Harper government takes action to enhance air safety
OTTAWA, July 4, 2012 /CNW/ – The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of
Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced new
regulations to improve aviation safety in Canada. The new regulations
require private turbine-powered and commercial airplanes with six or
more passenger seats to be equipped with an alert system known as the
“terrain awareness and warning system” (TAWS).
“While Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world, we
are committed to the continuous improvement of aviation safety,” said
Minister Lebel. “Terrain awareness and warning systems will help save
The system provides acoustic and visual alerts to flight crews when the
path of their aircraft is likely to collide with terrain, water or
obstacles — a situation that can happen when visibility is low or the
weather is poor. This gives the flight crew enough time to take evasive
The new regulations will also significantly increase safety for small
aircraft, which fly into remote wilderness or mountainous areas where
the danger of flying into terrain is highest.
Under the new regulations, operators will have two years to equip their
airplanes with TAWS.
The regulations comply with the International Civil Aviation
Organization’s standards and bring Canadian regulations closer to those
of other aviation authorities, including the United States and European
Union. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board also recommends the wider
use of TAWS to help pilots assess their proximity to terrain.
TERRAIN AWARENESS AND WARNING SYSTEMS
Terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) provide acoustic and visual
alerts to flight crews when the path of their aircraft is predicted to
collide with terrain, water or obstacles. This gives the crew
sufficient time to take evasive action.
Airplane collisions with ground, water or obstacles, called “controlled
flights into terrain,” often result in fatalities. The new regulations
will significantly reduce the risk of such collisions.
In October 2011, Minister Lebel approved the proposed regulations and
recommended them to the Treasury Board. The amendments require TAWS to
be installed in private turbine-powered and commercial airplanes with
six or more passenger seats to prevent controlled flights into terrain.
The new regulations will replace the current regulatory requirement for
a ground proximity warning system (GPWS) under section 605.37 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations. In comparison to GPWS, TAWS gives the flight crew much earlier
acoustic and visual warnings of a collision, and does so under
conditions where GPWS cannot.
The regulatory amendments require TAWS to be installed with an enhanced
altitude accuracy function. TAWS requires precise altitude information
to work properly in all climates. Without the enhanced altitude
accuracy function, TAWS may give altitude readings that are incorrect
by up to 500 feet because of factors such as air pressure and frigid
Most Canadian operators that fly passenger airplanes internationally
have already equipped their fleets with TAWS. It is estimated that the
new regulations will save approximately $215 million over a 10-year
period by preventing these types of accidents.
SOURCE Transport Canada