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TSB report on 2022 collision with terrain at Qualicum Beach Airport

February 22, 2023  By Wings Staff

Accident site, approximately 1,880 feet east-southeast of the end of Runway 11 (Photo: Parksville Fire Department, TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on February 16 released its Class 4 investigation report (A22P0061) into the July 2022 collision with terrain of a privately registered Cessna 172P aircraft at the Qualicum Beach Airport, British Columbia.

On July 24, 2022, the privately registered Cessna 172P aircraft (registration C-GGSN, serial number 17274207) was conducting a recreational visual flight rules flight from Victoria International Airport (CYYJ) in BC to Qualicum Beach Airport (CAT4), BC. Before the flight, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) notes 18 U.S. gallons of 100LL aviation grade fuel were added to the aircraft at CYYJ, after which a total of 30 U.S. gallons of fuel was onboard.

At approximately 6:57 pm, after the pilot had conducted the walkaround inspection and run-up checks, TSB explains the aircraft departed CYYJ with only the pilot on board and flew at a cruising altitude between 2,300 and 2,500 feet above ground level (AGL) for approximately 27 minutes.

During the approach to CAT4 from the southeast, TSB explains the pilot conducted a reduced power descent, first to 2,000 feet AGL, then to 1,300 feet AGL. Shortly after the aircraft had levelled off at 1,300 feet AGL, TSB explains the pilot increased throttle and the engine began to sputter and its speed decreased from approximately 2,300 rpm to 1,200 rpm. The pilot further increased throttle, according to the report, but the engine did not respond. TSB notes the engine fuel mixture was set to full rich for the duration of the flight and carburetor heat was not applied at any time.


TSB in its report outlines how the pilot had been manoeuvring to join the downwind leg for Runway 29, but opted to conduct an emergency landing on Runway 11 and announced his intention on the airport’s mandatory frequency. TSB explains the pilot initiated a left turn, reduced throttle, added full flaps, and entered a forward slip in a steep descent. The aircraft briefly contacted the surface of Runway 11 beyond Taxiway C (at which point less than 1,850 feet of runway remained) and became airborne again, explains TSB, as the pilot initiated a go-around and increased the throttle to full power, raised the flaps, and the aircraft entered a climb.

Approximately 19 seconds after the initial touchdown, TSB in its report explains the pilot initiated a steep right turn immediately before reaching tree-covered, down-sloping terrain, and the aircraft began a rapid descent in a right bank and nose-down attitude. The pilot declared a MAYDAY on the airport’s mandatory frequency, explains TSB, and the aircraft impacted terrain in the trees along the edge of a farmer’s field. The pilot received serious injuries and was transported to hospital by air ambulance.


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