GATINEAU, QC, March 26, 2013 /CNW/ - The Transportation Safety Board of
Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A10Q0132) on the
loss of visual reference, loss of control, and collision with terrain
of Héli-Excel Inc. Eurocopter AS350-BA (helicopter) C-GIYR north of
Sept-Îles, Quebec, on 17 August 2010. The pilot and the three
passengers did not survive the force of the impact.
The TSB concluded in its report that loss of visual reference with the
terrain and then loss of control of the aircraft were factors that
contributed to the accident.
The TSB also highlights in this report that the risk of an accident
increases when a pilot experiences operational pressures. For example,
pressure from passengers to bring excess baggage could lead the carrier
and the pilot to allow an overloaded flight. When a helicopter is
carrying a large amount of baggage that has not been weighed, it is
impossible to calculate take-off weight precisely, and the helicopter
risks taking off with more than the authorized weight, as was the case
in this accident. The pilot had also reduced the fuel load to
accommodate the large amount of baggage, which meant he had less fuel
at his disposal to deal with unforeseen circumstances. This decreased
fuel endurance could have prompted the pilot to try to take a shortcut
through the mountains even as the aircraft was flying in marginal
weather conditions. The pilot finally lost visual contact with the
terrain and lost control of the aircraft, resulting in the impact with
Transport Canada exercises little regulatory oversight of helicopter
operations on the ground, and since load details are not recorded in
logbooks, there is no way of knowing whether a flight is overweight on
take-off or not.
Since the accident, Héli-Excel has built an outdoor scale on the tarmac
at Sept-Îles to better control the weight of goods being loaded. It has
also introduced training on the ground and in flight to reduce the
risks of flying in bad weather. In addition, when accepting a charter
request, Héli-Excel endeavours to identify the client's real needs so
it can recommend the appropriate helicopter.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline,
railway and aviation 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.
SOURCE: Transportation Safety Board of Canada
For further information:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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