Canada and US have similar aviation safety challenges
TSB makes recommendations for Air Taxis
Similar to NTSB’s MWL for Part 135
Canada and the US share more than common borders. Transport Canada Civil Aviation Authority (TC) and the FAA have regarded their respective high level of aviation safety competence as on a par. The Northern Neighbor’s greatest distinction from America is the higher percentage of rural service and the challenge of weather conditions (more resembling that of Alaska to the West).
The NTSB of the North has completed a historical study of its Air Taxi accidents and incidents. Based on that analysis, the TSB issued recommendations which are very similar to the NTSB 2019-2020 Most Wanted List for the Part 135 segment
– November 21, 2019, 8:58 AM
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) issued four new recommendations to address concerns surrounding hazard management and acceptance of unsafe practices. A recently published study of air-taxi accidents highlighted a stagnant fatal accident record. In addition, the TSB reiterated 22 existing recommendations, many going back to 2012. The 200-page work analyzes the investigations into 716 accidents and serious incidents that occurred in Canada from 2000 to 2014.
The statistics showed a downward trend in the total number of air taxi accidents during the study period, but there was no downward trend in the number of fatal accidents or fatalities over the 15-year period. The analysis also revealed that the “highest number of fatalities in both airplane and helicopter accidents resulted from flights that started in VMC and continued to a point where the pilot lost visual reference with the ground.” The main difference was how the flight ended: in a loss of control or controlled flight into terrain.
The study determined that air taxi mishaps fall into two broad categories:
acceptance of unsafe practices (the subject of three active recommendations)
inadequate management of operational hazards (the subject of 19 active recommendations), such as flying overweight, flying into known icing conditions, flying with non-operating equipment, inadequate fuel reserves, poor crew coordination, unstable approaches, and loss of visual references in marginal weather or at night.
In addition to the previously issued recommendations to Canada’s transportation department, the TSB issued the following new ones:
eliminating unsafe practices;
promoting proactive safety management and a positive safety culture;
closing gaps in the air-taxi regulatory framework;
collecting activity data that is specific to the air taxi sector.
Here are the most recent findings of the NTSB in its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List as to Regional Airlines
“To increase use of SMS, FDM, and CFIT programs in Part 135 aircraft, the following actions should be taken:
- Implement an SMS and FDM, appropriately scaled to the size of your operation, to detect and correct unsafe deviations from company procedures before an accident occurs.
- An SMS is an effective way to establish and reinforce a positive safety culture and identify deviations from standard operating procedures so that they can be corrected.
- Collect data through an FDM over the entirety of the operation; this is the only means an operator has to consistently and proactively monitor its line operations. FDM should be a nonpunitive system.
- Use analysis tools provided by associations and the FAA’s InfoShare to identify safety trends.
- Incorporate a CFIT-avoidance training program that addresses current TAWS technologies relevant to your operational environment.
- Require all Part 135 operators to install flight data recording devices capable of supporting an FDM program and to establish SMS programs.
- Work with Part 135 operators to improve voluntarily implemented training programs aimed at reducing the risk of CFIT accidents involving continuing flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions, paying special attention to human factors issues.”
The two lists are very similar, especially with the common CFIT and SMS themes.
In the US, it appears that the Regional Airline Association’s safety efforts are supporting the NTSB recommendations:
 Alaskan Aviation Safety Is Unique And Reexamination Of Its Regulating Regime Is Required; WHAT’S UP? Alaska’s Curious Case Of FAA And Medallion Aviation Foundation; NTSB Alaska Hearing Records The State’s Aviation Unique Safety Issues
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