Part one of The National’s two-part investigation focuses on a Quebec plane crash that happened 10 years ago – a crash that displayed all the classic elements of fatigue. Reporter Frederic Zalac talks with Serge Gagne, the pilot of Regionnair flight 347, who reveals for the first time exactly what happened that night. During the course of the investigation, The National discovers not much has changed in Canada’s airline regulations when it comes to pilot fatigue since that accident, despite the fact that more than a dozen airline crashes in Canada may also be linked to pilot fatigue.
In the conclusion of The National’s investigation, the role of Transport Canada is looked at: is the industry regulator doing enough to ensure pilots aren’t pressured by unscrupulous or poorly regulated airlines to exceed the maximum 14-hour day? CBC News looks at the crash last February of Continental Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y., which killed 49 people, and the role pilot exhaustion may have played. And Canada’s airline regulatory system is compared to those of other countries – New Zealand, in particular, which is held up as a leader in regulating its domestic airline industry and reducing crashes linked to pilot fatigue.