NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

No one injured in rough landing

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 4, 2012

No one was injured when a Canadian North jet suffered minor damage landing in Cambridge Bay on May 12, forcing smaller planes to service the community in the days following the incident, according to a company official.

The right thrust reverser of a Boeing 737 arriving in the Kitikmeot community suffered minor damage when it touched a snowbank on the runway, said Steve Hankirk, vice-president of operations, charters and cargo at Canadian North. No one was injured but the plane did slightly slide as it touched down, he added.

"We're allowed to land on half an inch of slush and it was reported, I believe, a quarter to half an inch of slush," said Hankirk. "When the crew landed, it was two inches, and the snowbank was on the runway."

The Boeing 737 flew without passengers to Edmonton on May 15 to undergo repairs, he added. A Dash-8 provided Canadian North service to Cambridge Bay from May 13 to 16 inclusive, he added. Hankirk said he expected the Boeing to return to service on May 17.

As a result of the incident, both Cambridge Bay airport runway maintainers have completed refresher training and an experienced airport maintainer was sent to spend the weekend revising maintenance procedures with them, said Shawn Maley, director of Nunavut airports. He added a senior person has been assigned to oversee the runway conditions until the training is complete.

"I am very happy with the corrective action and how quickly it's being implemented," said Hankirk.

The issue in this case was stopping the airport runway maintenance and reporting the runway conditions too early during bad weather, said Maley. He added the contractor performed 90 minutes of runway maintenance that day before stopping and doing a runway condition report at 11:30 a.m., a full 90 minutes before the plane came in at 1 p.m.

"By the time the plane came in, we had slush accumulating on the runway," he said. "Obviously, the conditions at one o'clock because of the weather, were different than what was reported at 11:30 (a.m.)"

Maley said that during bad weather, equipment should be kept on the runway as long as possible before a flight and then do a surface conditions report. In this instance, he added the equipment should have been kept on the runway until 15 to 30 minutes before flight arrival.

"Then the pilot coming in to the airport at one o'clock would have the most up-to-date runway surface condition report and have maintenance done up until his landing, as opposed to waiting one hour and a half when you know there is slush accumulating on the runway," he said. "That didn't happen. As a result, Canadian North came in to a runway with two inches of slush, had a very long landing in difficult conditions."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.