Canada

'Deficient' pilot training to blame for 2004 Snowbird crash: report

The pilot killed in a 2004 mid-air collision of two Canadian Snowbird jets was too inexperienced and lacked the training to attempt the complex manoeuvre, according to an air force report released Monday.

The pilot killed in a 2004 mid-air collision of two Canadian Snowbird jetswas too inexperienced and lacked the training toattempt the complex manoeuvre, according to an air force report released Monday.

Thereport by the air force's Directorate of Flight Safety said the training of Capt. Miles Selby to conduct what's called a "co-loop manoeuvre" — which requires the two planes to fly toward each other at high speeds — was "deficient."

The air force concludedSelby had neither the "trainingnorthe experience to develop the appropriate sight-picture for a[nine metre]miss at the top of the loop."

"Without this requisite skill set, the pilot's ability to safely conduct this manoeuvre with an acceptable level of risk was compromised," the report concluded.

Although that co-loop sequence had been flown 11 to 14 times, Selbyhad not yet achieved the desired miss distance ofnine metres, the report found.

Capt. Miles Selby, 31, of Tsawwassen, B.C., died during a training exercise in 2004. ((Courtesy DND))

Selby died instantly when his Tutor jet collided in a fireball with another Snowbird during a training exercise high above the Saskatchewan plain in December 2004.

The second pilot, Capt. Chuck Mallett,suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The air force found that the pilots were fit for flying duty, the mission was properly authorized and briefed and therewas no mechanical difficulty with the aging jet. As well, weather wasn't cited as a factor in the accident.

But the air force concluded that Selby did not "initiate the correct avoidance action."

It said it was probable that he did not have the proper "sight picture" or perception of the situation, because of his lack of exposuretothe manouevre during his training program.

The air forcerecommended a number of initiatives to improve training.

With files from the Canadian Press

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