TSB releases report on Convair 580 accident
April 27, 2012, Gatineau, Que. - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A10P0244) into the July 2010 collision with terrain of a firefighting tanker operated by Conair Aviation Ltd. Both crew members were killed in the accident.
The Conair Aviation Ltd. Convair 580, operating as Tanker 448, departed Kamloops at approximately 8 pm Pacific Daylight Time to fight a wildfire near Lytton, British Columbia. The bombing run required crossing the edge of a ravine in the side of the Fraser River canyon before descending on the fire located in the ravine. About 22 minutes after departure, Tanker 448 approached the ravine and struck trees. An unanticipated retardant drop occurred coincident with the tree strike. Seconds later, Tanker 448 entered a left-hand spin and collided with terrain. A post-impact explosion and fire consumed much of the wreckage.
Among the findings of the investigation were that visual illusion may have affected the pilot's depth perception such that he was unable to assess the flight path profile in sufficient time to avoid the trees on rising terrain, and that afterwards the aircraft entered an aerodynamic stall and spin from which recovery was not possible at such a low altitude.