Aviation Investigation A15F0165

Turbulence

The occurrence

On 30 December 2015, an Air Canada Boeing 777 was operating as flight ACA088 from Shanghai/Pudong, China (ZSPD) to Toronto/Lester B. Pearson, Ontario (CYYZ). The aircraft encountered severe turbulence approximately 85 nautical miles ENE of Anchorage, Alaska. During the encounter, 21 passengers sustained various injuries. ACA088 diverted to Calgary, Alberta (CYYC) and landed approximately 2.75 hours later. Damage to the aircraft was limited to interior furnishings and a clamp associated with the air conditioning pack.

Map of the area

Investigator-in-Charge

Photo of Jon Lee

Jonathan (Jon) Lee is the Western Regional Manager for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) in Edmonton, Alberta. He has been an aircraft investigator for 13 years, and has been managing the office for 8 of those years. He has been investigator-in-charge or deputy investigator-in-charge on 50 Class 2 or Class 3 investigations. Mr. Lee has also participated in foreign investigations that involve Canadian aerospace products. Working with the National Transportation Safety Board (United States), the Aviation Safety Council (Taiwan), Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (Korea), and the Aviation Accident Investigation Board (Mongolia) has made Mr. Lee appreciate the importance of the TSB's role in global aviation.

Before working in accident investigation, Mr. Lee gained industry experience as a pilot in operations ranging from regional airlines and transcontinental cargo to medevac and flight instruction. He has flown over 35 types of aircraft and has accumulated 6500 flight hours. He maintains a valid and current airline transport pilot license.

Transportation Safety Board investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation:

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.


Media

News release
 
2017-02-20

TSB reminds aircraft passengers to buckle up after 21 people injured during a severe turbulence encounter in December 2015
Read the news release

Video
 
2017-02-20

Fasten your seatbelt
This short video describes the occurrence and depicts, in a generic aircraft, what effects the forces associated with severe turbulence would have on passengers who are not wearing seat belts.

Deployment notices
 
2015-12-30

TSB deploys a team of investigators to the Calgary International Airport concerning the emergency landing of an Air Canada flight
Read the deployment notice