Sudbury

TSB concludes investigation into near miss at Sudbury Airport

The Transportation Safety Board says lack of coordination and planning led to the risk of collision between two passenger planes at the Sudbury Airport in 2016.
No one was injured when two planes almost collided mid-air in Sudbury in 2016. (Mike Hillman/CBC News)

The Transportation Safety Board says lack of coordination and planning led to the risk of collision between two passenger planes at the Sudbury Airport in 2016.

The TSB released its findings on the incident on Tuesday, in relation to a close call that happened on Oct. 14, 2016.

Two planes flew less than a kilometre away from each other at the same altitude — a Porter flight arriving from Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto and an outgoing Jazz Aviation flight en route to Toronto.

The TSB says the controllers' practice who gave the Porter flight authorization to fly, created a "situation wherein arriving instrument flight rules traffic was counter to the flow of, and therefore more likely to come into conflict with, visual flight rules traffic operating at the airport."

It says as a result, the Jazz Aviation flight crew "was not fully aware of the traffic situation when it taxied to position" on the runway, when it was getting ready to leave Sudbury.

The TSB also says Jazz Aviation "did not have standard operating procedure for the selection of the traffic alert and collision avoidance system," adding the captain was using the traffic display in default automatic mode and did not have a complete understanding of where the Porter flight was.

It also says the captain of the Porter flight was "likely inexperienced in the initial resolution advisory instruction to maintain vertical speed, and manoeuvred contrary to the command, which reduced the vertical separation between the two aircrafts."

The TSB report concludes that "if guidance provided to flight crews by operators includes phraseology that is not consistent with international best practices, ambiguous information regarding aircraft manoeuvring may be reported to air traffic control, increasing the risk of collision."

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