Bureaucrat Defends Cyclone Purchase

The civilian in charge of buying equipment for the Royal Canadian Air Force says serious cracks in the tails of almost all of the country’s Cyclone helicopters are just part of the normal process of integrating a new piece of equipment and is rejecting the “urban myth” that the aircraft are unsafe. Troy Crosby, the assistant deputy minister also stressed that the software issue behind the crash of a Cyclone in the Mediterranean last year that killed six service members is not related to the latest issue. “Aviation always does, of course, come with some risk,” he told Canadian Press. ”But my concern is that the narrative that can be created by knitting together unrelated issues that do need to be addressed can start to create an urban myth.”

Canada has ordered 28 Cyclones and Sikorsky has delivered 23. Of those, 21 need the cracks fixed. Meanwhile, the software glitch, which literally took control of the helicopter when the pilot performed an aggressive but routine manoeuvre while getting ready to land on a Navy frigate during a NATO exercise, won’t be fixed until this coming spring at the earliest. “The process needs to be worked through to look at all those potential scenarios and mitigate the risks the best you can,” he said. “It takes a methodical effort to go through that. Not a rush, not to check boxes and tell everybody it’s done. It needs to be done well.”

Crosby also defended the program in general, saying all new aircraft have issues early in their deployment. “So the question is: is this helicopter where you approximately would expect it to be given… it’s relatively new?” Crosby said. “I think the answer is yes.”