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Our Mission Statement

We believe that the safety of pilots and passengers currently flying in small aircraft in Canada is seriously jeopardized by existing aviation regulations established by Transport Canada. We are committed to lobby this federal regulatory agency and the Ministry of Transport to safeguard the flying public through enacting legislative reform, in order that they are protected to the maximum possible extent.

Did You Know?

  • Almost all vehicles on the road in Canada today are equipped with shoulder restraint seat belts, and their wearing has been mandatory in all provinces for 28 years or longer.
  • There are over 36,000 small aircraft registered with the Canadian Civil Aircraft Registry, and approximately half of these were manufactured prior to 1987.
  • Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) permit small aircraft manufactured before December 12, 1986 to operate without the provision of passenger shoulder restraints.
  • Based on the foregoing data, it can be concluded that approximately half of the small aircraft flying Canadian skies are doing so without modern passenger safety provision.
  • Retrofit shoulder harness kits are available for many of these older aircraft, although Transport Canada has not seen fit to promote or mandate their installation.
  • According to Transport Canada, “accident experience has provided substantial evidence that the use of a shoulder harness in conjunction with a safety belt can reduce serious injuries to the head, neck and upper torso of aircraft occupants, and has the potential to reduce fatalities of occupants involved in an otherwise survivable accident.

Therefore this begs the question: Why hasn’t Transport Canada mandated the requirement for shoulder harnesses in ALL small aircraft?

  • Canadian pilots are permitted to fly almost anywhere in Canada, including in mountainous terrain without specific training or endorsement, and many pilots do not appreciate the risks of flying in mountainous terrain.
  • The airline insurance industry currently does not offer insurance premium discounts to those aircraft owners that either have factory-installed or approved retrofitted shoulder harnesses provided, despite the acknowledged safety and risk mitigation benefits that these installations provide. In an industry that encourages and rewards customer risk mitigation measures such as residential smoke alarms, automobile theft-deterrent systems, non-smoker life insurance policy discounts, etc. we find this a curious anomaly.

When a fatal plane crash occurs, the federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB) and local Coroners Services carry out detailed investigations as to the cause of the crash and resultant fatalities, and typically make safety findings and recommendations in order to prevent similar future tragedies. These recommendations are routinely forwarded to Transport Canada, yet we find that most findings and recommendations are ignored or downplayed, often with future tragic consequences.

Our Story

On August 13, 2012, a small private 4-seat plane operated by a commercially-licensed pilot and acquaintance of our 24 year-old daughter Lauren Sewell, crashed into a treed mountainside 20 minutes into a flight from Penticton, B.C. back to suburban Vancouver, B.C. Our precious daughter and her boyfriend Dallas Smith both sustained fatal head injuries, while the pilot and another passenger both survived. On November 27, 2013 the TSB released Aviation Investigation Report A12P0136 into our daughter’s accident, and the following day we conducted a Media Release to present our side of the story.  Finally, on October 3, 2014, the BC Coroners Service released the long-awaited report into the death of our daughter. Each of these 3 documents can be read in detail by clicking on the highlighted links above. Short video news clips of the TSB and Media Releases can also be viewed by clicking on the links “Kelowna plane crash” and “Watch: TSB report”.  In the 3 year period since this tragedy, I have carried out extensive research into the many factors that contributed to this accident, and have alarmingly discovered that most of them were easily preventable, had proper procedures been followed and had aviation regulations been improved by Transport Canada in accordance with findings and recommendations contained in numerous earlier TSB and Coroners’ reports into similar accidents.

On November 10, 2014 my wife and I travelled to Milton, Ontario to hopefully meet with federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt in her constituency office. Parliament was on a week-long break, and we hoped to meet with her and present in person a binder of information that I had authored entitled PROPOSED RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGES TO THE CANADIAN AVIATION REGULATIONS (CARs). Unfortunately Ms. Raitt was hospitalized at the time and unable to meet with us, however we did spend over an hour with her constituency assistant going over in detail the contents of my submission. We were assured that “this Department is all about safety”, and that my submission would be forwarded to policy and stakeholder officials within the ministry and Transport Canada for consideration, and that we should receive a written response within a few months. Despite repeated voicemails and conversations with employees of both the Minister’s Milton and Ottawa offices, we have just, in the past few days, finally received a written response from the Minister of Transport, 9 months after our initial submission. However it fails to address the 7 reform recommendations we have proposed, but acknowledges that “the safety of all Canadians is Transport Canada’s top priority”! A full copy of the Minister’s letter can be found in our News & Research section of this website. Because we feel that our reform proposals are being ignored,  we have decided to launch this website today, August 13th, to coincide with the 3rd anniversary of the plane crash that claimed the lives of our daughter and her boyfriend. It is our sincere hope that, with the help of readers like you, much-needed reform to these antiquated laws can be achieved. We urge you to read more of the information contained within our website and the related links by using the Navigation button located in the upper right-hand corner or within the Navigation header above of our Home page, and to support our worthy cause.

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