A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) instructor pilot and student now have an uneven number of takeoffs and landings in their logbooks. Both qualified for membership in the Caterpillar Club by ejecting from their Beechcraft CT-156 Harvard II trainer during a routine training mission. The Harvard II is the Canadian version of the Texan II trainer used by American military forces.
An undisclosed issue with the turboprop single’s landing gear led to the “controlled ejection.” When the pilots realized they had a problem with the gear, a second aircraft from the RCAF’s 15 Moose Jaw Wing launched from the Saskatchewan training base to survey the issue. The observers determined the problem could result in a dangerous landing attempt, so the Wing decided that an ejection was the prudent course of action.
Instructor and student, both members of the Canadian Forces, landed safely about five and a half kilometers south of the airport. It was the student’s 10th flight, and the instructor had about a year’s experience teaching. The airplane crashed in an open field and the wreckage will be examined to try to determine the cause of the gear malfunction.
Capt. Thomas Edelson, a spokesman for the base, told CBC News, “This is actually a very good outcome. Both people got out of the plane. You can buy more planes, but you can’t buy more people.” Base commander Col. Paul Goddard estimated the cost of the airplane at between C$8 million and C$10 million.
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