Fred Lewis Posted June 27, 2012 Report Share Posted June 27, 2012 While there are several rules and regulations in the Aeronautics Act and the CAR which charge the pilot with the responsibility for the safe operation of his aircraft, nothing can be found that protects the pilot from repercussions should he be resolute in adhering to them. Most helicopter pilots and engineers work without contracts, which makes them at-will employees. Their employers can fire them at any time and no reason for dismissal is required. Some manner of legislation should be in place to protect pilots from fallout resulting from refusal to overload, fly in bad weather or transport impaired passengers. An association of helicopter pilots could operate to help pilots in this regard. Perhaps pilots are naïve about the legal peril they may face for having an accident which results in damage or loss of life if it can be shown that the accident was caused by ignoring the law. For the sake of completeness, some of the rules which pilots are bound to obey are listed. We realize that most if not all pilots are intimately familiar with these rules. From the CAR: Weight and Balance Control 703.37 (1) No person shall operate an aircraft unless, during every phase of the flight, the load restrictions, weight and centre of gravity of the aircraft conform to the limitations specified in the aircraft flight manual. Standard passenger weights do not provide the pilot with an accurate measure of aircraft gross weight. Take-off Weight Limitations 704.46 (1) No person shall conduct a take-off in an aircraft if the weight of the aircraft (a) exceeds the maximum take-off weight specified in the aircraft flight manual for the pressure-altitude and the ambient temperature at the aerodrome where the take-off is to be made; This means density altitude is important. Relative humidity, which is not taken into consideration in most performance charts, can be a significant factor. Fitness of Flight Crew Members 602.02 No operator of an aircraft shall require any person to act as a flight crew member and no person shall act as a flight crew member, if either the person or the operator has any reason to believe, having regard to the circumstances of the particular flight to be undertaken, that the person (a) is suffering or is likely to suffer from fatigue; or ( is otherwise unfit to perform properly the person's duties as a flight crew member. It will be interesting to see how the courts view the effect of working 42 consecutive 14 hour days if fatigue becomes an issue in an accident. Some experts claim this sort of schedule is ludicrous. Aircraft Operating Limitations 602.07 No person shall operate an aircraft unless it is operated in accordance with the operating limitations (a) set out in the aircraft flight manual, where an aircraft flight manual is required by the applicable standards of airworthiness; ( set out in a document other than the aircraft flight manual, where use of that document is authorized pursuant to Part VII; © indicated by markings or placards required pursuant to section 605.05; or (d) prescribed by the competent authority of the state of registry of the aircraft. While the height velocity diagram is not included in the limitations section of a flight manual, the manual cautions the pilot to avoid the shaded area. Again, how will the courts view the liability for damage that results from operation in the shaded area? Perhaps the Cranbrook accident of December 2009 will shed some light on this. VFR Flight Minimum Flight Visibility - Uncontrolled Airspace 703.28 (2) Where a helicopter is operated in day VFR flight within uncontrolled airspace at less than 1,000 feet AGL, a person may, for the purposes of subparagraph 602.115(d)(i), operate the helicopter when flight visibility is less than one mile if the person (a) is authorized to do so in an air operator certificate; and ( complies with the Commercial Air Service Standards. We know the limit for helicopters can be one-half mile and clear of cloud. If it can be shown that an accident occurred because of operation in lesser conditions, there may be repercussions. From the Aeronautics Act: ENFORCEMENT Pilot-in-command may be found liable 8.4 (3) The pilot-in-command of an aircraft may be proceeded against in respect of and found to have committed an offence under this Part in relation to the aircraft for which another person is subject to be proceeded against unless the offence was committed without the consent of the pilot-in-command and, where found to have committed the offence, the pilot-in-command is liable to the penalty provided as punishment therefor. If the owner or the operator contravenes the Aeronautics Act, the pilot may also be held responsible. From the Canadian Criminal Code: CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE 219. (1) Every one is criminally negligent who (a) in doing anything, or ( in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. (2) For the purposes of this section, “duty” means a duty imposed by law. If the pilot contravenes the rules and something bad happens, he may be found criminally negligent. In a civil action, the court may order the pilot to make restitution if he is found responsible. Even if he is dead, his estate may be pursued. 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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