TSB Calls On Transport Canada To Simplify Approach And Landing Weather Minima

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Also Asks To Prevent Approaches In Very Low Visibility

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has released its investigation report (A18Q0030) into a runway overrun that occurred in Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec, in February 2018.

Among the issues identified, the investigation found that the rules that govern instrument approaches in Canada are too complex, confusing and ineffective at preventing pilots from conducting approaches that are not allowed, or banned, because they are below the minimum weather limits.

On 26 February 2018, a Beechcraft King Air A100 operated by Strait Air (2000) Ltd. was conducting charter flight NUK107 under instrument flight rules, from the Sept-Îles Airport, Quebec, to the Havre St-Pierre Airport, Quebec, with two crew members and six passengers on board. Prior to departure, the weather at Havre St-Pierre aerodrome indicated a visibility of ¾ of a statute mile in light snow. Although below the one mile of visibility published on the approach chart, visibility was at the minimum limit permitted for this flight. Enroute, the crew received the updated weather, which indicated that the visibility had deteriorated to just ¼ mile in heavy snow—well below the minimum visibility allowed to conduct the approach. However, the pilot believed he could continue the approach safely. When the pilot saw a small patch of runway, he continued the landing, touching down just 700 feet before the end of the runway. Without enough runway to slow down, the aircraft overran the end and came to a stop in a large snowbank approximately 220 feet beyond the end of the runway. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, and four of the occupants received minor injuries.

Elsewhere in the world, aerodromes use the published visibility as the minimum limit, to determine if an approach is authorized. If the reported visibility is lower than what is published, air traffic control (ATC) will not let an aircraft carry out the approach. In Canada, flight crews are permitted to conduct approaches in visibility conditions that are below what is published. Transport Canada (TC) regulations applicable to approach limits are complex and contain many exceptions that can be misinterpreted. Flight crews have to consult multiple reference documents and consider a variety of factors to determine if an approach is allowed. The current rules also make it difficult for ATC to determine whether an approach is authorized. As a result, ATC will clear an aircraft for an approach regardless of

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