Pilots of an RCAF Chinook helicopter were blamed for the loss of their $45 million aircraft in a landing accident that also injured nine soldiers in Afghanistan in May of 2011.
“The investigation concluded that the use of inadequate landing procedures in a degraded visual environment resulted in the helicopter landing with right drift, causing it to dynamically roll over,” said an RCAF report.
The helicopter was carrying 31 people when it tried to land on a dry riverbed in moonlight. The dust plume caused by the downwash obliterated the landing site and it drifted to the right as it landed, leading to the dynamic rollover.
Most of the occupants were wearing full combat gear and were not wearing seatbelts and the injuries resulted from them tumbling about the cabin and being hit by flying objects.
The said flying procedures were not clear and there was no decision height established for dusty landings, the report said.