Decisions

CAT File No. C-1984-33
MoT File No. RAP5504-040754 (P)

CIVIL AVIATION TRIBUNAL

BETWEEN:

Minister of Transport, Applicant

- and -

Marty Jay Blythman, Respondent

LEGISLATION:
Aeronautics Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. A-2, s. 7.7
Canadian Aviation Regulations, SOR/96-433, s. 602.86(1)(b), s. 605.22(1)

Seat belts, Unrestrained cargo, Helicopter, Evidence


Review Determination
William Thornton Tweed


Decision: June 22, 2000

Based on the evidence provided, I find that Marty Jay Blythman did operate a Hughes 369D in contravention of paragraph 602.86(1)(b) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations. I confirm the Minister's assessment of a $250 fine for this offence. As to Count 2, I find that on the balance of probabilities and based on the evidence provided the document holder did not operate an aircraft in violation of subsection 605.22(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations. The Minister's allegation in Count 2 is dismissed.

The amount of $250, payable to the Receiver General for Canada, must be received by the Tribunal within 15 days of service of this determination.

A Review Hearing on the above matter was held Wednesday, May 10, 2000 at 10:00 hours at the Federal Court of Canada in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Marty Jay Blythman, the document holder, was served with a Notice of Hearing on March 23, 2000 in compliance with the requirements set out in the Aeronautics Act.

At 10:00 a.m., on May 10, 2000, the Minister was present and ready to present his case. The document holder was not present. I adjourned the hearing until 10:15 when the hearing was reconvened. Mr. Blythman was still not present. The hearing proceeded in his absence with the Minister presenting his case. The circumstances leading to these proceedings occurred on August 10, 1999 when two aviation enforcement officers observed the operation of a Hughes Helicopter 369D registered C-GJMP in the vicinity of Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan at approximately 2:00 p.m. local time. Marty Jay Blythman was identified as the pilot-in-command of the helicopter. The inspectors both observed that cargo located in the helicopter was not restrained and the photos taken at the time and filed as exhibits in this matter confirmed this observation.

Inspectors also allege that the passenger who sat in the middle front seat of the helicopter had a seat belt but did not have a seat. The corroborating evidence does not support this observation. The equipment list for C-GJMP filed as an exhibit in this matter confirms the installation of a centre forward seat. The photos filed as an exhibit, in particular Minister's Exhibit M-7 photograph "F", clearly show the presence of a seat structure between the pilot and the co-pilot seat. What appears to be missing is the cushion. In the absence of evidence to prove that the cushion is an integral part of the seat, I am not prepared to find that the centre seat passenger was not in a seat.

Inspector Holbrook also observed that the front centre seat belts were attached to the same hard points as the pilot and co-pilot seat belts. In the absence of proof that the installation was not consistent with the manufacturer's specification, I am not prepared to find that the seat belt installed in the helicopter at the relevant time did not meet the requirements as set out in the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

I therefore confirm the Minister's finding and assessment on Count 1 and dismiss the finding on Count 2.

William T. Tweed
Member
Civil Aviation Tribunal