Recommendation A13-01

Reassessment of the response to Aviation Safety Recommendation A13-01

Requirement for lightweight flight recorder system in commercially operated aircraft not governed by CARs 605.33

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Background

The Black Sheep Aviation and Cattle Co. Ltd. turbine powered de Havilland DHC-3 Otter (registration C-GMCW, serial number 108) departed Mayo on a 94 statute mile day visual flight rules flight to the Rackla Airstrip, Yukon. At 1507 Pacific Daylight Time, approximately 19 minutes after the aircraft had left Mayo, a 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter alert was received by the Canadian Mission Control Centre. The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria was notified and a commercial helicopter was dispatched from Ross River, Yukon. Aircraft wreckage was located on a hillside 38 nautical miles northeast of Mayo at 1833 Pacific Daylight Time. The wheel-ski equipped aircraft had experienced a catastrophic in-flight breakup and the pilot, who was the sole occupant, had sustained fatal injuries. There was no post-impact fire. Cockpit or data recordings were not available to the investigation and the identification and communication of safety deficiencies to advance transportation safety were precluded.

The Board concluded its investigation and released report A11W0048 on 14 May 2013.

Board Recommendation A13-01 (May 2013)

Given the combined accident statistics for CARs subparts 702, 703, and 704 operations, there is a compelling case for industry and the regulator to proactively identify hazards and manage the risks inherent in these operations. In order to manage risk effectively, they need to know why incidents happen and what the contributing safety deficiencies may be. Moreover, routine monitoring of normal operations can help these operators both improve the efficiency of their operations and identify safety deficiencies before they result in an accident. In the event that an accident does occur, recordings from lightweight flight recording systems will provide useful information to enhance the identification of safety deficiencies in the investigation.

The Board acknowledges that there are issues that will need to be resolved to facilitate the effective use of recordings from lightweight flight recording systems, including questions about the integration of this equipment in an aircraft, human resource management, and legal issues such as the restriction on the use of cockpit voice and video recordings. Nevertheless, given the potential of this technology combined with FDM to significantly improve safety, the Board believes that no effort should be spared to overcome these obstacles.

Therefore the Board recommends that

the Department of Transport work with industry to remove obstacles to and develop recommended practices for the implementation of flight data monitoring and the installation of lightweight flight recording systems by commercial operators not currently required to carry these systems.
TSB Recommendation A13-01

Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (August 2013)

On 14 August 2013, the TSB received a response to Recommendation A13-01 from the Minister of Transport. The response identified that the Department of Transport has initiated discussions with industry during the conduct of a risk assessment (RA) to evaluate alternate approaches to flight data monitoring (FDM) in Canada, which took place earlier this year. The results of this risk assessment will be reviewed by the Civil Aviation Regulatory Committee (CARC) in fall 2013. In addition to the risk assessment, the Department intends to hold a focus group by 31 March 2014, with industry stakeholders to identify obstacles and barriers in regards to FDM to complement the results of the risk assessment and identify areas of best practices.

With respect to lightweight flight recording systems for commercial operators, the review and analysis will be incorporated with the assessment planned for cockpit voice recorders/flight data records, which is currently scheduled to begin in the year 2014-2015.

Board assessment of Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (September 2013)

Transport Canada (TC)'s response to Recommendation A13-01 contains a clear intent to begin the process of working with industry to remove obstacles and develop recommended practices for flight data monitoring systems and the use of light weight recorders. The TSB is encouraged by the measures proposes which, if fully implemented, will enable CARs Subparts 702, 703, and 704 operators to proactively identify hazards and manage the risks inherent in their operations.

Therefore, the response is assessed as Satisfactory Intent.

Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (November 2013)

October 2013 Update

Transport Canada remains on track to convene a focus group with industry by March 2014.

February 2014 Update

Please note that following the review of the risk assessment, the department supports the TSB's recommendation and has decided to proceed with the development of an Advisory Circular in 2015/16 to describe recommended practices regarding Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) Programs. In addition, the department will consider adding FDM principles in future regulatory initiatives/amendments, which will be consulted through focus groups at that time.

Board reassessment of Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (April 2014)

The Board notes TC's commitment to proceed with the development of an Advisory Circular and to consider adding FDM principles in future regulatory initiatives/amendments. However, TC is silent on the issues of removing obstacles around the installation of lightweight flight data recording systems. Further, TC has not indicated how it will work with industry on these issues.

Given the paucity of information received from TC, the Board is Unable to Assess TC's response.

Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (January 2015)

Transport Canada continues to support this recommendation and is planning to proceed with the development of an Advisory Circular in 2015/16 to describe recommended practices regarding Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) Programs.

In addition, Transport Canada will be consulting through focus group activity to identify obstacles within Transport Canada's mandate and make recommendations for mitigation of those obstacles with respect to the installation of lightweight flight recording systems for commercial operators not required to carry these systems.

Board reassessment of Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (March 2015)

In its response, Transport Canada has indicated proposed action in the form of an advisory circular and focus group consultation activity. The Board is encouraged by the intent of Transport Canada to work towards meeting the issues identified in the recommendation; however, the work is on-going.

Therefore, the response is assessed as Satisfactory Intent.

Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (November 2015)

Transport Canada (TC) agrees that Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) would enhance airline safety in Canada. TC will prepare an issue paper providing factual information on FDM, benefits and costs and challenges to increasing the use of FDM. TC will revisit the risk assessment conducted on FDM and recommend options to the Minister.

Board reassessment of Transport Canada's response to Recommendation A13-01 (March 2016)

TC did not produce an advisory circular or conduct focus group consultation in 2015 as per its previous response. TC's revised proposed activity is to prepare an issue paper and revisit the risk assessment on FDM. However, no specific timeline was provided for the conduct of this activity. While TC is proposing some further study of the safety issue, no concrete actions are being taken to address the TSB recommendation. The Board is therefore concerned that this could lead to protracted delays as observed on numerous other recommendations.

Therefore, the Board considers the response to the recommendation to indicate Satisfactory Intent.

Next TSB action

The TSB will seek to obtain a clearer action plan with timelines from Transport Canada. Further delays may warrant a reassessment of Unsatisfactory.

This deficiency file is Active.