In a report issued this week by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), a number of factors were cited that led to a fatal mid-air collision over suburban Montreal in March of 2017. The accident, which occurred near St-Hubert airport (YHU), involved two Cessna 152s, both operated by St-Hubert-based Cargair Ltd, a large flight training unit. Both aircraft were flying under visual flight rules in airspace controlled by the St-Hubert tower.

Both pilots were flying solo, one working towards a commercial licence and the other towards a private licence. Both were foreign students, with the TCCA-mandated aviation language proficiency test assessment results showing each of them had been assessed as possessing ‘operational knowledge’. The accident resulted in one pilot seriously injured and the other pilot sustaining fatal injuries.  No-one on the ground was injured.

St-Hubert airport is home to four flight schools, many of whose student pilots come from abroad and whose native language is neither English nor French. This was cited by the TSB as adding to the complexity of the airport environment and ATC workload. Another factor cited was faulty wiring in the push-to-talk switch in one of the airplanes, causing some of the pilot’s radio calls to go un-transmitted.

The complete TSB report can be found here.