Helicopters Magazine

Features Procedures Safety & Training
Pilot inexperience the cause of Kananaskis crash: TSB

July 23, 2013, Edmonton, Alta. - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A12W0031) into the March 2012 accident in which a Bell 206B helicopter on a sightseeing flight experienced loss of control and collided with terrain in the vicinity of Loder Peak, near Kananaskis, Alberta. The pilot was killed, and the four passengers were injured.


At the time of the accident, the helicopter, operated by Kananaskis
Mountain Helicopters Ltd., was being flown very close to mountainous
terrain. TSB investigators found that the pilot had minimal training
and experience in mountain flying, and it was unlikely that the pilot
was able to recognize and mitigate the hazards associated with flying
in this environment. Wind and weather conditions close to mountains can
negatively affect the performance of an aircraft, such as its ability
to climb, maintain altitude or maintain tail-rotor effectiveness.

The collision with terrain was the result of uncontrolled rotation
caused either by the aerodynamic loss of tail-rotor effectiveness or by
a tail-rotor strike with the rising terrain. Although the helicopter
had a flight tracking system installed, the operator was not aware that
the flight was overdue so search and rescue operations were delayed.

The accident helicopter was not fitted with, and was not required by
regulation to be fitted with, a flight recorder and/or cockpit voice
recorder. Lightweight flight recorders help operators and investigators
identify and correct safety deficiencies, and reduce the risk of
accidents. The TSB recently recommended (A13-03) that Transport Canada
work with industry to remove obstacles to, and develop recommended
practices for, the implementation of flight data monitoring and the
installation of lightweight flight recording systems for commercial
operators not required to carry these systems.

Since the accident, Kananaskis Mountain Helicopters has taken a number
of measures to reduce operational risks. These measures include
requiring pilots to wear helmets while flying, enhancing mountain
flying training, and putting safeguards in place to ensure that all
required training has been completed.

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