Pilot decision-making contributed to collision with trees and power lines: TSB

In its investigation report released on Feb. 13, 2018, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada determined that operational factors and pilot decision-making contributed to the January 2017 collision with trees and power lines at the Duncan Aerodrome, British Columbia.

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In the early afternoon of Jan. 19, 2017, a Cessna 172 aircraft operated by the Victoria Flying Club departed from Victoria International Airport, B.C., on a visual flight rules training flight with an instructor and student on board.

About 1.5 hours into the flight, the crew elected to conduct a short-field landing on Runway 31 at the Duncan Aerodrome.

The runway is situated atop a hill, with terrain dropping away steeply on all sides, including both ends of the runway.

The runway does not have overrun areas at either end of the runway, nor are these required by regulation.

The aircraft touched down approximately one-third of the way down the runway and after attempting to stop, a take-off was attempted. The aircraft struck trees and then power lines off the north end of the runway and came to rest upside down under the power lines.

The instructor was seriously injured, while the student sustained minor injuries. The aircraft was substantially damaged. There was no post-impact fire.

The investigation determined that the short-field landing at the Duncan Aerodrome was carried out with a light and variable tailwind on a short runway with no overrun area.

No pre-flight short-field landing calculations were made prior to the flight. After being high and fast on approach, the aircraft crossed the runway threshold above the intended touchdown speed and remained airborne for at least one-third of the runway length before touching down.

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The landing attempt was continued to a point where there was insufficient runway distance remaining to bring it to a stop. A takeoff was then attempted; however, there was insufficient airspeed and runway distance remaining.

The aircraft then left the runway below a safe flying speed and it sank below the runway elevation, resulting in its collision with several trees and power lines.

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.

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