Aviation news release 2012

Visual flight into instrument weather conditions leads to fatal October 2011 helicopter accident in Drayton Valley, Alberta

Gatineau, Quebec, 27 November 2012 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A11W0152) into the 05 October 2011 crash of a Bell 206B helicopter operated by Rotorworks Inc. near the Drayton Valley Industrial Airport in Alberta.

The pilot, who was the sole person on board, was on a flight under visual flight rules (VFR) from Whitecourt, Alberta to the Drayton Valley Industrial Airport. VFR rules are a set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions clear enough to allow the pilot to see the ground and avoid obstructions and other aircraft. While en route, the pilot encountered instrument weather conditions and was forced to descend through a cloud layer to land. Neither the pilot nor the aircraft were certified for instrument flight. During descent through the clouds, the pilot lost spatial awareness and did not slow the aircraft's rate of descent prior to impact with the ground. The pilot was fatally injured and the helicopter was destroyed. There was no post-impact fire.

Since the accident, all of Rotorworks' pilots have received human factors and pilot decision-making training. This training is designed to help pilots become aware of how to better manage risks associated with flying.

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