Monday, December 25, 2017

Aviation companies fined by Transport Canada in B.C.

Richmond-based Helijet has received the heaviest fines from Transport Canada so far this year for aviation violations in B.C., a review of federal enforcement files by Postmedia News reveals.

Helijet was fined a total of $26,250 on six counts over four separate days for failure to operate an aircraft “in accordance with the operating limitations set out in the aircraft flight manual.”

The federal department had raised concerns about the model of aircraft used by Helijet doing night flights onto so-called H1 category hospital helipads — those in dense urban areas — and the need for more windows so that if one engine fails, pilots would have an unobstructed view for an emergency landing.

Rick Hill, Helijet’s vice-president of commercial and business programs, said in response to the fines that the issue stemmed from a Transport Canada inspection in March 2016 that resulted in Helijet voluntarily suspending its Sikorsky 76C+ air-medical helicopters from landing at up to seven hospital helipads in or near urban areas.

“A Transport Canada routine inspection determined that Helijet’s S76 Sikorsky helicopters used for air-medical operations were not technically compliant with Transport Canada’s criteria for landing at H1 class heliports,” Hill said.

The issue related to an “impasse over documentation compliance concerning interpretation of the Sikorsky S-76C+ flight manual,” he said. While the issue was under review, Helijet curtailed certain air-ambulance flights, and found alternative “safe and effective means to transport patients in need of urgent medical care,” he said.

Eventually, a new technical document referred to as a Supplemental Type Certificate was approved by Transport Canada and added to the S76C+ helicopter flight manual, which permitted resumption of landings at all previously restricted ground and elevated H1 designated hospital heliports in December 2016, Hill said.

Other aviation companies fined by Transport Canada in B.C. this year through October include:

Helipsair Inc., a Quebec-based flight training and commercial helicopter company, fined $3,750 for a helicopter takeoff/approach/landing within a built-up area of a city or town.

Canadian Institute of Aviation Technology of Kelowna, $3,750, for failing to record, at the required time, the required particulars in the aircraft journey log.

A numbered company, 1590877 Alberta Inc., a total of $15,000 for three counts: operating an aircraft not properly registered, permitting an aircraft to takeoff when it did not meet airworthiness directives requirements, and permitting an aircraft to takeoff when it had not been properly maintained.

Northern Thunderbird Air Inc., based in Prince George, a total of $15,000, for three counts of permitting an aircraft to takeoff where the required equipment failed to meet airworthiness standards.

Heiltsuk Economic Development Corporation of Bella Bella, a total of $8,750, for two counts, failing to establish and maintain a Safety Management System and failing to submit an airport wildlife plan.

A separate review by Postmedia News of Transport Canada files on reportable aviation incidents for 2017 showed several involving Helijet Sikorsky helicopters, largely typical of the range of events that aircraft encounter every year.

Nov. 22: During a flight from Vancouver harbour to Victoria International Airport, the crew declared an emergency due to concerns with the tail rotor. After a safe landing, an inspection revealed a malfunction with the autopilot computer. 

Oct. 10: During a flight from Vancouver harbour to Victoria harbour, the crew declared an emergency after observing a number-one engine fire-warning light. The crew activated the fire extinguisher and the warning light went out. A subsequent inspection revealed a false warning caused by moisture on the fire detector amplifier cannon plug.

Sept. 6: The GPS stopped working during a flight from Masset to Sandspit in poor weather. Unable to ascertain the exact geographic position, the pilot climbed to obtain a visual reference with the terrain. A Mayday was declared and radar vectors provided and the pilot flew towards Sandspit, regaining a visual reference near Queen Charlotte City before landing at Sandspit. “The operator reported that the GPS antenna was not connected properly.”

July 2: On a local flight from Sandspit, the crew “reported a float plane 100 feet overhead,” believed to be an Inland Air Charters de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver. 

April 28: The crew descended and “altered heading toward the south in order to avoid a collision” with a Canadian Forces Lockheed C-130 near Bowen Island flying at the same altitude. 

Feb. 6: Shortly after takeoff from Vancouver harbour, the helicopter struck a bird on one of the main rotor tip caps and the crew returned for landing. 

Jan. 9: A bird struck the main rotor during a medevac flight from Vancouver harbour to Sechelt. An emergency was declared and the aircraft landed safely at Vancouver International Airport with firefighting crews standing by.

Original article can be found here ➤

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