Progress Report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. First Air Flight 6560, Boeing 737 Accident, 20 August 2011, Resolute Bay (A11H0002)
A small crash in the far Canadian north, that everybody has forgotten about. For the 12 people who perished in the crash, the 3 survivors and their extended families. We bring you a part of the progress report into the accident.
On 20 August 2011, a First Air Boeing 737-210C aircraft (registration C-GNWN, serial number 21067) was being flown as a charter flight from Yellowknife, North West Territories, to Resolute Bay, Nunavut. As is often the case for aircraft operating in the arctic, the cabin was partitioned to allow a combination of cargo and passengers, this configuration is known as a combi.
At 1142 Central Daylight Time, during the approach to Runway 35T, First Air Flight 6560 impacted a hill at 396 feet above sea level (asl) and about 1 nautical mile east of the midpoint of the Resolute Bay Airport runway which, itself, is at 215 feet asl. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and an ensuing post-crash fire. Eight passengers and the four crew members suffered fatal injuries. Three passengers suffered serious injuries and were rescued by Canadian military personnel who were in Resolute Bay as part of a military exercise.
Work Completed to DateA significant amount of work has been completed so far, but much remains to be done. Dozens of interviews have been conducted. Hundreds of technical and operational documents, weather reports, air traffic control communications, studies and research papers have been gathered, and the analysis of this material is well underway.
A detailed survey of the accident site was completed and a comprehensive plot of the aircraft components constructed. The TSB completed an extensive study of the wreckage and removed some of the components for further laboratory analysis.
The flight recorders were located on the first day and shipped to the TSB lab for data download and analysis. The recorders contain much needed data and will assist investigators in the understanding of what happened during the approach phase of the flight.
What We KnowIn the hours before the accident, the weather in Resolute Bay was variable with fluctuations in visibility and cloud ceiling. Forty minutes before the accident, the visibility was 10 miles in light drizzle with an overcast ceiling at 700 feet above ground level (agl). A weather observation taken shortly after the accident, reported visibility of 5 miles in light drizzle and mist with an overcast ceiling of 300 feet agl.
The weather conditions required the crew to conduct an instrument approach using the aircraft flight and navigation instruments. The crew planned to conduct an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to Runway 35T. This instrument approach provides guidance down to weather minimums of 1⁄2 mile visibility and a ceiling of 200 feet agl.
The crew initiated a go-around 2 seconds before impact. At this time, the flaps were set to position 40, the landing gear was down and locked, the speed was 157 knots and the final landing checklist was complete.
Another aircraft successfully completed an ILS approach to Runway 35T approximately 20 minutes after the accident. NAV CANADA conducted a flight check of the ground based ILS equipment on 22 August 2011; it was reported as serviceable.
The Resolute Bay Airport is normally an uncontrolled airport (no Air Traffic Controllers). A temporary military control zone had been established to accommodate the increase in air traffic resulting from Operation Nanook, a military exercise taking place at the time. Information from the military radars that had been installed for the exercise was retrieved for TSB analysis.
The technical examination of the aircraft at the accident site revealed no pre-impact problems. Analysis of the flight data recorder information and examination of the engines at the site indicate the engines were operating and developing considerable power at the time of the accident. Analysis of the aircraft flight and navigational instruments is ongoing.
Currently, the TSB is classifying this occurrence as a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accident. CFIT occurs when an airworthy aircraft under the control of the flight crew is flown unintentionally into terrain, obstacles or water, usually with no prior awareness by the crew. CFIT is one of the issues identified in the TSB Watchlist.
The FamiliesThe TSB investigation team is mindful of the survivors and the families who lost loved ones on Flight 6560 and of their desire for answers. As we continue our work, our hope is that it will lead to the prevention of similar accidents and a safer transportation system for all Canadians.
The information posted is factual in nature and does not contain any analysis. Analysis of the accident, along with the Findings of the Board will become available when the final report is released. The investigation is ongoing.
Read the full Progress Report
Source: TSB of Canada
Gravity always wins!