Aviation investigation A11H0002

First Air accident, Resolute Bay, Nunavut, 20 August 2011

The occurrence

On August 20, 2011, First Air Boeing 737-210C combi aircraft was being flown from Yellowknife, NWT to Resolute Bay, NU. During the approach to runway 35T, the aircraft struck a hill about 1 nautical mile east of the midpoint of the Resolute Bay airport runway. There were 4 crewmembers and 11 passengers on board the aircraft. The crewmembers and eight passengers were fatally injured. Three passengers survived the accident and were recovered from the site by Canadian military personnel who were in Resolute Bay for Exercise Operation Nanook. The aircraft was destroyed and there was a post-impact fire.

Data recorders

The aircraft was equipped with two data recorders, a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).

The FDR records parameters such as airspeed, altitude, heading, engine power settings, flight control movement and positions and instrument settings. These parameters help investigators understand how the aircraft was performing in the final minutes of flight.

The CVR records the conversations between the pilots and Air Traffic Control, as well as between the pilots. There is also a cockpit area microphone that records sounds heard in the cockpit as well as any audible warning systems.

Data recorders are vital to helping investigators understand what the aircraft and crew were doing in the final moments of a flight.

Brian MacDonald, Investigator-in-Charge

Brian MacDonald, Investigator-in-Charge

Brian MacDonald has been an investigator with the Air Investigation Branch of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada for 8 years. Prior to that, Mr. MacDonald served in the Canadian Forces as a helicopter pilot for various operational units including Search and Rescue. Mr. MacDonald also spent 7 years as an accident investigator with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He has investigated numerous accidents as Investigator-in-Charge. He has experience investigating a variety of accidents involving numerous aircraft types, up to and including Boeing 747s.

Photos

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Link to the TSB Flickr page

See more high resolution pictures on the TSB Flickr page.

Transportation Safety Board investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation:

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.


Media

Report

Controlled flight into terrain
Bradley Air Services Limited (First Air)
Boeing 737-210C, C-GNWN
Resolute Bay, Nunavut
20 August 2011

Read the report: HTML PDF

Animation
 
2014-03-25

Animation for landing approach of First Air flight 6560 Resolute Bay, Nunavut on 20 August 2011
Watch the animation

Backgrounder

2014-03-25

A11H0002 (Resolute Bay): Recommandation A14-01 - Stabilized approaches
Read the backgrounder

2014-03-25

A11H0002 (Resolute Bay): Crew Resource Management
Read the backgrounder

Investigation update

2012-01-05

First Air Flight 6560, Boeing 737 Accident, 20 August 2011, Resolute Bay (A11H0002)
Read the investigation update

Media advisories
 
2014-03-21

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada will hold a news conference to release its investigation report into the accident involving First Air flight 6560 in Resolute Bay, Nunavut
Read the media advisory

2011-08-22

TSB to Hold a Press Briefing on Investigation into the Crash of First Air Flight 6560
Read the media advisory

2011-08-20

TSB Deploys Team to Investigate Air accident in Resolute Bay, Nunavut
Read the media advisory

News releases
 
2014-03-25

TSB highlights worldwide problem with unstable approaches and calls for improved crew communications following 2011 crash in Resolute Bay, Nunavut
Read the news release

2011-08-21

TSB Aviation Investigation Update: First Air Flight 6560
Read the news release

Safety advisory

2012-02-08

Aviation safety advisory A11H0002-D1-A1: IFR separation in Class D airspace
Read the safety advisory

Safety information

2012-04-12

Aviation safety information A11H0002-D2-L1: Inadequate guidance for FDR maintenance
Read the safety information