back to article Canadian flyboy prangs CF-18 Hornet

Canadian flyboy Captain Brian Bews had a narrow escape last Friday when his CF-18 Hornet decided to give up the ghost during a practice run at an airshow at Lethbridge airport in Alberta. Bews' injuries following his low-level ejection were described as "non-life threatening", although he's probably lost his no-claims …


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  1. Johnny Canuck

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

    That will leave a scratch.

  2. Jonathan White


    "gave up the ghost"? Nothing wrong with that plane at all, he just bloody stalled it at an altitude of about 100 feet. All his fault.

  3. TheRealRoland

    In other news...

    Well, we're not allowing you to see this.

    "This video contains content from CNN (Europe), who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."


  4. Anonymous Coward


    Normally I get a bit bored with those people who say things like "you're way behind, this was news last week". However, I think this is getting beyond a joke. All the news sites had this on saturday. Even the blogs that exist on linking to other sites had it on sunday. Maybe sometimes rather than recycling old news it's best just to admit that you missed the boat and let it go.

    Or maybe not.

  5. Justabloke 1


    clearly more practicve required. Let's hope they don't stop it out of his salary.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    What's this thing coming towards me very fast?...

    ...Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding word like... ow... ound... round... ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ...writing your own material.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      LOL -

      Funny - I still have the original LP from 30 years ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Fit the First.

        I recorded the radio series when it was first broadcast. the tapes died many years ago unfortunately.

        I imagine the LP must be a treasured posession for you.

        "Oh no not again!" as the Petunias would say.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I'm impressed......

    ....that they allowed him to do it three times!

    1. Code Monkey

      LIke Independence Day

      With top quality SFX like that they're not just going to show it once!

  8. Ray0x6


    cannot read in europe. gah,

  9. Mad Chaz


    Funny how we can't see the video of a canadian plane crashing in canada, on copyright grounds from CNN.

    Says we can't see the video from Canada on copyright grounds ...

  10. Bernard Lyons
    Thumb Up

    Headline options

    Pilot screws pooch.

    CF18 unable to recover from airshow manoever.

    Lucky escape for pilot.

    Ejector seat works perfectly.

    So many ways to spin the same story. Take your pick...

  11. ratfox

    Video blocked

    Youtube says: This video contains content from CNN (Europe), who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

    Huh. What is it exactly that makes CNN block a video in some countries, but not others?

  12. JaitcH

    Now we will have to start saving all our bottle caps again

    They will start pull tab and bottle top collections all over the country to scrape enough money to buy another toy for the cash strapped military.

    How many caps will that be Coke and Pepsi?

  13. Anonymous Coward


    ...don't believe he wanted to do that...

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Stall, stall allmighty stall

    At the point shown in the video the airplane has obviously stalled. With a stall that close to the ground he is very lucky to be alive.

  15. Martin Gregorie

    How not to do it

    It looks like a classic spin entry to me, just not nearly high enough.

    He was mushing on the edge of a stall (look at all that up elevator) and applied aileron to stop the wing drop. As the nose comes past head-on you can see that the outer aileron is up!

    It looks like he flew a classic spin entry to me, just not nearly high enough.

    He was a lucky boy, though - another second and he'd have ejected downward. As it was he barely had enough height for the chute to open.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    That certainly qualifies as an "oops".

    However, it's a graphic demonstration of a low level, low speed ejection, and an ejection seat doing exactly what it's designed to do. I'm very pleased that the pilot was able to get out of this without any major injuries.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Let the Canuck-baiting commence!

    Oh wait, it already has...

    Seriously though, ordinarily these McDD jets are, arguably, the most capable combat jet type currently in service -- reliable as hell, too -- and certainly aren't known for lawn-darting.

    There was no obvious sign that anything had gone awry (aside from the subsequent massive fireball...) and it's a twin-engine type so... ? Strange.

  18. Matthew Smith


    And Lewis suggests Britain should dump the Typhoon entirely and purchase a load of F18s?!?

  19. the bat
    Thumb Down

    CNN (Europe)Copyright What! This is happen in my own Country

    All excited to watch the video only to be greet with CNN (Europe)Copyright What! This is happen in my own Country, CNN should be paying Canada for the rights to broadcast.

  20. Steven Jones

    Fortunate angle...

    Just as well the plane wasn't horizontal when he ejected, or he would have been well and truly toasted landing in that fireball.

    1. Annihilator


      It's almost like he knew how and when all was lost and when the last moment to pull an ejection handle was... Almost like he was a trained pilot.. ;-P

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Not just training.

        There's also the spectre of the desk job in there encouraging any pilot who likes flying to keep the bloody thing in the air until it becomes blatantly obvious that it ain't staying there.

        I once knew an RAF Squadron Leader who ended up flying a desk. Dunno about the Canucks, but he told me that the RAF operate (or certainly did back then) a strict "three strikes" policy on bangouts. The reason is that the pyro pack that accelerates the ejection seat intially also imparts a fair degree of spinal compression in doing so. The thinking is/was that a pilot can only withstand three of these before his lumbar vertebrae give up the ghost.

  21. Mr Brush

    Lucky man

    A few degrees later and he'd have been fired into a thin smear of crimson on the tarmac, à la early Harrier ejection systems.

    I suspect there was more than a thin smear of brown adrenaline in his flight suit though.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So why did it happen?

    Pity that the information about what went wrong was not included in the article. Otherwise it is just sensation without elucidation...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...I think the several month long air crash investigation will answer that.

      Unless you want to go for the tabliod style of reporting. Make it up and hope no-one notices when the facts emerge.

      (methedrone drug deaths anyone?)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    video DCMAd

    Can you replace the youtube video with a video? or any of the other news orgs that have it.

    btw, he stalled it.

  24. Daniel Evans

    Wee bit too slow?

    Looks like he might've wanted to up the throttle a notch or two, as it looked like a lack of airflow over the wings leading to the dipping of one wing (at least, that's how it seems to my amateur eyes). Pilot error or engines deciding not to give him enough thrust?

    1. Daniel Evans

      Go ability to use English language

      Of course, I could've been a wee bit less poncy and said "stall" like everyone else.

      I blame anyone and anything but myself.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    We build these things, whaddaya mean we can't watch????

    "This video is blocked from your area (USA) by CNN Europe on copyright grounds."

    Fine - we'll just visit you with a few dozen of these things in proper working order, and we'll see if you can block that.

    F'n regional news indeed. I thought only Uncle Sam managed the news . . .

  26. G.H.

    Not to be missed

    For anyone interested in this genre I'd like to recommend the MiG 29 crash at Le Bourget:

    When the engines fail right after take off, he turns and flies straight towards the ground before ejecting, in order to avoid hitting the crowd. Remember hearing that he stood up afterwards without any major injuries, and that he offered to fly the next day.

    And, all our-equipment-is-better-than-yours-flames aside, you have to admit that the MiG 29 is aestheticly more pleasing than the F-16.

  27. Degenerate Scumbag


    Low speed, excessive yaw angle leading to stall... Would have developed into a classic flat spin had the ground not intervened already. If he doesn't have a bloody good excuse, that's a pretty basic pilot error.

  28. Cyfaill

    Nobody hurt, thats good

    When I worked at Intel they would have air shows over the parking lot.

    A brave pilot stood his jet on its tail over head there as well, successfully.

    A number of people (myself included) were directly below it about 20 feet off to one side of its vertical, very loud, and very impressive. not so safe, but what the heck... it was great..

    My actual comment though was that being in the US I noticed that CNN said that the video was blocked in the US due to Copyright issues. I had to laugh... at the irony and so I left El-reg for a minute to watch it on You tube from about a dozen sources and angles... CNN can go pound sand, "what a bunch of Maroons" (Bugs Bunny) anyway good that the pilot was safe and that there weren't a bunch of yahoos like myself standing underneath it just for the thrill.


  29. jamesey

    Engine out

    There are some good still photos of the crash. He was performing a high angle of attack pass, which is a standard airshow demo. Spectators reported that this port engine appeared to be "glowing red hot" but the starboard wasn't. Photos show that the exhaust nozzles were in dramatically different positions as the aircraft stalled and crashed. Perhaps a bird strike? Mechanical failure? The accident report will no doubt unravel the mystery of this flight's last seconds.

    1. Dave Bell

      Time and altitude needed

      As others have already pointed out, such things need time and altitude to recover from, which he didn't have. But if the root cause was an engine failure of some kind, the "wrong thing" that set up this crash was the planned display routine, and Air Forces are known for older, more senior, pilots checking and approving those plans.

  30. Old Marcus

    Yes, it crashed...

    I don't need to see it three times to understand.

  31. shadowphiar

    Global News Exclusive!

    How come two different TV companies have the "Global News Exclusive" on this footage - did one of them forget to lock the mutex?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Global TV

      Global TV is a network here in Canada, so likely the footage was initially exclusive to them.

      (they are basically the Canadian version of FOX)

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Martin Baker

    Another happy customer of a British aviation company. Don't let Lewis know.

    1. Captain TickTock

      The tie is on its way

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why blame the pilot?

    Looks like an engine failure to me. Notice how one nozzle is fully open, but the other fully closed. This would cause the yaw.

    Why do people always blame the pilot?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Regardless of cause

    Thankfully he survived and no spectators were injured.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yeah, it's frustrating to not be able to watch something because you're in the wrong region. It happens to those of us outside the US all the time. I've stopped reading certain sites because they were always linking to hulu or something, and it was just an exercise in frustration. An outdated business model that doesn't transfer all that well to the internet. Google should take a stand and not allow the option on YouTube. I'm Canadian, so getting the message was pretty funny.

  36. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Let the Canuck-baiting commence

    >ordinarily these McDD jets are, arguably, the most capable combat jet type currently in service

    That's the canuck's problem - they have just agreed to buy a gazillion $ worth of the latest US F35.

    Which since their only conceivable enemies are a bunch of guys on donkeys and a large country to the south that makes the F35 it's looking a bit difficult to justify - especially when the CF18 is so good.

    Looks like they came up with a way to claim on the insurance.

    Hands up who hasn't accidentally dropped an old laptop to get a new one.

  37. Matt 32

    The answer...

    >What is it exactly that makes CNN block a video in some countries, but not others?

    I used to work at a newspaper.

    The AP feed would frequently come in with comments like "No Ecuador" or "No Florida" -- in those cases a paper in Ecuador (or Florida) was keeping the photo exclusive in their home market so local competitors wouldn't run it, but outside their market area it was open for anyone to run. Geographic restrictions were most common, but you'd see other ones from time to time.

    Very sophisticated technology was involved...they'd just put the restrictions at the end of the cutline, in all caps if memory serves me right. Used to be fun at lunch to just peruse the photo feed.

  38. druck Silver badge

    Re: Engine Out

    I agree it looks like the starboard engine failed during a high alpha manoeuvre, but strangely there is no obvious control surface movement. The fly-by-wire systems should have automatically intervened to counter the yaw from the asymmetric thrust, and reduce the attitude to prevent stalling as the airspeed decreased, even if ultimately there was no longer enough thrust to save the aircraft at that height.

  39. Wol

    Life Insurance?

    The AP video was playing ads for Life Insurance along the bottom of the screen when I watched it! LOL

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Several CF-18 prangs

    listed here

  41. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    Well, even Billy Bishop was known to bend the odd aircraft, so this Cannuck (Captain Brian Bews if the other Web reports are correct) could be the next Commonwealth ace. Very impressed with the performance of the ejector seat, it exits the cockpit horizontally but very quickly rotates through 90 degreees to fire the 'chute vertically. At least Sir James Martin would be smiling. But then the counter on the Martin-Baker site lists 18 other pilots that have ejected on M-B seats so far in 2010, so it's just this Canuck's poor luck to have his mistake caught on camera. I say send Brian his Caterpillar Club membership and get him back in a new Hornet, pronto.

  42. Yorkshirepudding

    talk to me goose

    bit of t-cut and it'll buff out

    mines the one with the top gun soundtrack in

  43. Anonymous Coward

    You can be my wingman anytime...

    Video is blocked here.... but that's cause my workplace doesn't allow videos through our firewall, otherwise the call centre staff would spend their time watching Fifty Pence on YouTube.

    Anyway, I think I saw this same video on the weekend... is it the one where the tannoys are blasting out "Staying Alive" by the Bee-Gees? If so, I thought that was incredibly apt :o)

    ps - I chose the pissed off icon cause it resembles the plane, not cause I'm pissed off.

  44. phuzz Silver badge


    Some good photos from a different angle here:

  45. HeyMickey

    Strange Coincidence

    It is a strange coincidence that I have been up at my local airfield (Lasham) training to recognise and recover from stalls/spins all weekend, only to come in to work on monday morning and see this. Definitely looks like a mushing stall, followed by a wing drop and the beginnings of a spin entry. If there was more distance to the ground, then a proper spin would probably have followed.

    For anyone blaming an engine failure, I would just like to point out that I have never found such things (engines) necessary in the first place, having had several 1hr+ flights this weekend without one. My suspicion is that the engine just runs a big fan to keep the pilot cool - you can tell this because when the fan stops, the pilot starts sweating...

    OK, I'll get my coat then. It's the one with the copy of 'A glider pilot bold' by Wally Kahn...

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Strange Coincidence

      ".....For anyone blaming an engine failure, I would just like to point out that I have never found such things (engines) necessary in the first place...." Well, unless you're using a cat launch at your glider field (unlikely, if I remember Lasham correctly), you'll find an engine and spinning fan on the front of whichever towplane dragged you up to a height where your glider could actually do some flying, and that was usually a lot higher than the height Capt Bews had his brown pants moment.

  46. SteveK

    Good advert choice

    I like the fact that when watching the AP video, just as the fireball started, google popped a normally irritating advert popup offering a 'course to beat fear of flying'...


  47. Adrian Midgley 1

    Flickr pictures indicate lost engine

    The frilly bit at the back was wide open on one engine, good I'm told, and tucked in close on the other indicating, I'm told, that it wasn't working well.

    There is also an interesting picture of the half-crashed aircraft with a vast plume of fire coming out of one engine nozzle, and not out of the other, again suggesting that only one of the engines was still spinning, as both of them had their fronts in a big fire.

    Stills may be better than movies, people.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Need an article on censorship

    This video is unable to be viewed in your region.


    This nasty little NAZI craze of blocking things is starting to creep into more and more and more vids etc.

    Even seeing vids of Aussie bands on Youtube, being blocked for viewing in Australia...

    Ohhhh here they are playing at my uncles 21st - some 30 years ago.....

    Nope - video not available due to copyright restrictions...

    Fuck this copyright bullshit.

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