The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says weather conditions were poor when a plane crashed in northern Alberta last summer, killing the pilot.

A board report says RCMP found the pilot dead two days after the crash in the rugged terrain of Marten Mountain, about 10 kilometers northeast of Slave Lake.

The investigation found the pilot had told a flight service specialist in Edmonton on Aug. 31 that he was taking off from La Crete, Alta., for Saskatoon International Airport.

He was flying a privately registered Mooney M20C, which is a low-wing, single-engine plane, built in 1964.

The report says the pilot, who was the aircraft’s sole occupant, called his family and said he would work his way around any thunderstorms, rain and misty conditions he might face.

A search after the plane’s emergency transmitter activated was delayed, because the bad weather made it difficult to get into the densely treed area.

The report says the pilot had flown the route many times and had 2,800 hours of flying time in similar plans.

Investigators did not find any problems or malfunctions with the plane that “would have prevented the aircraft from operating normally during the flight.”

The Transportation Safety Board did not identify the pilot, but RCMP said last year an 84-year-old man from Saskatchewan had been killed in a plane crash Aug. 31.

Crashes in which the pilot has trouble navigating due to bad weather are not uncommon, said the report released Thursday. Some 115 people died in Canada between 2000 and 2019 in a crash due to weather.

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“Pilots need to plan ahead and consider strategies to avoid adverse weather, as well as have alternate plans should such weather be encountered,” the agency said.

“Flights that continue into instrument meteorological conditions often result in a fatal collision with terrain or a loss of control due to lost visual references.”


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2022.


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