TSB recommending mandatory flight recorders after an investigation of Prentice crash

Former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, shown in this Morinville News file photo, was one of three who died in a plane crash in October of 2016. The crash was recently investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

by Morinville News Staff

After an investigation into the Oct. 13, 2016 crash that killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is recommending the mandatory installation of lightweight flight recording systems by all commercial and private business operators not currently required to carry them.

TSB ‘s report indicates the Cessna Citation 500 privately operated by Norjet Inc. departed Kelowna Airport for Calgary/Springbank Airport with three passengers on board. 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 occupants died in the crash and the force of impact and resulting fire destroyed the aircraft.

TSB could not determine the cause of the accident because there was no flight recording systems on board the aircraft. Their best assumption is the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and departed from controlled flight shortly after takeoff.

“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 in a release. “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.”

In addition to the recommendation of mandatory flight recorders, the Board has raised concern with the way Transport Canada (TC) had conducted oversight of private business aviation in Canada.

The TSB investigation found no record the aircraft operator had ever been inspected by TC, meaning TC was unaware of a “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 has said that it will conduct targeted inspections of private business operators starting this spring.

TSB say they will continue to monitor this safety issue.

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