An aviation expert says cracks recently detected in most of the Canadian military's Cyclone helicopters could be linked to the aircraft's folding tail mechanism.
Larry McWha, former commander of a CH-124 Sea King helicopter squadron in Nova Scotia, says he developed that hypothesis after noting the Cyclone's manufacturer, Sikorsky Aircraft, had not issued any related directives about the civilian version of the helicopter, known as the S-92.
Unlike the CH-148 Cyclone, the S-92 does not have a folding tail boom, a feature that allows the Cyclone to fit inside the small hangars aboard Canada's fleet of Halifax-class frigates.
On Monday, a spokeswoman for the Department of National Defence said it would be premature to respond as the military is still investigating the cause of the cracks and how to repair them.
The Royal Canadian Air Forced confirmed Sunday it had discovered cracks in the tails of 19 of its 23 Cyclones.
The Air Force has said the maritime helicopters have not been grounded or placed on an operational pause.