Co-pilot suggested at least twice to change course before deadly First Air flight 6560 crash: TSB

APTN National News
Differing opinions on the flight deck partially led to the death of 12 people in the First Air flight 6560 crash in August 2011 in Resolute Bay, Nunavut according to a report released by the Transportation Safety Board Tuesday.

According to the TSB, twice Captain Blair Rutherford ignored suggestions from his first officer David Hare, that they should “go-around” and try their approach to the airport again.

That’s because the plane was off course before crashing the a Boeing 737-210C about one nautical mile east of the runway Aug. 20, 2011.

The TSB provided an animation of the route flight 65-60 took prior to the crash.

Blinded by clouds the pilots were using aircraft controls to navigate their landing approach. According to the TSB, strong winds blew the plane off course unknown initally to the pilots.

Soon the first officer suggested changing course and doing a “go-around” but the captain ignored the request to seek higher altitudes believing a landing was still properly.

After realizing they were off course and still flying in cloud cover the crew halted typical landing procedures and tried to fix their approach.

This is when the first captain suggested again they do a go-around, but again the captain wouldn’t.

Then sensors alerted the captain the plane was too close to the ground, but it was too late.

The plane flew into hill.

About five seconds before impact the co-pilot said “I don’t like this.”

The four crew and eight passengers died. Three people survived.

The first captain didn’t specifically say “go-around” and the TSB wouldn’t reveal his exact words citing privacy. They stopped short of saying pilot error led to the crash.

Rather they’ve determined 18 factors led to the crash.

The TSB has recommended to Transport Canada to improve the “crew resource management” procedures that assist crews make better decisions about solving problems as the pilots on Air First were of differing opinions.

The pilots had half a day training on CRM, whereas it’s typically two days.

“Although Transport Canada is taking steps to update the CRM training standards, (TSB) is concerned that a comprehensive and integrated approach to monitoring and reinforcing best practices is still needed,” said TSB investigator Kathy Fox. “To advance aviation safety in Canada, the TSB is seeking stronger defences to reduce unstabilized approaches, and measures to improve crew communications.”

During their investigation, the TSB found issues with “unstable approaches” and is calling on the airline industry to improve crew communications.

“Too many unstable approaches continue to a landing, and this is an international problem,” said TSB investigator Joseph Hincke. “If we want to see fewer landing accidents, we have to tackle this issue now.”

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