Skip to content

Flight instructor was aboard water bomber that landed here with landing gear up

A Canadair CL-415's belly suffered significant damage when it landed at Sault Ste. Marie Airport on May 2, 2021

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is advising operators of two-pilot aircraft to ensure their standard operating procedures clearly define how items on flight checklists should be confirmed and verified.

The investigative agency issued the caution in a report released Thursday about the landing of an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry water bomber with retracted landing gear on Runway 12 at Sault Ste. Marie Airport on May 2.

Two pilots were aboard the training flight.

An instructor pilot was in the plane's left seat and was monitoring a pilot in the right seat who was receiving training while flying the big aircraft.

The pilot being trained had practised the same procedures in a CL-415 flight simulator two months earlier.

They were practising a 'flapless' landing, not using the flight-control aileron flaps located near the end of an aircraft's wings.

Neither of the two pilots noticed that the landing gear wasn't down.

Much of the investigative report focused on how the pilots responded to actions required in the provincial ministry's 'gear down, landing checks' checklist.

"Air operators who use two-crew aircraft should ensure that their company standard operating procedures clearly define how checklists are intended to be actioned and that items affecting aircraft configuration are confirmed and verified," the report concluded.

"Flight crews are reminded to exercise additional vigilance during airborne training flights, given the significant potential for distraction from normal cockpit duties while instruction is taking place." 

The report noted there was significant damage to the water bomber's belly, but no injuries to the crew.

The Transportation Safety Board is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences.

Its reports don't assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.


David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
Read more