Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lack of training contributed to 2014 seaplane accident in Canada

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on Tuesday released its investigation report into the loss of control and subsequent collision with water and fatality involving a Cessna 185E at Taylor Lake, Ontario, Canada.

On May 24, 2014, a privately-registered Cessna 185E, equipped with amphibious floats, departed the Guelph Airpark for a flight to Taylor Lake, Ontario. The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft. While conducting a glassy-water landing, the pilot lost control and the aircraft cartwheeled and sank. The aircraft fuselage was damaged by impact forces and the pilot's door could not be opened. The pilot survived the impact but was not able to escape the submerged aircraft before drowning.

The investigation found that the right float contacted the water first, dug in, and resulted in a loss of control and the aircraft cartwheeling. With respect to contributing factors, the investigation determined that the number of hours the pilot had flown in recent years had decreased, and the pilot was likely less proficient than in earlier years. This would make the glassy-water landing more difficult. Glassy-water conditions are considered to present the most difficulty for landing a seaplane, regardless of experience. The mirror effect created by glassy-water conditions affects depth perception making it difficult for pilots to determine the aircraft's height above the water.

The investigation also found that the pilot did not have emergency egress training. Although not required by regulation, egress training has been shown to improve the chances of exiting a submerged aircraft following a survivable accident.

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