23 June 2016

Nav Canada Consultations Regarding New Approach Proceedures at Ottawa International

By Jane DiRaimo, Community Assistant to Ottawa City Councillor George Darouze, Ward 20, Ottawa

Councillor Darouze has asked me to pass on this important information from NAV CANADA concerning Airspace Improvements at Ottawa International Airport. It is very important to residents living in and around the airport and in our Ward further out with regards to flights taking off and landing at the airport. They are seeking your input and would like to have that by 30 June 2016 or earlier. Please visit their website listed below along with their brief message.

Nav Canada is seeking public input regarding proposed changes to flight paths for aircraft arriving to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.

The proposed flight paths are estimated to save up to two minutes flying time for arrivals while greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions reductions are estimated at 750 metric tonnes each year.

Nav Canada has made information – including maps – on proposed flight path changes available online. Residents are invited to learn about changes and provide feedback using the comment tool available on the website by 30 June 2016.

22 June 2016

CYOW's Noisy News

Report from Noise Management Meeting Macdonald-Cartier International Airport 15 June 2016 by attendee Michael Shaw

Firstly, CYOW does not have a serious noise problem, at least not with airliners.

The Noisy News is that we, General Aviation types, are part of the problem. What! GA is noisy? Well, we are when we don’t follow the Noise Abatement procedures. It seems visiting pilots fail to check the Canada Flight Supplement when arriving and departing CYOW and fail to follow the Noise Abatement Procedures. The local flying schools are doing the job better than in the past.

Of course, that’s not the whole story. It seems the folks living on the departure from runway 04, (apparently several folks on one street) are the main complainers. I know, I know, they knew the airport was there when they moved there, or should have, but that does not stop them from complaining. And it doesn’t mean we or the airport can ignore them. I don’t know what we as pilots can do to safely mitigate their noise perceptions. We are following legal and appropriate departure paths. The airport is concerned too about what looks like a coordinated campaign.

The bottom line is we must at least follow the noise abatement procedures, it’s the law and we want to be part of the solution, not the problem, eh!

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to drop me a line.


17 June 2016

US Presidential Visit NOTAM Coming Soon

By Cpl. Christianne (Chrissie) Lapointe, Operational Coordinator - Protective Policing, RCMP

Here's the 'Coles notes' version of the NOTAM that will be published next week for 29 June 2016:

  • 12 nm radius of Parliament Hill - No operation of aircraft/UAV fro SFC to 18,000 ft
  • 10 nm radius of YOW - No operation of aircraft/UAV fro SFC to 18,000 ft
  • 30nm radius of YOW - No operation of aircraft/UAV fro SFC to 18,000 ft. A phone number will be on the NOTAM for any aircraft wanting to obtain authorization.
  • If you were around when President Obama came in 2009, the parameters are the same. The altitude is higher this time.
  • We do not yet have the times for the NOTAM but are saying 'daylight hours' for now. Once we get the exact times, the NOTAM will be issued.

I would advise your members that authorizations for the day are unlikely.

13 June 2016

Carleton University General Aviation Study: More Participants Needed

From Kathleen Van Benthem PhD, Post doctoral Fellow, ACE​ Lab

Carleton University is looking for at least 15 more participants for its General Aviation Study!

Who can participate?

Participants should meet the following criteria:

  • a pilot or a pilot in training (solo and some cross-country experience)​
  • medically licensed to fly
  • at least 40 years of age, and
  • interested in flying a full-scale Cessna 172 simulator

How long?

Each participant would be asked to come in for two different sessions, each at a maximum of two hours.

When and where?

All sessions will be held at the Carleton University ACE lab, and scheduling is open to the participants​ via ​an easy to use online scheduler​.​

​We are pleased to cover all parking costs while at the university.​

More information

All responses, as well as any further questions can be sent to Carolina.

​ ​

27 May 2016

Fredericton Flying Club 50th Celebration

From the Fredericton Flying Club

The Fredericton Flying Club is having our 50th anniversary celebration and BBQ fly in. It is our intention to hold this event on 18 June 2016 at our new club hangar in the Fredericton Airport General Aviation Area. The times are to be from 1000-1500 hrs.

The event will be "weather permitting", with no rain date.

For more info contact Club President, Manfred Knapp, at 506- 447-2913 or by email.

External links

19 May 2016

General Aviation has finally found its place in Mirabel International Airport

From Mirajet

General Aviation will finally land at Mirabel Airport once and for all.

Marc-André Théorêt, an aircraft owner/pilot, president of Mirajet inc. successfully negotiated with Aéroports de Montreal the right to develop a piece of land directly at the base of the control tower, only steps away from the huge runways of this airport.

The Mirajet Airpark will allow in its first phase, two hangars sizes, with bi-fold doors of 42 and 58 feet wide, all planned to accommodate a wide range of planes from single engine aircraft to corporate twins and small jets.


The new COPA Flight — Coming up next!

By Bernard Gervais, COPA President & CEO

The last COPA Flight in newsprint format. The July issue of COPA Flight will be a full colour magazine format, our first in collaboration with our partner Canadian Aviator Publishing (CAP). Why change? To save a whole lot of money and allocate the membership dues on aviation services, not printing. We are not in the newspaper business and believe it or not, printing on newspaper costs almost double than printing a magazine. When we switched from magazine to newsprint many years ago, it was to save on printing costs of those days. How ironic.

As we move along, this outsourcing deal will leverage CAP's experience of just-in-time aviation news delivery, improving your online experience on the website and complemented by a regular newsletter. Rest assured COPA Flight will be a different publication than the well-respected Canadian Aviator. It will still be the association's magazine and COPA will maintain editorial control and content management. COPA Flight will still be COPA Flight. But in a better, revamped, more pertinent format with perhaps a few surprises once in a while. You will like it as much as we are excited to see these changes. But don't just take my word for it. See you next month in a glossy colour magazine.

16 May 2016

Westport Rideau Lakes Fly-in 2016

By Mike Miles, COPA Flight 56, Westport

This is just a quick reminder that the Westport - Rideau Lakes fly-in is this upcoming weekend, 21 May 2016. The event happens on Saturday from 0800-1300 hrs. Come on down on this upcoming great long weekend flying, have a great breakfast and join the 30 or so planes who plan to be there.

Join us for a great introduction to the summer near the fabulous town of Westport, Ontario. View the planes in the morning and enjoy the Westport in the afternoon. Fun for the whole family.


  • What: Annual Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast
  • Hosted by: The Rideau Lakes Flying Club, COPA Flight 56
  • When: 0800-1300 hrs 21 May 2016
  • Where: Westport ON (CRL2), (N) 43 39 93 (W) 76 23 92
  • Meal: Breakfast served from 0800-1100 hrs for a donation to the club.
  • Runway: 07/25, 3118', grass
  • Comunication: 123.2 MHz
  • More information:

15 May 2016

Ottawa Flying Club Fly Day 2016

The Ottawa Flying Club has announced that they will hold their charity fundraiser Fly Day on Saturday 1 October 2016 and planning is already underway.

This annual event offers light airplane rides to the public in exchange for a donation and uses local pilots who are club members to carry out the flying on a volunteer basis.

To volunteer as a pilot or as ground support staff contact the club.

External links

Ottawa Flying Club's 88th Annual Wings Dinner

From The Ottawa Flying Club

The 2016 Wings Dinner, the Ottawa Flying Club's annual celebration to mark the achievements of our student pilots in achieving their Private, Commercial, Multi, IFR and other ratings, will be held on Friday, 27 May 2016.

The dinner will be held at RCAF Officers' Mess, 158 Gloucester Street, Ottawa.

As well as the awarding of the Wings for those who have achieved their private license since 05 June 2015 to the time of this year's dinner, various licenses and ratings, and other awards, the evening will include a guest speaker Emma Telford, who graduated from the Aviation Management class in the fall of 2011, worked hard as line staff at the Ottawa Flying Club and now flies as Captain with Jazz Airlines.

Cash Bar opens at 18:00 and Supper will be served at 18:30.

Tickets available at Dispatch at the Ottawa Flying Club or reserving by email to Dispatch@ofc.ca or calling 613-523-2142.


  • Students and Instructors $45
  • Members and Guests $50

External links

05 May 2016

Buttonville to stay open another year

Creative Commons licensed photo by Blake Crosby


Buttonville Airport in Toronto will stay open until at least October 31, 2017. Directors of the facility met Wednesday, April 27, and agreed to extend the life of one of the GTA's busiest GA facilities. The airport was slated to close by Oct. 31, 2016, to make way for a massive residential and commercial development.

There's no word on the rationale for the extension but many of the tenants of the airport have moved or announced plans to do so. Transport Canada announced it was closing its offices at Buttonville by the end of June of this year. But meanwhile the facility will remain available.

"All, it is now official," said Buttonville Flying Club President Dave Sprague in an email to members. "Buttonville Airport will stay open until at least Oct. 31, 2017."

03 May 2016

Invitation to a ForeFlight webinar for COPA members

by Angela Anderson, Director of Marketing, Personal Aviation, ForeFlight, LLC

This live webinar (web seminar) event is an advanced, scenario-based course on flying with ForeFlight Mobile. Dominik will focus on VFR features of the app from a Canadian perspective. You will learn how to use the app to its fullest from planning to inflight navigation. Pilots at any level are welcomed, however this course is beyond beginner level and is geared towards pilots who have at least some working knowledge of the app.

Your presenter is Dominik Ochmanek. Dominik is a Transport Canada certified Multi IFR flight instructor, and a graduate of Western University’s Commercial Aviation Management program. He has worked for two of Canada’s major airlines and is now actively instructing in the Greater Toronto Area. Dominik is a member of ForeFlight’s Pilot Support Team specializing in Canadian content.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


  • What: Flying with ForeFlight Mobile Web Seminar
  • When: 1500 hrs CDT, 05 May 2016
  • Where: On the internet!
  • Register here

External links

29 April 2016

Vintage Wings Launches Newsletter

Vintage Wings, the private flying museum located at Gatineau Executive Airport, has launched a new newsletter to improve communications with everyone interested in the goings-on at the museum.

Vintage Wings explained the need for a new newsletter, saying:

This inaugural edition of the Vintage Wings of Canada newsletter, ‘The Roundel’, marks the beginning of a larger effort by Vintage Wings to provide everyone with regular and up to date information. Our intent with this first issue is alert you to important activities around the hangar, including updates on the aircraft, a heads up on upcoming activities, and some information on how you can enhance your experience with us.

The PDF-format newsletter is supplied free and anyone can sign up for notification of the availability of future issues.

External links

22 April 2016

Woodcomp SR-3000 propeller blade looseness

From Transport Canada

In a recent event, an amateur-built Pipistrel Virus SW experienced a severe vibration while cruising at approximately 1600 feet above ground level. The pilot reduced the engine power and the vibration was reduced. The pilot steered the aircraft towards an abandoned aerodrome, shut down the engine and deployed the ballistic parachute. The aircraft descended to the Aerodrome and landed upright on the wheels. The pilot was uninjured. Shortly after the pilot exited the aircraft, the deployed chute was caught by a gust of wind and the aircraft was pulled inverted to where it came to rest.

The examination of the aircraft revealed that one blade of the propeller, manufactured by Woodcomp, model SR3000, had detached. The remaining propeller blade, hub, and blade root of the detached blade were sent to the TSB Laboratory for further analysis.

The TSB Laboratory determined that fatigue cracks, likely assisted by corrosion, had developed in the bosses of both blade roots of the occurrence propeller. In the root boss of the blade that detached, the crack had caused the separation of the blade.

A similar crack was growing in the remaining root boss but did not cause blade separation because a short segment (about 8%) of the boss circumference still remained unbroken. Fatigue cracking was a result of looseness in the blade root (retainer, bearings, hub assemblies).

Corrosion due to moisture penetration accelerated the growth of the fatigue crack. All 3 bearings that were examined (2) pitch bearings and the detached blade rear bearing exhibited distress of the rolling contact surfaces due to moisture penetration. In addition, the inward race of the rear bearings of both blades was made from a softer material, resulting in its significant deterioration.

The propeller, model SR3000, was acquired new with the aircraft kit. By the time of the present occurrence it was in service for about 11 months and accumulated about 235 hours since new.

All owners are reminded that STD 625, Appendix C, paragraph 6, requires the following:

Fixed Pitch and Ground Adjustable Propellers:

(a) Fixed pitch wooden propellers shall be checked for tightness after the first 25 hours of air time following their installation and at each subsequent inspection (amended 2007/12/30);

(b) At intervals of not more than 5 years, the propeller shall be removed from the aircraft and inspected for corrosion or other defects over its entire surface, including the hub faces and the mounting hole bores. While the propeller is removed, it shall also be checked for correct dimensions. However, if defects which require repairs beyond those recommended as field repairs by the propeller manufacturer are found, the propeller shall be repaired by an organization approved for the overhaul of propellers (amended 2007/12/30).

External links

19 April 2016

Book Review - World Directory of Light Aviation

  • World Directory of Light Aviation
  • by Willi Tacke (Publisher), et al
  • Published by Flying-Pages Europe SARL, Flying Pages GmbH
  • 210 X 297 mm, A4 magazine format, perfect binding
  • 282 pages, including an index
  • US$16.99

The World Directory of Light Aviation (WDLA) is more of a magazine format directory than a true book, but if you are shopping for a new aircraft, engine or avionics, or are just interested in what is new in aviation, then, regardless of format, this publication is essential.

The WDLA has been an annual publication for some years now and was originally called the World Directory of Leisure Aviation, but it grew too big and was split into two separate publications, the World Directory of Light Aviation, which covers mostly powered aviation and the World Directory of Free Flight (WDFF), which covers paragliders, paramotors, hang gliders, powered parachutes and other forms of foot-launched and related flight.

The WDLA is published by a large team of writers and researchers working in conjunction with the publisher, Flying Pages Europe. There are four separate editions published in English, French, German and Chinese.

The publication has listings for over 1000 aircraft, a quite remarkable number, illustrating the global scope of the publication. The WDLA is advertiser-supported and the pages feature aviation ads from many of the leading manufacturers. I didn't see any ads from non-aviation advertisers.

The WDLA is divided into a number of chapters, each with their own tab colour for quick flipping:

  • Red tab - Fixed Wings/LSA, edited by Marino Boric, covers European microlights, light-sport aircraft and advanced ultralights
  • Orange tab - Homebuilts, edited by Roy Besswenger and Marino Boric, covers homebuilts including plans-built and kit-builts
  • Mauve tab - Certified aircraft, edited by Dave Unwin and Marino Boric, covers certified production aircraft
  • Light blue tab - UL Motorgliders, edited by Marino Boric, covers ultralight gliders and powered gliders
  • Light blue tab - Certified motorgliders, edited by Xin Gou, covers powered and unpowered gliders
  • Dark purple tab - Gyroplanes, edited by Werner Pfaendler, covers manufactured and kit gyroplanes
  • Light Purple tab - Helicopters, edited by Werner Pfaendler, covers kit and certified helicopters
  • Dark blue tab - Trikes, edited by Dimitri Delemarle, covers hang glider-winged ultralight trikes
  • Green tab - Instruments, edited by Robby Bayerl, covers aircraft instruments of all kinds
  • Periwinkle tab - Motors, covers all the aircraft powerplants available, in table format for quick comparisons, with a special section for electric powerplants
  • Sky blue tab - Suppliers and Services, listing manufacturers of everything for aviation from floats, helmets, propellers, radios, rescue parachutes, wheels and tires, plus a list of importers for each brand. Finally there is an index of manufacturers, aircraft and advertisers

There are introductory articles to the publication overall, describing current trends in aviation, plus also introductions for each aircraft section, with more detail on what is new in the world of LSAs, gyroplanes, helicopters, etc.

The aircraft sections feature five entries per page in a standardized "box" format. Each entry provides a photo, a text description of the aircraft and its manufacturer, its regulatory category, the manufacturer's contact information and website, basic specifications, such as empty weight, gross weight, wing span, fuel tank size, engine, horsepower, seats, maximum speed, cruising speed, stall speed, climb rate, certification and prices. Since this is a European publication, the specifications are in metric. The prices are for the country of origin and thus may be in US dollars, pounds sterling or Euros.

The WDLA is affiliated with and carries the logos of Flying China, Vol Moteur, Flugel das magazin, Powered Sport Flying, The British Microlight Aircraft Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, Paramoteur+ and Parapente+.

New editions of the WDLA and its sister publication, WDFF, come out each year, in updated form. They can be found on the shelves of some Canadian aviation booksellers and magazine stands, but they can also be ordered directly from the publisher's website.

Overall the WDLA is a great publication that will appeal to the the aircraft shopper, but also to anyone who wants to keep up with what is happening in the world of general and recreational aviation. It will also appeal to aviation enthusiasts, both young and older, just the thing to curl up with in a quiet chair on a low-IFR day!

External link

07 April 2016

Museum Gets Vintage Hercules

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum at Rockcliffe, in Ottawa has a new acquisition. On Tuesday 05 April 2016 the RCAF delivered its last remaining Lockheed CC-130E Hercules to the museum.

This "E" model Herc, serial 130307, was in service for 51 years and accumulated more than 30,000 airframe hours before being retired from the fleet. This particular "E" model was last operated by 424 Transport & Rescue Squadron, based at 8 Wing, CFB Trenton. The "E" model was an upgrade to the previous "B" model, with the additional of more fuel in wing-mounted external tanks for more range.

There are still older "E" model Hercs in service elsewhere in the world and the RCAF continues to operate newer "H" and "J" models, so the Hercules has not disappeared from Canadian skies quite yet.

Hercules 307 is now at the museum at Rockcliffe airport and will be soon displayed there for the public to have a look at.

External links

25 March 2016

Book Review - Pem-Air - The Community Airline That Did It All

  • Pem-Air - The Community Airline That Did It All
  • by Del O'Brien, Q.C. Juris D.
  • Published by Burnstown Publishing House, Burnstown, Ontario, 2015
  • 6" X 9" trade paperback
  • 158 pages, including an introduction by Bob Gould and an author's biography
  • $20.00

For 32 years, from 1970 to 2002, Pem-Air flew scheduled and charter flights from its base in Pembroke, Ontario without a death or serious injury, which is quite remarkable. Its safety record alone would put it above most other small Canadian air carriers, but Pem-Air was quite different from the typical small airline. It was a community-building project, started by local Pembroke business men with the aim of bringing economic growth to the small Ottawa Valley town.

The book's author, Del O'Brien, is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Pem-Air. O'Brien is a local Pembroke lawyer who was also the founding chairman of the Pembroke Airport Commission in 1968 and became the founding president of Pem-Air in 1970. He was there from beginning to end of Pem-Air and to some extent this history of the airline is his own personal memoir from the period. He is also a private pilot and aircraft owner and so understands the language of aviation as well as the business and legal sides.

When O'Brien opened his law practice in Pembroke in 1966, the town had no airport and no air service. With the large army base at Petawawa nearby, plus Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Chalk River facility in Deep River, there was no shortage of need for an air service, though. Furthermore the town's attempts to attract businesses to locate there often hinged on air connections and, lacking them, businesses often located elsewhere.

To address the problem, the town first built an airport, with O'Brien leading the venture in securing Bliss Brown's small grass airstrip for development and expansion. That was followed by airline service being initiated by Royal Air of Montreal. Service started in August 1968 with a Douglas DC-3 flying Pembroke to Toronto. Royal Air later applied to the Canadian Transportation Commission to serve the town with a Fokker F-27 turboprop, but the CTC rejected the application, a turn of events the author suggests was due to Air Canada's influence, a recurring villain in this story. Royal Air suspended service and that left the town without air connections again.

AECL indicated that they really needed daily air service to Toronto to maintain their nuclear facility and staff and this encouragement moved O'Brien to start a new airline as a community project. He approached many of the town's leading citizens and sold them each $5,000 shares in the new service, to be called Pem-Air. The new airline initially operated one Beechcraft Model 18, purchased for $20,000 and started service on 1 May 1970.

After a period operating a pair of Beech 18s on scheduled runs to Toronto, plus many charters as well, the airline bought its first DC-3 for $37,000. The operation did well for a time, until the 1973 Yom Kippur War resulted in the Arab employment of the "the oil weapon" and the price of fuel skyrocketed overnight. The economy experienced a recession at the same time, resulting in reduced passenger loads. A major construction project at the Pembroke Airport to expand the space and accommodate the army's requirements for air force Lockheed C-130 Hercules support for its airborne training meant that Pem-Air had to reduce operations and fly out of the military base's small grass airstrip instead, resulting in a further loss of traffic and financial red ink.

To reduce the costs of engine overhauls on the DC-3 fleet the company bought a Beech 99 Airliner, but maintenance issues and other problems meant it was not a viable replacement. The company moved to flying Piper Navajo Chieftains and these proved a winning aircraft choice. There were several setbacks along the way, too, such as a 1983 hangar fire that might have been due to arson. The fire burned four aircraft, but the losses were completely covered by insurance and the company recovered, building a new steel hangar at Pembroke as a replacement.

Pem-Air also operated a helicopter air ambulance service for a time, starting with a Bell 47-J2 and then with a Bell 206B Jet Ranger. The service was eventually ended and O'Brien names political and ground ambulance union issues as the culprits.

In 1983 the airline accidentally inherited a flying school after the local school closed, leaving many students stranded. The school was reopened and turned into a successful operation that went on to train Royal Canadian Air Cadets and also fed newly-minted pilots into the air carrier side of the business.

The company next moved to using a Beechcraft King Air A100 and finally a British Aerospace Jetstream intended to be used on a short-lived Kitchener-Waterloo to Ottawa service, linking the two hi-tech development centres.

In the end the airline was carefully shutdown over a period of time, a victim of deregulation, falling traffic levels from its home base of Pembroke, due to improved highway links, competition from the likes of Air Canada, plus a latter-day airport management at Pembroke that seemed to think that if they pushed Pem-Air out that another carrier would pick up the city as a destination. History notes that since Pem-Air shut down, now some 14 years ago, the community has been without air service.

The author doesn't mince words when it comes to analyzing what the caused issues for the community airline, from Air Canada's monopoly status to local political shortsightedness. This makes the book an interesting read and more than the usual handshakes and backslaps often found in airline histories.

I only have a couple of criticisms of the book. The first is that it has a fair number of spelling, grammar and especially proper noun capitalization errors, that should have been caught by proper professional editing. The other is the choice of fonts. The book uses a very narrow serif font that, while in a good point size, is not as easy to read as it should be. I showed the book to a number of readers and all agreed it should have been set in a better typeface.

Other than those two minor gripes, I really enjoyed the book. It has everything a reader could want in a history of a community-owned and run airline, including details about the aircraft, the people who flew them, the business side of things and especially the perils and intrigues involved, both before and after airline deregulation occurred in Canada. While most pilots and aviation enthusiasts will find it an interesting and engaging read, it should be mandatory reading for anyone even vaguely thinking about starting up an airline.

The book is published by Burnstown Publishing House, a relatively new publisher, just started by Tim Gordon in 2015, after he sold his previous publishing business, General Store Publishing House, also of Burnstown and later Renfrew, which he had owned since 1981. The book selling business is very challenging these days and Gordon has taken an interesting tack on dealing with the diminishing returns that retailers offer publishers. He explains on his website, "with the demand for higher and higher discounts by the chain stores, we have concluded that we cannot do effective business with Chapters. We will be selling books to giftshops, bookstores, and libraries on a 50 percent-off, non-returnable basis. With this system in place, BPH will have no need for a warehouse, which will be a big help in keeping down the cost of getting a book into print." He also sells directly from his e-commerce equipped website, too. I hope Gordon succeeds in his publishing endeavour, as we have very few book publishers in Canada these days willing to print new works by new authors and not just print old back catalogue works guaranteed to keep selling. He deserves our support!

External link

13 March 2016

Book Review: Hangar Flying Vol 2

  • Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, Volume 2
  • by Jack Schofield with Arthur Cox
  • Published by Coast Dog Press, Mayne Island, British Columbia, 2016
  • Electronic on-line only book
  • 78 pages
  • Price - free

Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, Volume 2 is, of course, the much-anticipated second installment to volume 1, which Jack Schofield and Arthur Cox released last autumn. This second book in the series continues the tradition set by the earlier work, of collecting together short flying stories written by the pilots who were there "when it happened". The book also features a wealth of colour and black and white photos, plus the artwork of both Schofield and Cox, too.

Another tradition continued with this volume in the series is that the book is made available to read for free. This volume has some advertising in it, but all are ads are for the other books that Schofield offers from his own Mayne Island, British Columbia based publishing house, Coast Dog Press. His plan is to continue the series to at least a third volume in the near future. As with the last volume, as a COPA member, all you have to do is send Schofield an email and he will send you the link for the book. He will also send you a note when the next volume is out. It is hard to beat all that service and for free, too!

So what do you get for free this time around? Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, Volume 2 is 78 pages, just six pages shorter than the first volume. It is not a long book and like the previous edition took me about an hour to read it.

Each of the chapters are short flying stories. As last time, some are serious and some are amusing, but all are worth thinking about, reading and enjoying.

In volume 2 you get:

  • Over the Pool, by Robert S. Grant, the story of a Cessna 208 Caravan relief flight in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Once An Aviator, by Mel Turner, tales from flying Avro Shackleton maritime patrol bombers in some of the small British colonial wars after WWII.
  • Beaver to Helsinki, by John Addison, about a very long ferry trip from BC to Finland, mostly at 500 feet.
  • A Sketch From History, by Jack Schofield, about a drawing of a Twin Otter he did.
  • The Yellow Peril, by Arthur Cox, a tale from training on RCAF Harvards in the 1950s.
  • 4000 Merlins, A Story Within a Story, by Jack Schofield, about the crash landing in hostile territory of a Halifax during a 1000 bomber raid on Germany.
  • Twisting and Turning, by Ken Armstrong, which details an incident during forest fire fighting with a Bell 205 Huey.
  • Fiction - No Laughing Matter (episode two of three), by Jack Schofield with illustrations by Art Cox, about a Gulfstream biz jet charter adventure to Germany with some rather suspicious passengers. The story will be continued in the next the Hangar Flying volume.

I was quite pleased to see the story by John Addison, the former RAF Vulcan pilot, who was the Chief Flying Instructor at Victoria Flying Club when I learned to fly there, almost 40 years ago. Ken Armstrong's name will be familiar to COPA members, as he served many years on the COPA board as a director from BC.

As with the first installment, I greatly enjoyed this book too. It is a fun short read and may lead many pilots to think about why they haven't yet written down their own favourite flying tales. Given the price, there is no reason that this volume shouldn't find a home on your laptop or tablet, too.

External links

09 March 2016

Book Review - Air-Crazy

  • Air-Crazy - Facinating stories of Canadian women in the air
  • by Elisabeth Gillan Muir
  • Published by Another Chapter Publishing, 2015
  • 8" X 10 paperback
  • 46 pages, including an introduction and author's biography and acknowledgements
  • Cdn$19.99

Review by Leeloo Lengagne

Air Crazy by Elizabeth Gillan Muir talks about how, over a 100 years ago, airplanes were only flown by men and woman weren’t even supposed to be passengers. The book has a short story for each woman and talks about their work and experiences with flying. It tells the stories in time order from 1912 to 2000 and each chapter has photos.

This book was interesting in many ways, such as the nicknames that were given to the pilots like “the flying school girl”. Not all of the women were pilots; some were the first woman to be passengers on a plane. I feel that it would be unfair to not be able to do something that you love and these women did it anyway. I found all of the stories fun to read especially the last story about Maryse Carmichael because she was the first woman to fly with the Snowbirds Canadian Forces acrobatic team. I didn’t know what the Snowbirds were before reading this book.

I think that Air Crazy is good for kids ages 8 – 12 because if you are older you might find it a little too easy. Also, this book is good for a young girl who is interested in flying or planes. I think it should be in a library or given as a gift.

The back of the book tells us that the author, Elizabeth, is a historian in Toronto. I find it interesting that she is a historian because if she wasn’t a historian then the books that she writes might be fairy tales. I like that the stories in the book are real. She has written stories for children’s magazines in Canada, the United States, Australia, and Great Britain. I think it is interesting that “She was paid $1.00 for her first story, “Marsh Hens”, which was published in Child Life when she was ten. She has recently published two adult books: Riverdale: east of the Don and Canadian in the sky: 100 years of flight”.

In general Air-Crazy by Elizabeth Gillan Muir is a great book for people who like the idea of flight and it gives the message that everyone should take a shot at anything that people say they can’t do.

Leeloo Lengagne is COPA's reviewer of aviation books for children. She is a student of art and literature and is eleven years old.

External links

26 February 2016

27th Mo's flyin on the Ottawa River

The 27th edition of Mo's Ottawa River wheel and Ski Fly-in will take place on Saturday 27 February 2016.

Weather forecast: in the morning -12° degrees, sun and clouds, less then 1 cm of snow. Afternoon: +1° degree, cloudy, less then 1 cm of snow.

Runway 16-34, 4000 ft X 100 ft. 16 to 18 inches of ice. A few years ago Mo had 100 airplanes on 14 inches of ice.


  • Date: Saturday 27 February 2016
  • Location: 45 26 57 N 75 55 48 W, one mile west of the Ottawa VOR, on the Ottawa River
  • Runway: 34-16, 4000 feet X 100 feet, surface is ploughed ice and snow
  • Food: Provided!!
  • Frequencies: Air 123.20 MHz, ground: 122.75 MHz
  • Information: Maurice Prudhomme 819-682-5273

18 February 2016

Bernie's 7th Annual Flyin Patry Island Gatineau River

Bernie's 7th annual seaplane (including ultralights) and helicopter flyin will be held on Saturday, 16 July 2016. It is located on Patry island in the Gatineau River, 6 miles south of the Maniwaki airport, 1.75 mile south of Bouchette.

Planned events include a golf tournament (call Michel Patry 819-465-3654 for info), a kid's playground, food served starting at 1000 hrs, mechoui from 1800 hrs and evening dancing after dinner.

All profits will go to the Municipality of Bouchette's Service des Loisirs.


  • Date: Saturday, 16 July 2016
  • Location: Patry island in the Gatineau River, N 46 10.411, W 75 57.302, 6 miles south of the Maniwaki airport, 1.75 mile south of Bouchette.
  • Frequency: 123.2 MHz
  • Admission: Free
  • Contact:

11 February 2016

New Canadian Aviation History Blog Launched

Diana Trafford, a member of COPA Flight 169 Pontiac, has just launched a new blog about aviation history.

She explains the project:

Flights of History is a blog centred around early aviation in Canada, particularly in Quebec. A few years ago, as I was researching family genealogy, I took a detour into aviation history. Stories about my uncles, both bush pilots in the 1920s and 1930s, captured my imagination. So I began researching their adventures and the wider context of aviation along Quebec’s North Shore and in the Lower St. Lawrence.

In this blog I hope to share some of what I have unearthed through this research. As time goes on, I may broaden the focus to include subjects other than aviation. I hope you'll find the blog entertaining. Please feel free to comment, offer new information or suggest topics you would like to read about.

External links

01 February 2016

Transport Canada Safety Seminar in Ottawa

Transport Canada Civil Aviation Ontario Region presents "An Evening with the Canadian Military".

Join us as speakers from the Canadian Mission Control Centre (CMCC), Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton and 424 Squadron provide information on a number of topics including:

  • the Canadian Beacon Registry
  • CMCC and Cospas-Sarsat
  • JRCC Trenton
  • rescue co-ordination
  • search and rescue (SAR) missions
  • safety

Attendees will qualify for the 2-year recency requirement as per CAR 421.05(2)(b).


  • Date Wednesday 24 February 2016
  • Time 1900-2130 hrs. Doors open at 1830 for sign-in
  • Location Algonquin College (Ottawa Campus) Classroom T119 (1st floor Building T), 1385 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa, ON K2G 1V8
  • Parking Parking Lots 8 + 9 and enter through Building T.
  • Contact Will Boles, Civil Aviation Safety Inspector, Standards Coordination, (416) 952-3858

18 January 2016

Full-Scale Cessna Simulator Study Seeks Participants

by Kathleen Van Benthem, Ph.D. & Alana Cooper, Institute of Cognitive Science

The ACE Lab at Carleton University is looking for participants!

This study will explore cognition and cross-country general aviation flight.

If you are:

  • a pilot or a pilot in training;
  • medically licensed to fly;
  • at least 40 years of age; and
  • interested in flying a full-scale Cessna 172 simulator

The study takes place over two sessions at the ACE Lab at Carleton University.

This study is quite different from the last one, so pilots can participate even if they were here before. Participation is completely voluntary. You will not be compensated monetarily or otherwise for participating in this study but parking costs will be paid for by the study.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Interested pilots please reply to Kathy Van Benthem.

05 January 2016

New Trends In The Canadian Private Fleet During 2015

The Canadian private civil aircraft fleet continued to grow in 2015, but at an extremely slow rate, the lowest by far since the turn of the millennium and far worse than at any time during the recession of 2008-10.

In 2008 the fleet grew at a peak rate of 3.2%, but by 2015 it was down to just 0.25%.

The numbers seen continue to indicate that structural changes are occurring in the aircraft purchase market in Canada, probably as a result of the ongoing poor state of the Canadian economy, the falling dollar relative to the US and demographic factors involving an aging pilot population getting out of flying.

The US economy improved over 2015 and its dollar gained strongly against the Canadian dollar. With the Canadian dollar ending the year about 71 cents US, Canadian aircraft asking prices in US dollars seem to have dropped enough to result in a net flow of used certified aircraft out of Canada.

As I have noted in years past, even though the Canadian civil fleet has grown in size each year, the number of hours flown probably isn't increasing and may in fact be decreasing.

In 2015 the total Canadian civil fleet increased in size by just 66 aircraft, down from an increase of 296 in 2014. In 2015 the private segment of the fleet once again accounted for almost all the growth seen, increasing by 74, while the commercial aircraft fleet shrank by 16 aircraft and the state fleet, those aircraft owned by the various levels of government in Canada, grew by eight aircraft. Overall the civil fleet was very stagnant in 2015.

Certified Aircraft

Certified aircraft have been leading the growth in private aircraft for a number of years, but lost that lead to basic ultralights in 2014, probably because as the US dollar climbed it made importing aircraft into Canada more expensive. The numbers sharply reversed in 2015 as certified aircraft left the country, dropping by 103.

In 2015 the changes to the certified fleet were made up of a reduction of 108 airplanes, three gliders and five balloons, but an increase of 13 helicopters.

There were 16,293 private certified aircraft at the end of 2015, out of a total of 29,236 private aircraft registered or 56%.

Basic Ultralights

BULAs were by far the quickest growing area of private aviation again in 2015. During the year the category increased by 101 aircraft. There were 6,016 BULAs registered at the end of 2015.

The enduring attraction of this category is undoubtedly its relatively low cost.


Amateur-builts were in the number two growth position again in 2015, increasing by 44 aircraft, although down from an increase of 67 in 2014. In 2015 the aircraft added were made up of 44 airplanes, three balloons and one helicopter, while the number of gliders decreased by two, with airships and gyroplanes reducing by one each.

Amateur builts now number 4,180 in Canada and include a wide variety of aircraft, from fixed wing airplanes, helicopters, gliders, gyroplanes to balloons, airships and even one ornithopter.


The O-M category added 42 aircraft in 2015, up from the 26 added in 2014, leaving the category in third spot once again ahead of advanced ultralights. By the end of 2015, there were 673 O-M aircraft on the registry, made up of 655 airplanes and 18 gliders.

This category has continued to suffer from low numbers of aircraft being moved from the certified category ever since the American FAA announced that O-M aircraft will never be allowed to fly in US airspace or sold in the USA.

Advanced Ultralights

Advanced ultralights were in fourth place for growth in 2015, increasing their numbers by only 20 airplanes, up from 17 in 2014. Their growth brought the total number of AULAs on the civil register to 1,230. By the category definition, all AULAs are powered, fixed wing aircraft.

The AULA category was introduced in 1991 and therefore 2015 was its 24th year. The category has increased its numbers at an average of 51 aircraft per year since its inception and so can hardly be considered the success that was anticipated when it was started. As in the past five years, the number of AULAs added in 2015 was well below the average from the category's earlier years. The low sales figures are mostly likely linked to the high price of new AULAs and their American counter-parts, Light-Sport Aircraft.

Commercial Fleet

In 2015 the commercial aircraft fleet decreased by 16 aircraft to bring it down to 6,948. The numbers show a decrease of three airplanes and 14 helicopters, with an increase of one balloon.

In round numbers, at the end of 2015 the private fleet made up 81% of the aircraft in Canada, with the commercial fleet at 19% and the state fleet at under 1%, all basically unchanged from 2014. As commercial aviation fails to grow, or even shrinks over time, private aviation is continuing to make up a greater proportion of the fleet.

Imports & Exports

Aircraft imports into Canada in 2015 numbered 506, which was down from 619 in 2014 and well below the 968 imported during the pre-recession days of 2008. In 2015, 879 aircraft were exported, giving a difference of 373 favouring exported aircraft over those imported.

Looking at 2016

World oil prices dropped below US$40 per barrel in 2015 taking the Canadian dollar down, as the world markets were still temporarily over-supplied with oil. Oddly, while automotive gasoline prices dropped to about 80 cents per litre, avgas generally stayed at double that price or higher. There remains a real risk in 2016-17 of a sudden increase in oil prices, as demand recovers in the face of the current loss of oil capital investment and the resulting supply shortages. A sudden and prolonged increase in the price of fuel will likely bring a recession with it and greatly reduce demand for aircraft, resulting in dropping prices.

Note: Data for this report was taken from the Transport Canada Civil Aircraft Register and reflects the difference between the number of aircraft registered in Canada on 31 December 2014 and 31 December 2015. These statistics reflect the net number of aircraft built and imported, minus the number destroyed, scrapped and exported. Just because an aircraft is registered in Canada does not mean it is being flown and therefore the number of registered aircraft should not be confused with the amount of flying activity.

11 December 2015

Canadian Beacon Registry Verifier (CBRV)

By Patrick Gilligan, Vice President, Operations, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

The Canadian Beacon Registry (CBR) ran a pilot project in 2012 which sent users of registered 406 MHz beacons an email when the self-test of their beacons were detected. The pilot project was a resounding success, with the general aviation and small operator communities in particular, as it demonstrated the value of registering 406 Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). Unfortunately that pilot project was suspended later that year when the CBR database was reengineered.

Since 2012 and on every occasion, COPA has been reminding the Canadian Beacon Registry authorities to re-introduce this email tool. Recently during my presentation at SARScene 2015, I had a slide on suggestions to improve the ELT image amongst pilots, one of which was an “End to End” email testing of 406 ELTs. I was later approached by CBR staff informing me of the soon to be re-launch of this email tool.

External links

02 December 2015

Book Review - Canadian Women in the Sky

  • Canadian Women in the Sky - 100 Years of Flight
  • by Elisabeth Gillan Muir
  • Published by Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2015
  • 6" X 9" trade paperback
  • 175 pages, including a forward by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, preface, acknowledgements, introduction, appendix - milestones in aviation, notes, bibliography, index
  • $21.99

It is sad to think that here, in the 21st century, after more than 100 years of powered flight, that books promoting women in aviation are still needed. But the truth is that even today in Canada women make up only a very small proportion of pilots and very few young women see it as a viable career or past time. Author Elisabeth Gillan Muir seeks to tell the story of individual women in Canadian aviation and at the same time perhaps motivate and inspire a new generation with the fact that women really can fly.

Muir is no stranger to women's history. She has degrees from Queen's University, the Harvard Business School and McGill, where she earned her PhD. She also taught Canadian history at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, too. She has tackled the history of Canadian women in several areas, including in Upper Canada.

Given her academic qualifications and background readers might be a bit wary that Canadian Women in the Sky would be an academic work, but that is not the case. No dry and extensive tome, Muir has intentionally written a simple and easily readable little volume, composed in language that teens can readily read and illustrated with many black and white photos, which adds to the interest factor.

Muir presents her look at women who fly by starting at the beginning, with a certain Mme Godard who was the first woman in the air over Canada, as a balloon passenger in 1856. Another aeronaut, Nellie Thurston, piloted her own balloons and parachute jumped from them as well, at 19th century fairs in Canada. With powered, heavier-than-air flight in the early 20th century, women soon became passengers, and later pilots, of these new "aeroplanes". Muir provides short biographies of women such as Dolena MacKay MacLeod, who was the first airplane passenger in Canada in September 1909, just seven months after the first airplane flight in the country. MacLeod flew with Casey Baldwin of the Aerial Experiment Association in his "Baddeck" biplane. Other early passengers included Grace Mackenzie and Olive Stark, who almost became Canada's first female aviation casualty.

Katherine Stinson, an American, was the first women known to pilot an airplane in Canada. Called "the flying schoolgirl", the petite Stinson flew at fairs and exhibitions all across Canada during the First World War. She did aerobatics and flew solo at night, by the light of flares. She also set records and carried the first airmail in western Canada.

Other chapters cover such fliers as Madge Graham who flew in the Curtiss H2SL flying boat, La Vigilance, which is now in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Pilots with short biographies include Eileen Vollick, Enid Norquay MacDonald, Louise Mitchell Jenkins, Marion Orr, Vera Dowling, Felicity McKendry and Dee Brasseur, who was one of the first women CF-18 pilots. Most of these women were career fliers, but there is a very short chapter on Canadian figure skating champion Barbara Ann Scott who flew for fun. Canada's first woman airline pilot, Rosella Bjornson also gets her own short chapter. Muir has a chapter on the Americans who were influences on Canadian women, too, including Harriet Quimby, Alys McKay Bryant and Amelia Earhart.

Muir tackles discrimination carefully throughout the book, but one chapter points out how women were discouraged from piloting and funneled into becoming stewardesses instead. She details the requirements and the challenges of that profession.

Further chapters cover Margaret Fane Rutledge, the Flying Seven and their efforts to promote women flying in the 1940s, Elsie McGill, Canada's first female aeronautical engineer and the 166 women who flew in the Second World War in the Air Transport Auxiliary delivering aircraft domestically and overseas. Canadian women bush pilots are profiled, too, including Lorraine Cooper, Vi Milstead Warren, Lorna de Blicquy, Elisabeth Wieben, Judy Adamson and Berna McCann as well as Judy Cameron who went on to become Air Canada's first female pilot. There is also a section on Mary Ellen Pauli, a helicopter bush pilot.

Other chapters cover women who have flown around the world, the group of Ninety-Nines who started the pollution patrol volunteer service Skywatch and the military pilot who flew with the Snowbirds and then went on to command the team, Maryse Carmichael.

The final chapter of the book deals with the two women who went further than any other Canadian women have done so far, Roberta Bondar and Julie Payette, Canada's two female astronauts who were crew on the Space Shuttle and later, in Payette's case, the ISS.

This is a lot of material to pack into 175 pages and so the stories told about each person are short and to the point. The book makes for fast-paced reading and, while it can easily be read by teens and adults, it might almost be ideal for bed-time stories read to a young aspiring aviator.

Dundurn Press's publishing program is supported by both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

External links

26 November 2015

GPS failure – the need for data

By Al Hepburn, Captain, COPA Flight 178 Pembroke

There can be no doubt that the introduction of GPS has been a game changer in the world of general aviation. In this article, we’ll look at the effect it has had, and is about to have on the General Aviation IFR Owner/Pilot.

The Air Traffic Control system has evolved over the years to the point that most pilots seldom use the so-called "Traditional Aids." A brief glance at the Canadian LO 6 en route chart (the one covering the Windsor to Quebec City corridor) will show the impact this has had on en route IFR navigation.

All the airways at the heart of this corridor have disappeared, and have been replaced with the so-called "Tango Routes," based on RNAV waypoints. Traditional navaids and airways are

being decommissioned at a fairly rapid pace. In the more remote areas of the country, many pilots would hesitate to fly without GPS, as the only alternative is NDB navigation, and flying NDB approaches is a dying art.

Many aircraft now flying in southern Canada no longer carry ADF, so are effectively excluded from IFR flight in areas where an ADF is the only practical backup. Nor do they carry DME, which is also required to fly just about all VOR approaches.

All this means that traditional navaids are becoming an anachronism, and the service provider, NavCanada, is quite rightly keen to decommission as many of these navaids as possible, particularly VORs, which are expensive to install and maintain.

Before we go too far down the decommissioning road, however, it is appropriate to ask the question "What happens if GPS fails?" The answer, in a nutshell, is "You revert to using Traditional Aids, or fly VFR." That then begs the question "How often is there likely to be a loss of GPS position information in IFR use, and how long will the outages last?" You would think the answer to these questions would be readily available, but this does not seem to be the case.

Transport Canada has had a "GPS Anomaly Report" form since 1997, but its existence is not well known. To date, it has only received 35 entries.

To get some kind of handle on pilots’ real world experience, COPA, in co-operation with AOPA, recently conducted an on-line survey. This evoked 513 responses over a period of a few days.

The author’s personal experience indicates that, if anything, the incidence of GPS failure events is increasing. In a recent two-week period, I flew on two occasions, and saw the dreaded "GPS Signal Loss" screen both times. The failures were at different locations, on different aircraft, and using different (Garmin) equipment. Both failures lasted a few minutes. On neither occasion was there a NOTAM relating to possible GPS failure.From a technical point of view, the GPS signal is susceptible to jamming, since it uses a single frequency, and is extremely weak. By the way, you can already buy jammers on the internet, the "best" of which is reported to have a ten-mile range. Truckers buy them, so the boss can’t monitor where they are!

So, how robust will the Traditional Aids backup system be? This will clearly depend on the frequency and duration of the loss of signal threat. If outages are very brief, they will have little effect on air navigation.

Longer outages (say of a few minutes or more) would force you to revert to Traditional Aids navigation, and it’s here that the architecture of the Traditional Aids backup system becomes a key concern. The COPA/AOPA survey indicated that there were a surprising number of such failures. Thus, it is of critical importance to have a statistically significant volume of data on GPS failures before the Traditional Aids structure is significantly reduced. COPA will recommend to Nav Canada that a web-based tool be added to the AWWS website to facilitate this, but in the meantime, please take the time to fill out and submit that "GPS Anomaly Report."

Note that the intent is to have one report per event, not one to cover the totality of your experience since you started using GPS. Make it very clear when the event was reported using IFR approved equipment, since only these events are directly relevant to IFR operations. In view of the suspected dynamic nature of GPS failures, it is recommended that you concentrate on data not more than a couple of years old. You should send the form to service@navcanada.ca.

Alan Hepburn: Has flown IFR for 43 years and flying GNSS IFR since 2002, flight instructor, and representing COPA in discussion on future IFR requirements.

External links

05 November 2015

Book Review: Fangs of Death

  • Fangs of Death - 439 Sabre-Toothed Tiger Squadron, Standing on guard for thee since 1941
  • by Marc-André Valiquette and Richard Girouard
  • Published by Imaviation, 2015
  • 12.5" X 9.5" hard back book
  • 264 pages, including three forwards, two prefaces, eight addenda, glossary, bibliography, index
  • $49.95

Marc-André Valiquette is most well-known for his extensive series of five books on the Avro Arrow, but lately he has branched out into Canadian military squadron histories, most recently tackling 425 "Alouette" Squadron.

With a title like "Fangs of Death" the casual reader glancing at the book might think this is a horror story, but the title comes from the post-war motto of 439 "Sabre-Toothed Tiger" Squadron, the unit that is the subject of the book. A large-format and hefty (4 lb, 1.8 kg) hard-cover book, Fangs of Death is largely a photo album of carefully collected squadron photos from the Second World War right through to 2013, with text and captions describing the history. The book is bilingual, with each leaf written in English on the left page and French on the right. The title in French is "Les Crocs de la Mort". With the large numbers of photos, drawing and paintings, plus the bilingual format, the book is a relatively quick read, as most people will only read it in one of its two languages. Vaiquette shares credit for the book with historical and photographic researcher Richard Girouard.

The book starts with 439 Squadron's origins as the School of Army Co-operation and later 123 Army Co-operation Training Squadron, flying Grumman Goblin biplanes and Westland Lysanders from RCAF Station Rockcliffe in Ottawa. Converting to Hurricanes and moving to Debert, Nova Scotia, the unit languished far away from the fighting until ordered overseas in 1943. Once in the UK, the squadron traded their aging Hurricanes for brand new Hawker Typhoons and started operations on 2 March 1944 in the ground attack role. Prior to D-Day they engaged in attacks on targets such as the V-1 "flying bomb" launching sites and conducted anti-shipping missions. During the June 1944 invasion of Normandy the unit took on German coastal batteries and performed attacks on road and rail targets ahead of the allied ground forces, including interdicting German armour. Throughout the latter part of 1944 the squadron took part in the fighting in France, Belgium and into Germany, including taking part in the Battle of the Bulge. In early 1945 they joined the battle for Holland. Not all targets were on the ground, as unit pilots downed two Me-262 jets, among other German aircraft.

439 became the first RCAF squadron to operate from a German base, with its move to Goch in March 1945. With the war in Europe over in May 1945 the squadron had 86 pilots who served with it in total, of which 20 finished their tours, 24 were killed or presumed dead on operations, plus five killed in accidents, eight were POWs and three escaped after being shot down.

The squadron was reformed on Sabre Mk IIs at RCAF Uplands, again in Ottawa, in 1951 as part of Canada's NATO commitment. They became the first unit to fly their Sabres over to Europe, rather than having them shipped, as part of Operation Leapfrog I. They flew from Ottawa to Bagotville, Quebec; Goose Bay, Labrador; Bluie West in Greenland; Keflavik, Iceland; Kinloss, Scotland and onto North Luffenham, England where they were initially based. Four years later the unit moved to its operational base at Marville, France, the new home of No. 1 Fighter Wing. The unit later upgraded to Sabre Mk 5s and finally 6s, holding quick-reaction intercept stand-by and training at weapons meets, NATO exercises, Tiger Meets and other opportunities to hone their skills. The Tiger Meets were NATO gatherings of squadrons that had tigers as emblems.

It was in this post-war period that the squadron got their sabre-toothed tiger badge and the deadly-sounding motto to go with it. In 1961 the Maharajah of Rewa in India donated a stuffed tiger, which became their mascot, Fang. 439 became the last Sabre RCAF squadron in Europe, prior to its conversion to the CF-104 Starfighter in 1964.

In 1966 France ended its military involvement in NATO and 439 moved to Lahr in Germany. It was in 1969 that the squadron first painted a CF-104 in overall tiger stripes to take to the Tiger Meet. In 1970 all CF-104 flying was moved to CFB Baden-Soellingen and, in 1973, 439 received its squadron colours from the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1984 the squadron flew its last CF-104 sortie and was disbanded, to be re-formed flying the CF-18 late the next year, still at Baden. The unit formed the "Desert Cats", along with 416 Squadron, as part of Canada's participation in the liberation of Kuwait in 1990-91. In January 1993 Canada ended its commitment to provide a fighter wing to NATO and 439 was disbanded, its CF-18s returned to Canada. The unit flew them home, across the Atlantic, with air-to-air refuelling.

On 1 April 1993 the squadron was reformed, by rebadging Base Flight Bagotville as 439 Combat Support Squadron, flying the Bell CH-118 Iroquois helicopter and the venerable T-33 two-seat jet in the rescue, transport and utility roles. In 1995 the unit re-equipped with three Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters and in 2000 retired the T-33 jets. As well as covering base rescue operations, 439 also participated in the Saguenay flood operation of 1996, and the international response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, as well as deploying to Jamaica to cover SAR for the island in 2011 as the Jamaican Defence Force was shorthanded.

439 Combat Support Squadron continues today in Bagotville with its three Griffon helicopters in the rescue and transport roles.

The book, Fangs of Death, is well written, very readable with roughly a double page for each year the squadron has been in existence, with more coverage of the Second World War years, naturally, as those were busier times. The choice of photographs is outstanding and I am certain that it was hard to decide which ones to include, given the photographic riches available.

My only criticism of the book is not on what was included, but excluded. The book does seem to shy away from controversy and even though the unit picked up the nuclear strike and reconnaissance roles in 1964 with the phasing in of the CF-104 there is lots about the photo recce role, but not a word about the nuclear weapons that were very controversial at the time. Other historical sources mention the nuclear strike role for 439, but not this work. Similarly the CF-104 had a very high loss rate, with half the aircraft built lost in accidents, but not a single Starfighter crash is mentioned in the book, during almost twenty years of flying the type, which seems odd when reading it. Other works, like Larry Milberry's Sixty Years, delve into the high number of Starfighter losses in some detail. Not to pick on the CF-104, but of the Sabre years, 1951-63, only one accident is mentioned in the book and then it seems only because it was the squadron commanding officer, Squadron Leader CJ Clay, who was killed and only a month and a half after assuming command, too.

Other than these omissions this is a fascinating book, a photographic window into the world of wartime operations and peacetime flying in Europe with NATO and in Canada. It will surely appeal to any present and former squadron members as well as anyone interested in fine-grained twentieth century history and military aviation.

Valiquette notes that none of his books have received any financial support from any level of government and that he publishes them himself through his own publishing company, Imaviation. While his five volumes on the Avro Arrow and his 425 Squadron history are featured on his website, at the time of this writing, Fangs of Death is not yet on the website, although I expect it will be soon. It should also soon be available in museum bookshops and the other bookstores that stock aviation titles.

External links