Vol. 150, No. 21 — May 21, 2016

Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts I, VI and VII — Seaplane Operations)

Statutory authority

Aeronautics Act

Sponsoring department

Department of Transport

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Issues

In seaplane accidents on or over water, occupants (i.e. passengers and pilots) may not have enough time to locate and put on a flotation device, or may overlook doing so before leaving the sinking seaplane. Currently, the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) require that a personal flotation device be provided for each person on board the aircraft (e.g. it can be under the seats), but it is not mandatory for each person to wear that device throughout the flight.

Commercial seaplane pilots are not currently required to take underwater egress training (i.e. how to exit the plane underwater). Pilots who do not undergo underwater egress training are at greater risk of not escaping a submerged aircraft and/or not being able to help passengers to escape.

Background

The Canadian commercial seaplane industry comprises approximately 188 active operators across the country, 80% to 90% of which are considered small businesses. These businesses take passengers to fishing or hunting camps, conduct seaplane tours and transport passengers or goods to remote locations. The larger seaplane operations are found in the province of British Columbia, where they generally transport passengers and goods to and from cities, towns and villages or operate seaplane tours. There are seaplane operations in eight provinces and the three territories. Most operations are seasonal, but many businesses operate year-round.

On November 29, 2009, a fatal accident of a de Havilland DHC-2 (Beaver) occurred at Lyall Harbour, Saturna Island, in British Columbia, when the aircraft collided with the water. The pilot and one passenger survived with serious injuries. The other six occupants drowned inside the aircraft.

Following the accident, Transport Canada (TC) launched a seaplane/floatplane safety promotion and education activity. In July 2010, Seaplane/Floatplane — A Passenger’s Guide was published (http://www.tc.gc.ca/Publications/en/tp12365/pdf/hr/tp12365e.pdf).

On March 17, 2011, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released its Accident Investigation Report (A09P0397) to the public, and made two recommendations:

The industry is regulated by the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), which apply to all seaplane operations. All are subject to the specific rule set out in Part VI, General Operating and Flight Rules, which stipulates that a flotation device must be carried for each person on board.

Operators are also subject to additional rules depending on the nature of their operations, whether a private operation (subject to subpart 604 of the Regulations), an air taxi operation (subject to subpart 703, Air Taxi Operation [with 9 passengers or fewer]) or a commuter operation (subject to subpart 704, Commuter Operations [with 10 to 19 passengers]). Training program requirements are set out in subpart 703 for air taxi operations and in subpart 704 for commuter operations.

Objectives

The objective of the proposed Regulations, drafted in response to recommendations made by the TSB, is to enhance the level of safety in seaplane operations in Canada in order to increase the survival rates for commercial seaplane occupants in cases of a seaplane impact with water.

Description

The proposed Regulations would

Consultation

A focus group, formed of representatives from the seaplane industry (those involved in floatplane operations and the associations that represent them), aircraft manufacturers, and Transport Canada inspectors, discussed the TSB recommendations from August 22, 2011, to August 25, 2011. The purpose of the focus group was to determine the best mitigation strategy to improve levels of safety for commercial seaplane operations in an effective and sustainable way.

The focus group determined that mandating the constant wearing of a flotation device was acceptable, and would enhance safety, but deemed the TSB recommendation of requiring that all new and existing commercial seaplanes be fitted with regular and emergency exits not presently viable. Instead, the focus group recommended that commercial seaplane pilots be required to undergo specific training to facilitate their egress after an accident occurs, to further mitigate the risk associated with exiting a seaplane following an accident. The lack of mandatory underwater egress training was a finding documented in the TSB’s investigation report.

On August 15, 2014, a Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) was made available to all members of the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council (CARAC) for consultation. The NPA was sent by email to approximately 525 stakeholders that, within a four-week period, provided comments. Sixty-two comments were received from seaplane operators (which include small businesses), seaplane pilots, seaplane passengers, underwater egress training providers, air operator associations, private pilot associations and a passenger briefing card provider. Comments pertained to the mandatory wearing of flotation devices and to mandatory egress training.

Fifty-nine stakeholders submitted comments on the mandatory wearing of flotation devices: fifty-four were opposed, four were in support (three operators and one provincial association), and one suggested that the proposed rule applying to commercial seaplane operations be extended to private operations.

The opposed stakeholders expressed concerns relating to safety and human factors as well as concerns pertaining to the durability and maintenance of the flotation devices. The lack of availability of aviation-related flotation devices was also underscored by some stakeholders.

Most pilots felt that inadvertent deployment of the devices prior to exiting a sinking seaplane is a significant safety risk. Transport Canada is of the opinion that although there have been incidents where passengers have inflated their flotation devices before getting out of the aeroplane, the possible occurrences of this happening can be addressed by focused briefings before flight. Many seaplanes have marginal space in the rear cabin area, which greatly restricts effective donning of a flotation device after an accident. The combination of confusion, shock and the urgency to get out of the aircraft makes it unlikely that the passengers will retrieve and don their flotation device, especially when the aircraft is sinking. TC maintains that passengers forgetting their flotation devices on board in the rush to escape a sinking aircraft represents a greater safety issue, and that mandating the constant wear of flotation devices is the best option for mitigating the risk of drowning outside of the seaplane after an incident or accident.

Many pilots opined that the flotation devices are not durable enough for constant wear. TC is of the opinion that newer models of flotation devices address concerns of durability and maintenance. Newer models remain in a pouch attached at the waist of the passenger. Other models of approved flotation devices are available with nylon covers to protect the devices. In addition, a quick visual inspection by the air operator between flights will normally reveal any damage or tampering. The durable models of flotation devices that are proposed to be worn repeatedly and constantly by passengers while on or over water are currently available.

Twenty-four stakeholders submitted comments on the mandatory egress training. Eighteen stakeholders were in support (six individual pilots, five air operators, five regional/provincial associations, and two egress training companies). Two companies indicated that they already provide this training to their pilots. Two air operators were against the proposed Regulations. The remaining four stakeholders were partially supportive, citing concerns over the commuting costs associated with and the availability of egress training for remote or northern companies. Private pilots also proposed that a new focus group be established to review the design and use of underwater egress trainers, rather than making egress training mandatory.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply, because the costs are close to $1 million annually on a national scale, and small businesses are not disproportionately impacted. Small businesses were consulted on the proposed Regulations. It is anticipated that the proposed Regulations would come into force one year after their final publication in order to give all businesses time to comply with the requirements.

Rationale

Canada is the only country that proposes to mandate the constant wear of flotation devices. However, Canada has the highest volume of seaplane operations in the world. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not mandate the use of personal flotation devices over water in general, but does for air tour operators (commercial passenger operations) in the State of Hawaii, using special operating rules. In addition, the FAA has developed guidance material for Part 91 (General Operating Rules) of the Federal Aviation Regulations and suggests that operators consider establishing a policy whereby all occupants wear an inflatable personal flotation device anytime the seaplane operates on or near water.

Costs: The overall cost impact associated with the proposed Regulations is estimated to be $5,802,717 Present Value (PV) over 10 years, or $826,176 annualized. TC anticipates the costs associated with the flotation device requirement to be $4,294,913 PV over 10 years, or $611,499 annualized. The cost to operators associated with the egress training for pilots is estimated at $1,507,804 PV over a 10-year period, or $214,677 annualized.

For the purposes of this analysis, it was assumed that 100% of current seaplane operators would be required to equip themselves with new models of flotation devices that are more practical and durable for constant wear. It is a conservative estimate since TC does not know how many operators will make do with their current flotation devices before replacing them. With inflation and a discount rate of 7% and a cost of $140 per new flotation device for each of the possible 5 535 passengers and crew in the Canadian commercial seaplane fleet (716 seaplanes), the cost to the operators is estimated at $4,294,913 PV over 10 years. The estimate accounts for 2.5 times the required flotation devices amounts to 13 838 units due to the fact that they may need to be rotated out of service for inspection and repair. The current estimate for a flotation device that is appropriate to be worn constantly is $85, but possible upgrades that would include a washable cover bring the estimate up to $140 per unit. The current flotation devices have about a 10-year life cycle, but the constant wear devices may have a 3-year life cycle; TC therefore estimates the total replacement of each unit every 3 years. The current annual maintenance costs of the flotation devices are estimated to be $39,500 for all of the 5 535 flotation devices; therefore, the change in cost due to the proposed Regulations is estimated to be an additional $59,250 annually for all of the 13 838 units. It is also estimated that for one large seaplane operation in Canada, two full time employees will be hired to manage the flotation devices.

The total population of pilots in the Canadian fleet is estimated at 716 pilots plus 25% for alternate pilots. Initial training is estimated for all pilots in the first year. Recurrent training would be every three years for the total pilot population, minus those lost to turnover. It is assumed that 12.5% of the total pilot population would have to be trained after the first year and again after the second year, with 25% to be trained after five years due to turnover. The estimated cost of the training is $400 per individual plus $100 in travel expenses, assuming the training would be made available within a reasonable distance from the operation. The initial training and recurrent training cost is estimated at $1,507,804 PV over 10 years.

Benefits: The benefits associated with the proposed Regulations are increases in the level of safety in seaplane operations in Canada. Pilots and passengers benefit, from a safety perspective, by the increased probability of evacuation of the aircraft under water, as a result of required training for pilots, as well as by the decreased probability of passengers who have evacuated the seaplane drowning.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

Inspectors will ensure compliance (constant wear of lifejackets and observation of training schedule) while carrying out their current compliance and enforcement plan. It is proposed that the proposed Regulations come into force 12 months after the day on which they are published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

These proposed amendments will be enforced through the assessment of administrative monetary penalties imposed under sections 7.6 to 8.2 of the Aeronautics Act, which carry a maximum fine of $3,000 for individuals and $15,000 for corporations; through suspension or cancellation of a Canadian aviation document; or through judicial action introduced by way of summary conviction, as per section 7.3 of the Aeronautics Act.

Contact

Chief
Regulatory Affairs
Civil Aviation
Safety and Security, AARBH
Transport Canada
Place de Ville, Tower C
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5
Telephone: 613-993-7284 or 1-800-305-2059
Fax: 613-990-1198
Web site: www.tc.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to section 4.9 (see footnote a) and paragraphs 7.6(1)(a) (see footnote b) and (b) (see footnote c) of the Aeronatics Act (see footnote d), proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts I, VI and VII — Seaplane Operations).

Interested persons may make representations to the Minister of Transport concerning the proposed Regulations within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to the Chief, Regulatory Affairs (AARBH), Civil Aviation, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport, Place de Ville, Tower C, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5 (general inquiries — tel.: 613-993-7284 or 1-800-305-2059; fax: 613-990-1198; Internet address: http://www.tc.gc.ca).

Ottawa, May 12, 2016

Jurica Čapkun
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts I, VI and VII — Seaplane Operations)

Amendments

1 (1) The definition personal flotation device in subsection 101.01(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (see footnote 1) is repealed.

(2) Subsection 101.01(1) of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:

seaplane means an aeroplane that is capable of normal operations on water; (hydravion)

2 Subpart 3 of Part VII of Schedule II to Subpart 3 of Part I of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after the reference “Section 703.82”:

Column I

Column II

Maximum Amount of Penalty ($)

Designated Provision

Individual

Corporation

Subsection 703.83(1)

1,000

3,000

Subsection 703.83(2)

1,000

 

3 Subpart 4 of Part VII of Schedule II to Subpart 3 of Part I of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after the reference “Section 704.84”:

Column I

Column II

Maximum Amount of Penalty ($)

Designated Provision

Individual

Corporation

Subsection 704.85(1)

1,000

3,000

Subsection 704.85(2)

1,000

 

4 Paragraph 602.59(2)(b) of the Regulations is repealed.

5 The reference “[703.83 to 703.85 reserved]” after section 703.82 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Flotation Devices

703.83 (1) Subject to subsection (4), the air operator of a seaplane shall have, in its company operations manual, procedures to ensure that each crew member and passenger wears an inflatable life preserver, an inflatable individual flotation device or an inflatable personal flotation device before boarding the seaplane and continues to do so when the seaplane is operated on or above water.

(2) Subject to subsection (4), the pilot-in-command of a seaplane shall give an instruction to each crew member and passenger to wear an inflatable life preserver, an inflatable individual flotation device or an inflatable personal flotation device before boarding the seaplane and to continue to do so when the seaplane is operated on or above water.

(3) For the purposes of this section, a person is wearing an inflatable life preserver, an inflatable individual flotation device or an inflatable personal flotation device if it

(4) This section does not apply in respect of a person who is carried on a stretcher or in an incubator or other similar device.

[703.84 and 703.85 reserved]

6 Subsection 703.98(2) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “and” at the end of paragraph (c) and by adding the following after paragraph (c):

7 The reference “[704.85 to 704.105 reserved]” after section 704.84 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Flotation Devices

704.85 (1) Subject to subsection (4), the air operator of a seaplane shall have, in its company operations manual, procedures to ensure that each crew member and passenger wears an inflatable life preserver, an inflatable individual flotation device or an inflatable personal flotation device before boarding the seaplane and continues to do so when the seaplane is operated on or above water.

(2) Subject to subsection (4), the pilot-in-command of a seaplane shall give an instruction to each crew member and passenger to wear an inflatable life preserver, an inflatable individual flotation device or an inflatable personal flotation device before boarding the seaplane and to continue to do so when the seaplane is operated on or above water.

(3) For the purposes of this section, a person is wearing an inflatable life preserver, an inflatable individual flotation device or an inflatable personal flotation device if it

(4) This section does not apply in respect of a person who is carried on a stretcher or in an incubator or other similar device.

[704.86 to 704.105 reserved]

8 Subsection 704.115(2) of the Regulations is amended by adding the following after paragraph (a):

Coming into Force

9 These Regulations come into force on the first anniversary of the day on which they are published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

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