The Transportation Safety Board said the pilot of a small plane that crashed in southeastern Alberta — killing all three men on board — had an expired student pilot permit, was not qualified to fly alone at night and did not file a flight plan.
The board posted new details about the crash in an occurrence report. It said there were no Transport Canada records showing the pilot had a night rating licence to fly passengers once the sun went down.
There were no records from NAV CANADA of a flight plan being filed or a weather briefing being given to the pilot, and the TSB said it couldn’t determine what weather info was obtained before taking off.
The aircraft — a single-engine, low-wing four-seat American Aviation AA-5B — was heading from Medicine Hat, Alta., to Moose Jaw, Sask., on the night of June 1. It took off around 10:30 p.m., after sunset.
It was reported overdue in the early morning and following a search involving the military, search and rescue, and RCMP, was found later that day by police in a field about 18 nautical miles, or 30 kilometres, east of Medicine Hat near Irvine.
The TSB report said the plane hit the ground at high velocity and “the impact was not survivable.”
The airframe had broken up completely, and Transport Canada said the extent of the damage prevented a detailed assessment of the flight control system and aircraft systems.
“The portions of the flight control system, engine, propeller, and flight instruments that were examined did not exhibit any failures that would have prevented normal operation,” the report said.
The pilot and his two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene.
A relative of one of those killed said the group was returning to Saskatchewan after a party celebrating an upcoming wedding.
Nancy Filteau said her son, Justin Filteau, was killed along with two family friends. The son of the pilot who confirmed his father and his then-fiancee’s father were both killed in the crash.
According to the records reviewed, the plane was certified and maintained in accordance with regulations. There were no outstanding defects noted in the journey log, and the plane was being operated within the weight and balance design limits.
The pilot held a student permit that had expired in May 2014, and a Category 4 medical certificate that had expired on in June 2017. The TSB said there were no Transport Canada records showing that the pilot held an aeroplane license or a rating to fly passengers at night.
According to the pilot’s personal log, he began his private pilot training in Regina in April 2010 and accumulated 83.1 hours of dual flight training time before his first solo flight in December 2011.
The pilot’s flight hours at the time of the accident are unknown, because his personal log was not up to date, the TSB said. As of October 7, 2012, the pilot had 142.3 hours of total flight time recorded in his log.
According to the aircraft journey log, the pilot had acquired approximately 40 hours of night flying with another pilot on board.
The plane was registered to J. Wilk Landscaping Ltd. in Moose Jaw.
— With files from The Canadian Press