first_imgThe Transportation Safety Board says it can only offer a ‘plausible scenario’ into the cause of the October 2016 plane crash in Kelowna B.C., which killed former Alberta Premier and federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice, as well as three other people.Lead investigator Beverley Harvey said the pilot involved, Jim Kruk, had very little experience flying at night, with just two night takeoffs in the previous six months, which does not meet Transport Canada’s requirements to carry passengers at night.Harvey said pilots with insufficient night flying are at a greater risk of experiencing what’s known as spatial disorientation — physical illusions that occur during periods of prolonged acceleration.That includes the initial climb after takeoff.“It’s a likely scenario,” Harvey said. “The pilot, unfortunately, had not completed the Transport Canada requirements for the night takeoffs and landings.”The Norjet-owned Cessna Citation 500 left from Kelowna, en route to Calgary, on the evening of October 13, 2016, with Kruk, a former RCMP officer, Prentice, Dr. Ken Gallatly and businessman Sheldon Reid on board.Gellatly was also the father-in-law to one of Prentice’s three daughters.Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft departed controlled flight and entered a steep descending turn until it hit the ground.No emergency call was made, and post-impact fire destroyed the aircraft.Harvey said Kruk had a valid Transport Canada medical license, there were no extreme environmental conditions, engines were producing substantial power and there was no part of the aircraft that was lost during flight.“All we have is a hypothesis, a scenario that doesn’t have enough facts to be definitive,” TSB Chair Kathy Fox said. “That simply isn’t good enough.”Fox is calling for the mandatory installation of lightweight flight recording systems by commercial operators and private business operators.Fox reiterates they don’t assign blame, because they can truly only speculate, but they know recordings will help and Transport Canada has to do more. #yyc #abpoli #cdnpoli— Lucas Meyer (@meyer_lucas) April 26, 2018In 2016, shortly before the crash, Transport Canada exempted private business operators from planned national surveillance.“Any oversight would only be conducted on a reactive basis,” Fox said of what the decision meant.Fox not only challenged Transport Canada but also discussed specific gaps between the agency and the operator of the plane, Norjet.The investigation found no record Norjet had ever been inspected by Transport Canada, which meant risks such as an unqualified night-flying pilot and non-compliance with inspections.Fox said while the aircraft was suitably equipped and Kruk was suitably trained, the company did not get the required approval for single-pilot operation.“We do believe that Transport Canada needs to do more with respect to inspection and auditing of the private business aviation sector,” she said.In a statement, federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said department officials are conducting a review of the report and would submit a formal response within the 90-day required time frame.“Transport Canada takes recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board very seriously and shares their goal of maintaining and improving the safety of Canada’s transportation network,” the statement said.Norjet could not be reached for comment.In a statement, the Prentice’s family thanked the TSB for its work.Jim Prentice ‘s family has released a statement following the TSB’s investigation. “It is our hope the learnings from this tragic event can be used to prevent similar accidents in the future.” #yyc #abpoli #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/UDXVQQj2yd— Lucas Meyer (@meyer_lucas) April 26, 2018“While this report cannot restore what has been lost, it is our hope the learnings from this tragic event can be used to prevent similar accidents in the future,” the family said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the other families impacted by this tragedy.”last_img