The Plane in Fond-Du-Lac Crash Not De-iced Before Take-Off

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) reported that a West Wing plane that crashed in Fond-Du-Lac, Canada, in December 2017 was not de-iced before takeoff. The crew activated the onboard anti-icing and de-icing systems, but residual ice remained on parts of the aircraft when the systems were turn off.

The ATR 42-320 plane operated by West Wind aviation, with 22 passengers and three crew members, crashed shortly after take-off just over a kilometer away from the runway. Nine people were seriously injured, sixteen other people were injured, and one passenger later died in hospital.

According to a report of the TSB, the plane encountered ice while it was descending to Fond-Du-Lac. The crew activated the onboard anti-icing and de-icing systems, but residual ice remained on parts of the aircraft when the systems were turn off. The West Wind Aviation plane was not de-iced after taking on new passengers and cargo, and commenced to take off again “with ice contamination on the aircraft.”

Some de-icing equipment was available at the Fond-Du-Lac terminal, consisting of two ladders, hand-held spray bottle with an electric blanket and wand and a container of de-icing fluid. The plane, however, was not de-iced before takeoff, and ice was present on the plane when it began its flight.

The TSB report also stated the aircraft was not overweight when it took off and that the center of gravity was within limits. Investigators are now analyzing the plane’s weight, balance and the weather and runway conditions on the day of the crash. The TSB also found the pilots were qualified for the flight and is analyzing data from cockpit voice recorder.

While investigators determined that the de-icing equipment was not used, they have not announced yet when the final report into the cause of the crash will be released, stating “there are often many factors that can contribute to an accident.” Some steps still need to be taken before concluding the investigation. Some other measures are examining why the aircraft was not de-iced before takeoff, looking at the adequacy of the de-icing equipment, and analyzing data about aircraft operations in remote Canadian locations.

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