The heart-stopping ride for 83 passengers aboard Air Canada flight 190 from Victoria to Toronto Jan. 10 has raised questions about why the Airbus A319 pitched and yawed, throwing objects flying and injuring 10 people. The plane made an emergency landing in Calgary. There are many resources reporters can turn to to find background and information to advance their stories.
A good place to start looking for this and similar incidents is Transport Canada’s online CADORS database, which we discussed in an earlier post. You can search by location, type of aircraft, type of incident and so on.
The initial report in CADORS Jan. 10 said the pilots told air traffic controllers they were having trouble controlling the plane. The CADORS report said the event could have been caused by a problem with the flight management system computers or by turbulence. In a “fly-by-wire” system such as on the A319, computers control the plane based on inputs from the pilots.
The CADORS report is reproduced below, at the end of this post.
Meantime, the U.S. service difficulty reporting database is a good place to search for reported in-flight problems with the same model. You can search right down to specific parts, including flight management computers. The FAA system includes Canadian reports as well as U.S. ones. The raw data can be downloaded at this site.
The Professional Pilots Rumour Network, Pprune.org, is a discussion board frequented by commercial pilots and others, and its Rumours and News forum features an ever-lengthening discussion of this incident. This is a good place to pick up insider opinions, although the participants tend to be reluctant to talk to journalists directly.
The AvCanada.ca site also has a general forum that was generating discussion.
This is what the Jan 10 CADORS report said:
“ACA 190, an A319 with 88 people on board, was en route from Victoria to Toronto when the crew advised ATC of an aircraft upset that resulted in the aircraft doing a roll. The flight was in the vicinity of ONSET intersection (Washington state) about 65 NM southwest of Cranbrook when the crew informed Seattle Center that they were having difficulty controlling the aircraft. It is not known at this point if there was a flight management system problem or whether this event was related to turbulence. Vancouver ACC accepted control of the aircraft at 1450z. The crew declared an emergency, requested diversion to Calgary International Airport and requested medical assistance upon arrival.
“ACA 190 landed about 30 minutes later at 1529z and stopped on Runway 34 for visual inspection of the aircraft by airport emergency response personnel. The crew then taxied off the runway at 1533z. It was reported that there are some passengers with serious injuries. Medical assistance was on standby upon arrival. TSB Edmonton has sent two investigators to YYC.”