Regulations and You

Aviation Safety: An Important Concept for Transport Canada
by Carmelle Salomon-Labbé, Acting Officer Advisory and Appeals, Policy and Regulatory Services, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

For this issue, the Advisory and Appeals Division has chosen two decisions rendered by the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (TATC) that deal with aviation safety. As usual, the names of the people involved in these matters have not been provided, as the purpose of this article is to inform and educate the aviation community.

Case #1

In the first decision, released in the fall of 2006, the Minister laid charges against a pilot for landing on a runway when there was an apparent risk of collision with another aircraft in the landing path. In doing so, the accused pilot breached Canadian Aviation Regulation (CAR) 602.19(10), which clearly stipulates the following:

"No person shall conduct or attempt to conduct a take-off or landing in an aircraft until there is no apparent risk of collision with any aircraft, person, vessel, vehicle or structure in the take-off or landing path."

The facts of the case can be summarized simply as follows: the pilot-in-command of a Piper Cherokee landed on a runway while another aircraft, a Beech Musketeer, was on the same runway.

It was demonstrated at the hearing that the following factors posed a risk of collision:

  • there had been no communication or coordination between the two pilots who landed on the same runway;
  • due to the crosswinds, the run had to be longer than usual;
  • the accused pilot failed to call in on final, and as a result, found himself behind the Beech Musketeer at one point, and at another point, even found himself opposite the Beech Musketeer;
  • the distance between the aircraft involved was such that, had there been a mechanical failure, a collision could have occurred. At one point, they were only 18 seconds apart from each other.

In his decision, the TATC Member said that, given the weather conditions, the landing pilot should have extended his downwind run in order to eliminate the risk of collision, and also should have called in on final and made sure the Beech Musketeer was no longer on the runway. The TATC Member further stated that the pilot did not exercise all due diligence during this incident.

Clearly then, this case is one that goes to the heart of "aviation safety," a concept that is an integral part of Transport Canada's mandate.

Case #2

The second case was released in 2007 and involves three offences.

Upon receipt of a complaint, an investigation was conducted and revealed that the owner of an amateur-built airplane had committed the following infractions:

  1. The owner acted as a flight crew member when he did not have a valid licence or permit, thereby contravening CAR 401.03(1);
  2. He operated his aircraft without a valid flight authority, which is contrary to CAR 605.03(1); and
  3. He did not subscribe for liability insurance, as prescribed by CAR 606.02(8)(a).

It is interesting to note that the Minister had already charged the owner for infractions 1 and 3 in the past.

Furthermore, when the infractions were committed, the owner's amateur-built aircraft was subject to a detention order issued pursuant to paragraph 8.7(1)(d) of the Aeronautics Act. The Minister had reason to believe that, if flown, the aircraft would pose a threat to public safety. Despite his formal undertaking to meet the conditions enunciated in the notice of detention, the owner operated the aircraft on his land, behind his residence.

At the hearing, the owner admitted that, on the date specified in the notice of assessment, he had operated his aircraft in violation of the CARs. In order to exonerate himself from the charges, he explained that, on that day, he had flown the aircraft unintentionally and had done everything necessary to avoid committing the offence. However, as a consequence of the high winds, the aircraft took off on its own. The defence put forward before the TATC was not accepted. The TATC Member found that, given his experience, the owner knew, or ought to have known, that in operating his aircraft in the high winds, his aircraft could have taken off. The TATC Member further stated that the whole incident could have been avoided had the owner followed the prescribed flight procedures to land his aircraft after it took off.

In the end, the TATC Member was satisfied that all three offences had taken place, but reduced the total fine the Minister had imposed on the owner by two thousand dollars.

The owner argued that he had been duly diligent in taking all reasonable precautions to avoid the infractions, but the TATC did not accept his arguments.

This is a good example of a case dealing with detention orders issued pursuant to paragraph 8.7(1)(d) of the Aeronautics Act. The lesson learned from this decision is that if you formally promise to comply with conditions set out in a notice of detention, you must honour your promise; otherwise, your non-compliance can come back to haunt you, should a matter proceed before the TATC. In this second decision, the owner's non-compliance with the detention order, as well as the other offences he committed in the past, were factored in when the sanction was imposed.

Pilots Beware: Geese Are in the Air
by Monica Deveau, Co-op Student from the University of Waterloo, Aerodromes and Air Navigation Standards, Standards, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

Seniors are not the only ones taking to the sky. That's right, spring is arriving and Canada geese will once again be on the move, although not for as long as the fall migration, they will certainly be in large numbers. In fact, a report by the United States Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services suggests the population of Canada geese in the U.S. and Canada has increased fourfold from 1970 to 2007. The same report provides a jaw-dropping population estimate of 5.8 million Canada geese, with 61 percent, or 3.5 million, of these birds no longer wasting energy on migration due to a variety of issues, including climate change. Many geese remain year-round in some of North America's major cities. This is a reminder to all pilots that exposure to Canada geese is high.

Remember to take all precautions necessary to avoid striking the big bird (typically weighing 8‎10 lbs, and beyond the certification requirements for almost all aviation engines, windshields, and airframes). Canada geese are a serious hazard because of their size, ability to fly in large flocks at relatively high altitudes, and attraction to large, open, grassy areas typically found on and near airports. As several reports from the U.S. suggest, the damage a goose can cause to an aircraft is significant. On March 22, 2006, an Airbus A319 struck and ingested one or two Canada geese while on 2-mi. final. The engine was shut down and the pilot declared an emergency. Fire trucks were called to the scene and followed the aircraft to the gate. The crew at this point was unaware that the engine failure was related to an impact with geese. The cost of repair for this incident was estimated at $2,675,600 (U.S.).

A Canada goose strike with a B-727-200, resulting in the destruction of the engine. Photo by Bob Johnson.

A Canada goose strike with a B-727-200, resulting in the destruction of the engine. Photo by Bob Johnson.

Another event involving a goose and an aircraft occurred on August 3, 2006. During takeoff, a Cessna Citation 560 ingested a goose in the left engine, resulting in an uncontained failure. The aircraft departed the runway during the aborted takeoff. The top cowling and fan were damaged to the extent that they needed to be replaced. The aircraft was taken out of service for about 13 days, with costs estimated at $750,000 (U.S.). The final accident addressed in this article occurred on December 29, 2006. This event involved a Canada goose and a Vans Aircraft RV-4. When the goose and aircraft collided, damage was done to the propeller, a wing, the fuselage, the landing gear, and the tail. However, when the bird impacted the propeller, the aircraft began to shake violently. The pilot returned to the airport and was approaching high and fast, so he attempted a go-round. He unfortunately lost control of the aircraft and hit the ground 500 ft beyond the departure end of the runway. Both pilot and passenger received serious injuries. The estimated cost of this accident was about $30,000 (U.S.).

As can be seen from these real-life scenarios, a collision with Canada geese can ruin your day, so please remember to stay alert because geese are taking to the air.

Date modified: