Take-off technique a factor in fatal Cessna crash

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A Missinippi Airways Cessna Caravan crashed during an abandoned take-off run because of a combination of runway condition, shifting wind, and the pilot's take-off technique, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The only fatality was a passenger who died in the post-crash fire, and the TSBC has noted that his failure, despite the pilot's safety briefing, to fasten the shoulder-harness straps of his seat restraint, resulted in injuries that prevented his escape before the fire took hold.

The accident, on 4 July 2011, happened at Pukatawagan airfield in Manitoba. The chartered Caravan, with one pilot and eight passengers, began the take-off roll on the wet gravel surface of runway 33.

The flaps were correctly set and the engine developing normal power, but the acceleration seems to have faltered near the taxiway intersection where there are some soft spots in the surface, and the pilot lifted the nose slightly, which caused the aircraft to lift off briefly. The pilot then abandoned the take-off with 200m of the runway ahead, applied braking and reverse propeller pitch, but the aircraft overran and crashed into a ravine.

The fuel system was fractured and a fire started, according to the TSBC report, and evacuation was difficult because of the aircraft's attitude when it came to rest. Although the pilot and seven of the passengers attempted to help the severely injured passenger escape, the increasing heat drove them out before they could succeed.