Decisions

CAT File No. A-1235-33
MoT File No. 6504-P-423437-27568

CIVIL AVIATION TRIBUNAL

BETWEEN:

Minister of Transport, Applicant

- and -

Donald Curlene Mews, Respondent

LEGISLATION:
Aeronautics Act, S.C., c. A-2, s.7.7
Air Regulations, C.R.C. 1978, c. 2, s. 210(1)(a)

Overweight Aircraft, Certificate Of Airworthiness


Review Determination
Philip D. Jardim


Decision: November 1, 1996

Donald Curlene Mews did contravene paragraph 210(1)(a) of the Air Regulations. The monetary penalty of $250.00, made payable to the Receiver General for Canada, must be paid to the tribunal on or before fifteen days following the service of this determination.

The Review Hearing on the above matter was held Tuesday, October 29, 1996 at 10:00 hours at the Aurora Hotel in the city of Goose Bay, Labrador.

BACKGROUND

On October 26, 1995, a Cessna 172 bearing registration marks CF-YJZ flown by Donald Mews took off from Goose Bay for Davis Inlet, Labrador. As a result of a complaint, by one Jim Hudson of Northern Lights Air Service, the aircraft was apparently summoned back to Goose Bay by Air Traffic Control. It landed after a flight of about twelve minutes. The R.C.M.P. had been summoned and was awaiting Mr. Mews on his return. The contents of the aircraft were weighed on a digital scale, and the aircraft was found to have been overloaded by 63 pounds. Transport Canada proceeded against Mr. Mews by way of a monetary penalty of $250.00 for contravening paragraph 210(1)(a) of the Air Regulations, thereby invalidating the Certificate of Airworthiness of the aircraft.

THE LAW

Paragraph 210(1)(a) of the Air Regulations states as follows:

210. (1) No person shall fly or attempt to fly an aircraft, other than a hang glider or an ultra-light aeroplane, unless there is in force in respect of that aircraft

(a) a certificate of airworthiness issued under this Part or under the laws of the country in which the aircraft is registered

THE EVIDENCE

Mr. George Riopka, Regional Director, Civil Aviation Enforcement, T.C. in Moncton, testified that the document holder had telephoned him, some 40 minutes before the hearing was due to commence that morning, to say that:

a) There was bad weather at Davis Inlet which precluded him from appearing.

b) He had no objection to the hearing proceeding in his absence.

c) His main purpose in seeking a hearing was to identify who had made the complaint against him.

d) He did not know it at the time, but he now knows that his aircraft was overloaded on October 26, 1995. However, he had not knowingly done so.

e) He admits that he was wrong and said that he intended to pay the fine at the conclusion of this hearing.

Constable Guy Dimitroff, R.C.M.P., testified that on October 26, 1995 he was sent to Goose Bay Airport to investigate Donald Mews overloading his aircraft as a result of a complaint by Jim Hudson of Northern Lights Air Service.

Constable Dimitroff inspected the aircraft documentation, and had the contents of the aircraft weighed on a digital scale (which had been calibrated) at the Labrador Air Services Hangar. Photographs of the load were also taken (Exhibit M-4). He received full cooperation from Mr. Mews. Constable Dimitroff liaised with Transport Canada in Moncton on the telephone; they did calculations and determined that the aircraft was overloaded by 63 pounds on its departure from Goose Bay (Exhibit M-7).

DETERMINATION

The evidence is clear. Mr. Mews' admission of guilt to Mr. Riopka, who reported to the hearing under oath, leave no doubt that the transgression did take place as alleged by the Minister.

Had Mr. Mews made an appearance today at this hearing, I suspect that he may have been able to make out a case of "due dilligence" in that, while he did not weigh the cargo on a digital scale, he may have used other less accurate means to determine the weight of his cargo. Sixty-three pounds can fall within the envelope of an estimation error. Further, I suspect that this incident arose because of a grudge held against Mr. Mews by the complainant. However, because Mr. Mews did not appear, I am bound by subparagraph 7.9(3)(b)(i) of the Aeronautics Act. He has admitted to Mr. Riopka that his aircraft was overloaded. I therefore have no alternative but to determine that:

Donald Curlene Mews did contravene paragraph 210(1)(a) of the Air Regulations.

Philip D. Jardim
Member
Civil Aviation Tribunal