Distracted pilot blamed in fatal CF-18 crash in Cold Lake, Alta. in 2016

A CF-18 fighter jet crash claimed the life of a military pilot in November 2016. (Photo by The Canadian Press).

OTTAWA — An accident report suggests that a military pilot was distracted and trying to see where a practice bomb had landed just before the deadly CF-18 fighter jet crash that claimed his life in November 2016.

The final report of the military’s Airworthiness Investigative Authority found no evidence of a mechanical failure or bird strike in the crash near Cold Lake, Alta., that killed Capt. Thomas McQueen of Hamilton. There was no indication that the pilot was incapacitated.

There were also no radio transmissions from the plane in the moments before impact and the pilot did not eject.

McQueen had just dropped a practice bomb in a low-level exercise when the crash occurred, the report said.

“It appears that the pilot was capable of controlling the aircraft, but did not adequately monitor the aircraft’s flight path while manoeuvring in the low-level environment,” it said. The plane banked sharply and the nose dropped.

McQueen may have tried to recover at the last second, but was too low to pull out.

“While the reason for this lack of flight path monitoring is not knowable with any certainty, circumstantial evidence suggests that the pilot may have been distracted from the critical task of terrain clearance while attempting to spot his weapon impact.”

The exercise was designed to drop the bomb from an altitude of just under 200 metres.

The report said rules have been changed to raise the acceptable altitude for such training to more than 300 metres and to underline 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.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month