Wings Magazine

TSB recommends mandatory flight recorders

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) stated that it is recommending the mandatory installation of lightweight flight recording systems by all commercial and private business operators not currently required to carry them.

The TSB also stated that it is concerned with Transport Canada’s reactive approach to oversight of private business aircraft operations, as outlined in an investigation report (A16P0186) released on April 26 into the 2016 fatal loss of control and collision with terrain of a Cessna Citation 500 near Kelowna, British Columbia. Transport Canada (TC) as a result of the report into this incident said that it will conduct targeted inspections of private business operators starting in April 2018.

On October 13 2016, TBS explains a Cessna Citation 500 that was privately operated by Norjet Inc. departed Kelowna Airport, British Columbia, on a night instrument flight rules flight to Calgary/Springbank Airport, Alberta. Shortly after departure, the aircraft departed controlled flight, entering a steep descending turn to the right until it struck the ground. No emergency call was made. All of the occupants, including the pilot and three passengers, were fatally injured. Impact forces and a post-impact fire destroyed the aircraft.

Because there were no flight recording systems on board the aircraft, the TSB explains it could not determine the cause of the accident. The most plausible scenario is that the pilot, continues TSB, who was likely dealing with a high workload associated with flying the aircraft alone, experienced spatial disorientation and departed from controlled flight shortly after takeoff. The investigation also determined that the pilot did not have the recent night flying experience required by Transport Canada for carrying passengers at night.

“We don't like having to say ‘We don't know’ when asked what caused an accident and why,” said Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB. “We want to be able to provide definitive answers – to the victims' families, to Canada's aviation industry, to the Canadian public. This is why we are calling today for the mandatory installation of lightweight flight recording systems on commercial and private business aircraft not currently required to carry them.”

As mentioned earlier, the board also raised a concern with the way Transport Canada (TC) had conducted oversight of private business aviation in Canada. During the course of its investigation, the TSB found no record that the operator of this aircraft had ever been inspected by TC. As such, TC was unaware of safety deficiencies in its flight operations, such as the failure to obtain approval for single-pilot operation of the aircraft and the pilot's lack of recent night flying experience required to carry passengers at night. TC planned to begin targeted inspections of private business operators starting in April 2018.

April 30, 2018  By Wings Staff


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