13 December, 2018

West Wind Aviation remembers on December 13th, and focuses on continuous safety improvements

Marking a year since the loss of its flight 280 in Fond Du Lac Saskatchewan, West Wind Aviation recognizes those who gave freely of themselves, putting aside their personal wellbeing, to help the survivors of the downed flight. Thanks to the quick response and actions of everyday people, no one perished that night, one, however, would later succumb to his injuries.

"Most importantly, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone affected by ill-fated West Wind flight 280," said West Wind's new Chief Executive Officer, Michael Rodyniuk who took over the company three months ago. "We are especially saddened by the loss of Arson Fern Jr., a passenger who passed away in hospital two weeks after the accident." 

(Photo Transportation Safety Board of Canada)
The ATR-42 airliner lifted off Fond Du Lac airport on the night of December 13, 2017, just after 6PM.  The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is continuing their investigation into what happened next, causing the aircraft to crash just seconds after takeoff. 

West Wind recognized the "heroes" whose efforts it says saved lives.  Among them, Flight Attendant Jenny Tait, the Canadian Rangers, able passengers, family members, the community of Fond Du Lac, a passenger physician who while injured on board the downed aircraft immediately cared for those seriously injured, the Chief and Council of Fond Du Lac First Nation and many more who simply prefer not to be named.

"It is by the grace of God and through the heroic efforts of all those who answered the call to help that prevented further injury and loss of life," declared Rodyniuk. "And while we cannot change the past, we can, and have, made significant changes to prevent a reoccurrence," the CEO stated.

The company points to a new management team, including Rodyniuk, a 30-year aviation management executive as CEO, Candace Czemeres a +35-year aviation veteran as Transwest Air's Chief Operating Officer and Andy Cook, a retired Royal Canadian Air Force Colonel as West Wind Director of Operations among its team of aviation professionals.  The team has added deicing equipment, training, processes and procedures all of which demand 100% compliance by flight and ground crews.  The company has implemented a "zero tolerance" program for contamination on critical flight surfaces, fostering a "clean (of contamination) aircraft policy".  It has submitted and received approval from Transport Canada for improvements to its manuals, processes and training.

"We live and work in an incredibly beautiful part of the world, however, we must vigilantly deal proactively with treacheries of a harsh, unforgiving climate and extremely difficult meteorological conditions associated with our winters," Rodyniuk said. "We have made sweeping improvements to our equipment, infrastructure, processes and Safety Management System (SMS).  This is a very different airline today than it was just 6 months ago."

The airline confirmed enhanced deicing equipment has been delivered to its destinations across the north and training of its personnel accomplished. The equipment is tested and ready for operations daily, confirmed on a morning operation's call. West Wind supports the decision of flight crews to call for deicing at any time, eliminating the likelihood of an aircraft taking off with ice contaminated wings.