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Pilot error in stunt practice led to two deaths, report finds

Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigators look over one of two planes that collided in mid-air in Mission, B.C., on Feb. 10, 2011.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

A Transportation Safety Board report says a series of missteps during a formation-flying routine over B.C.'s Fraser Valley led to two deaths in February 2011.

The report says four small planes were practising the high-risk routine, and when the newest member of the team attempted to rejoin the formation he set off a mid-air collision.

The lead plane broke up in mid-air and crashed into a shallow slough, killing the 61-year-old pilot and his passenger.

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The pilot of the second plane regained control and landed in a farmer's field.

As a result of the crash, Transport Canada has issued a safety bulletin on the hazards of formation flying.

The bulletin stresses pre-flight planning and reminds pilots to ensure they have the skill set to take part in formation flying.

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