Air Ontario Flight 1363

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Air Ontario Flight 1363
A Fokker F-28-1000 Fellowship of a different airline, similar to the one involved in the accident.
Accident summary
Date 10 March 1989 (10 March 1989)
Summary Atmospheric icing
Site Dryden, Ontario, Canada
49°50′20″N 92°46′01″W / 49.83889°N 92.76694°W / 49.83889; -92.76694Coordinates: 49°50′20″N 92°46′01″W / 49.83889°N 92.76694°W / 49.83889; -92.76694
Passengers 65
Crew 4
Injuries (non-fatal) 45
Fatalities 24
Survivors 45
Aircraft type Fokker F28-1000 Fellowship
Operator Air Ontario
Registration C-FONF
Flight origin Thunder Bay Int'l Airport
Stopover Dryden Regional Airport
Destination Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson Int'l Airport

Air Ontario Flight 1363 was a scheduled Air Ontario passenger flight operated by of a Fokker F28-1000 Fellowship which crashed near Dryden, Ontario, on 10 March 1989 shortly after takeoff from Dryden Regional Airport. The aircraft crashed after only 15 seconds because it was not able to attain sufficient altitude to clear the trees beyond the end of the runway due to ice and snow on the wings. The aircraft struck trees and disintegrated on impact, causing the deaths of 21 of the 65 passengers and 3 of the 4 crew members on board, including both pilots.[1]

Aircraft and Crew[edit]

The aircraft, a Fokker F28-1000, had been manufactured in 1972 and had been in service since 1973. The aircraft had been used by Air Ontario since November 1987. It was one of two F28-1000s operated by the airline.[2]

The flight was under the command of veteran pilot Captain George John Morwood (52). He was an experienced airman who had been flying for approximately 34 years. He had roughly 24,100 flying hours. His first officer was Keith Mills (35). Mills was also a highly experienced pilot, having accrued more than 10,000 hours of flying time.[3] Both pilots were new to the F28-1000, having fewer than 150 hours between them on the aircraft type.[4]

Investigation[edit]

The investigation revealed that an unserviceable auxiliary power unit (APU), and no available external power unit at Dryden Regional Airport, led to questionable decision-making which was a critical factor leading to the crash of Flight 1363. If the engines had been turned off, they could not be restarted again due to the unservicability of the APU and lack of external power. Therefore, the port engine was left running during the stopover in Dryden. Snow was falling gently that afternoon and a layer of 0.6 to 1.3 centimetres of snow had accumulated on the wings. The wings needed to be de-iced before takeoff, but the Fokker F-28 aircraft is never supposed to be de-iced while the engines are running because of a risk of toxic fumes entering the cabin of the aircraft. The pilot therefore did not request to have the wings de-iced; at the time, airline instructions were unclear on this point but the subsequent report was very critical of this decision.

Fuel needed to be loaded and was done with the engine running while passengers were on board (known as a hot refuel). Off-loading and reloading passengers would have taken considerable time and the longer the aircraft stayed on the ground the greater was the need for the wings to be sprayed with de-icing fluid. In order to prevent further delay and a greater possibility of a build up on the wings, the pilot, Captain Morwood, decided to have the aircraft fuelled while the engine was running and with passengers on board. Although this is a very dubious procedure, it was not then, and still is not, prohibited by Transport Canada. Airline instructions were also inconsistent.[citation needed]

Result[edit]

The accident investigation was subsumed into a judicial inquiry under the Honourable Virgil P. Moshansky. His report showed that competitive pressures caused by commercial deregulation cut into safety standards and that many of the industry’s sloppy practices and questionable procedures placed the pilot in a very difficult situation. The report also stated that the aircraft should not have been scheduled to refuel at an airport which did not have proper equipment and that neither training nor manuals had sufficiently warned the pilot of the dangers of ice on the wings. Moshansky blamed Transport Canada for letting Air Ontario expand into the operation of bigger, more complicated aircraft without detecting the deficiencies of their existing aircraft.

As a result of the crash of Air Ontario Flight 1363, and the resulting investigation, many significant changes were made to the Canadian Aviation Regulations. These included not only new procedures regarding re-fuelling and de-icing but also many new regulations intended to improve the general safety of all future flights in Canada.

Dramatization[edit]

The story of the accident was featured on the ninth season of the Canadian television series Mayday (known as Air Emergency in the US and Air Crash Investigation in the rest of world). The episode is entitled "Cold Case".

See also[edit]

  • USAir Flight 405, a nearly identical crash of a Fokker F28 under similar weather conditions three years later in 1992

References[edit]

External links[edit]