Kelowna plane crash prompts TSB call for recording devices in all planes

TSB calls for expanded requirements for the use of Cockpit Voice Recorders and Flight Data Recorders, following the Kelowna accident

  • Oct. 17, 2016 8:00 a.m.

The Kelowna area plane crash that killed former a Alberta premier and three others has sparked a call for recording technology to be installed in all aircraft.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada team is currently in the Field phase of the investigation (A16P0186) into the Oct. 13 accident north of Kelowna.

Current activities are focused on the collection of information from the accident site and various other sources, but a TSB spokesperson said the absence of a Cockpit Voice Recorder  or a Flight Data Recorder will make this investigation particularly challenging.

The privately-operated Cessna Citation involved in the crash was not equipped with, nor was it required to carry, a CVR or FDR. In Canada, only multi-engine, turbine-powered commercial aircraft flown by two pilots and carrying six or more passengers are required to carry a CVR on board.

“In Canada, Transport Canada requires medium and large commercial aircraft to be equipped with onboard flight recorders, but there are still no requirements for such recorders on smaller aircraft,” said Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB.

“As early as 1991, the Board made a recommendation calling for the upgrade of flight recorder requirements. This latest accident is another reminder of how important these recorders are. If we are to get to the underlying causes of these tragic accidents, Transport Canada and the aviation industry need to take immediate action to address this outstanding safety issue.”

Following TSB investigation A88O0491, the Board issued the following recommendation in 1991:

The Department of Transport expedite legislation for upgrading the flight recorder requirements for Canadian-registered aircraft.Since then, the aviation industry has developed several different lightweight flight recording systems which could be installed in smaller aircraft at a low cost. These flight recording systems could be used by accident investigators to identify safety deficiencies and reduce risk in a timely manner.

“The TSB urges the industry and private corporate aircraft owners to take advantage of the new, low-cost flight recording technology to advance safety in their operations,” said  Fox.

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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