Emergency landing of small plane prompts new safety measures for Mississauga fleet

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Published March 27, 2024 at 3:09 pm

Emergency landing after taking off from Pearson Airport in Mississauga.
Damage is shown on the Cessna 560 aircraft that had to make an emergency landing in Buffalo shortly after taking off from Pearson Airport in Mississauga. (Photo: Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

The emergency landing of a small plane shortly after it had taken off from Pearson Airport in Mississauga has led to a series of safety improvements for the entire fleet of similar aircraft, an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has revealed.

In its report, released on Wednesday, the TSB said Mississauga-based Chartright Air Inc. grounded its Cessna 560 fleet to conduct necessary safety inspections in the wake of a Jan. 27, 2023 flight that was forced to make an emergency landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport not long after departing Pearson.

The TSB said the Cessna 560 plane was carrying two flight crew and three passengers when it took off from Pearson Airport on its way to Fort Lauderdale.

However, the small aircraft quickly encountered issues as it was climbing to cruise altitude and began a “rapid descent.”

“Shortly after takeoff, the cowl doors partially detached from the left engine’s nacelle, which serves as a protective casing for the engine, leading to an immediate loss of control and rapid descent,” TSB officials said in their report. “Once the flight crew regained control of the aircraft, they declared an emergency and diverted to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, where they landed without further incident. While they were taxiing, a remaining piece of the lower cowl door fell from the aircraft.”

The flight crew and two passengers received minor injuries while the third passenger was more seriously hurt, the TSB said.

Image shows flight path of the Cessna that was forced to make an emergency landing in January 2023. (Image: Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

The TSB investigation revealed that during the most recent maintenance work performed on the aircraft prior to its brief January 2023 flight, “six consecutive fasteners were left unsecured at the forward inboard edge of the lower cowl door.

“Because this location is not typically checked during pre-flight walkarounds and no specific guidance was provided to company flight crews, the unsecured fasteners went undetected despite their multiple walkaround inspections before the flight,” the report continued.

Additionally, the investigation determined the company’s maintenance and flight operations personnel did not have access to the newest information on the recently discovered hazards associated with engine cowl doors on Cessna 560 aircraft, TSB officials noted.

“If operators do not incorporate guidance issued by civil aviation authorities and aircraft manufacturers into their company manuals and procedures, there is a risk that personnel will not be aware of critical flight safety information,” the TSB report stated.

According to the TSB, Chartright Air Inc. grounded its Cessna 560 fleet after the January 2023 close call and inspected the engine cowl doors on each aircraft for damage and proper installation.

That led to a “series of internal safety actions, including issuing a directive to all maintenance staff, updating the pre-flight inspection checklist for fastener verification and providing training on secure installation and integrity checks of engine cowl doors,” the TSB noted.

The directive to maintenance crews made “the installation of the upper and lower engine cowl doors a critical task, meaning the task needs to be double-checked for proper installation.”

In addition, it stated “no aircraft shall be released for flight if the cowling attachment points do not meet the aircraft manufacturer’s recommendation.”

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