Aviation Investigation Report A94O0142

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigated this occurrence for the purpose of advancing transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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Collision - Wave
Consolidated Aeronautics Inc, LA-4-200 Lake Buccaneer, C-GOCU
Cooks Bay, Ontario
05 June 1994

Summary

During a water take-off from Cooks Bay, the aircraft was on the step accelerating to flying speed, when it struck and bounced across the wake of a large boat. The aircraft bounced two or three times, and with each bounce the aircraft struck the water in a steeper, nose-down attitude. The force of the impacts substantially damaged the nose of the aircraft. There were two passengers and the pilot on board. One passenger suffered serious injuries, one minor injuries, and the pilot suffered some internal bruising. Local boaters were immediately on the scene and transported the two passengers to shore. The pilot stayed with the aircraft and had someone in a boat tie to the aircraft and tow it toward shore. The aircraft was slowly taking on water through the damaged nose section and sank as it was being towed in. The pilot abandoned the aircraft when it started to sink.

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Other Factual Information

The pilot had flown twice in the six months preceding the accident flight. The first flight was a take-off from Buttonville (land), a landing and take-off on Cooks Bay (water, and site of the accident), and a landing at Buttonville; the second flight was a take-off from Buttonville and a landing at Cooks Bay. The accident occurred on the subsequent take-off attempt.

Air Navigation Order (ANO), Series IV, No. 2, states the following:

  • 9. No holder of a pilot licence shall exercise the privileges of the licence for the purpose of conducting a flight in an aircraft unless
    • (b) where passengers other than a flight test examiner authorized by the Minister are carried on board the aircraft, the holder has, within the six months preceding the flight, completed at least five take-offs and landings in aircraft of the same category and class as that aircraft.
    • (i) by day or night, if the flight is conducted by day ...

There were no shoulder harnesses in the aircraft. There were life jackets available and were used by all of the occupants.

Cooks Bay is a shallow extension of Lake Simcoe. The weather was sunny, warm, and the wind was light. The waves were small but there were a large number of boats on the lake. Wakes from large boats are common on Cooks Bay.

Analysis

The pilot did not have any recent experience with water take-offs and landings, and he did not meet the ANO requirements to carry passengers on the occurrence flight. When the aircraft struck the boat wake and bounced, the pilot was likely unable to keep the aircraft in a normal take-off attitude. With each successive bounce, the pitch oscillations increased in magnitude until the aircraft plunged nose first into the water and came to an abrupt stop.

If shoulder harnesses had been available and worn by the passengers, the severity of the injuries may have been reduced, or the injuries prevented.

Findings

  1. The aircraft struck the wake of a boat during the take-off run and pitched nose down into the water.
  2. Cooks Bay is popular with boaters and large boat wakes are common.
  3. This was the pilot's second water take-off, and the first with passengers, since the previous fall.
  4. The pilot did not meet the ANO requirements to carry passengers.
  5. There were no shoulder harnesses in the aircraft.

Causes and Contributing Factors

The pilot was unable to maintain a normal take-off attitude when the aircraft struck the wake of a large boat, and he subsequently lost control of the aircraft.

This report concludes the Transportation Safety Board's investigation into this occurrence. Consequently, the Board, consisting of Chairperson, John W. Stants, and members Gerald E. Bennett, Zita Brunet, the Hon. Wilfred R. DuPont and Hugh MacNeil, authorized the release of this report on 9 March 1995.