SMS Oversight Cited In Canadian Crash

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As the FAA gets ready to implement mandatory safety management systems (SMSs), Canadian authorities are warning SMSs need proper oversight if they’re to do their job of improving flight safety. The Canadian Transportation Safety Board cited insufficient oversight of a private operator’s SMS in its final report on a landing accident that injured 10 people aboard a Bombardier Global 5000 at Fox Harbour, N.S., two years ago. Transport Canada has required SMS plans for commercial carriers for years but delegated oversight of SMS implementation for some operators to the Canadian Business Aviation Association in 2003. The TSB said in its report that CBAA’s implementation of SMS criteria is flawed and Transport Canada failed to recognize that before the Nova Scotia accident. “This is a serious problem,” said Kathy Fox, board member for the TSB. “Safety can be compromised when SMS plans are vague, deadlines are flexible, and critical oversight is lacking. Without proper milestones or auditing, SMS cannot function properly and the risks increase.” The flawed SMS process is a thread throughout the TSB’s findings, which determined the pilots ducked under the standard approach and, because they were used to flying smaller aircraft into the field, misjudged the touchdown and hit the ground seven feet before the pavement.

The impact collapsed the right gear and the aircraft skidded off the runway, stopping about 1,000 feet from the touchdown point and close to some neighboring houses. The TSB says the pilots intentionally fudged the approach to maximize the rollout room on the 4885-foot runway, which is part of a golf resort owned by Ron Joyce, who was on the plane. Although they’d flown into Fox Harbour many times on smaller Challenger 604s, the pilots had only recently started flying the Global 5000. The TSB says they didn’t realize that the Abbreviated Precision Approach Path Indicator (APAPI) used at Fox Harbour didn’t work properly with aircraft as large as the Global 5000 because of the greater distance between the ground and the pilot’s eyes, known as the Eye Wheel Height (EWH).