Transport proposes new regs aimed at preventing aircraft from flying into ground
OTTAWA - The Transport Department is proposing new regulations that would require most passenger aircraft to be equipped with ground-warning systems.
The proposed amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations come after 35 airworthy planes were flown into the ground between 1977 and 2009.
The phenomenon is known as "controlled flight into terrain" and can happen when pilots become disoriented in heavy fog or darkness.
Such accidents caused 100 deaths and 46 serious injuries over those 13 years.
Transport says warnings alone have not helped — the aviation industry has not voluntarily equipped key passenger aircraft with the equipment that would help mitigate the risks.
The proposed regulatory amendments would require installation of terrain-awareness warning systems and an enhanced-altitude accuracy function in most aircraft with six or more passenger seats, excluding the pilot's.
Operators would have two years from the date on which the regulations come into force to equip their planes with terrain-awareness systems and five years to install the enhanced-altitude systems.
Transport Canada says the vast majority of Canadian passenger plane operators already conform to the proposed amendments.
It estimates the cost of equipping and retrofitting the remainder of the fleet at about $59 million, $43 million of it for the terrain system.
"The risks associated with (such) accidents would be reduced, resulting in fewer deaths, serious injuries and material loss," it says.
"Businesses and consumers would therefore benefit from the increased safety of aircraft.
"Moreover, airlines travelling to the United States and to the European Union would be in compliance with similar regulations in those jurisdictions, strengthening Canada’s ability to compete economically in those markets."