POLITICS

Federal government requires crash warning system for small planes

07/04/2012 03:01 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - Private turbine-powered and commercial airplanes with six or more passenger seats will soon have to carry terrain awareness and warning systems.

Under new federal regulations announced Wednesday, owners have until July 2014 to install the alert system, which sounds an alarm when a plane is too close to ground, water or any other obstacle, giving the pilot enough time to react.

The federal government announced last December it was accepting a recommendation by the Transportation Safety Board to install the systems in an effort to reduce small-plane crashes.

The warning system is particularly helpful in low visibility or poor weather, such as the heavy fog that obscured Thormanby Island, just off B.C.'s Sunshine Coast, in November 2008.

The pilot of a Pacific Coastal Airlines Grumman Goose died, along with seven of his eight passengers when the plane slammed into the island while trying to fly below the fog.

The Transportation Safety Board says planes colliding with land or water are among the deadliest crashes in aviation, accounting for five per cent of accidents but 25 per cent of fatalities in Canada.