Pilots Eject From Canadian Military Trainer

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A Royal Canadian Air Force instructor pilot and a student ejected safely from a CT-156 Harvard II training aircraft near their base at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, after the landing gear malfunctioned Friday. The aircraft, which is the Canadian version of the Beechcraft Texan II used for primary flight training by the U.S. Air Force, was on a routine training flight when the fault occurred. Another aircraft was sent up to do a visual inspection and the decision was made to abandon the aircraft rather than risk a landing with unsafe gear. 

The instructor, who had been training pilots for about a year, and the student, who was on his or her 10th flight, punched out in an uninhabited area about two miles from the base and were reported to have walked away. They were met by rescue personnel and taken to the base medical facilities for assessment. It was the first hull loss for the Harvard II since the RCAF began training pilots in them in 2000, although one was damaged in an accidental ground ejection about five years ago. "This is actually a very good outcome," RCAF spokesman Capt. Thomas Edelson said. "Both people got out of the plane. You can buy more planes, but you can't buy more people." The RCAF doesn't actually own the aircraft. They are supplied and maintained by Bombardier under a contract to the RCAF but the instructors are military personnel. AVweb's Russ Niles took a flight in a Harvard II in 2009.