Inadequate training and non-use of transponder led to March 2014 runway incursion at the Calgary International Airport


EDMONTON /CNW/ – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A14W0046) into the 29 March 2014 runway incursion at the Calgary International Airport, in Alberta. There were no injuries, damage to aircraft or airport property.

On 29 March 2014, during the hours of darkness, an Air Georgian Beech 1900D turboprop aircraft was being taxied to a holding bay adjacent to runway 29 by company aircraft maintenance staff to perform engine performance checks. An air traffic controller issued instructions for taxiing north from the company facility to the holding bay. The maintenance staff mistakenly taxied the aircraft to an area southwest of the maintenance facility. A runway incursion occurred when the aircraft entered the south end of an active runway (Runway 17R). A departing Boeing 737 was already airborne when the Beech 1900D entered the runway.

The investigation found that the training received by the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) was inadequate for the operation of an aircraft at a large airport at night. This resulted in the AME not correctly following the taxi instruction, resulting in the runway incursion. The investigation also found that the ground controller did not assign a transponder code as per air traffic control procedures. A transponder code allows aircraft to be positively identified on the ground radar display, giving the controller on duty situational awareness of where the aircraft is taxiing. Additionally, the investigation revealed that the airport does not require positive control over vehicles operating on a taxiway, except during reduced/low visibility operations. This, combined with the unidentified target seen on the ground radar display as a result of the lack of a transponder code, led to the controller making an incorrect assumption that this aircraft was a vehicle operating south of the company facility.

Following the occurrence, the Calgary Airport Authority required AMEs to be trained for and to hold airside vehicle operator permits allowing them to tow and taxi aircraft around the airport. All vehicles operating on a taxiway now require transponders so that air traffic control can identify them. Air Georgian revised its procedures for taxiing and towing aircraft around airports and improved training for its maintenance staff.

This issue has been identified as one of the key risks to the transportation system and it is included on the TSB’s 2014 Watchlist. Improved procedures and enhanced collision warning systems must be implemented at Canada’s airports.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

SOURCE Transportation Safety Board of Canada