Death of Jean Lapierre: the driver took too many risks

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
Natacha Van Themsche, the Office of the transportation safety board of Canada said on Wednesday that the device Mitsubishi MU-2B is posing challenges for drivers.

The aircraft had a “sinuous trajectory” in the approach to the runway. He flew too high, too fast, and ultimately too slowly. In less than ten seconds, everything changed : the device has dived to the right and crashed in a field, resulting in the death of seven people, including a political analyst Jean Lapierre and four members of his family.


A series of maneuvers of the driver led to this tragedy occurred on march 29, 2016, to the Magdalen islands, concludes the Office of the transportation safety board of Canada (TSB).


The pilot took risks and attempted to land the device in spite of a ” non-stabilized “, says the TSB in its report published Wednesday.


This type of difficulty with the approach is relatively common, deplores the chair of the TSB, Kathy Fox. It is estimated that the pilot should abandon the approach and climb on to their device as soon as the conditions for a successful landing are not met.


“We have seen too many of these approaches not stabilized, lead to tragic accidents,” said the chair of the TSB, Wednesday at Montreal.


Decisions disastrous


The report does not mention any “error” of the steering, but nonetheless, the pilot’s decisions that led to the accident, according to the TSB.


The driver, Pascal, Gosselin, and a flight instructor sitting at his side, Fabrice Labourel, were also killed in the crash. Mr. Labourel had come to give a hand to the driver and learn how to maneuver the aircraft — a twin-engine turbopropulsé Mitsubishi MU-2B — for which he was not qualified.


Pascal Gosselin had 2500 hours of flight time, of which 125 hours on an aircraft MU-2B—, and 100 hours under the supervision of a captain. He had flown an MU-2B than 4 hours in the last month, and 20 hours in the last 90 days.


“It is unlikely that the pilot was sufficiently put into practice his skills and flight procedures to ensure its competence as pilot-in-command of an MU-2B in operating single pilot under the conditions of the flight to study “, says the TSB report.

Photo: David Christmas The canadian Press
A series of maneuvers by the driver led to this tragedy occurred on march 29, 2016, to the Magdalen islands, concludes the Office of the transportation safety board of Canada.

The pilot and passenger-pilot had ” conversations on non-essential during the critical stages of flight “, which resulted in an ” increased risk of distraction “. Pascal Gosselin informed constantly the passengers of the flight procedures at a time when he already had a high work load, note the TSB.


During the approach, the pilot made a series of decisions that led to the crash of the plane. He first changed his plan of approach to delay the start of the descent. The aircraft ended up too high and flying too fast compared to the plan of descent.


“The driver has had less time at his disposal to complete his checklists while monitoring the speed, altitude and rate of descent, which has therefore increased its work load,” says the TSB.


The device had a ” sinuous trajectory “, and then slowed to nearly stall speed. The driver then put the throttle to full power, “” low speed and low altitude, which led to the device and caused a steep roll to the right, and the rapid fall of the aircraft “.


“The driver probably wasn’t prepared for this imbalance caused by an application of power. Although he has managed to give wings to the horizontal, the aircraft was flying too low for it to make a recovery before the aircraft struck the terrain, ” the report says.


A challenge for the drivers


“The MU-2B is a high-performance camera, which presents challenges to control, especially at low speed and in particular during application of sudden engine power,” said Natacha Van Themsche, of the TSB.


This model plane has been involved in fourteen accidents, ten of them fatal, between the years 2002 and 2005 in the United States, note by the TSB. The federal aviation Administration of the u.s. has enacted a mandatory training for pilots of the MU-2B training that Pascal Gosselin had followed.


Since then, three other accidents of the MU-2B have occurred in North America, including the one which claimed the lives of Jean Lapierre and four members of his family.


The featured columnist and ex-federal minister travelled to the îles de la Madeleine to attend the funeral of his father. His wife, Nicole Beaulieu, as well as his brothers Marc and Louis and his sister Martine have perished in the accident.


Black box


The TSB points out that a flight recorder to the artisan, which is installed by the driver even if he was not forced, has greatly assisted in the investigation. Pascal Gosselin had modified a smart phone to record conversations and in-flight navigation data.


The coroner Martin Clavet, who has also investigated this accident, recommends to his side of the installation of a “detection system angle of attack” to help the pilots during flights at low speed or stall is imminent, in order to avoid the loss of control of the airplane.” “These accidental deaths were preventable,” concludes the coroner.