Aviation news release 2006

TSB # A08/2006

THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA INVESTIGATION INTO A FATAL CARGO PLANE CRASH IN HALIFAX REVEALS THE NEED FOR SYSTEMS TO MONITOR TAKE-OFF PERFORMANCE

(Gatineau, Quebec, June 29, 2006) - The fatal crash of an MK Airlines Limited freight transport plane at Halifax International Airport, Nova Scotia, underscores the need for better systems to ensure correct take-off speed and thrust, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said in its final report (A04H0004) released today.

The report concluded that the speed and thrust settings selected by the crew members in preparation for their October 14, 2004 flight to Spain were incorrect for the weight of the Boeing 747-244SF, a converted jumbo jet. The aircraft did not achieve sufficient altitude, hit a berm at the end of the runway, crashed into the adjacent forest, and burned. All seven crew members died.

The investigation found that the crew did not receive adequate training on the Boeing Laptop Tool, a computer program used to calculate the take-off velocity and power necessary in light of factors such as fuel weight, payload, and environmental conditions. TSB investigators found that crew fatigue and a dark take-off environment may have compounded the likelihood of error. As a consequence, the Board called on Canadian and international regulatory authorities to ensure that crews of large aircraft will be alerted in time when there is not enough power to take off safely. The Board recommended that:

The Department of Transport, in conjunction with the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Federal Aviation Administration, the European Aviation Safety Agency, and other regulatory organizations, establish a requirement for transport category aircraft to be equipped with a take-off performance monitoring system that would provide flight crews with an accurate and timely indication of inadequate take-off performance.

A06-07

"We are asking the world's regulatory agencies to ensure that crews of large aircraft will be alerted in time when there is not enough power to take off safely," said TSB Acting Chair Wendy Tadros. "Our investigation uncovered the causes and contributing factors. We now need to work to ensure that this type of accident doesn't happen again."

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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The public report, A04H0004, the fact sheet on take-off accidents - inadequate performance, the fact sheet on Chapter 6 of International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 13 and photos are also available on this site.


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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca