Low altitude a possible cause of fatal Rougemont ultralight crash in 2019
TSB report found weather, aircraft condition were not factors
A fatal ultralight plane crash in a Rougemont orchard last July may have been caused by the pilot flying below safe altitude, a report from Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) suggests.
Two men — a 51-year-old from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and a 66-year-old from Mont-Saint-Grégoire — died from injuries suffered in the crash.
The TSB report notes that witnesses saw the aircraft circling over the orchard at a low altitude — less than 200 feet above the ground — in a counter-clockwise turn. Then the aircraft changed direction and turned northeast, the report says, before losing altitude and crashing into the trees.
"Flying an aircraft at low altitude leaves the pilot with little margin for error and increases the risk of not having enough time to manage an emergency," the report's conclusion states.
The weather was not considered a factor, and the pilot had over 600 hours of ultralight experience. The TSB was not able to determine how many hours the pilot had flown in that type of aircraft, a Rans S-6ES Coyote II, although he had flown that particular plane before.
The ultralight itself "had no known deficiencies before the flight," the report says, and was not low on fuel. The type of aircraft in question is not required to carry a flight data recorder.
The TSB conducts investigations of this nature to advance aviation safety, not to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.