Foreign Report: TSB Canada, Accident, involving an ATR 42-320 aircraft, registration C-GWEA at Fond-Du-Lac, Saskatchewan, Canada, 13 Dec 2017.


The aircraft was on the ground at Fond-du-Lac Airport for approximately 48 minutes. The next flight was destined for Stony Rapids Airport (CYSF), Saskatchewan, with 3 crew members (2 pilots and 1 flight attendant) and 22 passengers on board. Although there was no observable precipitation or fog while the aircraft was on the ground, weather conditions were conducive to ice or frost formation. This, combined with the residual mixed ice on the aircraft, which acted as nucleation sites that allowed the formation of ice crystals, resulted in the formation of additional ice or frost on the aircraft’s critical surfaces. Company departures from remote airports, such as Fond-du-Lac, with some amount of surface contamination on the aircraft’s critical surfaces had become common practice, in part due to the inadequacy of de-icing equipment or services at these locations. The past success of these adaptations resulted in this unsafe practice becoming normalized and this normalization influenced the flight crew’s decision to depart.

While not involved in this Investigation, the AAIU considers that this report by The Transportation Safety Board of Canada highlights several factors which the aviation community can use to improve safety during winter operations.

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Occurrence Date: December 23, 2017
Report Date: November 23, 2021
Foreign Investigation Authority:
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