed.

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