Air transportation safety investigation A15F0165

Update: The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 20 February 2017.

Table of contents

Severe turbulence encounter

Air Canada
Boeing 777-333ER, C-FRAM
Anchorage, Alaska, 85 nm ENE

View final report

The occurrence

On 30 December 2015, the Air Canada Boeing 777-333ER (registration C-FRAM, serial number 35250) was operating as flight 088 (ACA088) from Shanghai/Pudong Airport, China, to Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario. At 1924 Coordinated Universal Time, 8 hours into the flight, ACA088 encountered severe turbulence at flight level 330, approximately 85 nautical miles east-northeast of Anchorage, Alaska, United States. During the encounter, 21 passengers were injured, 1 of whom was seriously injured. ACA088 diverted to Calgary International Airport, Alberta, and landed approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes later. Damage to the aircraft was limited to interior furnishings and a V-clamp for ducting on the Number 2 air conditioning system that failed.

Media materials

News release

2017-02-20

TSB reminds aircraft passengers to buckle up after 21 people injured during a severe turbulence encounter in December 2015
Read the news release

Deployment notice

2015-12-30

TSB deploys a team of investigators to the Calgary International Airport concerning the emergency landing of an Air Canada flight

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to the Calgary International Airport concerning the emergency landing of an Air Canada flight (ACA088). The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Video

2017-02-20

Fasten your seatbelt - This short video describes the occurrence and depicts, in a generic aircraft, what effects the forces associated with severe turbulence would have on passengers who are not wearing seat belts.


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence

Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Jonathan Lee

Jonathan (Jon) Lee is the Western Regional Manager for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) in Edmonton, Alberta. He has been an aircraft investigator for 13 years, and has been managing the office for 8 of those years. He has been investigator-in-charge or deputy investigator-in-charge on 50 Class 2 or Class 3 investigations. Mr. Lee has also participated in foreign investigations that involve Canadian aerospace products. Working with the National Transportation Safety Board (United States), the Aviation Safety Council (Taiwan), Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (Korea), and the Aviation Accident Investigation Board (Mongolia) has made Mr. Lee appreciate the importance of the TSB's role in global aviation.

Before working in accident investigation, Mr. Lee gained industry experience as a pilot in operations ranging from regional airlines and transcontinental cargo to medevac and flight instruction. He has flown over 35 types of aircraft and has accumulated 6500 flight hours. He maintains a valid and current airline transport pilot license.


  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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