Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 1 April 2016 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) continues its independent investigation into the 29 March 2016 aircraft accident in les Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec.
What we know
Moncton Air Traffic Control cleared the aircraft for an instrument approach to Runway 07 at les Îles-de-la-Madeleine Airport.
Preliminary observations indicate that the aircraft was near wings level in a slight nose-high attitude at impact. More analysis of the aircraft attitude at impact is required.
The wreckage is contained in a 150m x 150m field. The aircraft came to rest approximately 91m from the initial point of impact.
Initial assessments indicate that the engines were producing power at the time of impact.
The investigation will examine previous occurrences with this type of aircraft, and subsequent safety action taken in Canada, the United States (U.S.) and other jurisdictions.
It is believed that there is a GPS tracking device installed in the aircraft. The team will recover the device for further analysis.
Approach-and-landing is a phase of flight during which a high number of accidents take place. The investigation will be paying close attention to this Watchlist issue.
Progress to date
There are currently seven TSB investigative team members on site. So far, the team has:
Almost completed the examination and documentation of the accident site;
Obtained initial witness statements from the Sûreté du Québec. The team may do follow-up interviews with selected eyewitnesses;
Taken photographs of the wreckage and obtained aerial images from the Canadian Coast Guard;
Appointed a TSB team member as a family liaison person.
The TSB conducts independent investigations in collaboration with numerous agencies. In this investigation:
The Canadian Coast Guard has provided high-resolution aerial imaging of the accident site.
The Sûreté du Québec is responsible for ensuring that there was no criminal activity surrounding the occurrence. They secured and surveyed the site, conducted initial witness interviews and provided site documentation. Information collected will be provided to the TSB for the investigation.
A Transport Canada Minister’s Observer has arrived at the accident site.
Contacts have been established with the Coroner’s Office to coordinate our activities.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has an accredited representative on site, as the aircraft was registered in the U.S. This is granted under international conventions and the purpose is to facilitate the transfer of information between both countries.
The NTSB accredited representative is accompanied by a second NTSB investigator and technical advisors from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the aircraft manufacturer, and the manufacturer of the engines.
The Field Phase of the investigation will be concluding, and the Examination and Analysis Phase will commence. In the coming days and weeks, the team will:
Transport the aircraft to the TSB Laboratory in Ottawa for further analysis;
Examine components such as instrumentation and any device that contains non-volatile memory;
Gather additional information about weather conditions;
Gather information on air traffic communications and radar information;
Obtain and examine aircraft maintenance records;
Obtain and examine pilot training, qualifications and proficiency records;
Interview family, witnesses, the aircraft operator and others;
Review operational policies and procedures;
Examine the regulatory requirements;
Examine survivability issues such as cabin and cockpit crashworthiness and emergency response; and
Examine the MU-2 aircraft design and previous safety communications and studies in Canada and elsewhere.
Additional updates will be provided as required.
Visit the active investigation page for more information about this investigation.
Original article can be found here: http://www.tsb.gc.ca
MARQUISE AVIATION CORP TRUSTEE: http://registry.faa.gov/N246W
Aircraft Make: MITSUBISHI
Aircraft Model: MU2B
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Fatal
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: ILES DE LA MADELEINE
N246W MITSUBISHI MU-2B AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE 7 PERSONS ON BOARD WERE FATALLY INJURED, NEAR THE ILES DE LA MADELEINE AIRPORT, MAGDALEN ISLANDS, QUEBEC, CANADA.
TSB investigator Bruce Mullen collaborating with National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jennifer Rod.
The Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 plane that crashed in the Magdalen Islands earlier this week — killing former federal Liberal cabinet minister and political commentator Jean Lapierre and several members of his family — was a model that was prone to accidents and required special pilot training.
But the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it is still unclear whether difficulties with the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 were a factor in the crash.
Senior investigator André Turenne acknowledged at a news conference in the Magdalen Islands Friday that the MU-2B has had a spotty safety record. However, he added that Mitsubishi has developed a special training program to help pilots compensate for the plane's vulnerabilities.
"We will look at whether this process of requalification was a factor," he said. "Did the pilot have the competence?"
TSB officials released more details about the crash at the news conference as they prepared to end the first phase of their investigation. They stressed, however, that it was too early to speculate about a cause.
A team of investigators has spent the past several days collecting witness statements and evidence from the crash site, about three kilometres from the Magdalen Islands airport.
"The first phase is concluding," Turenne said. "Much work remains to be done."
Turenne confirmed preliminary observations that indicated the plane crashed on its approach to the airfield near Havre-aux-Maisons.
He added the plane's engines appeared to be operational at the time of the crash, and its wings were relatively level when it made impact with the ground.
"We know it wasn't going straight down," Turenne said. "There was a bit of rolling on the left side."
Over the coming days, the TSB team will begin preparing the wreckage to be moved to its laboratory in Ottawa. Turenne said that will facilitate attempts to retrieve the plane's GPS device.
It is believed to be lodged in the cockpit, Turenne said, but the instrument panel is too heavily damaged to access it.
The MU-2B is not equipped with a black box, but its GPS device does have voice-recording capability.
"We can't guarantee that all the information will be available," Turenne said. "It is not a device designed to withstand impacts."
Lapierre, along with his wife, sister and two brothers, were headed to the Magdalen Islands on Tuesday to attend the funeral of Lapierre's father when their plane crashed on its approach to the Havre-aux-Maisons airport.
The plane's pilot, Pascal Gosselin, and co-pilot, Fabrice Labourel, were also killed. There were no survivors.
The tragedy has devastated the small island community and stunned Quebec's political class.
One of the founding members of the Bloc Québécois before returning to the federal Liberal fold to become Paul Martin's Quebec lieutenant, Lapierre had friends and allies across Quebec's political spectrum.
Along with having served as federal transport minister, Lapierre was a popular political commentator in both French and English.
Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.cbc.ca
Transport Canada says the investigation into the plane crash that killed former federal politician Jean Lapierre and four of his family members is a “complex” one.
The plane, a Mitsubishi MU-2, was registered in Delaware but was flown from the St-Hubert Airport to Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Normally, a U.S.-registered plane is not allowed to carry commercial traffic between two Canadian destinations.
In a statement, Transport Canada said it’s working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration “to examine the details of this complex case.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said that agency is also involved, providing technical assistance to Canadian investigators from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
FAA records indicate Lapierre’s pilot, Pascal Gosselin, became certified as a private pilot in the U.S. in June 2014, while co-pilot Fabrice Labourel was certified as a commercial pilot in the U.S. in March 2014.
Transport Canada said that to operate an MU-2, pilots require a “type rating” on their licenses, certifying they have the required training.
After a spate of fatal crashes involving the MU-2, the FAA conducted a safety evaluation and, in 2009, brought in specific new training requirements for pilots operating MU-2s in the U.S.
It’s unclear if Lapierre’s pilot or co-pilot had taken specific MU-2 training. Friends have said Gosselin posted on Facebook about completing the special MU-2 training.
It’s also unclear if Lapierre’s flight was a paid commercial flight or if it was a private flight. Gosselin’s family has indicated it had a close friendship with the Lapierres. Different regulations apply to commercial and private flights.
Gosselin owned an aircraft maintenance company, Aéro Teknic, which specializes in aircraft maintenance at St-Hubert Airport.
Transport Canada said it has deployed two inspectors to Aéro Teknic to check whether the company was in compliance with Canadian Aviation Regulations.
Lapierre was travelling with his wife, two brothers and one of his sisters.
All seven people on board were killed.
Original article can be found here: http://montrealgazette.com
While a joint investigation led by the Transportation Safety Board is underway in Quebec's Magdalen Islands to determine what caused the crash that killed all seven people on board, some pilots and other aviation experts are questioning why the flight took off in bad weather.
The plane left St-Hubert Longueuil Airport on Montreal's South Shore at 9:30 a.m. ET. It went down at around 11:40 a.m. AT just three kilometres from the Magdalen Island airport, in freezing fog and rain.
All seven people on board — including political pundit and former cabinet minister Jean Lapierre, his wife, three siblings and two crew members — were killed.
Investigators who arrived at the crash site Wednesday afternoon said it is too soon to know for sure if weather was the cause of the crash.
Some pilots at St-Hubert airport told CBC News they didn't want to risk flying in the bad conditions.
"The wind was blowing at 45 knots during the day, the clouds were low and visibility was reduced," said Michel Turcotte, a pilot for Pascan Aviation, a regional airline based in Saint-Hubert.
Pascan Aviation cancelled its Tuesday flights for the Magdalen Islands.
"If the clouds are high enough that we can see the runway, we can land. But if they drop a bit, we can't," Turcotte said.
In Canada, when it comes to small aircraft, it's up to the pilot to decide whether to fly, according to Daniel Adams, an aviation security analyst.
"It's always the pilot who has the last word. Based on weather data that existed [Tuesday], it is clear in my mind that I would not have [made an] approach to the Magdalen Islands," Adams told Radio-Canada.
The pilot, Pascal Gosselin, and co-pilot, Fabrice Labourel, were both killed in the crash.
Christian Guy, a friend of Gosselin, said he believes the pilot was a victim of his own generosity.
"Pascal wore his heart on his sleeve and I think he really wanted to help Mr. Lapierre and his family," Guy said.
Lapierre, his wife and three of his siblings were on their way to the Magdalen Islands for their father's funeral.
Despite that, Guy said, his friend was prudent and never took unnecessary risks.
"If he decided to take off yesterday, it's because he was certain he could have done it in complete safety."
Gosselin owned Aero Teknic, the company operating the flight. Aero Teknic would not comment.
Other experts are raising questions about the plane itself — a Mitsubishi MU-2.
"This is not an airplane that is made to fly in our weather conditions. This is a plane that is made to be fast," said Charles-Eric Lamarche, an air operations consultant for Octant Aviation. "They do have small wings and it's a little tougher for them to sustain a small amount of ice."
In a statement, the plane's manufacturer Mitsubishi said, "The aircraft has a best in its class safety record during the last eight years."
Mitsubishi said it is sending its own investigators to the crash site as well, and will collaborate fully with the TSB investigation.
Original article can be found here: http://www.cbc.ca
Pilot Pascal Gosselin and co-pilot Fabrice Labourel were flying a Mitsubishi turboprop, the MU-2.
First built in the 1950s, the MU-2 was involved in hundreds of crashes causing more than 330 deaths.
"The safety record and the reputation of this aircraft is poor," said Daniel Adams, a pilot who works out of the St. Hubert airport.
The plane that crashed was registered in the United States and owned by Gosselin, the owner of Aero Teknic.
This Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 crashed Tuesday, March 29, 2016 in the Iles de la Madeleine, killing all seven people aboard.
"The reason why you buy this type of aircraft is only for the price because it's the cheapest price if you want to have a small aircraft, turboprop engine," said Adams.
Jean Lapierre and his family chartered the plane to fly to the Iles de la Madeleine on Tuesday, after other flights to the island were cancelled due to the weather.
Pilots who spoke to CTV Montreal said that Aero Teknic was only permitted to take passengers on pleasure flights, and was not licenced to carry passengers on a commercial charter flight.
Everyone aboard the plane died in Tuesday's crash.
Gosselin is survived by three children, while Labourel's wife gave birth four months ago.
Îles-de-la-Madeleine Airport: Transportation Safety Board of Canada getting off Royal Canadian Mounted Police plane.
The number of crashes involving the MU-2 declined drastically a decade ago, following a Federal Aviation Agency investigation of the plane and a demand from a U.S. congressman to ground the plane.
The FAA found that the number of crashes in North America was higher than in Europe, where more extensive training was required.
As a result the FAA issued an order in 2008 saying that all MU-2 pilots should undergo extra training in order to learn how the handle the plane.
The MU-2 is a twin-engine turboprop, but it is capable of flying at very high speeds and uses spoilers instead of ailerons.
Pilots who have flown the plane say it handles like a jet, and so those used to other aircraft can make mistakes in the event of an aviation emergency.
Mitsubishi said in a statement that since the FAA mandated extra training, it has achieved a best-in-class safety record.
"The majority of approximately 270 MU-2 aircraft are registered in the United States where the aircraft has a best in its class safety record during the last eight years," wrote Scott Sobel of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America.
Story, video and photos: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca
Pilot Pascal Gosselin (in red) and onlookers survey the damage after Gosselin's single-engine plane was forced out of the sky without working landing gear and landed at the Region of Waterloo International Airport on January 7, 2013
Published January 7, 2013 3:53PM EST
Pilot in good spirits after emergency landing in Breslau
A tense moment in the skies over Waterloo Region ended with sighs of relief as a plane was able to land safely Monday afternoon.
Pascal Gosselin was the pilot and sole occupant of a five-seater Cessna P120 he was flying from Montreal to Breslau.
Up in the air above southern Ontario, Gosselin realized he had a problem – his landing gear refused to release.
“I tried a bunch of maneuvers to get the landing gear out – manually, putting some G-force on it – it wouldn’t come down,” pilot Pascal Gosselin told CTV.
The pilot’s first call was to his mechanic back home in Montreal, who made several suggestions, but not of them resulted in a successful deployment of the landing gear.
After that, Gosselin updated the Region of Waterloo International Airport control tower on the situation. Airport officials provided their own suggestions.
“He stayed in the air for 45 minutes more to try and rattle it down,” said airport manager Chris Wood.
With fire crews from Breslau and Maryhill now on their way to the airport, Gosselin brought the plane down, trying to pull off a controlled landing without his landing gear.
“It didn’t work. Ultimately he ended up putting his nose onto the runway,” said Wood.
It wasn’t a perfect landing, but it did allow Gosselin to get out of the plane safely and without injury.
The same couldn’t be said for the Cessna itself, which will need a new engine and propeller.
Still, Gosselin sees nothing that can’t be fixed.
“It’s just bent metal. She’ll be flying again,” he said.
“That’s what you have insurance for.”