Wipaire has announced that it will soon offer a modification for the Cessna 206 Stationair that will resolve long-standing emergency egress issues. The 206 has double clamshell cargo doors with the latch positioned on the forward door. With flaps deployed, opening the forward door is hampered, which in turn makes opening the rear door to allow for emergency exit by rear seat passengers difficult. In 2019 Transport Canada issued an AD in 2020 to address this issue, which has resulted in at least eight deaths in 30 years. The FAA has not issued a similar AD.
Wipaire’s solution is an alternative to that laid out in the Transport Canada AD, which is to remove the middle rear seat allowing passengers in that area to more easily exit through the front doors. This modification will allow passengers to open the rear cargo door with flaps deployed and will also have an optional exterior latch that will allow rescuers to more easily open the door from the outside.
At time of publication the modification is still in the approval process, but Wipaire has indicated it is working with Transport Canada and FAA on the engineering of the modification.