Aviation news release 2012

Incomplete weight and balance calculations increase the risk of aircraft loss of control

Gatineau, Quebec, 14 September 2012 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released today its investigation report (A11O0166) into the stall and impact with water of a Georgian Bay Airways Found Bush Hawk-XP aircraft that occurred in Parry Sound, Ontario, on 8 September 2011.

Following take-off, the aircraft pitched up and turned to avoid rising terrain. As it turned, the aircraft entered in an aerodynamic stall at an altitude from which recovery was not possible, and struck the water. The pilot and 2 passengers quickly escaped the aircraft with minor injuries.

In its investigation, the TSB found safety issues related to aircraft performance and the risks associated with incomplete weight and balance calculations. Specifically, the investigation found that while the actual weight was under the maximum gross take-off weight, it was much closer to the maximum than the pre-flight estimate. It also found that the aircraft centre of gravity was beyond the limits of the aircraft.

When aircraft loads are not weighed, or when weight and balance are not properly calculated, the result can be an attempted take-off with the centre of gravity outside of the prescribed limit for the aircraft – which increases the risk of control difficulties. The operator, Georgian Bay Airways, has since installed a 2000-pound scale at the main base to ensure that all cargo is weighed, rather than estimated, before loading.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca