• Carmen Marie Fabio

Pilot error to blame in 2015 St. Lazare ultralight plane crash


YLJ FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Nearly two years after an ultralight plane went down on agricultural terrain as it circled over the St. Lazare airport, the Quebec coroner’s office released its official report on the plane’s occupants, Pierre Brassard, 65, and his wife 66-year-old Ginette Cormier, both from the Ottawa area.

In Dr. Krystyna Pecko’s report issued February 13, the couple left the Gatineau Airport May 14, 2015, in their Seastar SP, a kit plane constructed by Brassard and deemed airworthy by Transport Canada in November, 2011 in accordance with current regulations. A secondary certification was issued in October, 2013.

Arriving over St. Lazare around 12:40 p.m., Brassard visually surveyed the runway to verify availability and wind direction before preparing to land the craft. Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the plane pass at a low altitude and not on the correct side of the runway to execute a proper landing. The craft then reportedly made a sharp turn to the left and, encountering the wind, stalled in midair before plummeting to the ground. Though the craft then burst into flames, it was determined the occupants died upon impact. The witnesses, both pilots, said Brassard’s maneuver was both, “inappropriate and risky.”

In the final analysis, the weather was not deemed to be a factor in the crash. There was nothing to indicate mechanical defects or low fuel as causal factors. Drugs and alcohol were ruled out as were health issues of the pilot.

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