Evaluation-Single-Engine Turbine Airplanes Transporting Passengers in IFR Flight or Night VFR
by Jim McMenemy, Project Manager, Safety Intelligence, Policy and Regulatory Services, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

In 1996, the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) were changed to allow air operators to carry passengers in approved single-engine instrument flight rules (SEIFR) aircraft. The rule change has never been evaluated to determine whether it has contributed to a reduction of risk for the travelling public. The goals of this paper are to:

  1. evaluate the extent to which this rule change achieved its goal of reducing risk to the travelling public; and
  2. identify and analyze residual risks that pertain to SEIFR.

For this report, SEIFR refers to single-engine, turbine-powered, commercial aircraft transporting passengers under the authority of Operations Specification(OpsSpec) 001-703. Occurrences to aircraft operating outside of Ops Spec 001-703, such as cargo flights, are cited because the data relate to essentially similar aircraft, and as such, support the evaluation.


In the 1990s, operators and aircraft manufacturers were requesting that Transport Canada (TC) allow turbine-powered single-engine aircraft to conduct passenger-carrying operations. They argued that such a move would enhance safety for the travelling public by addressing three hazards, or sources of risk:

  1. allowing SEIFR under controlled conditions would provide pilots with a safe option when encountering marginal or deteriorating conditions, or contemplating flight under such conditions, as opposed to trying to maintain VFR flight in challenging conditions;
  2. the higher reliability of the engines in potential SEIFR aircraft would provide a lower level of risk than that associated with reciprocating engines, including most light twin engines; and
  3. aircraft capable of SEIFR passenger operations would increase potential fleet utilization, which could influence equipment selection in favour of more reliable, capable, and safer turbine-powered aircraft.

Before changing the regulations, TC evaluated the accident and fatality records, the reliability of potential engines and aircraft, and identified associated risk factors. Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) was a major concern to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and TC during the 1990s. CFIT accidents kill more people than any other type of aircraft accident. They typically occur in poor visibility conditions and/or at night, when the aircraft can collide with an obstacle before the pilot can react and avoid it. If the SEIFR rule change were to lead to pilots selecting a less risky option than flying VFR in poor conditions, this might, over time, lead to a decrease in the number of air taxi aircraft CFIT accidents with passengers on board.

Pre-implementation accident record

TC staff conducted a retrospective analysis of 129CFIT11 and loss-of-control accidents occurring between 1984and1995. Accidents were examined and categorized. Two of the categories were VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and night VFR.

Thirty-seven accidents involved fixed-wing aircraft on VFR flights entering IMC. Fifteen were privately–registered, and are therefore not relevant to the SEIFR rule change. Commercial flights in fixed-wing aircraft had 21 accidents, resulting in 27 fatalities and 10 serious injuries.

There were 27 night VFR accidents, of which 18 were in commercial fixed-wing operations. These commercial aviation accidents claimed 21 lives and resulted in five serious injuries.

The accident and fatality totals represented an unacceptable level of risk, which, with other things being equal, would be reduced significantly-if not eliminated-had IFR been available to the pilots. Risk in aviation, however, is not one-dimensional. Reducing the risk associated with one hazard can create new hazards, or exacerbate those already existing. TC staff examined the issue thoroughly to determine how a rule change might affect the overall risk profile.

The Clarenville accident

The Clarenville accident investigation generated six safety recommendations aimed at enhancing SEIFR safety.

System reliability

Supporters of SEIFR claimed that single-engine, turbine-powered aircraft represented a lower level of risk to the travelling public than the bulk of the existing air taxi fleet, reciprocating engines in either a single or light twin configuration [certified under U.S. Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 23]. All candidate aircraft for SEIFR are powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine variants. The PT6 has earned a reputation for excellent reliability. ATC position paper,2 entitled Commercial Passenger Service-Night/Instrument Meteorological Conditions in Single-Engined Aeroplanes, refers to an optimistic engine failure rate for the Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine of 1/200000hr. The source of this data is not cited.

The PT6 is far more reliable than the reciprocating engines that predominated in the air taxi fleet. The PT6 delivers a safety advantage over reciprocating engines in single-engine aircraft.

Fleet composition

Equipment selection is a complex decision, influenced by strategic factors, economic factors (including cost, finance considerations, operating costs, market factors, etc.), and opportunity.

The SEIFR fleet is comprised, almost entirely, of CessnaC208 and Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. In 1995, the year before the SEIFR rule change, there were eight C208aircraft registered in Canada and no PC-12s.

The regulations

The CARs are organized so that different aspects of an activity, such as carrying passengers, aircraft equipment required, crew qualifications, and maintenance requirements, are dealt with in different sections and subsections. The carriage of passengers in an SEIFR regime requires that an operator obtain approval for an Ops Spec. The Ops Spec is added to the operations manual and thereafter carries the force of law. Approval of the Ops Spec requires the operator to adhere to higher standard requirements for pilot experience, training, aircraft equipment, and maintenance.

Post-implementation evaluation

As noted above, it was postulated that SEIFR would enhance safety of the air taxi sector and the public using air taxi services in three major ways:

  1. CFIT accidents (the most severe type of air accident) would be reduced by providing a safe alternative to VFR flight in marginal or deteriorating conditions;
  2. the high reliability of turbine engines in SEIFR aircraft would provide a lower level of risk than that associated with reciprocating engines; and
  3. SEIFR might encourage operators to replace old aircraft with newer, more reliable and capable equipment.

Post-implementation accident record

Approved SEIFR aircraft occurrences

All accidents and relevant incidents involving aircraft approved for operation under the SEIFR Ops Spec were drawn from the TSB Aviation Safety Information System (ASIS) database. Twenty-one accidents and one incident were identified. There were three fatal accidents accounting for 21 deaths. The TSB is still investigating the C208 accident that occurred near Port Alberni, B.C., in January 2006, which resulted from an engine failure during IFR flight. Factual information released by the TSB on this accident indicates that significant factors, other than the SEIFR rules, likely contributed to this occurrence.

The C208 accident that occurred on Pelee Island, Ont., in 2004, resulted from attempting an overweight takeoff with ice contaminating the wings. The SEIFR issue was not germane to this accident, which claimed 10 lives. TheTSB was unable to determine the probable cause(s) of a C208 accident that occurred in Summer Beaver,Ont., in 2003, but there was no evidence of a mechanical or aircraft system failure. The possibility of spatial disorientation during this night VFR flight was not ruled out. There is no evidence to suggest that the number of engines on the aircraft is a factor.

Table 1: SEIFR Aircraft Accidents 1996–2006

TSB Report



Number of Passengers
and Injuries

A01W0269 C208 Inuvik, N.W.T. N/A
1 passenger and 1 pilot: minor injuries
VFR: Encountered IMC. Pilot requested and was issued IFR clearance for approach. Poor execution-flew into terrain.
A03C0302 C208 Brochet, Man. N/A
1 passenger: minor injuries
VFR: Take-off flap not selected-runway overrun. One passenger: minor injuries.
A98Q0117 C208 Quyon, Que. N/A VFR: Landed on water with wheels down.
A05O0131 C208 Lake Joseph, Ont. 0
Pilot, alone on board: no injuries
VFR: Landed on water with wheels down.
A06P0010 C208 Port Alberni, B.C. 7
2 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
5 passengers: injured
IFR: Still under investigation.
A99C0237 C208 Hoar Frost River, N.W.T. 2
No injuries
VFR: Landing on rough water accident.
A98W0014 C208 Edmonton, Alta. N/A
No injuries
VFR: Crash after takeoff. No information from the TSB, but pilot disorientation was likely a central factor according to information supplied by the operator.
A03H0002 C208 Summer Beaver, Ont. 7
7 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Night VFR: Probable disorientation.
A97O0001 C208 Nakina, Ont. N/A
No injuries
Mis-set rudder trim. Indicator inaccurate-loss of control on takeoff.
A03C0111 C208 Nanuk Camp, Nun. N/A
No injuries
VFR: Unmaintained strip. Soft ground broke nose gear.
A99C0260 C208 Red Lake, Ont. N/A
Pilot: minor injuries
Special VFR: Manoeuvred to avoid birds-struck water.
A98C0068 C208 Pickle Lake, Ont. 0
Pilot, alone on board:
no injuries
VFR: Low flying-struck tree tops.
A01C0217 PC-12 Red Lake, Ont. N/A Engine anomaly noted prior to takeoff-fuel control unit (FCU) replaced and engine changed later.
A01C0160 PC-12 Sioux Lookout, Ont. N/A Engine torque fluctuating on climb out. Aircraft returned to land.
A99C0019 PC-12 Churchill, Man. N/A
No injuries
Aircraft hit building while taxiing.
A00C0170 PC-12 Thunder Bay, Ont. N/A
No injuries
Power anomaly in flight. Suspected FCU fault. Crew used FCU manual override.
Landed safely.
A98W0240 PC-12 Yellowknife, N.W.T. N/A Power failure shortly after takeoff. Fuel transfer tube failure. Emergency declared. Landed.
A04H0001 C208 Pelee Island, Ont. 9
9 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Overweight takeoff. Aircraft contaminated with ice.
A01Q0151 C208 La Grande-4, Que. 0
Pilot, alone on board: minor injuries
VFR: Power loss after changing to left
fuel tank.
A98A0067 PC-12 Clarenville, N.L. 8
1 passenger, 1 pilot and
1 other: serious injuries
7 passengers: minor injuries
Engine failure. Led to six TSB aviation
safety recommendations.
A05O0131 C208 Lake Joseph, Ont. 0
Pilot, alone on board: no injuries
VFR: Landed on water with amphibious
gear extended.
A98O0082 PC-12 Kingston, Ont. N/A Fuel cell vents blocked-cells collapsed.

Of the 22 occurrences, three resulted from power failures, including the fatal accident near Port Alberni. A PC-12 power loss near Clarenville, N.L., led to a forced-landing with no fatalities. A PC-12 lost power shortly after takeoff from Yellowknife, N.W.T., and returned to land at the airport. Three others involved engine anomalies. In one case, a fuel control unit (FCU) fault was suspected and the crew maintained power and control by using the manual override, as provided for in the design and required by SEIFR regulations. In another case, the anomaly was noted pre-takeoff, and in the third case, the crew was able to return to the ramp.

The post-implementation occurrence record reveals two accidents where the single-engine and IFR flight is relevant: Port Alberni and Clarenville. In the other two fatal accidents, the single engine was not a contributing factor. Pelee Island was an overweight takeoff with ice on the wings; at Summer Beaver, the aircraft appears to have been operating as designed.

The Clarenville accident investigation generated six safety recommendations aimed at enhancing SEIFR safety. TheTSB recommended that:

  • the Department of Transport require that pressurized SEIFR aircraft have sufficient supplemental oxygen to allow for an optimal glide profile during an engine-out let-down from the aircraft’s maximum operating level until a cabin altitude of 13 000 ft is attained;
  • the Department of Transport require that SEIFR aircraft have sufficient emergency electrical supply to power essential electrical systems following engine failure throughout the entirety of a descent, at optimal glide speed and configuration, from the aircraft’s maximum operating level to ground level;
  • the Department of Transport require that the magnetic chip detecting system on PT6-equipped single-engine aircraft be modified to provide a warning to the pilot of excessive ferrous material in the entire engine oil lubricating system;
  • the Department of Transport require that SEIFR operators have in place an automatic system or an approved program that will monitor and record those engine parameters critical to engine performance and condition;
  • the Department of Transport review the equipment standard for SEIFR and include equipment technologies that would serve to further minimize the risks associated with SEIFR flight; and
  • the Department of Transport improve the quality of pilot decision making in commercial air operations through appropriate training standards for crew members.

TC accepted all of these recommendations, and safety improvements have been introduced. The TSB assessment of TC responses and follow-through on all these recommendations, except the last, is satisfactory and the recommendations are closed. The final item, pilot decision making, is currently rated as satisfactory intent, and the TSB continues to assess TC progress.

Over a period about 10 years, two accidents resulting in three fatalities are attributable to SEIFR operations. Many of the remaining accidents involving approved SEIFR aircraft were in VFR flight, and in others, whether the aircraft had one or multiple engines is irrelevant to VFR into IMC and night VFR accidents.

In order to compare the post-implementation rate of VFR into IMC and night VFR accidents to that reported in the 1997 retrospective study, similar criteria were used to identify accidents in the post-1996 period. The accidents that were identified included single- and multi-engine aircraft. Some were passenger-carrying flights, but cargo flights and flights whose purpose is not identified were included. The inclusive nature of this group of accidents ensures its comparability with the similar accidents analyzed in 1996.

Twenty-two accidents were identified. Four were night VFR accidents and 18 were VFR into IMC. One SEIFR aircraft accident (see Table 1) also qualifies for this group. The Summer Beaver aircraft (A03H0002) was on a night VFR flight. There was a total of 23 VFR into IMC and night VFR accidents involving commercially-registered, fixed-wing aircraft being operated under Part VII of the CARs between 1996 and 2006. There were 44 fatalities.

In the 11 years from 1984 to 1995, there were 48 VFR into IMC and night VFR accidents, an average of 4.3 per year. Since 1996, the rate has been reduced to an average of 2.1 annually.

Not all these flights were carrying passengers. Included in the 22 accidents since 1996 are ferry flights and cargo flights. It should also be noted that, in some cases, the flight crew did not take advantage of the SEIFR option, although it was available. A C208 cargo flight to Victoria,B.C., in 1998, was conducted under VFR at night, although, in retrospect, conditions were such that IFR would have been safer. The crew and aircraft were capable of IFR flight.

Table 2: VFR into IMC/Night VFR Accidents 1996–2006

TSB Report



Number of Passengers
and Injuries

A05W0199 C172 Norman Wells, N.W.T. 3 VFR: Weather deteriorated.
Had to await SVFR for 20 min-
ran out of fuel.
A96P0082 DHC-3 Terrace, B.C. 1
1 passenger and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Apparent CFIT. Aircraft struck mountain 30 mi. from destination.
No survivors.
A96P0178 DHC-3 Alliford Bay, B.C. 2
2 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Float plane. Probable navigation error. Aircraft hit rising terrain after encountering IMC.
A96W0183 DHC-2 Watson Lake, Y.T. 0
Pilot fatally injured
Float plane. Aircraft struck terrain
and burned.
A98P0194 DHC-2 Samuel Island, B.C. 4 Float plane. Two aircraft proceeding together in marginal VFR. Started to land-precautionary-visibility improved and stalled in overshoot.
A98Q0154 C172 Mont-Joli, Que. N/A
No fatalities
VFR: Encountered IMC. Tried to turn around-struck mountain.
A98Q0159 DHC-2 Rivière Duhamel, Que. N/A Float Plane. Marginal VFR at departure-visibility dropped to ¼ mi.; ceiling 400 ft. Turned and approached stall-lowered nose, struck trees
and crashed.
A98P0303 C208 Victoria, B.C. 0
2 pilots: both fatally injured
Night VFR: IFR capability. Lower ceiling than expected. Deviated form intended track navigating by visual references. Struck mountain.
A99O0242 C172 Bancroft, Ont. 2
Minor injuries
Sightseeing flight. Did not obtain all relevant weather. Encountered IMC. Climbed and held. Low on fuel, used local radio station as NAVAID for cloud braking. Struck trees looking
for approach.
A00P0092 C285 Moose Lake, B.C. 0 Float plane. Encountered IMC. Precautionary landing
at 4 500 ft elevation.
A01W0304 C172 Fort Good Hope, N.W.T. 3
All passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
VFR: Flew into known icing
and IMC.
A02C0191 DHC-2 Kashishabog Lake, Ont. 4
1 passenger: fatally injured
Float plane. Encountered IMC. Found destination. On final, struck water with one float. All survived impact-
one passenger died from drowning.
A05P0039 DHC-2 Campbell River, B.C. 4
4 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Float plane. Aircraft went missing en route. Fog noted in area. Wreckage found under water.
A05Q0116 C206 La Tuque, Que. 2 Float plane. Took off into fog. Lost references-struck trees on side of hill.
A06P0157 C185 Mount Downton, B.C. 1
1 passenger and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Float plane. Weather: numerous cells in area. Possible navigational error, flying up wrong valley.
A96Q0076 PA-31 Chubb Crater, Que. 4
4 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Probable sightseeing detour. Weather deteriorated. GPS mis-programmed. Struck terrain. IFR capable.
A97C0215 PA-34-200T La Loche, Sask. 5
3 passengers: fatally injured
Night VFR: Aircraft and pilot IFR capable, but due to icing in cloud, aircraft was not equipped to enter cloud on this flight. Struck terrain in wooded area.
A97P0351 C402 Mackenzie, B.C. 2
2 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
Company restricted to VFR. Complex weather-probably encountered IMC andstruck water surface.
A99C0266 Beech 58 La Ronge, Sask. 1 Night VFR: Weather deteriorated. Pilot requested SVFR for arrival. Had to wait for IFR traffic. IFR flight did one missed approach before landing. Aircraft struck lake surface.
A00P0019 PA-31-350 Williston Lake, B.C. 0 Only VFR available due to no available IFR approaches in the area. Lost visual reference in snow storm-struck frozen lake.
A03W0202 C414 Calgary, Alta. 0 Night VFR: IFR was available. Struck mountain peak. Started descent early.
A06W0139 C337 Fort Good Hope, N.W.T. 5
5 passengers and 1 pilot: fatally injured
VFR: TSB investigating. Apparent CFIT.

Nine of the accident aircraft were float-equipped. IFR is not appropriate for most float operations, which serve remote areas, under uncontrolled airspace, without the electronic navigational aids familiar to crews flying in more populous areas. Most of the accident aircraft were serving small communities or bush camps. Two exceptions are the C208 near Victoria and the C414 in mountains southwest of Calgary, Alta. Both accidents occurred in mountainous terrain.

Post-implementation system reliability

The PT6 engine has maintained an excellent record and reputation for reliability. Pratt & Whitney data for the PT6A-67B/D recorded 1 275 600 hr in fleet operations in 2005. There were 10 in-flight shutdowns for a rate of 0.008per 1 000 hr. This is above the estimate presented in the position paper, but well within the internationally-accepted rate for such applications.

Post-implementation fleet composition

Since 1995, Canadian operators have steadily purchased more SEIFR aircraft. Currently there are ninety-six C208 and sixty-four PC-12 aircraft registered. Figure 1 displays the change year-over-year in PC-12 and C208 registration. Athird type, the Socata TBM 700 is operated in Canada in much smaller numbers than the C208 and PC-12, asevidenced in Table 3.

SEIFR Aircraft Registered 1994–2006

Figure 1: SEIFR Aircraft Registered 1994–2006

Table 3 shows that, while most of the Cessna and Pilatus aircraft are commercial aircraft, a significant number are in state or private hands. Of the 164 SEIFR aircraft, 127 are registered as commercial aircraft. An additional 17 are owned by government agencies, and 20 are privately-registered. The PC-12 privately-registered aircraft are required to be operated under CAR 604, and oversight authority is delegated to the Canadian Business Aviation Association(CBAA).

Cessna 208   Pilatus PC-12   Socata TBM 700  
Private 12 Private 5 Private 3
State 3 State 14 State 0
Commercial 81 Commercial 45 Commercial 1

Table 3: The Single-Engine Turbine-Powered Fleet 3

The number of very reliable turbine-powered single-engine aircraft has increased in absolute terms, but such a change should be interpreted in relation to the entire fleet. In 1995, SEIFR aircraft constituted a negligible percentage (less than 1 percent) of the air taxi fleet. In 2006, SEIFR commercially-registered aircraft approached 10 percent of the air taxifleet.

Canadian and foreign authorities’ regulations

Engine reliability

In addition to Transport Canada, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have approved SEIFR in commercial operations. The European Joint Aviation Authorities(JAA), and now the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have not approved SEIFR.

Commercial Air Service Standard (CASS) 723.22(1)(b) specifies minimum engine reliability rates, "the turbine-engine of the aeroplane type must have a proven mean time between failure (MTBF) of 0.01/1 000 (1/100 000) or less established over 100 000 hours in service."

The regulation does not specify basic or non-basic in-flight shutdown (IFSD). Canadian regulations do not specify who will monitor the number "0.01/1 000" or what action must be taken in the event that the MTBF rate of 0.01/1000 is exceeded. In Australia, on the other hand, the engine reliability rate of an approved airplane type is monitored by the CASA Certification Standards Branch, Standards Division. A deterioration of the engine IFSD rate to 0.0125 per 1 000 hr would be cause for a review of the airplane’s type approval.

Engine trend monitoring is covered in CASS 726.07(2)-Quality Assurance Program, "Where the air operator carries passengers in single-engine aircraft under IFR or VFR at night pursuant to subsection 703.22(2), the program shall include engine trend monitoring or equivalent procedures to identify any deterioration in engine performance and reliability."

CASA requires that, "the aeroplane shall be equipped with an automatically activated electronic engine condition trend monitoring (ECTM) recording system. The system shall record engine parameters referenced inthe engine manufacturer’s published engine trend monitoring procedures."

Under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 135.421(c), the FAA requires that, "for each single-engine aircraft to be used in passenger-carrying IFR operations, each certificate holder must incorporate into its maintenance program either:

Terrain avoidance

Since March 29, 2005, the U.S. FAA has required that a turbine-powered airplane configured with six to nine passenger seats be equipped with an approved terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) that meets the requirements of Technical Standard Order (TSO)–C151. TC has tabled a similar requirement in the following Notices of Proposed Amendment (NPA): NPA 2003-095, NPA 2003-302, and NPA 2003-304. All three NPAs are pending publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette.

Additional risk factors

Approval of the SEIFR Ops Spec does not call up a requirement for operators to indicate in their maintenance control manual (MCM) or approved maintenance schedules that they exercise the Ops Spec for single-engine IFR with passengers. There is no standardized, assured means to inform a TC maintenance inspector that the company must comply with CASS 726.07(2). This presents opportunities for TC inspectors conducting inspections and audits to misjudge the extent of an operator’s or approved maintenance organization’s(AMO) compliance with the regulations and standards associated with the company’s operations manual.

Both the FAA and CASA are more specific in defining the engine trend monitoring required for SEIFR aircraft.


This evaluation examined occurrence data and other relevant material to determine the effect that the 1996changes to CARs-to permit passenger transport in single-engine, turbine-powered aircraft-had on safety. Examination of the pre-implementation documentation indicated three main positive effects were postulated:

  • reduction of CFIT/night VFR accidents in air taxi operations;
  • higher reliability of turbine-powered aircraft relative to reciprocating engines would constitute a lower level of risk than VFR flight in marginal conditions; and
  • approval of SEIFR would influence aircraft purchase decisions in the direction of more reliable, safer turbine-powered aircraft.

There have been only two SEIFR accidents and one fatal night VFR accident involving aircraft being operated under Ops Spec 001-703. In the night VFR accident, the cause was not determined, but there is no evidence that single-engine operation was a factor.

The rate of CFIT and night VFR accidents in commercial fixed-wing air taxi operations has decreased from an average of 4.3 per year between 1984 and 1995, to 2.1 peryear between 1996 and 2006. The reliability of the PT6 engine (0.008 IFSD per 100 000 flight hours) is well within the internationally-accepted standard for such applications. It appears that the risk posed by a possible engine failure in IMC is less than the risk presented by VFR flight in marginal visual conditions.

The composition of the air taxi fleet has changed since 1996. Each year, there are more highly-reliable single-engine turbine-powered aircraft on the Canadian civil aircraft register.

The design of this evaluation does not support the inference that the regulatory change to permit SEIFR in 1996 caused all these positive effects. On the other hand, the evidence does not suggest that SEIFR approval should be revoked. The incidence of CFIT accidents has decreased markedly. There are, however, measures that should be considered to further reduce risk.

TC procedures may create an opportunity for maintenance inspectors to be unaware that the SEIFR Ops Spec has been approved. The lack of a mechanism to alert maintenance inspectors to the need for more stringent maintenance procedures required by Ops Spec001-703 could lead to the maintenance inspectors applying a less demanding criterion when assessing an AMO. Any change in an operations manual that could affect maintenance practice should be communicated to the maintenance inspectors responsible for the AMO.

While the reliability of the PT6 engine is unquestioned, it is possible that aircraft with other engines could be considered for SEIFR operations. To ensure that the Canadian public is assured the same level of safety, regardless of engine and manufacturer, consideration should be given to assigning responsibility for regularly evaluating the reliability of SEIFR engines. If such provisions are warranted, they should include contingencies for dealing with engine types that fall below an acceptable standard.

Both CASA and the FAA specify more stringent engine trend monitoring practices than the CARs. TC should give consideration to a comparative evaluation of the requirements from a risk perspective to determine whether the public interest would be protected by adopting more demanding requirements; perhaps harmonizing with the FAA.

The promulgation of CARs requiring that SEIFR aircraft carrying six or more passengers be equipped with TAWS will further mitigate the risks associated with SEIFR. TAWS helps pilots maintain situational awareness and will warn flight crew that they are approaching a terrain of which, for whatever reason, they are unaware. TAWS will also be helpful to pilots coping with an engine failure, as in the case of the C208 accident near Port Alberni in 2006.

Bryan Webster Wins the Transport Canada Aviation Safety Award

Mr. Bryan Webster of Victoria, B.C., has received the 2007 Transport Canada Aviation Safety Award for his exceptional commitment to underwater egress training for pilots and passengers. The award was presented to Mr.Webster on May 1, at the 19th annual Canadian Aviation Safety Seminar (CASS) in Gatineau, Que.

Bryan Webster
Bryan Webster (left) receiving his award from Marc Grégoire,
Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security.

After reading about a series of ditching fatalities across Canada in the mid-1990s, in which many had survived the initial impact, but later drowned, Mr. Webster took it upon himself to start an inexpensive underwater egress training program to help better prepare pilots and passengers on how to survive such a traumatic event. He designed specialized equipment to be effective and portable, and travelled across Canada to reach those unable to attend his training program locally in Victoria.

Emergency underwater egress training has proven to dramatically improve survival rates, and Mr. Webster’s program has been featured in several prominent aviation magazines. With his recent book, Survival Guide to Ditching an Aircraft, and his monthly column in COPAFlight magazine, he has been able to promote and demystify this field with such impact and effectiveness that other companies have followed his lead to provide this essential training to even more people. He is rewarded by countless letters of testimony from grateful aviation enthusiasts, both from the private and commercial worlds, who all confirm that "Bry the Dunker Guy" has made an outstanding impact on Canadian aviation safety.

1 A Study into the Safety of Flight in Marginal Visibility, Transport Canada, 1997
2 Position Paper-Commercial Passenger Service-Night/Instrument Meteorological Conditions in Single-Engined Aeroplanes
3 Excludes amateur-built aircraft

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