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2nd of May 2021

A CL-215-6B11 (Series CL-415) waterbomber was scheduled to be flown on a recurrent training flight on this day in aviation history from Sault Ste. Marie Airport, Ontario, Canada. Onboard a crew of two, in the left seat the captain, who was straining the pilot in the right seat. Prior to the flight, the exercises to be flown were briefed once more after they had been practised by the pilot flying of the training mission, during a simulator session on a CL-415 flight simulator in March 2021.

The aircraft on the runway, with its gear retracted (Source and © TSB Canada)


After take off the flight went as briefed and all exercises were flown and completed successfully after which the aircraft headed back to Sault Ste. Marie Airport. The flight would be concluded with three circuits at Runway 12, where the last circuit would be a flapless approach and full-stop landing. During that final circuit, while the aircraft was approximately halfway the downwind leg, the Pilot Flying (PF) called for Flaps 10. This was a standard call out for a normal landing. The Pilot Monitoring (PM) reminded the PF that they were to perform a flapless landing. The flaps were therefore not selected to Flaps 10. As the PF started the turn for the base leg help called for the "GEAR DOWN LANDING CHECKS" checklist. The PM advised the PF to extend the downwind leg so a longer than normal final approach could be flown.

GEAR DOWN, LANDING CHECKS checklist (Source: CL415 Operational Checklist)


The PF abandoned the turn for the base leg and flew an extended downwind leg as instructed by the PM. The PM did not select the gear down as normal after the call for the "GEAR DOWN LANDING CHECKS" checklist. Instead, he verbally explained to the PF how to calculate the correct approach path for a flapless landing. During this explanation, the PM instructed the PM to start the base turn. There was no call for the "GEAR DOWN LANDING CHECKS" checklist. The aircraft continued on a typical profile for a flapless landing. As the flaps were not down and given the used throttle settings the landing gear aural warning did not sound. After receiving its landing clearance the aircraft touched down on the centerline of Runway 12 with the landing gear retracted. The aircraft came to a stop on its belly with the right-hand wingtip float resting on the runway.

The aircraft on the runway, shortly after the landing (© Dan Gray)

There was significant damage to the aircraft belly and minor damage to both of the wingtip floats. This was the second such incident during a training flight, on the 3rd of April 2009 a similar incident had happened.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigated the landing incident (a limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation) and on the 4th of November 2021, they published their investigation report. (This report is available by clicking here)



Traffic pattern names (Source: http://krepelka.com)


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