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Cormorant down?

Documents released under Access to Information reveal that the Canadian air force's newest aircraft fleet--the Cormorant search and rescue helicopters --continue to be plagued with equipment failures and cracked tail rotors. Since the maintenance problems were first detected last year, the brand new Cormorant fleet has been on restricted flying, and has still managed to rack up a staggering total of 182 serious incidents.

Despite Team Cormorant's best efforts to determine the cause and to remedy the tail rotor cracks, the helicopters continue to suffer from a variety of deficiencies. Crew members reported suffering from fumes and smoke in the cockpit, excessive vibrations, failed hoists and even recurring electric shocks. In addition to the documented woes, Esprit de Corps received an anonymous call from a Cormorant airfield advising us that spare parts for the new choppers are also in short supply.

Apparently one of the new helicopters has been sitting in a hangar for nearly two years because it is being cannibalized for replacement parts to keep the others flying. Fifteen Cormorants (above) were purchased at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. At a unit price of $80 million that's one helluva expensive way to maintain
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Title Annotation:INCOMING: Hits & misses
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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