Calgary university voluntarily grounds Tecnam planes after fatal crash

By on March 3, 2017


Mount Royal University says it is voluntarily grounding two planes in its flight training program after a third crashed last month, killing two instructors. (Photo: under_volcano/Flickr)
Mount Royal University says it is voluntarily grounding two planes in its flight training program after a third crashed last month, killing two instructors. (Photo: under_volcano/Flickr)

CALGARY—Mount Royal University says it is voluntarily grounding two planes in its flight training program after a third crashed last month, killing two instructors.

The university says the decision to ground its two remaining Tecnam P2006T aircraft is based on caution, not on any instruction from Transport Canada or the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

It says students will continue to learn on the school’s five single-engine Cessna 172 aircraft.

One or two twin-engine planes will be leased as part of the next phase of operations and the school says it’s exploring options for students to get required twin-engine training through other reputable flying schools.

Pilot instructors Jeff Bird, 35, and Reyn Johnson, 64, died when the Tecnam aircraft crashed northwest of Calgary on Feb. 13.

The TSB has said the plane did not break up in the air, but its major parts were destroyed in the crash and the resulting fire.

The plane wasn’t carrying a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder, but it wasn’t required to.

“We have made the decision to voluntarily ground our planes: this is our decision alone,” said Leon Cygman, chair of Mount Royal University’s Aviation program.

“We are acting with caution until all the reviews are complete, including our own internal review and the findings of the TSB investigation.”

Instructors resumed flights last week and the 66 students registered in the aviation program returned to the cockpit this week.

The annual wings ceremony is still planned for April 29, in which students celebrate the achievements of the last year.