The pilot who departed from Medicine Hat airport (CYXH) on a night flight to Moose Jaw airport (CYMJ) last spring that ended in collision with terrain, killing all three on board, was unlicensed, according to an investigation report released by the Transportation Safety Board earlier this week.

The pilot had at one time held a student pilot permit, but it had expired in May of 2014. The pilot also held an invalid Class 4 medical certificate, having expired in June of 2017.

The TSB reports that there was no flight plan filed, nor was there any record of the pilot having obtained a weather briefing before the flight. There were reports that evening of limited visibility in the area due to smoke and haze.

Crash site. Photo credit: RCMP with annotations by the TSB.

The aircraft struck the ground 18 nm east of CYXH at high speed and at a nose-down attitude of around 45°. Although the ELT was activated, the signal was weak and did not alert authorities of the crash; a ground and air search that eventually found the aircraft the next morning was launched after a call was made to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton three hours after the aircraft was overdue.

The impact was such that the TSB investigators could not determine whether the flight controls and other aircraft systems had been in proper working order, although records did not reveal anything amiss.

The pilot had at least 142 hours of flight experience logged in his incomplete logbook, and reportedly had around 40 hours of night flying experience with another pilot on board.

COPA reminds members of the importance of a culture of safety while exercising the freedom to fly. The General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC), a joint effort of COPA and Transport Canada – Civil Aviation exists to further this objective.

The complete TSB report can be viewed by clicking here.

Photo credit: Global News