Loss of control on takeoff and collision with ground in Trois-Rivières, Quebec
Dorval, Quebec, 18 February 2021 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A19Q0091) on a loss of control and collision with the ground, which occurred in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, in 2019. The investigation determined that a problem with the landing gear handle prevented the flaps from retracting after landing, which triggered a series of events that led to the propellers coming into contact with the runway surface, followed by a loss of control of the aircraft.
On 17 June 2019, a Piper PA-23-250 aircraft, operated by Cargair Ltd., was conducting a night visual flight rules flight. The purpose of the flight was to complete the pilot’s hours for the Integrated Airline Transport Pilot training program. The aircraft departed from the Montréal/St-Hubert Airport (CYHU), Quebec, at 2230. The route included an approach followed by a go around at the Québec/Jean Lesage International Airport (CYQB), Quebec, and the Trois-Rivières Airport (CYRQ), Quebec, before the aircraft was to return and land at CYHU. A passenger, who was also a flight instructor, was on board to supervise the flight. As the aircraft approached CYRQ, it was decided to conduct a touch-and-go. During the take-off roll, the propellers on both engines struck the runway surface. After takeoff, the aircraft turned left and the pilot lost control. The aircraft collided with the ground and a post-impact fire broke out. Both occupants were able to evacuate the aircraft, but the pilot received minor injuries and the passenger received serious injuries. The aircraft was destroyed.
On the final approach at CYRQ, the landing gear handle was moved to the DOWN position, but it did not automatically return to the neutral position as expected once the landing gear was down and locked, which prevented the flaps from retracting after landing. The investigation showed that this anomaly created a situation that was counter to the passenger-instructor’s expectations; the passenger-instructor took action to fix this situation during the take-off roll by moving the landing gear handle to the UP position when, in fact, the aircraft was still rolling on the runway. Then the landing gear retracted, the aircraft dropped, and the propellers struck the runway surface, causing asymmetrical damage to the propellers.
The investigation revealed that it is likely that the pilot, having been startled, pulled back on the control column (nose up) enough to get off the ground. When the landing gear was fully retracted, the flaps began to rise. The reduction in lift caused by the flaps retracting while the aircraft was flying at low speed, combined with the asymmetrical low engine traction, resulted in the loss of control of the aircraft.
As a result of the accident, Cargair Ltd. took several measures, including sending a safety notice to the affected personnel regarding a vulnerability in using the landing gear and flaps at the same time, as well as a modification to the standard operating procedures.
See the investigation page for more information.
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.
For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada