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Note: The following accident synopses are Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) Class 5 events, which occurred between August 1, 2011, and October 31, 2011. These occurrences do not meet the criteria of classes 1 through 4, and are recorded by the TSB for possible safety analysis, statistical reporting, or archival purposes. The narratives may have been updated by the TSB since publication. For more information on any individual event, please contact the TSB.

- On August 3, 2011, a Convair CV580 was landing at Kasba Lake, N.W.T., on a flight from Winnipeg, Man. The runway was bumpy, with soft and wet spots after recent rains. During the landing roll, the aircraft’s nose gear collapsed, and the aircraft came to rest on its nose. The passengers were deplaned with no injuries; the aircraft sustained substantial damage. TSB File A11C0128.

- On August 5, 2011, a Bell 407 helicopter was moving personnel in support of mining operations in the Hackett River Camp, Nun., area when an engine chip light came on. The pilot landed the helicopter and was following the normal engine cool-down procedure when a loud bang was heard and debris was projected in front of the helicopter. The pilot immediately activated the fuel shutoff and turned off the battery master. The pilot and four passengers exited the helicopter, and fire was observed in the engine area. The pilot returned to the helicopter and attempted to put out the fire with the hand-held cockpit fire extinguisher. The fire continued to burn; the pilot turned on the ELT and grabbed the hand-held radio. The helicopter was completely consumed by a post-crash fire. A cursory examination of the wreckage indicated an uncontained failure of the Allison 250 C47B engine. The engine was removed from the site and was shipped to the TSB Engineering Branch in Ottawa for examination. TSB File A11C0129.

- On August 6, 2011, a privately owned Enstrom 280 FX helicopter was landing on an unprepared sloped surface beside Lake du Chevreuil, Que. When the aircraft landed, its tail rotor struck the surface of the water and its drive shaft broke. The aircraft began rotating left before landing. The left skid was damaged. The accident occurred approximately 5 NM west of Duhamel, Que. Neither of the occupants was injured. TSB File A11Q0149.

- On August 11, 2011, the pilot of an AS 350 B2 helicopter had started the helicopter and began to perform the pre-flight hydraulic check. During the standard hydraulic accumulator test, the collective rose up and the helicopter became airborne. The pilot attempted to control the helicopter without hydraulic flight controls, but it struck the ground, bounced back into the air, rotated twice, and rolled over onto its left side. The pilot and three passengers escaped uninjured, but the helicopter was substantially damaged. The pilot had not engaged the collective lock. See TSB report #A06P0123 for identical circumstances. TSB File A11P0121.

- On August 13, 2011, a float-equipped Cessna 170B, with the pilot and two passengers on board, was taking off from Lake Sept-Îles, Que., when the pilot noticed that there was a personal watercraft ahead crossing his take-off path. The pilot completed a manoeuvre to avoid the personal watercraft, but the right wing touched the surface of the water, which caused the aircraft to stop suddenly. Both wings were significantly damaged. There were no injuries. TSB File A11Q0151.

- On August 14, 2011, a float-equipped Cessna 172N was on a recreational flight in the Caniapiscau, Que., region. While the aircraft was landing in very windy conditions on Lake Pau, the aircraft bounced. The pilot applied power to correct the situation. However, given that the aircraft’s speed had decreased too much, the effectiveness of the flight controls was reduced and was so low that the pilot was unable to regain control of the aircraft for landing. The aircraft’s right wing and nose touched the surface of the water first, and the aircraft came to a stop tilted, semi-submerged. The two occupants, who were wearing personal floatation devices (PFD), egressed and were quickly rescued by people from the nearby outfitter. There were no injuries. TSB File A11Q0153.

- On August 17, 2011, the pilot of a Cessna C150F was conducting circuits at Pokemouche Airport (CDA4) near Blanchard Settlement, N.B. At about 20:00 ADT, an engine RPM drop (Continental O-200) was noted as power was applied following a touch-and-go landing. The pilot elected to carry out a forced landing in a field adjacent to the airfield, but the aircraft’s vertical fin struck utility wires during the approach. The aircraft came to rest on the ground inverted. The pilot sustained minor injuries that were treated at the scene by paramedics. It was estimated that 10 L of fuel remained on board at the time of occurrence. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. TSB File A11A0048.

- On August 20, 2011, a privately registered Cessna T210M was parked on the ramp at Humboldt, Sask., after a local VFR flight. The pilot had the engine running in an effort to lower engine temperatures prior to shutting it down. The pilot had opened the left cabin door to allow cooler air into the cockpit. At this point, the male passenger in the rear seat exited the aircraft and stood in the open doorway talking with the pilot. Sometime shortly afterward, the lone female passenger seated in the right front seat unlatched the right cockpit door and exited the aircraft. After exiting the aircraft, the passenger walked towards the front of the aircraft and was fatally injured on contact with the rotating propeller. The pilot and other passenger sustained no physical injuries. TSB File A11C0135.

- On August 21, 2011, a privately registered Mooney M-20J was landing on Runway 30 at Thunder Bay, Ont., with a pilot and three passengers on board. During the landing roll, the pilot’s shirt became entangled on the landing gear selector, and the gear retracted. The aircraft settled on its belly and sustained damage to the belly and propeller. The pilot and passengers were uninjured. TSB File A11C0137.

- On August 23, 2011, a Bell 206B helicopter had landed on a makeshift lumber pad at a remote site 73 NM south of Smithers, B.C. Two passengers disembarked as the helicopter remained running and under the control of the pilot. As the helicopter was lifting off with only the pilot on board, a bear paw on the skid caught on a piece of lumber, which resulted in the helicopter rolling over. The pilot sustained minor injuries. Help was summoned by one of the passengers. The helicopter was substantially damaged. TSB File A11P0127.

- On August 24, 2011, a float-equipped Stinson 108-3 struck glassy water during an approach to land on Upper Arrow Lake at Nakusp, B.C. The aircraft overturned and submerged. The pilot was able to exit the aircraft, but the passenger did not exit and drowned in the overturned aircraft. TSB File A11P0128.

- On August 25, 2011, a privately registered Cessna U206D was landing on a road adjacent to a farm where the pilot was to repair farm equipment. During the final approach, the vertical fin struck an unobserved wire crossing the road. The aircraft landed safely. The vertical fin and rudder sustained substantial damage. There were no injuries. TSB File A11C0141.

- On August 28, 2011, a Cessna R182 was landing on Runway 30 at Charlo, N.B., after arriving from Bathurst, N.B. Upon touchdown, the aircraft landed on its belly, scraped along the runway for some distance, and came to rest on the paved surface. The pilot was the only occupant and was not injured; however, the aircraft was substantially damaged. The landing gear warning system was reported to be operating correctly, but the landing gear selector was not selected down prior to landing. TSB File A11A0054.

- On September 2, 2011, a Piper PA28-151 failed to outclimb rising terrain in a coulee during a private sightseeing flight west of Claresholm, Alta. During a 180° turn, the aircraft stalled and crashed into trees. Two occupants sustained minor injuries, and one was flown by MEDEVAC helicopter to Calgary with serious injuries. The aircraft was substantially damaged. TSB File A11W0129.

- On September 3, 2011, two gliders (an SZD-55-1 and a G102 ASTIR CS) were soaring in the same thermal about 7 NM southeast of the Invermere, B.C., airport when they collided. Both aircraft were substantially damaged and were incapable of controlled flight. Both aircraft struck the terrain and were destroyed. Neither pilot survived. The TSB is assisting the Office of the Chief Coroner for British Columbia in its investigation. TSB File A11P0134.

- On September 16, 2011, a Lake LA-4 amphibian airplane was taking off in VFR conditions between the St-Hyacinthe, Que., airport (CSU3) and Lake Geoffrion, Que. While the aircraft was attempting to land on water for the fourth time, it crashed in the lake. Both individuals were rescued by shoreline residents, who made their way to the aircraft in small boats. The passenger was fatally injured, and the pilot was severely injured. The aircraft was destroyed. TSB File A11Q0177.

- On September 16, 2011, an Aerospatiale AS350B1 helicopter was refuelled at Langley, B.C., and departed for Kelowna, B.C., at 18:20 PDT. The aircraft was last observed on radar at 3 800 ft in the vicinity of Hope, B.C. A citizen reported to the Kelowna tower that the aircraft was overdue. ATC had had no contact with the aircraft. The aircraft was found on September 20 by another helicopter operating in the area. The wreckage was located at 6 100 ft ASL on a north-facing 32º slope, indicating that the aircraft had turned back and reversed course. There was an intense post-impact fire that consumed most of the aircraft. The pilot was fatally injured. An installed 406 ELT was not working. TSB File A11P0139.

- On September 17, 2011, a Cessna 182P was inbound for Rockcliffe Airport (CYRO), Ont., and planned to land on Runway 27. During the final approach, the pilot lost sight of the runway in the setting sun and landed on Taxiway A, which was parallel to the runway. During the landing rollout, the pilot swerved to the left to avoid a taxiing aircraft and struck a parked aircraft. The pilot was uninjured; however, the landing aircraft was significantly damaged. TSB File A11O0187.

- On September 18, 2011, the unlicensed pilot of an ultralight Aeros Model 582 had conducted numerous taxi runs to become familiar with the aircraft before departing from a private property in Carroll’s Corner, N.S., for a local flight. This was the first flight for the pilot in this model of ultralight. After climbing above the trees shortly after takeoff, the ultralight pitched nose down, descended rapidly and crashed into a pond. The pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, was fatally injured. Fuel leaked into the pond. There was no indication of an in-flight structural failure, and the engine was operating at the time of impact. The pilot had about 9 hr of dual-flight training in a different model of ultralight. The pilot did not have any ground school training, nor was he authorized to fly solo. TSB File A11A0061.

- On September 23, 2011, a Cessna U206G was conducting a VFR charter flight from Fort Simpson, N.W.T., to the Root River Camp with two drums of avgas. The aircraft departed Fort Simpson in VFR conditions and followed the Root River. After approximately 1 hr of flying, the pilot began to encounter lower ceilings and visibilities. The pilot turned into what was thought to be the valley where the camp was located, but it was actually a box canyon. During an attempt to turn and climb out of the rising terrain, the right wing struck terrain and then the ground. The pilot sustained minor injuries and was located a few hours later with the help of the functioning 406 ELT. TSB File A11W0146.

- On September 23, 2011, an amateur-built, float-equipped Wagaero Sport Trainer was on a local VFR flight with the pilot and a passenger on board. When the aircraft took off from Lake Jourdain, Que., it entered a bank of fog. The pilot made a turn and the floats struck the surface of the water. The aircraft was severely damaged. Neither occupant was injured in the accident. TSB File A11Q0183.

- On September 24, 2011, a float-equipped Wagaero Sportsman 2+2 took off from Lake Husky, Que., for a local flight with the pilot and a passenger on board. While the aircraft was returning and was on final for the lake, it experienced fuel starvation. The seaplane struck trees and crashed 20 m before it was to land on Lake Husky. Neither occupant was injured in the accident. According to the information that was obtained, a blocked fuel pipe caused the loss of power. The 406 ELT went off upon impact. TSB File A11Q0184.

- On September 24, 2011, an R44 II helicopter took off from Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, Que. at around 20:30 EDST on a VFR night flight to Saint-Jean-des-Piles, Que., with only the pilot on board. The aircraft struck the surface of Saint-Maurice River when it was approximately 350 m from its destination. The aircraft quickly sank. The pilot egressed from the cockpit and swam to shore, where he was rescued. He sustained serious injuries. TSB File A11Q0182.

- On October 2, 2011, an amateur-built, float-equipped Beaver des Pauvres took off from Nicolet River, Que., for the Outardes-4 dam, located north of Baie-Comeau, Que. While the aircraft was en route, the weather deteriorated, and the pilot conducted a precautionary landing on water in the southwestern portion of Jacques Cartier Lake, located in the Réserve faunique des Laurentides, at around 10:00 EST. Judging that the weather had improved, he took off again at around 12:30 EST. He found himself in a valley in which it was impossible to turn around. Due to the blanket of clouds, the pilot descended so low that the aircraft struck the tops of spruce trees. The seaplane crashed at around 13:00 EST and was significantly damaged. The pilot was not injured. The impact was not enough to set off the ELT. The pilot had a global positioning system (GPS) that could identify his location. Furthermore, he was able to communicate via cell phone and be rescued, as he was close to Route 175. TSB File A11Q0186.

- On October 19, 2011, a Cessna 185 was conducting an engine run-up in the run-up designated area at Rouyn-Noranda airport (CYUY), Que., when a Boeing 737 parked 300 ft away increased engine power to taxi. The C185 pilot, realizing the B737 was advancing, applied engine power in an attempt to taxi further away; however, the C185’s right wing lifted and the aircraft fell on its right side. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The C185 was substantially damaged. The C185 pilot was not aware that the B737 was preparing to leave and did not believe his aircraft was close enough to the B737 to be affected by the jet blast. The B737 flagman believed the C185 was far enough away and would not be affected by the jet blast. The flight service station (FSS) had not advised either crew of the presence of the other aircraft. TSB File A11Q0190.

- On October 26, 2011, a chartered Cessna 180J was climbing to 5 500 ft ASL towards St-Boniface-de-Shawinigan, Que. At approximately 3 500 ft ASL, the pilot noticed that the Continental O-470-S engine had lost power and stabilized the aircraft. The pilot turned around to come back and land and applied carburetor de-icing. The engine misfired a few times. While the aircraft was flying by the mountaintop upon its return, it entered an area of downdrafting air. While it was descending into the valley, the aircraft struck the treetops and came to a stop in the trees. The pilot and two passengers were not injured, and the aircraft was significantly damaged. TSB File A11Q0198.

- On October 30, 2011, a Fairchild SA227-AC was on an IFR flight from Montréal-Trudeau International Airport (CYUL), Que., to Kitchener/Waterloo (CYKF), Ont., with two pilots and two passengers on board. After the aircraft pushed back, the pilots were instructed to set the brakes and disconnect from the towing tractor. While personnel were still working near the nose wheel, the airplane started moving forward towards the tractor. The personnel moved away; the nose of the airplane struck the tractor and was damaged. There were no injuries. TSB File A11Q0203.

- On October 31, 2011, a float-equipped Champion 7GCBX took off on a VFR flight from Lake Labrecque, Que., to Lake Houlière, Que., with only the pilot on board. Approximately 30 min after takeoff, the pilot conducted a precautionary water landing on Péribonka River when he encountered low visibility conditions. When the aircraft landed on water, the pilot lost his visual references in the fog and the seaplane landed in a marsh on the shore of the river. During the ground run, a wing and a float broke off. The airplane caught fire after it came to a stop. The 406 ELT went off. The pilot was not injured in the accident. TSB File A11Q0204.

Attitude Indicator

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the essay on Kennedy’s fatal spiral dive accident, published in Aviation Safety Letter 4/99. Developing a new attitude indicator that combines a moving horizon and miniature aircraft would make little difference to whether a pilot would be able to recover from a spiral dive. The fact is that, typically, the pilot misinterprets its indication (no matter what the design) and fails to cross-check with other instruments — this is a question of training and proficiency. If the pilot gets more comfort from seeing the little airplane in a banked attitude, he or she can look at the turn co-ordinator.

If the accident was indeed a result of a spiral dive as a result of disorientation, the emphasis of the investigation should be on the human aspects so others can learn how to break the chain of events that led to the tragedy. This means recognizing the pressure to get to a destination, especially when behind schedule. Often we do not want to disappoint our passengers and this self-imposed pressure can push us to fly into adverse conditions; this is known as "get-home itis." We also need to recognize the environment we are getting into, including the weather and the type of aircraft; recognizing our own limits against this backdrop of pressure and environment may be the key to prevent such occurrences. Let’s get the training to enhance our abilities or be prepared to say "no" if conditions exceed them.

James Greenhill
Montreal, Quebec

Thank you Mr. Greenhill. Indeed your comments about self-imposed pressure, environment (night VFR among others), and the pilot’s own abilities are crucially important, and likely responsible, in some part, for that accident. We can learn a lot from your letter alone. However, I do not believe the article by Dr. Roscoe meant to ignore those issues, rather to discuss a very specific instrument and how it could be improved. It’s like "thinking outside the box" and it probably deserves more scrutiny. In fairness to all, here are the main points of Aero Innovation’s response to your letter. - Ed.

Dear Mr. Greenhill,

Your comments on the decision to go flying or not are relevant but do not address the reasons pilots, despite their level of experience, risk calculation, and flight planning, fail to recognize spirals when they occur, and why pilots hold full ailerons in the direction of turn all the way to ground impact (a fact known when flight data recorders (FDR) are present). In the U.S. alone, this happens more than twice a week, sometimes to highly experienced and current pilots.

It is not only reasonable but also a duty to improve poorly engineered instruments if the improvements prevent pilots from inadvertently entering spiral dives and/or ease the recognition of a dive and/or suggest proper recovery procedures. This is more than just a training issue, as all of us eventually meet a level of mental saturation triggering instinctively humane reactions not always in accordance with good airmanship or past (sometimes distant) training. This is what human factors are all about. Thank you for sharing your views with us.

Jean LaRoche
President of Aero Innovation

GPS Direct...Or Is It?

Is this the neatest toy or what?! Navigation is a piece of cake now!

The following account highlights the critical importance of maintaining proper map-reading skills and, more importantly, the need to always know your position on your visual flight rules (VFR) map even though you are flying a global positioning system (GPS) direct route.

A pilot and two passengers flew to Lac Portneuf, Quebec, in a float-equipped Cessna A185F on June 9, 1997, for a fishing trip and had planned to return home to Pittsfield, Maine, on June 13, 1997. The aircraft took off as scheduled on June 13 with a planned refuelling stop at Lac-Sébastien, 51 NM to the southwest; however, the pilot returned to Lac Portneuf because fog and low visibility prevented him from reaching his destination. The pilot delayed the departure until the next day. On June 14, the takeoff was delayed again because of fog and rain, but the pilot and his passengers eventually departed at 08:45 from Lac Portneuf on a VFR flight to Lac-Sébastien.

Around 09:30, witnesses about three miles west of Lac-Morin heard the sound of an aircraft engine pass overhead, soon followed by a sound of impact. They did not see the aircraft because the visibility was restricted by thick fog. The aircraft did not arrive at its destination as scheduled on the flight plan, and searches were undertaken. It was found at about 13:30 on the same day. It crashed at the 2500-ft. level of the east side of a mountain that rises to 2650 ft. above sea level (ASL) in straight-and-level flight on a magnetic heading of 250°. The aircraft was destroyed and the three occupants were killed. This synopsis is based on Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) Final Report A97Q0118.

The pilot and both passengers were wearing seat belts but these gave way under the force of the impact, and the three occupants were thrown from the aircraft. The pilot was certified and qualified to fly day VFR only. The TSB determined that the installation of the floats was not documented in the aircraft's technical log books, as required by regulation. The aircraft was properly equipped for instrument flying. Further, it was fitted with an autopilot that kept the wings level and with a GPS navigation receiver. This navigation system is more efficient than traditional means of navigation and therefore reduces the pilot's workload.

The GPS installed in this aircraft displays the aircraft's geographical position, ground speed, time of arrival, distance, and track to programmed locations; it does not display ground elevation. The GPS receiver in the aircraft would indicate the bearing and distance to the destination at all times no matter where on earth the aircraft was physically located. Pilots tend to rely on this information and do not have to attend to where the aircraft is geographically located because they know they are not lost and they can always fly directly to their destination. The aircraft had no radio altimeter or ground proximity warning system, nor was either required by regulation.

An emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was installed and in working order, but the signal was not received by any aircraft or the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system because the antenna broke off on impact. About 08:00 on the day of the accident, the pilot observed a commercial aircraft flying southwest, so he telephoned a Lac-Sébastien aircraft operator to obtain current meteorological information at his destination. He was informed that conditions were favourable for visual flight, and that the ceiling was 2000 ft. ASL. At 08:20, the pilot submitted a VFR flight plan and he was to leave Lac Portneuf at 08:45 and proceed direct to Lac-Sébastien at an altitude of 2500 ft. ASL. According to the flight plan, the flight time was 45 min, with an endurance of 2 hrs. The chosen route was over a heavily wooded area with lakes, mountains and valleys; the elevation of the summits ranged between 2000 and 2900 ft. ASL. The pilot did not request or receive any weather information relating to the planned route from the FSS.

Conditions at Lac Portneuf were favourable for VFR flight on takeoff. In the area where the accident occurred, visibility was very restricted or almost zero in fog. At the time of the crash, a bush pilot who knew the area well reported that the peaks of the mountains were concealed by clouds. Four hours after the accident, the pilot of the search and rescue (SAR) helicopter observed localized low clouds in the area of the accident.

The east side of the mountain where the aircraft crashed has a steep slope and is densely wooded. The seaplane hit the ground, and then a rock face, in a slightly nose-up attitude with 5° of left bank. The wings broke off at impact and the cabin was heavily damaged. Examination of the engine and the propeller at the site suggest that the engine was turning on impact; however, the examination could not determine the power that it was producing. There was no evidence suggesting that the aircraft had suffered a structural failure, flight control problems, electrical problems, power loss, or that fire broke out during flight.

A controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accident is when an airworthy aircraft inadvertently strikes the terrain or water without the crew's suspecting the tragedy is about to happen. According to CFIT accident statistics collected by the TSB, pilots often tried to see the ground to fly VFR even though the flight was taking place in clouds, at night, in whiteout, or in other conditions that did not permit visual flight. More than half of such CFIT accidents occurred in VFR flight. In 1995, the TSB recommended that Transport Canada (TC) initiate a national safety awareness program addressing the operational limitations and safe use of GPS in remote operations. TC issued several special aviation notices since, which detailed the use of GPS in Canadian airspace, and also published a number of articles on GPS in recent issues of the Aviation Safety Letter.

Analysis - The prevailing weather conditions at the points of departure and arrival were favourable for visual flight, but the pilot could not have known that local conditions along the way were poor, as the area is largely uninhabited and weather information was not available. Faced with deteriorating weather conditions, which made continuation of the flight hazardous, the pilot had to make a decision either to find a suitable lake for landing or to make a diversion. The pilot decided not to land, but to deviate from the direct route and try to reach his destination by veering southeast in order to fly in visual meteorological conditions (VMC).

It is likely that the pilot was not aware of his true position in relation to the terrain and topography of the area and was relying on the GPS to get to his destination because the weather conditions required him to focus the greatest part of his attention on manoeuvring the aircraft to maintain VMC. In low-altitude flight, the pilot would have difficulty following his progress on the VFR navigation chart, on which the elevation of the terrain appeared. Consequently, although the pilot knew where Lac-Sébastien was located in relation to his aircraft, he did not know his exact position and was flying at an altitude lower than some of the surrounding terrain.

The TSB could not determine why the pilot decided to continue the flight in adverse conditions, but it is likely that the nearness of the destination and the pilot's reliance on the GPS had an influence on his decision. The desire of the pilot and the passengers to return home after the first delay may have influenced the pilot's decision to undertake the flight.

In the end, the TSB determined that the pilot continued his flight in adverse weather conditions and probably did not have the necessary visual references to avoid hitting the steep slope of the mountain. Likely contributing to this occurrence was the pilot's reliance on GPS instead of the navigation chart while attempting to maintain VMC.

Being Cool Can Be Carried Too Far

by Bob Merrick

In much of modern life, being cool is "where it’s at," but too much coolness in your aviation life could be life threatening.

Aviation has come a long way since pioneering Canadian aviators wrapped themselves in bunny bags, daubed themselves with whale grease and set out in their open-cockpit planes to help build a country. Back then, engine reliability was a somewhat fanciful dream, navigation was an occult art, and aviators embarking on long flights fully expected to spend time in the bush before arriving at their destination. Thus, they went prepared.

Much of the aircraft’s payload was given over to survival gear. Using the stuff they brought along, early aviators could build a house, then machine the various parts needed to restore their HS-2L to serviceability. They knew that if they went down, rescue would be a long time coming.

Not so these days. Now, the emphasis has shifted to prompt extraction of distressed aviators from their involuntary campsites. As well, modern aircraft and modern navigation systems have greatly reduced the incidence of unexpected camp-outs. Thus, most aviators and their passengers give little thought to the consequences of engine failure or navigational shortcomings. They know that search and rescue (SAR) or the Civil Aviation Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) will be along soon. In summer, such an attitude is not necessarily excusable, but perhaps understandable. In winter, such a cavalier attitude can be fatal.

Winter is upon us and now is the time to review a personal survival kit, just in case a flight terminates at a point many miles from anywhere. After a simple forced landing, the first act should be to turn on the emergency locator transmitter (ELT). Unless you are a skilled woodsperson, a wintertime forced landing is an emergency, and that’s what the ELT is there for. So get it beeping now.

In most of Canada, most of the time, you would want to have mitts, tuques, snow boots and scarves at hand if the aircraft goes down. Cargo pants are currently trendy and cool, and they have pockets for stowing such items. Waterproof containers of windflamer matches are also essential, and there is no way of having too many of them.

If your camp-out results from something more vigorous than a mere forced landing, first aid to the injured will loom large in your list of first things to do. Again though, you should manually flip the ELT function switch to the "on" position. Yes, the impact should do it, but it doesn’t hurt to turn the switch on. Leave it on until a SAR TECH turns it off. Then do your best with the first aid; remember that those with injuries will likely feel the cold more than you will.

Attracting attention to your campsite is urgent. The ELT will summon help, but the help may have trouble seeing you. Plumes of smoke will help advertise your presence, and the oil from your engine, or some pine boughs, will help you make a dandy smudge on the horizon. A signaling mirror is also useful when the winter sun bursts through the clouds.

SAR aspires to provide same-day service to all distressed aviators, but, even under the best of circumstances, they are often thwarted by weather. Staying warm is essential; tuques, mitts, scarves and warm boots should be worn or in your pockets for all winter flying. It can get excruciatingly cold in the interval between the end of the crash or forced landing and the first crackle of the fire that you plan to start with those windflamer matches. You can also get hungry, so a couple of granola bars or similar nourishment will help prevent major league tummy rumbles.

Statistically, most pilots are unlikely ever to find themselves in a position where they need SAR’s service. But that should not preclude taking minimum precautions. What survival gear do you routinely keep close at hand while experiencing the joys of winter flying? What survival gear should you routinely keep on hand? Are the two answers the same? If not, perhaps you are working too hard at being cool. If you’re out in the cold, "cool" may be deadly. Check your survival kit today.

Self-Paced Recency
Aviation Safety Newsletter
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Smart Pilot Seminars
General Aviation Safety
AOPA Flight Training
Winter Flying
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Float Planes
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