Summary of Proposed Reforms
We believe that the following reforms should be instituted by the federal Transport Ministry and Transport Canada without delay:
- Amend Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) Clauses 605.24(1) and 604.24(3) to require installation of shoulder restraints in all aircraft which have approved shoulder harnesses available, regardless of date of manufacture.
- On an ongoing basis, issue airworthiness directives (ADs) mandating compliance with Service Bulletins, STCs, or other documents which require installation of shoulder restraint kits.
- Work with manufacturers to encourage the development of shoulder restraint kits in aircraft where it is technically feasible to do so.
- For small aircraft which do not have pilot and/or passenger shoulder restraints provided, require the following:
- Notice be given to all passengers that the aircraft does not meet modern safety requirements with respect to the provision of shoulder restraints, by way of briefing by the pilot in command and affixing approved stickers or placards in conspicuous locations visible to passengers as they board the aircraft.
- All passengers who do not have shoulder restraints available must be provided with, and wear, approved safety helmets during flight.
Note: The United States FAA under Policy Statement Number ACE-00-23.561-01 issued on Sept.19, 2000, has authorized several methods of approval of retrofit shoulder harness installations in small aircraft, and Transport Canada should adopt a similar policy.
MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN FLYING CERTIFICATION:
- Design a standardized mountain flying curriculum that can be used by flight schools. The curriculum could be based on the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority standard, which has apparently been very effective in reducing the accident rate in New Zealand.
- Require mountain flying certification for all pilots who fly in designated mountainous regions. Pilots who already hold licences should be required to comply with the certification requirements within a fixed amount of time, ideally 18 months or less.
AIRCRAFT LIABILITY INSURANCE:
Many private aircraft carry liability insurance that is inadequate to compensate passengers who are killed or injured in accidents. The minimum insurance requirements set out in CAR 606.02 should be raised, and the following steps taken to increase aviation safety:
- Work with insurers to encourage the use of premium discounts where the insured can demonstrate risk mitigation strategies, such as the installation of shoulder restraints.
- Advise aircraft owners and operators of the insurance advantages that come with risk mitigation strategies, and the possibility that their own assets will be at considerable risk if they have inadequate insurance coverage.
Transport Canada must be accountable to the hundreds of historic safety findings and recommendations made in Transportation Safety Board (TSB) and Coroners’ Reports into serious and fatal aviation accidents. These findings and recommendations have been well-researched and carefully made in the public interest of preventing similar accidents in the future. However, far too often Transport Canada has chosen to ignore or downplay these important observations and findings and recommendations – often with tragic consequences. The primary mandate of Transport Canada should be to protect the travelling public, but too often it would appear that Transport Canada sides with the interests of small aircraft industry lobbyists who argue that their livelihood would be jeopardized should certain findings and recommendations be regulated. I call on Transport Canada to respond to all outstanding and future TSB and Coroners’ Reports, with a compelling reason why their respective findings and recommendations are not being implemented by a corresponding change to the regulations.
GRADUATED PILOT LICENSING:
Develop a graduated licensing program for aspiring private and commercial pilots, and increase the current minimum requirements for both classroom and flight experience. Such changes shall be in addition to the proposed Mountainous Terrain Flying Certification reform previously outlined.
“FOR HIRE” SERVICES:
Establish a clear definition as to what constitutes a “for hire” service as it relates to the operation of private aircraft. Currently pilots and passengers are permitted to share fuel costs, but often these costs may be disproportionally allocated, with the pilot contributing little or no costs toward the flight in question. This “grey” area needs to be clarified by law, and pilots made clearly aware of their legal obligations before they take on passengers.
ENFORCEMENT OF REGULATIONS:
Transport Canada needs to hire more licensing and inspection personnel to ensure that pilots are fulfilling all the regulations as laid out in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), including the entering of each completed flight into a standardized journey logbook, as well as maintaining a detailed record of in the logbook of all maintenance and mechanical work carried out on the plane that they are flying in. When an aircraft is taken in for servicing, the aviation mechanic should firstly review the plane’s logbook, and should they suspect that previous maintenance and/or mechanical work has been done without proper logbook entries, they should be prohibited by law from carrying out any work on the subject plane, and be required to immediately report their findings to Transport Canada.