An RCAF CH-148 Cyclone helicopter has gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece Thursday (April 30). As of this writing, one crew member, has been confirmed dead, and five others are still missing. There is no word yet on the cause of the downing of the Sikorsky helicopter.
This news comes at a time that Nova Scotians are reeling under the double tragedies the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent murder rampage perpetuated by a man impersonating a police officer; not only was the helicopter paired with the Halifax-based frigate HMSC Fredericton, half of its six-person crew were natives of Nova Scotia.
The Cyclone entered service with the RCAF, beginning in 2015, when it replaced the CH-124 Sea King fleet of ship-borne maritime helicopters. Not all of the 28 aircraft ordered have been delivered. Half of the CH-148s are stationed at 12 Wing Shearwater in Nova Scotia and the other half at 12 Wing Patricia Bay in British Columbia.
The Cyclone is a militarized version of the U.S.-made Sikorsky S-92, which also produces the H-92 Superhawk used by the U.S. Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Coincidentally, Saanich, British Columbia-based VIH Aviation Group and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, announced this week the signing of a contract for the supply of S-92A upgrade kits for four of the 11 S-92A twin turboshaft helicopters operated by VIH’s subsidiary Cougar Helicopters.
Cougar, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and Goffs, Nova Scotia, will become the launch customer for the upgrade, which is designed to improve the flow of lubricating oil in the main gearbox in case of a failure of the primary lubrication system.
Top photo credit: Leading Seaman Dan Bard, Formation Imaging Services, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bottom photo credit: Cougar Helicopters