Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: Man wants answers after finding aircraft identification placard in yard

Found. Alain Quintard shows off the small piece of a plane he found on his lawn on Labour Day. Torstar Network 

 It was a perfectly predictable Labour Day Monday for Alain Quintard before he saw it.

The 60-year-old Mississauga man mowed his large lawn late in the afternoon. An hour or two later, he spotted something black shining on top of his pristine grass.

“I was puzzled, because the lawn was freshly cut; there were no foreign objects on it last time I checked,” Quintard said.

A look at the credit-card-sized piece of black metal, bearing a sketch and words, left him stunned.

“When I looked at the script on it, I understood right away it was coming from the sky. It came from a plane,” he said.

“It said ‘brake manifold’ and I knew what a brake manifold is,” said Quintard, a manager for distribution quality at Molson Coors who has a technical background. His home is not far from the runways at Pearson International Airport.

Mark Laurie, who teaches aviation maintenance at Mohawk College, said the part absolutely came off an aircraft and looks like an identification placard. He said losing it wouldn’t affect the safety or operation of the aircraft.

Nevertheless, said Quintard, “It’s worrisome that a part is falling off of a plane, no matter how small. Not to mention that it could have hit somebody on the ground. I want somebody to investigate this.”

The part landed too far from the fence for someone to have thrown it into his large backyard, Quintard said.

He contacted two people at the Transportation Safety Board of Canada who told him they would pass on his issue to someone who could help, but he hasn’t heard back.
“I found that very strange, that they weren’t more interested and were taking it very lightly,” Quintard said.

Frustrated, he then wrote an e-mail to Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation unit, and got a response from a regional manager in Strategies and Coordination saying they needed precise details of the time the part fell into the yard, as well as a part itself, to continue their investigation.

Quintard said he had already supplied that information as well as a photo of the piece, and voiced suspicions that authorities “are trying to cover up something that is embarrassing for them.”

Transport Canada confirmed to the Star it is indeed “looking into a report of a piece of metal that may have fallen from an aircraft in the Mississauga area.”
Spokesperson Pam Mintern said Transport Canada received seven reports of fallen aircraft parts in the GTA in 2011, and it does happen from time to time.
Quintard said he still wants an investigation.

“Their lack of interest in the fact that a piece of a plane has fallen and response to send it in to them seems like they want it covered up quickly. It’s concerning,” he said.

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