The RAAF has temporarily grounded its Caribou tactical transport fleet after one aircraft experienced an unspecified inflight failure and was forced to make an emergency landing while practicing for the Townsville Airshow last Friday.
An RAAF insider told Australian Aviation that the aircraft was flying in the High Range area near Townsville when it suddenly lost altitude. The crew recovered the aircraft but decided to land at High Range, and a maintenance crew from 38SQN at Townsville was dispatched to survey the aircraft.
“All the guys in the squadron were working hard to put on the best display we could,” 38SQN CO, WGCDR Tony Thorpe told the Townsville Bulletin. “It’s unfortunate and it’s just one of those things you can’t dally with, and safety takes over.”
Initial fears that this may have been the end of the Caribou’s service life (as the remaining 14 aircraft are due to be retired in December) were allayed after a thorough inspection, and the RAAF is confident the issue can be fixed at a squadron level and the aircraft will fly again before retirement.