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You Can Fly Like 'Em, Just Don't Hit 'Em…

Near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

May 14, 2004

Training for the Real Thing...

Canadian Forces Base Moose Jaw is the home of the Canadian Snow Birds aerobatic team, and all pilot training conducted by the Canadian Forces.  Also headquartered at Moose Jaw is NATO Flight Training in Canada (NFTC) program, flying both the CT-156 Harvard II and the CT-155 Hawk jet. 

The crew of two aboard CT-155 #202 on May 14, 2004 was an instructor pilot, Captain John “Jabba” Hutt of the Canadian Forces, and a student pilot, Flight Lieutenant Ed Morris of the Royal Air Force.  The pair had completed a low level navigation syllabus mission for familiarizing the student with the NFTC Hawk variant , and were utilizing their remaining time conducting proficiency flying in the traffic pattern at 15 Wing Moose Jaw.

The instructor had just taken control and as the aircraft approached the departure end of Runway 29R, a bird was observed just left of the nose. The CT-155 and crew were flying at about 230 knots (265 mph), and at 200 feet above ground level, when they sucked in the bird.

Cockpit camera footage of the Hawk' bird strike and crash - hosted by YouTube

The wreckage of Hawk #202

Both crewmembers heard a “thump”, felt vibrations, and noted a change in engine pitch. This was followed immediately by audio and caption engine warnings, and high engine temperature indication (660 C).  Their one and only engine flamed out almost immediately.  The plane's inertia was the only factor keeping the $25 million dollar craft aloft.

Remember Your Training...

Hutt immediately took control, and traded airspeed for altitude, confirmed that engine temperatures remained high, reduced throttle to idle and told the student to “prepare to abandon the aircraft”. The aircraft reached a maximum altitude of approximately 3700 MSL (1700 AGL). When the aircraft descended through 3000 MSL the IP transmitted his intention to eject to Moose Jaw tower. After confirming the student was ready, the IP ordered and initiated ejection.

Both occupants cleared the aircraft and descended under parachutes but for less than 30 seconds prior to landing. One crewmember, the instructor, suffered severe damage to his spine and a broken leg in the sequence and the other, the student, received minor injuries. The aircraft was completely destroyed when it crashed about seven seconds later in a farmer’s field a mile north of the airbase.

The investigation focused on a wide range of issues including the aspects of low and slow speed (below 300 KIAS) engine failure in the CT155 and ejection criteria. Also, the investigation examined engine performance after bird ingestion and aircrew life support equipment.

The through investigation revealed that a gull hit the plane's Angle of Attack probe, then entered the left hand engine intake, to be ingested by the engine, causing serious damage.

Click here to view a copy of the complete Canadian Force investigation into the mishap

This occurrence was the first aircraft loss in Canada involving Miniature Detonation Cord (MDC), which was used to shatter the canopy. Preventive measures aimed at reducing injuries from MDC have been implemented. The automatically activated Personal Locator Beacon of the CT155 Hawk did not function adequately.

Since this accident, an improved version has been developed and installed on the aircraft with an external antenna that will fall clear of the survival pack after its release, ensuring adequate distress signal propagation

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This page last updated Wednesday, July 01, 2015

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