Greater than three years after a Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece, killing six Canadian army members, the victims’ households are suing the helicopter producer.
The households’ lawsuit, filed in U.S. Federal Courtroom in Pennsylvania, alleges that the helicopter’s faulty design prompted the crash on April 29, 2020.
It additionally alleges that the crash occurred when the helicopter’s Digital Flight Management System (“EFCS”) wrested management of the helicopter from its pilots, inflicting its descent into the Ionian sea at greater than 140 miles-per-hour.
These killed within the crash embody the helicopter’s pilots, Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald and Captain Kevin Hagen, Naval Warfare Officer Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Airborne Digital Sensor Operator Grasp Corporal Matthew Cousins, Airborne Digital Sensor Operator Maritime Methods Engineering Officer Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough and Air Fight Methods Officer Captain Maxime Miron-Morin.
In accordance with the assertion of declare, all six folks on board knew they have been going to die within the moments earlier than the crash.
“Every individual skilled unimaginable terror and fright within the moments earlier than the helicopter impacted the water, inflicting everybody aboard to undergo deadly accidents,” the declare reads.
The declare says that when the Division of Nationwide Defence requested proposals to switch its CH-124 Sikorsky Sea King Helicopter fleet within the Nineties, the EFCS had by no means been used earlier than in any army helicopter on the planet.
The Canadian Armed Forces selected Sikorsky to supply substitute for the helicopter, and the doc says that Sikorsky provided the EFCS as a option to recoup among the monetary investments of growing it for a distinct civilian mannequin.
Nonetheless, the declare says that the Federal Aviation Administration by no means licensed the EFCS for the opposite helicopter mannequin, and that Sikorsky had deserted the undertaking as they might not discover any consumers for the brand new design.
“Reflecting a company indifference to security that positioned income first, the Sikorsky defendants — within the face of missed deadlines and monetary penalties — lower corners to hurry the CH-148 into service,” the declare reads.
In accordance with the declare, on the time of the crash, the pilots have been performing a maneuver generally used throughout rescue or fight, which they believed would allow them to override the autopilot with out disconnecting it.
Nonetheless, the lawsuit says that Sikorsky analyzed the flight information following the crash and located that the system would take management when pilots have been making “vital pedal and cyclic inputs” whereas in autopilot mode.
The lawsuit alleges the EFCS overrode the pilots’ guide makes an attempt to steer the plane and the helicopter plunged into the ocean consequently.
The Air Pressure’s director of flight security on the time, Brig.-Gen. John Alexander, was quoted saying that the phenomenon “was unknown to the producer, airworthiness authorities and aircrew” previous to the accident.
“Sikorsky’s testing of its (flight management system) beneath the incident flight’s situations repeatedly and constantly resulted in a deadly crash. On the time of the incident, Sikorsky’s (system) was performing precisely as Sikorsky had designed it,” says the doc.
The lawsuit alleges that Sikorsky did not create a warning system for an emergency occasion, and did not responsibly design the flight director to mechanically disengage earlier than a harmful state of affairs.
“Earlier than the crash, neither the Royal Canadian Air Pressure nor the pilots of incident helicopter have been made conscious of this probably deadly design defect by Sikorsky,” mentioned lawyer Stephen Raynes within the doc.
Raynes beforehand represented claimants in a lawsuit, additionally towards Sikorsky, associated to a deadly crash in March 2009 that occurred off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 15 of 16 staff aboard who have been headed to an oil platform.
Below Canadian and U.S. legislation the Defence Division, Armed Forces and Air Pressure can’t be named as defendants in a case in search of damages for accidents that occur within the line of responsibility, it states within the doc.
The helicopter was assembled, upgraded, and examined on the Coatesville manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. The ability has since closed.
With recordsdata from The Canadian Press.