The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has released its final report on the Air Canada, um, pre-runway excursion in Halifax two years ago. The fifteen findings are not surprising. They start with the three below and get only a bit more depressing from there. It’s disconcerting to read phrases such as “the flight crew did not monitor the aircraft’s altitude and distance…”, but only because that’s a flight crew’s actual job.
3.1 Findings as to causes and contributing factors
1. Air Canada’s standard operating procedure (SOP) and practice when flying in flight path angle guidance mode was that, once the aircraft was past the final approach fix, the flight crews were not required to monitor the aircraft’s altitude and distance from the threshold or to make any adjustments to the flight path angle. This practice was not in accordance with the flight crew operating manuals of Air Canada or Airbus.
2. As per Air Canada’s practice, once the flight path angle was selected and the aircraft began to descend, the flight crew did not monitor the altitude and distance from the threshold, nor did they make any adjustments to the flight path angle.
3. The flight crew did not notice that the aircraft had drifted below and diverged from the planned vertical descent angle flight profile, nor were they aware that the aircraft had crossed the minimum descent altitude further back from the threshold.
It is at least good to see “Collision with terrain” right there on the cover of the report and the “Damage to aircraft” section’s perfectly succinct “The aircraft was destroyed.” Honesty is the best policy…even if it is only at the investigating agency.