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The Aviation Safety Letter (ASL) is published quarterly by Transport Canada, Civil Aviation. The ASL includes articles that address aviation safety from all perspectives, such as safety insight derived from accidents and incidents, information tailored to the needs of maintenance and servicing personnel.

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Guest Editorial

  • Robert Sincennes -The new director of the Standards Branch of Transport Canada Civil Aviation introduces himself.
  • Prior TCCA involvement - Airworthiness engineer, Aircraft Certification Branch, chief, Regulatory Affairs, where he formed the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council (CARAC), and chief, Aviation Enforcement.
  • Working to advance the way we engage with the civil aviation industry.
  • Goals: Simplify the approach to regulatory development so that industry can comply more easily and provide front-line staff with effective and clear direction.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT): Using Hook-and-Loop Fasteners

  • Issues surrounding fabric hook-and-loop fasteners used to install emergency locator transmitters (ELTs)
  • Reinforce the importance of performing proper maintenance and using proper attachment methods.
  • While there is no guarantee that an ELT will transmit a signal, an ELT they increase the probability of signal detection and dispatch of search and rescue in the event of an accident.
  • Transport Canada (TC) has defined a set of minimum performance and installation requirements for ELTs. Airworthiness Manual (AWM) 551.104.
  • ELT maintenance requirements are currently included in CAR Standard 571.13, Appendix G.
  • In the 2013 Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) accident report, it was noted that a hook-and loop attach strap was broken during impact.
  • The TSB recommended that TC prohibit the use of hook-and-loop fasteners as a means of securing an ELT to an airframe.
  • TC is revisiting the installation requirements.
  • Updated regulations will be published.

Using Repaired Parts - Making the Right Decision

  • Remain vigilant so that monetary considerations do not put safety at risk.
  • Even if the repaired part is approved and has documentation the (AME) or must inspect the part and ensure that it conforms to its type design in accordance with CAR 571.13(1)(a).
  • Is the cheapest bid the best one?
  • Have you done due diligence by remaining unaware of the reason for the price gap?
  • Ensuring manufacturer's instructions were followed during the repair.
  • CAR 571.02 sets out the minimum requirements for maintenance work on an aeronautical product.
  • Aircraft owners must stay vigilant for their own safety as well as for the safety of their clients.

Snow Landing and Take-off Techniques

  • Helicopters face a significant hazard associated with takeoff, landing and hovering when the ground is covered with fresh or light snow.
  • The Towering Takeoff - outlined for conditions conducive to risks of recirculating snow.
  • The Rolling Takeoff - outlined for accelerating ahead of the recirculating snow, when snow cover is light and dry.
  • Landing: High-Hover Technique outlined for certain conditions.
  • Landing: No-Hover Technique outlined (not recommended for use at night).
  • The Run-On Landing: outlined (Note - Deep or heavy snow could impose excessive load on the landing gear).
  • Safety first - landings and takeoffs in recirculating snow require skill and training.
  • Training should be obtained from a qualified pilot or instructor before attempting the techniques described here.

TSB Final Report Summaries

TSB Final Report A94Q0182 - Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Flight Into Adverse Flight Conditions

  • Helicopter - Night visual flight.
  • Emergency medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) for a female with serious injuries.
  • Helicopter was found five days later; it had struck the ground in a steep dive.
  • The four occupants were killed instantly.
  • The pilot was not qualified for night or instrument flight, and that the patient's condition likely influenced the pilot's decision to undertake the night flight.

TSB Final Report A08O0235 - Nose Landing Gear Failure During Landing

  • An Embraer EMB-110P1 aircraft training flight with two pilots on board.
  • The nose landing gear partially collapsed during the landing roll.
  • Aircraft damaged.
  • The nose landing gear, overhauled in Australia, did not meet Transport Canada's requirements.
  • No injuries to either of the pilots.

TSB Final Report A09C0028 - Gear-Up Landing

  • Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II - on final approach.
  • The landing gear was selected down, but the right main gear did not extend due to tire-to-gear-door interference.
  • The right main gear could not be extended by either the normal or emergency methods.
  • Successful emergency gear-up landing executed.
  • Aircraft sustained substantial damage.
  • Two crew members and eight passengers evacuated uninjured.

TSB Final Report A13F0011 - Controlled Flight Into Terrain

  • Twin Otter de Havilland DHC-6-300 departed South Pole Station, Antarctica.
  • VFR flight overdue.
  • An emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal was detected.
  • Search and rescue (SAR) effort initiated.
  • Extreme weather conditions hampered the SAR operation, preventing the SAR team from accessing the site for two days.
  • Aircraft had impacted terrain.
  • Crew members had not survived.

TSB Final Report A13H0001 - Controlled Flight Into Terrain

  • Sikorsky S-76A helicopter, VFR flight.
  • A left hand turn was attempted at 300 ft. AGL.
  • Twenty-three seconds later, the helicopter impacted trees and then struck the ground in an area of dense bush and swampy terrain.
  • Fire ensued. Aircraft destroyed.
  • The search-and-rescue (SAR) satellite system did not detect a signal from the emergency locator transmitter (ELT).
  • Two pilots and two paramedics on board. No survivors.

Mental Health and Well-Being in Aviation

  • Transport Canada launches Mental Health in Aviation Workshop.
  • Resource material is already available such as CSA Standard Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.
  • Send an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the distribution list for the Mental Health in Aviation Workshop or information on mental health in aviation in general.
  • Transport Canada is looking forward to engaging with you more on this important topic.

2016-2017 Ground Icing Operations Update

  • Guidelines for Aircraft Ground Icing Operations (TP 14052), should be used in conjunction with the HOT Guidelines. Both documents are available for download at the following Transport Canada Web site:

Flying With Skis

  • Tips for preparing yourself and your aircraft for a safer ski flight.
  • Flight planning and preparation.
  • Pattern for survival - Keywords - Protection, First aid, Signals and Comfort.
  • Things to watch for on Departure - be prepared to make decisions.
  • En route - terrain looks very different in winter.
  • Arrival guidelines.
  • Overnighting instructions.
  • The importance of preheating.
  • Returning to base.
  • A reminder to close your Flight Plan.

Me The Hero? Take Five…For Safety

  • A look at the untrained or unprepared pilot who suddenly faces a potential rescue or medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) mission.
  • If you are suddenly facing an unplanned rescue or MEDEVAC mission or are asked to participate in one, pause and consider that you may not have the proper training.
  • Good intentions gone wrong - refer to - TSB Final Report A94Q0182 - A failed and fatal rescue attempt.
  • Do not hesitate to discuss such scenarios with your chief pilot and peers during pre-flight briefings or training.
  • The best decision may be to leave the ‘hero dream' to a professional rescue or MEDEVAC pilot.

Unnecessary Search and Rescue (UNSAR) Alerts

  • A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Buffalo R462 aircraft was tasked to investigate multiple reports of a 121.5 emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal.
  • The Buffalo was able to narrow the search to a mountainous area but were unable to descend below 9 000 ft.
  • Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) staff from B.C. were tasked with homing in on the ELT.
  • The ELT was located in the back of a pickup truck belonging to an aircraft maintenance engineer who had removed it that day.
  • The RCAF Buffalo flew 3.1 hrs. as part of this search.
  • Please confirm that ELTs are in the OFF position when removing them from aircraft for service so that needless searches are not initiated.

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We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada for this initiative through the Search and Rescue New Initiative Fund (SAR NIF).