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Airplane crash among worst in past eight years

Aug. 27, 2012, Listowel, Ont. - The airplane crash that killed four people near Listowel is among the worst air disasters Ontario has seen since 2004.


August 27, 2012
By The Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Aug. 27, 2012, Listowel, Ont. – The airplane crash that killed four
people near Listowel is among the worst air disasters Ontario has seen
since 2004.

It’s among the worst crashes involving a Cessna 172, a
single-engine four-seater that may be the most popular light aircraft in
the world. And it’s far worse than any recent accidents involving the
Breslau-based flight school that rented the airplane to the pilot.

Since 1995, the Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre has
seen just one injury in seven accidents involving its aircraft,
according to civil aviation records. The flight school, also known as
the Waterloo-Wellington Flying Club, owns 27 airplanes including 14
Cessna 172 models according to the Canadian civil aircraft register.

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The U.S.-built airplane that crashed Friday is 12 years
old, built in 2000 according to civil aviation records. The local flying
club has owned it since 2002. It had two previous owners.

The crash raises Ontario’s 2012 aviation toll to 14
killed in seven crashes according to aviation records. This includes
five crashes involving airplanes, one involving a glider and one
involving an ultra-light craft.

On average 15 people die per year in aviation mishaps in
Ontario. Last year nine died, including a helicopter pilot killed
seconds after takeoff at the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
The local airport also saw a pilot killed in 2009 when a homemade
airplane crashed east of a runway. 

Ontario’s most recent air tragedies of comparable scale include:  

— Last January a Piper airplane took off from Winnipeg
and crashed onto frozen North Spirit Lake in northwest Ontario, killing
four.  

— In 2009 a Piper airplane on its way from Kingston to Sudbury crashed in eastern Ontario, killing four.

— In 2004 a Beaver float plane crashed and killed four
while on its way to Fawcett Lake, after taking off near Sioux Lookout in
northwest Ontario. 

— In 2004 a Cessna 208 on its way to Windsor crashed and killed 10 after taking off from Pelee Island.    

The Cessna Aircraft Company in the U.S. has been making
versions of its 172 model since 1955 according to its corporate website.
By 2007 more than 40,000 had been built, making it among the most
successful light aircraft ever produced. Records show almost 2,400
registered in Canada.

Friday’s crash is the fifth time in two decades that four people have been killed in a Cessna 172 in Canada.

Ontario’s last fatal crash of a Cessna 172 happened in
June, 2010 when a pilot who had been towing a banner above the Toronto
skyline was killed trying to land at Toronto’s Buttonville Airport. 

In 2010 in Quebec, a pilot and three passengers were
killed in a Cessna 172 operated by a flight school. The airplane crashed
and caught fire near a runway while trying to land. 

Since 1993 in Canada, 88 people have been killed in 50
fatal crashes of a Cessna 172, excluding Friday’s crash. This includes
18 killed in 13 fatal Ontario crashes.

 

Records show the Cessna that crashed, marked C-FNET, was named in six
minor aviation incidents since 2006, none classified as accidents.
Examples include regulatory issues around filing flight plans or
securing clearance from control towers.

The worst recorded mishap involving the
Waterloo-Wellington flight school since 1995 happened in 2007. A student
pilot in a Cessna 152 suffered a minor leg injury after bouncing on the
runway, blowing a tire and veering onto the grass while practising
takeoffs at the Breslau airport.  

Civil aviation records detail other accidents involving aircraft owned by the school:  

— In 2010 a Cessna 172 (not the one that crashed)
clipped a fence at the Kingston airport. This spun it around and its
propeller hit the fence. The aircraft was damaged but two people on the
plane were not hurt.

— In 2009 while on the ground a homemade aircraft ran
into a club-owned Cessna 172 (not the one that crashed) near a runway at
the local airport. Both aircraft were damaged. Nobody was hurt.

— In 2004 a student piloting a Piper aircraft mistakenly
lifted the landing gear when touching down on a runway at the local
airport. Both propellers hit the pavement but the plane stayed in the
air and the instructor managed to land it. The propellers were damaged.
Nobody was hurt.

— In 2001 the pilot of a Piper Seminole failed to put
the landing gear down. The airplane ground to a halt on the runway, its
propellers bent and fuselage scraped. The pilot was not hurt.

— In 1999 the pilot of a Cessna 172 (not the one that
crashed) veered off a runway and through the infield at the local
airport, shedding a piece of the landing gear. Nobody was hurt.

— In 1995 a Cessna 172 (not the one that crashed)
reported being in distress after hitting something, possibly a bird, on
its way from Burlington to Owen Sound. Nobody was hurt.