News release

Last-second transfer of control led to 2013 landing accident in St. Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 25 April 2014 – In its investigation report (A13A0033) released today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) determined that a last-second transfer of control contributed to a March 2013 nosewheel failure on landing of a de Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter aircraft in St. Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador.

At 1253 Newfoundland and Labrador Daylight Time on 27 March 2013, an Air Labrador Twin Otter was landing at St. Anthony Airport, with 2 crew members and 8 passengers on board. On approach to Runway 10, the captain and first officer (FO) discussed approach and landing considerations due to the strong crosswinds, and it was decided that the FO would continue the approach. Immediately prior to landing, the FO experienced difficulty, so control of the aircraft was transferred to the captain. The transfer of control was completed less than 2 seconds prior to landing. The aircraft touched down on the left main wheel, bounced, and landed hard on the nosewheel; the nose landing gear collapsed due to overstress failures. Directional control was lost, and the aircraft skidded on its nose and came to rest 96 feet off the north side of the runway. There were no injuries, and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

The investigation determined that, when control of the aircraft was passed to the captain, there was insufficient time to position the aircraft for a successful landing due to the substantial crosswind. The Air Labrador Twin Otter standard operating procedures (SOPs) do not state when the captain should permit the FO to act as pilot flying or relieve the FO from that role. When allowing the FO to fly in challenging conditions, the captain must be prepared to take control of the aircraft in adequate time to ensure the safety of the flight. Also, there is an increased risk of a landing accident if a required briefing is not conducted. Crew members may not share a common plan for the approach and landing, and, as in this case, transfer of control may not be conducted in a timely manner.

Air Labrador has since amended the company SOPs for the Twin Otter to require that all landings with crosswinds in excess of 10 knots be conducted by the captain, unless the captain believes that the FO is capable of performing the landing.

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