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AC624 Landed On Localizer

Impact site of the main landing gear is clearly visible.
Impact site of the main landing gear is clearly visible.

Photos taken by an RCMP UAS might give investigators some clues as to the chain of events that led to Air Canada’s worst aircraft accident in almost 20 years earlier this week.

The photos show the Airbus A320, reportedly flown by two experienced crew, landed right on top of the localizer antenna array, about 1,000 feet ahead of the threshold of Runway 05 at Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport early Sunday.

The landing gear marks are clearly visible and then it appears the aircraft bounced most of the way to the runway minus the landing gear and tail feathers that were taken off by the antennae.

Air Canada still hasn’t released the names of the pilots, who were among the 25 people taken to hospital after the crash, which the airline called a “hard landing” for the first couple of days afterward. No one was seriously hurt, however.

The Transportation Safety Board has by now interviewed the pilots but the result hasn’t been released. The TSB is finished with its on-site cataloguing of the scene and the aircraft has been removed. The TSB is hanging on to the hulk for further examination in the comfort of a hangar.

The main runway at the airport remains closed until it’s determined if repairs are needed.

Meanwhile, although no suits have been launched, there are reports that some passengers have made legal enquiries.

Textron Seen Buying Learjet

Could Textron be in line to buy Learjet?
Could Textron be in line to buy Learjet?

Everyone seems to be talking about it except Bombardier but there is some support for the notion of Textron Aviation buying Learjet.

When Bombardier announced the “pause” of the technologically advanced Learjet 85 project, it was widely speculated that the subsidiary, which dips the big bizjet maker’s toe in the small-to-midsize market, would be sold off to shore up funding for the CSeries.

Bombardier has not commented on the rumours but that didn’t stop investment analyst Cai von Rumohr from making the case for the acquisition.

“We think it would make sense to sell Lear,” he wrote in a letter to investors. “TXT (Textron) and ERJ (Embraer) are likely to be interested, with TXT a natural buyer since Cessna & Lear are both located in Wichita. Thus, TXT should have meaningful cost synergies to enable a win-win transaction, as it did with Beechcraft. Owning Lear also would give Cessna potential to convert Lear’s 2,800 customers to its bizjets.”

Neither Bombardier nor Textron have commented on von Rumohr’s advice.

Pilotless Chief Takes Off

Chief after hand propping incident.

All a Nipawin, Sask. pilot has a story to tell and a wrecked airplane after a hand prop start went wrong.

The unidentified man started the Aeronca Chief about 6 p.m. and for whatever reason the throttle was apparently open.

The aircraft became airborne within 10 metres, according to Nipawin RCMP and flew for sometime before crashing on the airport.

Damage was extensive. The TSB will not be investigating.

Amazon Testing Parcel Deliver in B.C.

Amazon's testing of unmanned aerial systems in B.C. was big news this week.
Amazon’s testing of unmanned aerial systems in B.C. was big news this week.

It’s perhaps more surprising that there aren’t more high profile U.S. enterprises testing unmanned aerial systems projects in Canada but Amazon’s secret program grabbed headlines this week.

The company has bought a parcel of land next to the U.S. border in B.C. to do outside testing of its Prime Air parcel delivery system. Transport Canada approved a Special Flight Operations Certificate for the testing in December, weeks after it relaxed regulations for the commercial operation of small UAS, which weigh less than 25 kg.

Amazon needed the permit because it’s testing a sense and avoid system that will allow its aircraft to navigate the complex low-level airspace of cities without bumping into anything.

The online retailer has hired a blue-chip team of engineers and experts to solve the myriad issues such an audacious project entails and sense and avoid is one of the toughest.

A week before the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. broke the story on the B.C. testing, the FAA granted Amazon a restrictive permit to do limited testing of its system in the U.S. Amazon has since said it already has a lot more freedom to test in other jurisdictions and it won’t be taking the FAA up on the offer.

This spring a huge area of rural Alberta will be open for advanced UAS testing. The Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems has the ability to NOTAM shut about 1,000 square miles of the prairie landscape to allow testing and it’s expected that beyond-line-of-sight systems will be tested there.