Canada Aims to 'Raise the Bar' on Air-taxi Safety

 - 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) and 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; and collecting activity data that is specific to the air taxi sector.