Visualizing that 2015 Air Canada crash at YHZ

On March 29, 2015,  Air Canada Flight 624 from Toronto crashed at Stanfield Airport.  Airport officials initially euphemized the incident as a “hard landing”—one that snapped off the nose cone, caused the Airbus 320 to be written off, and sent 25 passengers and crew to hospital. A YouTube channel specializing in flight disaster simulations has recreated the flight’s final minutes:

As they approached the airport with limited visibility in snow, the crew set the autopilot to keep the plane above the “minimum flight path” for the runway. High winds caused the aircraft to descend below this path, but Air Canada training practices, cited by investigators as the main cause of the accident, did not require pilots to monitor this deviation. Making matters worse, airport runway lights were not set to maximum brightness.

When visual cues alerted the flight crew that they were coming in low, they hit the gas and tried to go around. It was too late. The plane belly-flopped 225 meters short of the runway and skidded up onto the runway. [See: synopsis.]

Lots of litigation has ensued. Halifax personal injury lawyer Jamie MacGillivray, together with Wagners Law Firm and BC-based Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman, have joined in a class action suit on behalf of passengers against Air Canada, the two unidentified pilots, the Halifax International Airport Authority, Airbus SAS, Nav Canada, and Transport Canada. Air Canada has cross-claimed against the airport and Nav Can, citing alleged safety lapses on their part. The airline is also suing Airbus, alleging it failed to alert customers to deficiencies in the 320’s autopilot. The Airport is suing Air Canada for cleanup costs.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board issued a 91-page report of its investigation into the crash, together with an animation of its own.