Friday, March 17, 2017

Cessna 152, C-FGOI and Cessna 152, C-GPNP: Fatal accident occurred March 17, 2017 near Saint-Hubert Airport, Quebec, Canada



Cargair, the school that was training two pilots who crashed mid-air over a South Shore mall Friday, does not think mechanical problems, the weather or language barriers were factors in the accident.

The students — both from China — were studying to be airline pilots. One of them died, the other was seriously injured. There were no passengers on the planes, both of which had taken off from the nearby St-Hubert Airport.

One of the planes ended up in Promenades St-Bruno’s parking lot, the other on the mall’s roof.  

“The cause is not obvious,” Daniel Adams, operations manager and director of flight safety at Cargair, said in an interview. He said it’s the first such incident in the company’s history.

On Friday, “there was no reason to think something like this could happen. The conditions were perfect. It was a storm of good weather: there was no wind, it was magnificent, the visibility was excellent. So what happened?”

Adams, who has spoken with investigators from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the cause “doesn’t seem to be a mechanical problem. Zero risk doesn’t exist but we do everything we can every day to attenuate that risk.”

He said both pilots spoke English well and the control tower was communicating with them in English. 

A recording of the communication between the air-traffic control tower and one of the planes indicates that seconds before the collision, one of the pilots did not respond to four attempts to contact him about his altitude. 

The planes crashed after one of the pilots inexplicably changed altitude, said Adams, who has been a pilot for 20 years.

Friday was a sunny day but Adams said he does not think the sun played a role in the collision.

“When you’re at the same altitude, yes the sun can be a factor but if a pilot is descending or ascending and not following instructions from the tower, then it’s not a question of the weather but of the piloting.”

The 21-year-old man piloting the plane that landed in the parking lot died, while the other pilot, a 23-year-old man, was seriously injured. Doctors do not fear for his life. Their identities have not been made public.

The man who died had a student-pilot permit and had 40 hours of flight time after seven months at the Cargair pilot academy, Adams said. 

The injured man had a private-pilot license and had 140 hours of flight time after a year at Cargair.

Before they took off, the pilots’ instructors would have checked whether conditions and the pilots’ planned routes, Adams said.

They were both flying Cessna 152 aircraft, which are “the most used planes for pilot training,” he added. “They are very forgiving, very reliable and relatively simple to maintain.”

Mid-air collisions rare, but some have occurred in Canada

Cargair, which describes itself as Canada’s largest private pilot school, instructs about 150 pilots every year for airlines in China, where training facilities can’t keep up with demand, Adams said.

The flight training, which Cargair has been providing to Chinese students for more than a decade, takes about 15 months, with pilots graduating with a commercial license that requires a minimum of 200 hours of flight time.

Chinese students are taught in English.

“It’s clear that language comprehension was not an issue here, both students spoke English and met the language requirements for the training,” said Adams, who heard part of the recording of the communication between the tower and the pilots.

Investigators are to meet with the surviving pilot as well as the pilots’ instructors. They will also review the tower-pilot  communication, as well as radar data showing the planes’ flight paths.

Cargair, which also has facilities in Mirabel, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay, trains about 250 pilots a year. The company, founded in 1961, has 130 employees and owns 60 planes used for training.

Promenades St-Bruno, which closed after the accident occurred early on Friday afternoon, said it will reopen on Sunday morning.

Original article can be found here:  http://montrealgazette.com



Controller tried to contact pilot four times

Seconds before the fatal collision between two small aircraft above the Montreal suburb of St-Bruno, the air-traffic controller at the St-Hubert Airport tried to contact one of the pilots four times.

The pilot did not respond.

In a recording of the air-traffic controller’s communication with aircraft in the area, the controller is heard addressing the aircraft registered GPNP four times, twice asking the pilot to maintain an altitude of 1,600 feet as he approached the runway.

The controller contacted the pilot to tell him another aircraft, registered FGOI, was taking off a mile ahead. 

FGOI crashed into the parking lot of the Promenades St-Bruno shopping mall and its 21-year-old pilot was killed. GPNP fell onto the roof of the mall, where a thick layer of snow lessened the impact. The 23-year-old pilot suffered serious injuries.

Story and video:  http://montrealgazette.com



One pilot is dead and another critically injured after two small planes collided in the air near Promenades St-Bruno shopping mall south of Montreal just before 1 p.m. Friday, police and witnesses said.

Two other people who saw the crash unfold were being treated for nervous shock, Longueuil police told reporters at the scene. Just after 5 p.m., police added that they didn’t fear for the life of the injured pilot.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced it was deploying a team of investigators to the site. The TSB said in a statement that both planes were Cessna 152 aircraft operated by Cargair Ltd., a pilot-training academy in nearby St-Hubert.

One plane crashed onto the roof of the shopping mall, its fuel leaking into the snow on top of the building. The other plane slammed into the parking lot, splintering into pieces that one witness said looked like broken Lego blocks.




Antonio Chirita, who works at a Videotron store in the mall, said he heard a loud bang, smelled what he thought was kerosene and heard people screaming. He raced outside to discover the plane strewn across the parking lot, its fuel also leaking.

“Somebody was going around the plane, and trying to see what was happening, and there was another guy from a store who came out, and told him to go away because there was kerosene on the floor,” Chirita said. “It’s highly flammable. … But I think they realized the people in the plane were in pieces. “

“I know the pilot in front of the store was dead,” he added. “The plane was totally in pieces. It was like a Lego toy.”

Longueuil police clarified that each aircraft had only one individual on board, the pilot. Police did not release their identities, but said that the pilots were male, aged 21 and 23. The older pilot was in the hospital.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Premier Philippe Couillard expressed sympathy for the victims of the crash and those who were inside the shopping mall at the time.

“Our thoughts, above all else, are with the families of the victims and the injured,” he said, adding it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the accident.




“We don’t want to go too far (into this) too rapidly. There will be an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board. It could be pilot errors. It could be anything. We live in a large metropolitan zone, and there will always be a certain amount of aerial traffic, especially with small planes. We have to know that.

“The investigation will look into what happened and why, but today we have to think of the victims and the injured and the people who were in the Promenades St-Bruno. I understand that the people (inside) were very worried but they were far from the accident, which was a good thing.”

Cpt. Nancy Colagiacomo, of Longueuil police, echoed Couillard’s remarks about drawing conclusions prematurely.

“Right now we’re exploring all possible hypotheses,” she said. “We’re looking into every possible scenario.”

Firefighters succeeded in quickly plugging the leak of the plane in the parking lot. The roof of the shopping mall did not sustain structural damage.

A TVA helicopter captured images of the crumpled Cessna on the roof, showing that its fuselage had smashed on a rooftop natural-gas pipe. But the pipe was undamaged, a fire department official said.

The shopping centre was evacuated and a security perimeter was set up. St-Bruno is about 25 kilometres south of Montreal.

A woman who was shopping at the mall was visibly shaken as she recalled witnessing the crash. 

“I saw it and I never want to see anything like that again,” the woman told the Montreal Gazette after being interviewed by investigators. “The plane spiralled down and into the parking lot. It was horrible. I can’t stop thinking about it.”

The woman declined to give her name, saying she was too overcome with emotion.

Nheil Martinez, who works inside the mall, was outside smoking a cigarette when he glimpsed the shadow of a plane and heard its motor.

“I heard the motor so low to the ground and then a loud boom,” he said.

“Then we saw pieces of plane fall out of the sky everywhere.”

Martinez then ran to the plane and saw a man inside, whose body was crushed.

Jonathan Vanasse was eating in a restaurant in the mall next to the crash site. He said he and several others scrambled outside and saw the plane wreckage and leaking fuel.

“There was just shredded metal,” he said, referring to what was left of the aircraft.

Cargair announced in a news release Friday evening that it was working with authorities and offered its sympathies to the families of the pilots.

“We are concentrating our efforts to support our employees and students who are part of the Cargair family,” the company said, adding it wouldn’t be issuing any further comment.

Cargair was founded in 1961. The company’s website says it operates two flight training schools in Mascouche and St-Hubert with a “large fleet of Cessna and Piper aircraft.”

Story and video:   http://montrealgazette.com















One person has died and three are injured after two small planes collided in the air near Promenades St-Bruno south of Montreal just before 1 p.m. Friday.


The numbers were confirmed by Premier Philippe Couillard and Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux as they attended an event in Montreal.


The identity of the victim and the conditions of the injured were not clear.


Earlier, Longueuil police said each plane only had a pilot on board and that both were injured.


One of the planes crashed on the roof of the Promenades Saint-Bruno, while the other slammed into the parking lot.


A security perimeter was set up near the shopping centre in Saint-Bruno, about 25 kilometres from Montreal.


Witnesses at the scene described hearing a loud bang.


Nheil Martinez, who works inside the mall, was outside smoking a cigarette when he saw the shadow of a plane and heard its motor.


“I heard the motor so low to the ground and then a loud boom,” he said.


“Then we saw pieces of plane fall out of the sky everywhere.”


Martinez said he ran to the plane and saw a man inside, whose body was crushed.


Jonathan Vanasse was eating inside a mall restaurant next to the crash site.


He said he and several others ran outside and saw the plane, which he said was leaking fuel.


“There was just shredded metal,” he said, referring to what was left of the aircraft.


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced it was deploying a team of investigators to the site.

The TSB said in a statement both planes were Cessna 152 aircraft operated by Cargair.

Cargair is a pilot-training academy based in nearby Longueuil.

The company did not want to comment when reached by The Canadian Press.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Premier Philippe Couillard expressed sympathy for the victims of the crash and those who were inside the shopping mall at the time.

“Our thoughts, above all else, are with the families of the victims and the injured,” he said, adding it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the accident.

“We don’t want to go too far (into this) too rapidly. There will be an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board. It could be pilot errors. It could be anything. We live in a large metropolitan zone, and there will always be a certain amount of aerial traffic, especially with small planes. We have to know that. The investigation will look into what happened and why, but today we have to think of the victims and the injured and the people who were in the Promenades St-Bruno. I understand that the people (inside) were very worried but they were far from the accident, which was a good thing.”

Source:   http://montrealgazette.com

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