The federal investigation into a close call between a plane and a staff vehicle at the Trail Regional Airport a year ago has finally wrapped up.
Released Thursday by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), the report details the risk of collision that occurred in December 2018 when an airport vehicle was conducting a runway inspection at the Trail airport as a Pacific Coastal Airlines plane touched down.
In short, the TSB states the “runway incursion illustrates risks to safe operations when communications break down between airport operations staff and flight crew.”
Further, the investigation found that no radio functionality check was done before the airport vehicle operator entered the maneuvering area of the airport, and the operator did not realize the volume had been turned down to a level that prevented effective communication.
TSB states that the airport vehicle operator did not broadcast the vehicle position or his intentions when changing locations on the runway, as required by Transport Canada’s Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices.
Additionally, the sun was low over the horizon and reflected off the wet runway, creating a solar glare condition that diminished the flight crew’s ability to detect the airport vehicle on the runway.
The investigation also found that if proactive hazard identification and mitigation strategies are not implemented under an airport’s safety management system, the risk of incursions and collisions will remain. Further, if airport vehicles are not conspicuous, they may not be seen by aircrew, increasing the risk of potential collisions.
Following the occurrence, the TSB reports that the Trail airport created new procedures and modified existing procedures concerning communications during airport operations.
The airport updated the Apron Management Plan and Airport Staff Training Manual, and installed additional radio equipment in airport vehicles.
As well, airport staff were provided additional training and were tested on vehicle and communication procedures.
The City of Trail announced earlier in the day that it had received a report from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada outlining the findings from an investigation for the Dec. 12 runway incursion.
“The airport took the matter very seriously and worked co-operatively with the TSB during their investigation,” the city stated.
“The airport, purchased by the city in 2014, remains fully compliant with the stringent Canadian Aviation Regulations, and maintains a Safety Management System with oversight by Transport Canada,” the release reads.
“While the Airport’s Safety Management System was compliant at the time of the incident, the airport has taken considerable steps to enhance and improve airport safety policies, procedures, and operator and staff training.”