Air transportation safety investigation A18A0085

Updated in July 2020: This ongoing investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Runway overrun

Halifax/Stanfield International Airport
Halifax, Nova Scotia

The occurrence

On , at about 0505 Atlantic Standard Time (AST), a Sky Lease Cargo Boeing 747 overran Runway 14 of the Halifax/Stanfield International Airport. The aircraft came to rest off the end of the runway. There were 4 crew members on board. The TSB is investigating.

What we know

  • On 7 November 2018, at about 0505 AST, a Boeing 747-400 cargo aircraft operated by Sky Lease Cargo overran Runway 14 of the Halifax/Stanfield International Airport, coming to rest approximately 695 feet, or 210 metres, off the end of the runway. The aircraft was on a flight from Chicago/O'Hare International Airport to Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
  • There were 4 crew members and no passengers nor any cargo on board at the time of the occurrence. Minor injuries to the 4 crew members were reported following the occurrence, and the aircraft was substantially damaged.
  • There was a strong westerly wind gusting at 18 knots, which would be approximately 33 km/h. It was raining at the time of the occurrence. In more technical terms, according to METAR issued 7 minutes after arrival, the winds were 230 degrees, 11 gusting 18 knots. The ceiling was 1200 feet above ground and visibility was 8 miles.
  • The aircraft struck a localizer antenna during the overrun. Its landing gear collapsed, two engines separated from the aircraft, and the remaining engines were substantially damaged. A small post-impact fire originated from the detached No. 2 engine which was lodged under the tail of the aircraft.
  • Runway overruns are a TSB Watchlist issue. Since 2013, there have been an average of 9 overrun accidents and incidents every year in Canada. These can lead to aircraft damage, injuries and loss of life. The consequences can be particularly serious when there is no adequate runway end safety area (RESA) or suitable arresting material (see the video).
  • The TSB has 4 outstanding recommendations aimed at reducing the number of runway overruns, and minimizing risks should an overrun occur.

Progress to date

The investigation team has conducted the following information-gathering work:

  • The flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, along with other systems aboard the aircraft that contain flight data are being recovered. These will be sent to the TSB's Engineering Laboratory in Ottawa for analysis.
  • An initial examination of the accident site has been conducted.
  • A thorough examination of Runway 14/32 has been conducted.
  • The investigation team is in contact with the Skylease, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the American Federal Aviation Administration (F44.8859), the manufacturers Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, the Halifax Airport Authority, NAV CANADA and Transport Canada.
  • Transport Canada has appointed a Minister’s Observer who will obtain factual information and advise the Department of any significant regulatory factors. He or she might also identify deficiencies that require immediate corrective actions and coordinate the required support to the investigation.
  • The TSB investigation team will be augmented with investigators from Head Office, Quebec and Western Regions, HumanFactors, Engineering Laboratory and Communications.

The TSB announced they have released the occurrence site on 10 November 2018. Components will be recovered during clean-up for further examination at the TSB Engineering Lab in Ottawa, Ontario.

Next steps

In the coming days and weeks, investigators will do the following:

  • Download and analyze the data from the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.
  • Conduct interviews with witnesses, air traffic control, and airport personnel and others who may provide additional information useful to the investigation.
  • Thoroughly review audio and radar data from NAV CANADA.
  • Gather and analyze all available information about the weather and runway surface conditions at the time of the occurrence.
  • Examine aircraft systems, review the aircraft maintenance records, pilot training, qualifications and proficiency records.
  • Review policies, operational procedures and regulatory requirements.
  • Examine the terrain at the end of the runway at Halifax/Stanfield Airport to determine what role it played in aircraft damage.

Communication of safety deficiencies

Aircraft accident investigations are complex and the TSB will take the time it needs to complete a thorough investigation. However, should we uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, we will communicate them without delay.

It is important not to speculate or draw conclusions about the causes of occurrences. Several factors usually contribute to an accident.

Media materials

Deployment notice


TSB deploys a team of investigators to a runway overrun at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to a runway overrun at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Nova Scotia. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.



Runway overruns and runway incursions on TSB Watchlist 2018

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Austin Adams joined the TSB’s Air Investigations Branch as a Senior Investigator, Atlantic Region, in September 2017. Prior to that, he worked as a turboprop training pilot at Transport Canada’s Aircraft Services Directorate in Ottawa. He also held various supervisory roles in flight operations, from Chief Pilot to manager of flight training, and has been an Approved Check Pilot for many years.

Mr. Adams has more than 13 800 hours of experience flying with commercial air carriers. He has flown a variety of aircraft including the Dash 8 Q400, Saab 340, Beech 1900 and King Air. He is an active member of the Cadet Instructors Cadre as a Captain and has been involved with the Air Cadet gliding program for more than 20 years as an instructor, tow pilot, and flight safety officer.


Du côté devant le Boeing 747-400F en cause à l’aéroport international Stanfield d'Halifax (Nouvelle-Écosse) Devant du Boeing 747-400F en cause à l’aéroport international Stanfield d'Halifax (Nouvelle-Écosse) Côté du Boeing 747-400F en cause à l’aéroport international Stanfield d'Halifax (Nouvelle-Écosse) Du côté derrière le Boeing 747-400F en cause à l’aéroport international Stanfield d'Halifax (Nouvelle-Écosse) Terrain derrière le Boeing 747-400F en cause à l’aéroport international Stanfield d'Halifax (Nouvelle-Écosse)

  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 2 investigation. These investigations are complex and involve several safety issues requiring in-depth analysis. Class 2 investigations, which frequently result in recommendations, are generally completed within 600 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail 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.

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