A float plane crash near Tofino last year was caused by a boat wake that disrupted its takeoff, according to a report released by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada on Thursday.
The incident, which involved a Cessna A185F seaplane operated by Atleo River Air Service Ltd, occurred on July 26, 2021 as the plane was leaving Tofino on its way to Hot Springs Cove. One pilot and four passengers were on board.
“During takeoff, the aircraft momentarily became airborne, then lost control and cartwheeled, before coming to rest inverted in shallow water. One passenger received serious injuries, the remainder received minor injuries, and the aircraft was substantially damaged,” the TSB’s report states.
“The investigation determined that the aircraft rate of acceleration was slowed by a boat wake during the take-off run, and the pilot attempted to gain additional distance with a right turn on the water’s surface. The aircraft then lifted off the water at low airspeed, as a result of either a second boat wake or control input.”
While airborne, a wing contacted the water causing it to cartwheel.
The TSB added that estimated passenger weights without proper training or tools can lead to overweight conditions adversely affecting the safety of the flight.
“As well, if multiple modifications are installed without adequate guidance on how to evaluate and document their cumulative effects on aircraft handling and performance, there is a risk that the aircraft will have unexpected flight characteristics, increasing the possibility for loss of control,” the report reads.
It adds that Atleo River Air Service Ltd has increased the time between its flights by 15 minutes since the incident to give pilots more time to complete pre-flight duties.