Articles

Mid-Air at Uncontrolled Aerodrome

Mid-air Collision at Mascouche

On Sunday, December 7, 1997, two small aircraft collided on short final to Runway 29 at the Mascouche airport near Montreal, killing all four people aboard the aircraft. The weather was visual flight rules and there were only three aircraft in the circuit at the time. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating and a final report (TSB A97Q0250) should be available in a few months.

This unfortunate event could have happened at any uncontrolled aerodrome, but the fact that it happened in Mascouche caused some knee-jerk reactions and raised some old questions about the level of service there. For many years now, Mascouche has been known as a very busy aerodrome, but mostly in the summer months. In 1993, an internal Transport Canada working group recommended the operation of a mobile control tower for the summer of 1994 to analyze the traffic. The town of Mascouche requested the mobile tower once again for 1995, but Transport Canada refused, stating that the traffic did not meet the minimum criteria for the establishment of a control tower. In the end, Transport Canada decided to operate the mobile tower for one more season, combined with increased promotional activities, after an internal review concluded that one more season would be beneficial from a training perspective.

The ASL will report fully on this accident once the final report has been released, but, as mentioned above, it is important for all of us to realize that this could have happened at any other uncontrolled aerodrome and not to jump to conclusions about the specific site where it happened. I doubt that new lessons will be learned as a result of this accident, but, in the meantime, let’s keep that one in mind and pay particular attention to basic airmanship issues such as proper communications, circuit procedures and spacing and, of course, look out for all other traffic.

Originally Published: Aviation Safety Letter 02/1998
Original Article: Mid-air Collision at Mascouche