News release

Disappointing response to recommendation: TSB urges Transport Canada to take stronger measures to improve safety of floatplane travel

Gatineau, Quebec, 13 March 2014 – With mixed results, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its assessment of Transport Canada's response to the two TSB recommendations arising from the investigation into the fatal May 2012 crash of a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver in Lillabelle Lake, Ontario.

In the Lillabelle Lake investigation report (A12O0071), the TSB made two recommendations which build on two outstanding recommendations (A11-05 and A11-06) aimed at making floatplanes safer. The first recommendation (A13-02) calls for mandatory emergency egress training for commercial floatplane pilots. Transport Canada (TC) indicated that it will propose new regulations to require this training; therefore, the Board has assessed this response with a rating of Satisfactory Intent.

“We are encouraged that TC will require emergency egress training for commercial seaplane pilots,” said Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. “Pilots who have this training stand a better chance of getting out of a submerged plane – and a better chance of helping their passengers get out.”

The second recommendation (A13-03) calls for mandatory shoulder harnesses for all smaller commercial floatplanes. In its response, TC said fleet-wide installation of shoulder harnesses is not feasible, and noted it will continue its efforts to promote safety education. TC has not provided any objective information to demonstrate it is not feasible to install rear-seat shoulder harnesses; nor has TC shown the risk would not be reduced significantly if they were installed. The Board assessed this response as Unsatisfactory because the proposed action will not significantly reduce the safety deficiency.

“The Board is disappointed with the inaction from TC on shoulder harnesses,” added Tadros. “The safety benefits have been proven, and we know they are now standard on many floatplanes, including commonly used Cessna and DHC-2 aircraft. Requiring them on all floatplanes will only save more lives.”

The Board uses an Assessment Rating Guide (which includes definitions for the status of recommendations) to evaluate the responses and their overall effectiveness. Progress made to address TSB recommendations is assessed by the Board on an ongoing basis.

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