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Lack of awareness of aircraft limitations in severe icing contributed to November 2014 Air Tindi landing on Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories
Edmonton, Alberta, 24 March 2016 — In its investigation report (A14W0181) released today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) found that not using all available weather information and inadequate awareness of aircraft limitations in icing conditions led to the severe icing encounter and forced landing of an Air Tindi Cessna 208B Caravan west of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (NWT). There were no injuries to the pilot and 5 passengers, but the aircraft was substantially damaged.
On 20 November 2014, in morning darkness, an Air Tindi Cessna Caravan was on a flight from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson, NWT. During the climb to 8000 feet, the flight encountered severe icing conditions, requiring a return to Yellowknife. While on the return, the pilot was unable to maintain altitude and eventually the aircraft contacted the frozen surface of Great Slave Lake. The aircraft sustained substantial damage after striking a rock outcropping. The pilot and passengers were rescued approximately 4 hours after the forced landing.
The investigation determined that the pilot underestimated the severity and duration of icing conditions to be encountered during the flight. Additionally, as a result of incomplete weight and balance calculations, the aircraft was found to be 342 pounds above its certified maximum weight for flight into known icing conditions, and the aircraft’s centre of gravity was also not within limits. These factors led to a condition that increased the aircraft’s stall speed and reduced its ability to climb.
The investigation also found that although passengers were briefed on how to open the cabin door, it did not enable them to do so following the forced landing and they were required to exit through one of the cockpit doors. Further, due to the collision with terrain, access to survival equipment and winter clothing loaded in the belly pod was limited. As such, the investigation concluded that ineffective passenger briefings and stowage of survival equipment in an inaccessible location were additional risk factors.
Following the occurrence, Air Tindi temporarily suspended Cessna Caravan operations, conducted a safety management system investigation and undertook a number of safety actions. These included enhanced oversight of aircraft dispatch procedures, more thorough weather monitoring, improved training for operations in icing conditions, and updating the company’s emergency response plan.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
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