Aviation Safety Letter 2/2004

Taken from the TSB and CADORS file

Tide and current play havoc with the landing of an amphibious aircraft: The pilot of a SEAREY aircraft was carrying out a demonstration flight on the Fraser River. Upon landing, the nose of the aircraft hit a swell and went under water. The cockpit filled rapidly and the aircraft began to sink. The pilot was able to unbuckle his seat belt, surface, and inflate his life vest, but his passenger was not so lucky. He sustained a fatal injury to the head during the sudden deceleration and drowned. There are limits of operations beyond which safety cannot be assured. A river close to the ocean, such as the Fraser, experiences the effects of the tide and current daily. These represent challenges that can easily catch the unwary pilot and lead a flight to disaster. The solution is to train and limit operations within well-defined parameters of flight.

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