Saturday , January 23 2021

CF-18 fighter pilot fined after pleading guilty to flying too low during Alberta mission

A fighter pilot has fined $ 2,000 for a pleading guilty at a court martial to his CF-18 jet too low during a training mission in which his wingman died in a crash.

Capt Christopher Mileus was the leader of a two-aircraft formation on Nov. 28, 2016, that was practicing dropping bombs on targets near the Cold Lake weapons range in north-east Alberta.

The rules for the low altitude mission require that the aircraft have a working head-up-display – a device that shows the flight information that the pilot can read by looking at the canopy.

According to the agreed statement of facts, the pilots were given their bombs before returning to base.

Mileusnic's head-up-display was flickering, not showing consistent altitude information as required by flight rules.

Despite the problem he continued making bomb runs with his wingman, Capt. Thomas McQueen

"During the last target run, Capt. McQueen flew the target run-in at 450 feet AGL with Capt. Mileusnicus a three-mile trail position. While conducting the safe escape manoeuvre, Capt. McQueen inadvertently flew in terrain and died instantly, "reads the statement of facts.

"The actions of Capt. Mileusnic during the Swift flight is in no way charged to crash and death of Capt. McQueen. "

READ MORE: Pilot killed in CF-18 crash identified as 10-year veteran Capt Thomas McQueen

At Monday's court martial, Mileusnic pleaded guilty to flying a aircraft on the height

He was also charged with negligently performing a military duty imposed on him and negligently committing an act.

A military spokesman said the prosecutor decided not to proceed with the charges.

The court martial judge then accepted a joint submission by the prosecutor and defense and sentenced Mileusnic to the penalty.

An accident report released last April in the fatal crash suggested that McQueen was distracted and attempted to see where his behavior was just before his CF-18 hit the ground.

READ MORE: Distracted pilot blamed in fatal CF 18 crash in Cold Lake, Alta. in 2016

The report said flight rules have been changed to raise the acceptable altitude for such training to more than 300 meters and to the safety standards for low flying.

"The low-level environment is an inherently hazardous and unforgiving region where only a few seconds of distraction can mean the difference between life and death," the report said.

A military publication says Mileyusnic is an experienced pilot who has taken part in missions Russian Bear aircraft over the Arctic. He also served with Royal Air Force.

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