A91P0140-Vancouver Island Helicopters Ltd.-Bell 206B JetRanger (Helicopter) C-GVIR Sulphurets Creek, British Columbia 24 July 1991
Safety Action Required
(as indicated in the TSB Report)
Flight and Duty Time Provisions
The helicopter in this occurrence was being operated in accordance with Air Navigation Order (ANO) VII, No. 6. Article 42.1 of this ANO establishes the allowable maximum flight and duty times and minimum rest periods for flight crews. The ANO also recognizes that increased demands are placed on pilots performing certain tasks and, therefore, requires that operators consider the effects of these demands when establishing company pilot duty time limits. Therefore, it requires that each air carrier specify flight and duty time limits, and rest periods based on factors such as the type of operation, the type of rotorcraft, the crew complement, the frequency of take-offs and landings, etc. Similar provisions exist in the ANOs for large and small aeroplanes.
Although ANOs do contain provisions to ensure that deployed helicopter pilots flying intensive external load operations, or pilots engaged in demanding specialty operations are protected by more stringent flight and duty time limits, the maximum limits found in ANOs are routinely applied without reduction. A sampling of operations manuals revealed that maximum flight and duty times are commonly applied, despite the especially fatiguing nature of certain operations. In this case, the company's operations manual only required a reduction of duty times for IFR flights. Apparently, an important provision of ANOs is being overlooked or misunderstood by carriers.
The Board considers the routine application of legislated maximum limits to be inappropriate for certain operations, particularly in view of the recent increases in flight and duty time limits. As evidenced by this accident, this can lead to fatigue, especially for pilots employed in specialty or other demanding flight operations. The Board believes that the intent of ANO VII, No. 6, Article 42.1 is not being met in its entirety. Therefore, the Board recommended that:
The Department of Transport ensure that air carriers establish company flight and duty time limits commensurate with the demands of their flight operations. A93-11
Transport Canada Response:
In April 1993, the Minister of State for Transport, because of concerns expressed by certain members of the aviation community, decided not to proceed with amendments to the Air Regulation as recommended by the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Flight and Duty Time Limitations in 1991. The Minister also decided to allow the current exemption Order, which incorporates the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, to remain in force for a two year period. This was to provide Transport Canada Aviation with an opportunity to consult with the aviation community and, at the same time, not place an undue hardship upon the aviation industry while the regulations were being reviewed.
With the promulgation of the new Commercial Air Services Regulations, company operations manuals will be required to contain specific information concerning flight time limitations, duty time limitations and rest requirements. The standards associated with the Regulations will define the limitations in reference to specific types of operations. In drafting these standards, the types of operations, frequency of take-offs and landings, departure and arrival times, crew complement and other operational requirements as outlined in the Air Navigation Orders, Series VII, Nos. 3 and 6, will be taken into consideration.
Continuing dialogue on this issue is mandatory in order to formulate legislation that is safe, reasonable and applicable to the Canadian aviation industry.
Transport Canada Aviation intends to form working groups for fixed-wing and rotorcraft operations which will include industry representatives to address these issues. The discussions will include but not be limited to the recommendations contained in the Minister’s Advisory Committee report which formed the basis for the limitations contained in the current exemption. It is anticipated that cumulative fatigue, continuous duty due to operational delays, standby (reserve), and extended range operations will be among the topics addressed. The mandate of the working groups will be to make recommendations which will form the basis of legislation
It is anticipated that the flight and duty time limitations and rest requirements which result from these working groups will provide adequate protection from fatigue for flight crew members. Back
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