Citing ineffective oversight by the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA), the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has released its final report into the 2007 landing accident in Fox Harbour, Nova Scotia. The accident injured 10 people when the Bombardier Global 5000 private jet skidded off the runway, stopping 1000 feet from its initial touchdown point, close to neighbouring homes.
In its investigation, the TSB reported that private operators regulated by the CBAA were not held to the same standard that Transport Canada (TC) implemented for commercial operators. TC regulations require commercial airline companies to implement safety management systems (SMS) in stages, on a fixed timeline, while the CBAA was free to implement SMS for its operators on its own terms with no fixed timeframe.
In 2003, TC transferred regulatory responsibility for some aviation operators to the CBAA but prior to this accident failed to exercise effective oversight of the CBAA programs.
In two key recommendations, the Board calls for the CBAA to set SMS implementation milestones for its certificate holders and for TC to ensure the CBAA has an effective quality assurance program in place to audit its certificate holders.
In the course of the investigation, the TSB also found that many pilots were not aware of the limitations of the visual guidance systems used to conduct safe approaches and landings. These guidance systems, known as visual glide slope indicators (VGSI), use ground-based light beams to show pilots when they are too high or too low on approach but many pilots don’t realize that some VGSI should not be used when flying larger aircraft.
Information on the distance between the cockpit and the landing gear (eye-to-wheel height) is needed to know which VGSI to use but the Board revealed this information is not readily available to pilots.
To address these issues, the Board made two additional recommendations requiring TC to make eye-to-wheel height information available to pilots, and that better training also be provided to them on VGSI so they have the information they need to land safely. (TSB)