Decision making and limited experience central factors in fatal 2011 air accident in Barrhaven, Ontario
Gatineau, Quebec, 31 October 2013 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada today released its investigation report (A11O0239) into the 2011 loss of control and collision with terrain of a Cessna 177A in Barrhaven, Ontario. The accident took the lives of the pilot and passenger.
On 14 December 2011, the pilot and passenger, co-owners of the aircraft, left Wilkes-Barre Airport, Pennsylvania, just after 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, heading for Ottawa/Carp Airport, Ontario. Icing was forecast en route, and low visibility was forecast at the destination. The night flight was carried out under an instrument flight rules flight plan, which is used when a pilot flies an aircraft with reference to cockpit instrumentation. As the aircraft neared Ottawa, the flight diverted to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport because of deteriorating weather in Carp. Shortly after 7 p.m., while on final approach, the aircraft departed from the final approach path, struck power lines and crashed in a field about 2 nautical miles west of the runway threshold.
The TSB investigation found that, while attempting to fly the precision approach at night in weather conditions unfamiliar to the pilot, control of the aircraft was lost and the aircraft crashed.
It was identified that if pilots possess limited experience flying at night or in instrument flight conditions, or if their experience is not current, the operation of an aircraft in marginal weather conditions increases the risk of a loss of control. Additionally, if the effects of the phenomenon known as “press-on-it is” are present, there is an increased risk that a decision will be made to depart or continue a flight when significantly less risky alternatives exist.
The TSB cautions that currency in conducting night flights and in flying in instrument flight conditions is key to preventing accidents.
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
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