Plane crash that killed student pilot, instructor near Calgary showed no sign of mechanical failure: TSB
WARNING: An image of the wreckage that may be disturbing to some readers appears lower down in this story
The small plane that crashed moments after takeoff from the Springbank Airport in October, killing a student pilot and instructor, showed no signs of mechanical failure, according to an ongoing investigation by the Transportation Safety Board.
Based on radar data, the TSB said the aircraft had climbed no higher than 100 metres when, less than a minute into the flight, it started to lose speed and altitude.
The plane, a Piper PA 34-200T Seneca II, then "rolled to the left into a steep bank and descent angle," crashed into the ground and caught fire, according to a preliminary description of the incident on the TSB website.
Based on an initial examination, the TSB said the aircraft's engines, propellers and flight controls showed "no mechanical deficiencies" and the occupants did not declare an emergency or issue any unusual communications before the crash.
Nevertheless, the plane's speed and altitude immediately after takeoff "were not consistent with normal aircraft performance," according to the incident description, which was updated on Monday.
The flight instructor, who was properly certified and qualified for the teaching flight, was sitting in the right-hand seat.
The student, who had a valid private pilot licence and about 140 hours of flight time under his belt, was seated in the left-hand seat and was preparing to take a multi-engine flight test.
There was a moderate wind at the time, about 25 km/h, and visibility was good.
The investigation continues and the TSB still plans to analyze additional radar data, obtain more data on aircraft performance from the plane's manufacturer, interview more people and look into how the pilots' human performance may have been affected that day.
The plane was owned by Springbank Air Training College.
The Springbank Airport, located about 12 kilometres west of Calgary city limits, is commonly used by smaller airlines, private aviators and for flight training.
Earlier this year, two flight instructors from Mount Royal University were killed when their small plane went down about 60 kilometres northwest of the Springbank Airport.
Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice was also en route to the Springbank Airport from Kelowna, B.C., when his plane went down in October 2016, killing all four people on board.