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TSB FINDS FROST ON WING A FACTOR IN FATAL CRASH

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Gatineau - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) releases its final report (A03O0088) today into the fatal crash of a Found Aircraft Canada Bush Hawk XP aircraft near Temagami, Ontario, on April 7, 2003.

The TSB investigation determined that frost on the aircraft's wing adversely affected its performance, resulting in the aircraft stalling at higher-than-normal airspeed and entering a spin without warning. The single-engine plane had just taken off; as a result, it was too low to permit recovery. In its report, the TSB describes how the pilot may not have noticed the aircraft slowing down because he was making a low-altitude turn and picking up a stronger tailwind. This situation created the illusion of travelling at faster-than-actual speeds. The frost also reduced the aircraft's stability. These two factors negated usual cues that would have alerted the pilot to the slower speed.

The TSB makes note of a recent U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) advisory that suggests that even "imperceptible" amounts of frost can have catastrophic effects. The NTSB advisory expressed concern that pilots may not be aware that small amounts of frost on an aircraft can have as serious an effect on performance as larger and more visible amounts of ice accumulation. The TSB concludes that, in this case, frost on the wing was either undetected or had been incompletely removed; the results were very similar to those described in the NTSB advisory.

On April 7, 2003, the Bush Hawk XP aircraft took off from a cleared ice strip on the frozen surface of Lake Temagami, 20 km southwest of the town of Temagami, destined for Parry Sound, Ontario. At 200 to 300 feet above the lake surface, while the aircraft was turning, it stalled and began to spin. The spin stopped after one turn, and then the aircraft rotated briefly in the opposite direction before striking the frozen lake in a near-vertical position. The aircraft was destroyed. Both the pilot and the passenger were killed.

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