TSB Issues De-Icing Warning

The Transportation Safety Board says aircraft frequently fly without effective de-icing and it’s calling on Transport Canada to improve de-icing services at remote airports across the country.  The TSB said it surveyed pilots across the North and found that many planes in commercial service never get de-iced. “Almost 40 per cent of participating pilots said that they are rarely or never able to have their aircraft effectively de-iced at remote airports,” said TSB investigator David Ross. “This is not a small problem. Since many remote airports can have an icing season of ten months or more, the risk, frankly, is substantial.” 

Ross took the unusual, but not unprecedented, step of releasing the information as part of an ongoing investigation into the crash of a West Wind Aviation ATR 42-320 on takeoff from Fond-du-Lac Airport in northern Saskatchwan on Dec. 13, 2017. Nine passengers were seriously hurt and one died in hospital two weeks later. The aircraft had not been de-iced but since the investigation hasn’t been completed yet it’s not officially been cited as a cause. Regardless, the TSB thought it was important to get the word out about the state of de-icing in the North that resulted from its research into the crash. “During an investigation, at any time if we find any safety deficiencies, we don’t hesitate to communicate those,” a TSB spokesperson said Wednesday. “It doesn’t happen often but it happens from time to time.”