Edmonton

Pilot error, equipment failure factors in Kirby Lake crash

Equipment failure and cockpit conversation between the pilots were cited as factors in the October 2010 crash that killed one person and injured nine others in northeastern Alberta.

Equipment failure and a cockpit conversation between the pilots were cited as factors in the October 2010 crash that killed one person and injured nine others in northeastern Alberta.

Andrew Fielding, 31, a pilot with Kenn Borek Air, died when the Beechcraft King Air 100 crashed as it was approaching the Kirby Lake airstrip around 11:20 a.m. on Oct. 25.

Fielding was the captain of the plane but the co-pilot was operating the controls, the report said.

The investigation report from Transportation Safety Board indicated that both pilots engaged in conversation that was "not related to the operation of the aircraft," contrary to company policy.

The crash of a Kenn Borek plane near Kirby Lake, Alta. in October killed one person and injured nine others. ((CBC))
As the plane made its final approach, the focus of both pilots was diverted from the instrument panel as they looked outside the cockpit to find the location of the runway, the report said. In the meantime, the plane's speed slowed so much it stalled.

Normally, a warning horn goes off in the cockpit. In this case — for reasons that remain unknown to the TSB — it did not. 

The left wing dropped and the pilots lost control of the aircraft. The altitude was too low for a successful recovery and the plane crashed 53 metres short of the runway.

Four of the nine survivors, including the co-pilot, were seriously injured.

The report says Kenn Borek Air has taken a number of actions after the crash, including developing and implementing review exams for staff on so-called sterile cockpit procedures and approaches at remote airports.

No one from the airline could be reached for comment.

now