Air transportation safety investigation A19Q0109

Updated in June 2020: This investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Collision with terrain

Robinson R44 helicopter
Lac Valtrie, Quebec

The occurrence

On , a privately operated Robinson R44 helicopter was on a visual flight rules flight from Lac De La Bidière, Quebec, to Sainte-Sophie, Quebec, with 1 pilot and 1 passenger on board. The aircraft never arrived at its destination. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ontario, was notified the day after the disappearance, and the search began. No emergency locator transmitter signal was received. The helicopter was found near Lac Valtrie, north of Mont-Tremblant National Park, Quebec, on 25 July 2019. The 2 persons on board are deceased.

Factual information

  • The switch on the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was found in the "OFF" position.
  • The ELT was found to be functional; the battery was fully charged, and the ELT would have emitted a distress signal after impact had the switch been in the "ARM" position. The antenna connected to the radio beacon was in good condition and would have transmitted the distress signal.
  • An analysis of the ELT switch locking system showed that one of the locking latches between the OFF and ARM positions was broken, allowing the switch to toggle freely between these 2 positions.
  • We retrieved a GPS and 2 cell phones from the scene of the accident and will attempt to extract data that may be relevant to the investigation.
  • The main rotor and tail rotor did not show the characteristic signs of an impact in which the rotors were rotating at full speed.

Safety reminder

The TSB reminds the entire aviation community of the importance of confirming that the switch on ELTs installed in an aircraft is in the "ARM" position. This will help reduce possible delays in the deployment of search and rescue resources should an aircraft be reported missing, thereby increasing survival chances for occupants.


Safety communications

Safety advisories

2020-02-13

A19Q0109-D1–A1: Failure of the Kannad 406 AF-compact emergency locator transmitter switch locking system


Media materials

Deployment notice

2019-07-25

TSB deploys a team of investigators following an accident near Lac Valtrie, Quebec on 10 July 2019

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to examine a Robinson R44 helicopter that was recently found near Lac Valtrie, Quebec, following an occurrence that took place on 10 July 2019. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence




Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Kristina Schoos

Kristina Schoos has more than 15 years’ experience as a helicopter pilot with various 702 and 703 operators, during which she has accumulated more than 6000 hours’ flying time across the country on 6 different types of helicopters, including the Bell 206 and Aerospatiale AS350. In the course of her career, she has been responsible for flight and ground training and has worked as assistant chief-pilot. Ms. Schoos also holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.


Photos


  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.


TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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