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On Nov. 6, investigators from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) provided an update on the inquiry into a Nov. 4 mid-air collision near the Carp Airport (CYRP), west of Ottawa.
A privately-registered Piper PA-42 Cheyenne III carrying two people was approaching Carp Airport under visual flight rules (VFR).
Also in the airport traffic pattern was a two-seat Cessna 150, with one occupant on board.
At about 10:10 a.m. EST, the aircraft collided in mid-air.
The impact partially severed one of the Cessna 150’s wings and it crashed to the ground shortly afterwards, where it caught on fire. The pilot was fatally injured.
The Piper also suffered damage but could continue flying. It diverted to the Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (CYOW), where it landed on Runway 32 at 10:30 a.m. Both occupants were unharmed.
TSB representatives confirmed that both aircraft were based at Carp, a popular general aviation airport that does not have an air traffic control tower.
Weather at the time of the incident has been confirmed at about 20 statute miles (SM) visibility with few clouds in the area.
TSB senior investigator Beverley Harvey said the agency deployed two teams, one to the Piper at CYOW and one to the Cessna 150 crash site.
Harvey explained investigators face special challenges when presented by mid-air collisions. Among them are thorough evaluations of two aircraft and two pilots, as well as locating scattered debris.
“All lines of inquiry must be extended for each pilot,” she said. “For example, regarding visibility, what was the sun angle for each pilot? Did the sun angle make either aircraft less visible? The viewpoint from the pilot’s seating position is critical with many factors affecting it.”
She added that radio communications will provide insight into what frequency each aircraft was using at the time of impact, and whether the pilots were aware of each other.
“Airport procedures must be looked at carefully to see if they address all risks of collision.”
The TSB has completed its onsite investigation, and the remains of the Cessna 150 have been transported to the agency’s Ottawa lab for further analysis.
The Piper inspection revealed damage to the aft fuselage, rudder, wings and main landing gear.
“By analyzing scratch marks and impact damage, we are hoping to get a clearer picture of impact geometry,” said Harvey.
Next, the investigation team will review audio and radar data from Nav Canada, inspect aircraft maintenance logs, assess pilot proficiency and training, and conduct further interviews. The agency will also examine Carp Airport operations, procedures and airspace design.
“There are procedures for landing, takeoff and circuits, and investigators will be looking at them.”
Harvey added that if the TSB uncovers any safety deficiencies related to any part of its investigation, those “will be communicated without delay.”
She said the final report may take up to one year to complete.
Neither aircraft carried a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, nor were they required to do so.
According to Harvey, there have been 10 mid-air collisions in Canada in the past decade, including this latest incident at Carp.