By Gillian Slade on August 10, 2018.
An April emergency landing of a Super T Aviation aircraft on a busy road in Calgary might have been fuel related but not because the tank was empty, according to the report released Thursday.
“There was still more than adequate fuel on board to complete the intended flight,” said Jeremy Walkentin, technical investigator, Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
The report states that the flight from Medicine Hat to Calgary, with four passengers and two flight crew, had been fueled in each of the inboard fuel cells and each of the outboard cells.
After reaching cruising altitude “the crew completed the cruise checklist, which included switching the fuel selectors from inboard to outboard fuel cells,” says the report.
When the crew experienced issues during the flight they used a checklist to investigate.
“There were discrepancies between the manufacturer’s POH (Pilots Operating Handbook) procedures and the procedures that Super T had generated as their own internal checklist,” said Walkentin.
“Of note, in the POH descent checklist, there is a step to check that the fuel selectors are set to inboard. However, the air operator’s normal procedures descent checklist did not include this item. When the aircraft was examined afterward, its outboard fuel cells were drained of fuel.
The POH contains the following statement: “If outboard cells are used during climbs, descents or prolonged unco-ordinated level flight, power loss may result even if there is appreciable fuel remaining.”
Neither statement was reproduced in the Super T normal procedures checklist, it says.
“As shown in this occurrence, when fuel management SOPs are not in place, fuel starvation can occur even if there is sufficient fuel remaining on board the aircraft to complete the planned flight. In addition, if flight crews do not complete checklist procedures in their entirety, opportunities to rectify emergency situations can be lost.”
The report adds that at 5:38 a.m. the right engine began to surge. At 5:39 a.m. the crew told the air traffic controller they had “lost the right fuel pump.” At approximately 5:40 a.m., the left engine began to surge.
The crew transmitted a Mayday call recognizing the aircraft was not going to make it to the airfield. The crew selected a suitable road, 36th Street NE, to attempt an emergency landing.
Walkentin emphasized that the investigation and report focuses on the facts and declined to comment on what the crew could have done differently.
Super T Aviation was asked by the News for comment on Thursday, but was told owner Terri Super is out of the country until late next week, and no one else would be available to speak on her behalf.
Details of the findings had been previously shared with Super T, and action has already been taken on a number of fronts, said Walkentin.
“Our fundamental position as the TSB is to identify safety deficiencies, communicate what we find with the operator in an effort to enhance transportation safety for the Canadian public,” said Walkentin. “I shared with them what we had found and then the operator decided what changes they wanted to implement.”
The aircraft touched down in the northbound lanes of 36th Street in Calgary, north of the intersection with Marlborough Drive. Soon after landing, the aircraft’s right wing made contact with a light standard that sheared off the outer four feet of the wing, the report says. There were no injuries to the passengers, the flight crew, or any persons on the ground.
The captain had been employed by Super T Aviation since March 2016 and had last successfully completed the captain pilot proficiency check for the aircraft on March 27 of this year.
The first officer held a valid commercial pilot licence, with multi-engine and Group 1 instrument ratings at the time of the occurrence, and had last successfully completed the first officer pilot proficiency check for the aircraft on March 23.
You can read the report in full online:
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