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Safety gear, training, helped B.C. wildfire pilot survive crash, safety board says

May 2, 2024  By The Canadian Press

Tree protruding through the front windscreen and into the cockpit of the occurrence aircraft after its collision (Photo: Conair Group Inc./TSB)

A Transportation Safety Board report says experience, recent training and safety equipment were key factors in a pilot surviving the crash of a firefighting plane south of Cranbrook in August 2022.

The report says the pilot was alone in the Air Tractor AT-802A aircraft and had just finished his eighth water drop when the engine suddenly lost power, with no time to recover because of the low altitude.

The report says the pilot couldn’t quickly diagnose the problem, so focused instead on the emergency landing, and managing the aircraft’s speed and rate of descent to ensure he would reach a landing site.

When the plane came down 200 metres from the fire, a tree went through the windshield, but the report says the pilot was wearing a helmet and had a five-point harness, which, combined with a low-impact landing, limited his injuries.


The report says the investigation wasn’t able to determine why the engine cut out and no fault was found with the fuel control unit.

The board says Conair Group Inc., the operator of the plane, is providing all its Air Tractor pilots with low-level engine failure training and has introduced a flight briefing on engine failures.

The report says the aircraft was “substantially damaged” in the crash.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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