Under-Bridge Takeoff Prompts Probe

Transport Canada is looking into an incident on the Ottawa River that caused a big splash in the local media but probably didn’t violate any regs.

Members of the Ottawa Rowing Club were getting ready for an event on the morning of Aug. 9 when they heard the sound of an aircraft revving to takeoff power. The floatplane accelerated normally and lifted off the water a few hundred metres from the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge connecting Ottawa and Gatineau.

The pilot continued the takeoff and climbed out normally after flying under the centre span of the bridge. Witnesses called the takeoff “reckless” and “crazy” and told various media outlets they were afraid the plane was going to hit the bridge, opinions the video does not seem to support.

The aircraft was between two bridges and likely could not have climbed over the bridge with the takeoff room available. The other option would have been a long taxi to the other side of the bridge.

The CARS don’t specifically outlaw this kind of activity since the 500-foot rule for avoiding obstacles doesn’t apply to takeoffs and landings.

Nevertheless, Transport Canada said in a statement it will investigate and if it determines the pilot’s actions were a violation of the regs then “appropriate action will be taken.”