TSB concludes probe into deadly small plane crash
Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board have concluded a plane crash near Calgary that killed a flight instructor and his student was likely the result of a simulated engine failure exercise that went wrong.
On Oct. 26, 2017, a flight instructor from Springbank Air Training College was scheduled to evaluate a student at the Springbank Airport west of Calgary ahead of an upcoming flight test for his multiengine rating.
According to the TSB’s findings, the Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II lifted off from the airport’s Runway 17, reaching 76 metres above ground level before it rolled to the left and entered a deep, descending left turn.
Just 70 seconds after liftoff, the twin-engine plane slammed into the ground, killing both of its occupants, who haven’t been identified.
The aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter did not activate and it wasn’t equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder, neither of which were required by regulation. Due to the lack of those tools, investigators were unable to determine exactly what actions the pilot and student took, or determine a more precise cause of the deadly crash.
The student had 175 hours of flight experience in the plane, and was overseen by a flight instructor with some 2,167 hours of flight time.
Investigators were unable to determine any mechanical deficiencies that might have led to the crash.
Online records indicate the aircraft was built in 1975 and was purchased by the Springbank Air Training College in July 2017.
The crash was the second fatal accident involving a Calgary-area flight school last year.
Last February, Mount Royal University flight instructors Jeffrey Bird and Reynold Johnson died when their twin-engine Tecnam — also based out of Springbank Airport — went down northwest of Calgary.
In the aftermath of last October’s crash, the Springbank Air Training College published updated regulations outlining minimum altitudes for simulated engine failure exercises, as well other procedures around simulated engine failure.
A crash that killed a flight instructor and his student was likely linked to a simulated engine failure exercise.