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Associated links (A21P0069)

Encounter with boat wake during takeoff led to 2021 loss of control and overturn of a seaplane in Tofino, British Columbia

Richmond, British Columbia, 6 October 2022 — Today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (A21P0069) into the 2021 occurrence involving a Cessna A185F seaplane operated by Atleo River Air Service Ltd., in Tofino, British Columbia (BC).

On 26 July 2021, an Atleo River Air Service Ltd. Cessna A185F seaplane was conducting a flight from Tofino Harbour Water Aerodrome, BC, to the Hesquiaht First Nation community in Hot Springs Cove, BC, with one pilot and four passengers on board. During takeoff, the aircraft momentarily became airborne, then lost control and cartwheeled, before coming to rest inverted in shallow water. One passenger received serious injuries, the remainder received minor injuries, and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

The investigation determined that the aircraft rate of acceleration was slowed by a boat wake during the take-off run, and the pilot attempted to gain additional distance with a right turn on the water’s surface. The aircraft then lifted off the water at low airspeed, as a result of either a second boat wake or control input. As the aircraft became airborne at a low airspeed and in a right turn, the left wing stalled aerodynamically at too low an altitude for control to be regained before the wing contacted the water.

The investigation also determined that if using estimated passenger weights is permitted without adequate guidance on how to perform a reasonable weight estimate, passenger weights may be underestimated, and lead to the risk of an overweight condition adversely affecting the safety of the flight. As well, if multiple modifications are installed without adequate guidance on how to evaluate and document their cumulative effects on aircraft handling and performance, there is a risk that the aircraft will have unexpected flight characteristics, increasing the possibility for loss of control.

Following the occurrence, Atleo River Air Service Ltd. increased the time between flights by an additional 15 minutes to provide pilots with more time to complete their pre-flight duties.

For more information, see the investigation 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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053