Transport Canada says it may restrict occupancy of some float equipped Cessna 206 aircraft because the flaps prevent the rear cargo door from being opened normally. The Transportation Safety Board released its report on the landing accident of a Simpson Air 206 at Little Doctor Lake in the Northwest Territories on Aug. 16, 2018. All five people aboard survived the hard landing and the aircraft flipping but the three occupants of the seats on the right side of the plane drowned because they couldn’t get the main cargo door open. The pilot and passenger on the left side of the airplane went out through the pilot’s door. Although the final report was just released on Nov. 14, the TSB took the unusual step of issuing an interim safety letter last February. In the final report, it said TC had responded to its safety letter by saying it will ask the FAA to require Textron Aviation to redesign the door. In the absence of a hardware fix for the problem, TC has said it will issue its own airworthiness directive restricting occupancy of aircraft when it’s on floats.
The fault with the 206 is well known and no engineering solution has so far been found to remedy the hazard. The procedure now is to conduct a preflight passenger briefing to show how to open the secondary rear cargo door, which involves first opening the front cargo door and activating a floor pin with a handle mounted in the door jam. The multi-step process is not intuitive and the TSB said in its report that the three people died because they couldn’t get out. As for the cause of the accident itself, the TSB said an unstable approach led to a hard landing and subsequent bounce that the pilot did not recover.