Training an issue in chopper crash

 Training an issue in chopper crash

18 February 2008

published by   

Alberta, Canada — A Slave Lake helicopter company allowed a pilot to fly a fatal mission without the proper training, a report into the death of Dave Naar has revealed.

Naar, 35, was killed in a helicopter crash July 4, 2006 near Wabasca while fighting a forest fire.

He crashed his helicopter into the woods while loading a massive water bucket in a nearby lake.

A native of Niagara Falls, Ont.,Naar was working for Slave Lake-based Remote Helicopters at the time of the crash.

Remote had been contracted to fight several forest fires by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

According to its investigation report, the Transportation Safety Board objected to Naar’s mission for several reasons.

Naar was not cleared or trained to fly “external load missions” where water buckets are repeatedly filled and dumped on fires.

In fact, he was only hired to ferry a fire inspector to burn sites – not to sling water buckets.

Naar was also suffering from allergies and had taken the antihistamine Reactine, which can lead to drowsiness and is not recommended for use while operating machinery.

Sustainable Resource spokesman Dave Ealey said Remote failed to properly ensure pilots were only flying missions for which they were qualified.

“They had no system in place to ensure flight crews did not … undertake missions or use equipment for which they were not trained,” he said.

“He (Naar) had taken a quantity of allergy medication that could have affected his ability to stay alert.”

It’s unclear if Naar undertook the water-bucket mission of his own volition or if he was ordered to do so by his superiors.

The report states only that “a request was made for (Naar’s helicopter) to provide water-bucket support.”

It concludes Naar’s crash was due to a lack of experience and training, allergy drugs reducing his abilities as a pilot, and because Remote was delinquent in its pilot monitoring.

The report states Remote has since enacted new procedures to ensure pilots meet all training requirements before deploying on flight missions.

It also states that Remote now keeps detailed records of which missions and aircraft their pilots are qualified to fly.

Naar’s family declined to comment on the report yesterday.

“We’ve moved on,” brother Jim Naar said from his home in Niagara Falls.

A spokesman from Remote did not return calls yesterday.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien