Air transportation safety investigation A20W0072

Updated in November 2020 : This investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Collision with terrain

Amateur-built Harmon Rocket II
Near Thorsby, Alberta

The occurrence

On , a two-seat, amateur-built Harmon Rocket II aircraft, with 2 occupants onboard, was conducting a low level flight when it struck power lines and then struck the ground near Thorsby, Alberta. The 2 occupants were fatally injured. There was a post-impact fire and the aircraft was destroyed. The TSB is investigating.


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence




Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Gerrit B. Vermeer

Gerrit B. Vermeer started his professional aviation career by joining the Mission Aviation Fellowship and moving to Southern Africa. During his time there, he served as a line pilot and acted as chief pilot and operations manager. Upon returning to Canada, Mr. Vermeer flew for a charter operator out of the Edmonton International Airport, serving the oil and gas industry. In 2008, he joined Transport Canada and, for five and a half years, worked as an inspector in the Enforcement Branch. He then transferred to the Operations department of the Prairie and Northern Region and, for the next year, served as a principle operations inspector for a number of northern operators.

Mr. Vermeer has a Bachelor’s degree in Mission Aviation Technology and currently holds a fixed wing airline transport pilot licence with approximately 6400 hours of flight time. He also holds a Canadian aircraft maintenance engineer license, as well as an airframe and powerplant technician license issued by the USA's Federal Aviation Administration.


Class of investigation

This occurrence is still being assessed. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB 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.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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