MRU plane that crashed near Calgary had no cockpit voice recorder, flight data recorder: TSB

Click to play video: 'Back to class and the cockpit for the first time since a fatal Mount Royal University plane crash'
Back to class and the cockpit for the first time since a fatal Mount Royal University plane crash
WATCH ABOVE: Getting back to the books and getting back in the air hasn’t been easy for Mount Royal students of the aviation program. Not everyone came back to the hangar though. Many are taking their time – returning only when they’re ready. Jill Croteau reports – Feb 27, 2017

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) says it will be challenging to determine exactly what caused a plane crash near Calgary that killed two pilots.

Mount Royal University (MRU) aviation instructors Jeff Bird and Reynold “Reyn” Johnson were killed when the small passenger plane they were travelling in went down northwest of Cochrane on Feb. 13.

On Monday, TSB spokesperson Fred Burow revealed the aircraft wasn’t carrying — nor was it required to carry — a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder.

“The so-called black boxes that are are required in larger aircraft do make things easier for the investigation, and bring a lot more data too it,” Burow said. “The TSB has recommended in the past that Transport Canada look at modernizing that, and expanding that program.”

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Burow also says all of the plane’s major components were destroyed in the crash and the resulting fire.

Burow says it’s too early to say whether the crash was caused by mechanical failure or a medical issue with one of the pilots.

Investigators are still sifting through the wreckage and Burow says the aircraft’s maintenance history has been requested.

Global News / supplied

Details released by the TSB on Monday:

What we know:

  • A Tecnam P2006T twin-engine aircraft, operated by Mount Royal University departed CYBW at 1635 (Mountain Standard Time), during daylight hours.
  • The aircraft climbed to 8000 feet above sea level and progressed to the northwest.
  • Thirty minutes after departure, the last radar return from the aircraft was recorded at 7900 feet above sea level. This last radar return was 0.13 nautical mile southeast of the accident site location. The aircraft struck terrain 32 nautical miles northwest of CYBW at approximately 1705 (Mountain Standard Time).
  • All of the major aircraft components were located at the accident site but were destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire.
  • The aircraft was not equipped with, nor was it required to carry, a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or a Flight Data Recorder (FDR).

Work to date:

  • The examination and documentation of the wreckage scene is complete and investigators have collected the data they needed from the accident site.
  • The wreckage was removed and transported to the TSB facility in Edmonton, Alberta, for further analysis.
  • We have requested the aircraft’s maintenance history.
  • We have obtained most of the radar data and most of the Air Traffic Control audio; we are waiting for a few more files and we are in the process of analyzing it.

Source: Transportation Safety Board of Canada

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The next steps for Mount Royal University’s aviation program

Following the update from the TSB on its investigation into the plane crash, an official with MRU provided an update on the next steps for the school’s aviation program.

Duane Anderson said instructors in the program resumed their flights on Feb. 22 and students returned to class on Monday.

“Some students are very comfortable and eager and want to get back in the planes,” Anderson said.

“We’re letting each individual student and each individual instructor to go back on their own terms and their own pace.”

The program includes 15 faculty and staff and about 66 students.

According to a Q&A on MRU’s website, a number of steps are in place to ensure readiness to fly.

Prior to the crash, MRU’s fleet consisted of eight planes; three twin-engine TECNAM P2006Ts and five single-engine Cessna 172s. The plane that crashed was one of the three twin-engine planes.

MRU said it’s too soon to determine whether the fall semester of the program will be affected by the crash, but no changes are expected. If changes are made to the fall semester, MRU said applicants will be notified directly.

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MRU said three other deaths have been recorded in the program’s 47-year history; aviator Al Milne died in 1973 in a crash near the Springbank airport, Calgary pilot and instructor Victor Jewitt died in a crash in 1974 and Rodger Millie died in a mid-air collision in 1989.

With files from Jill Croteau and The Canadian Press

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