July 13, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Ralph Osborne Campney (Minister of National Defence)


Mr. Campney:

Mr. Chairman, I think I hardly need assure the hon. member that there is no group of people who have deeper regret over these training casualties than the R.C.A.F. and myself as head of the department. I can assure my hon. friend that intensive studies are continually going on to find out the causes of these accidents and what steps can be taken to remove those causes. Pilot error is an element in any system of training which you cannot eliminate entirely. We discussed this matter the last time my estimates were up, and all I can say is that we have made a thorough study of our casualties in training and subsequent to training, and we find that they are a little lower than in Great Britain and a little higher than in the United States.
It must be remembered that as our training facilities grow and the number of pupils and hours flown increase, the casualties will rise. I am satisfied from such investigation as we 50433-385
Supply-National Defence have been able to make that in relation to the number of people being trained our casualties are not out of line. That does not mean we are not endeavouring by every possible means to eliminate anything that might contribute to these accidents.
I am informed that in the last few months the rate of casualties per thousand flying hours has been steadily decreasing, showing that our studies and remedial steps have been effective. You can never get to the end of this thing; you can never say that you have a perfect system, that you cannot do any better. No country can do that. Nevertheless we must go on striving to improve the training in every way we can to reduce accidents. That is what we are trying to do, and we are meeting with a good deal of success.

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