NEWS

Crashed Resolute Plane Posed Mid-Air Collision Risk

08/20/2012 07:31 EDT | Updated 10/20/2012 05:12 EDT
CP
Had the First Air flight 6560 not crashed in Resolute, Nunavut, one year ago, there was a risk that it could have collided mid-air with another incoming plane, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The TSB’s final report on the tragic crash which claimed 12 lives is still pending. However, CBC News has learned the board released two air safety warnings since its interim report on the crash.

The advisories are not necessarily linked to the cause of the crash, but they identify issues found in the course of the investigation.

One points to military protocols during Operation Nanook and the other points to problems with the plane’s flight recorder.

On the day of the crash, the military had temporarily taken over control of the airspace around Resolute. The TSB discovered there were gaps in communication between the military and aircraft in the area. The board is advising that the Canadian Forces ensure adequate space between planes.

“In the North, they have procedures and the pilots are supposed to communicate on a frequency to let everyone know where they are. For this particular exercise, the military was setting up a radar station. Before it was completely set up we noticed that there was aircraft flying through there that weren't contacting the military, so we informed them they may want to add that to their procedure,” said Mark Clitsome, the director of air investigations with the board.

Clitsome said at this time, the TSB won't say if this gap in communication was a factor in the First Air crash.

However, the board did say that had the First Air Flight not hit the ground, there was a risk of a mid-air collision with another plane that was landing in the community around the same time.

The TSB also found problems with the flight's data recorder - it failed to record the first 29 minutes of the flight. The board said the regular maintenance check on the recorder was not sufficient because it didn’t spot the problem. The board added that the recorder problems had been going on since 2008.

Read the full TSB directives below.