29 March 2012

CYOW CEO Paul Benoit to Retire

Ottawa International Airport president and chief executive officer Paul Benoit announced in a 15 March 2012 statement that he will retire in February 2013, some ten months away.

Benoit has served in his present position since the mid 1990s. During his incumbency he oversaw renovations to the airport, including the design and construction of the new main terminal building, as well as the tearing down of many older hangars and other structures. During his term more than $500 million has been spent on the airport's infrastructure.

In a statement Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said, "Paul has been a tremendous catalyst for change at Ottawa airport."

Benoit has indicated that he intends to first take some rest before deciding on future plans.

28 March 2012

COPA Flights Social Networking - Part I

(Left: Flight 8's Diaspora page as seen by someone not signed in, just on the open internet)

COPA Flight 8 has been on Diaspora now for two months and so I thought this would be a good opportunity to describe how it is going and what I have learned about COPA Flights using social networking.

This article is part one, Flight 8 Captain Mike Shaw will be writing Part II about using Twitter in the near future. (Editor: Now found here)

My previous article on Diaspora described what it is and how it works. In brief it is a social networking service like Facebook, but lacks all of Facebook's drawbacks as it is community owned, run on free software and is a disbursed network, Diaspora has about 377,000 members right now many of whom are very active in social causes. In comparison Facebook has about 845 million members.

Unlike Facebook, where people you know in real life mostly post cat photos and write about what they had for lunch, on Diaspora people meet new users from around the world and mostly post about causes, ideas, politics and yes, cat photos as well. Without cats the internet would be a very different place. Diaspora has no advertising and is instead supported by donations and T-shirt sales. The users own Diaspora, unlike on Facebook where users are the product served up to advertisers.

Diaspora was designed from the start to give users total control of privacy, which is great for individuals, but less important for organizations that are just trying to get seen.

Diaspora does not have special accounts for organizations, as opposed to individuals. I just opened a normal account on www.joindiaspora.com and customized it as a club account. Click the photo above for a screenshot or on www.joindiaspora.com/u/copaflight8 to see what it looks like. One of the reasons that I chose the joindiaspora.com pod is that "public" posts there are truly public and anyone on the internet can see them, which is good for promoting a club like Flight 8. Not all Diaspora pods work that way and many keep even "public" posts visible only to signed in users.

So once I had the account up and running, the next question was "what to post?" I experimented with a few news items, videos and some photos, which all turned out well.

Like Twitter, Diaspora users can follow people or follow tags and so tags are the key to getting your items seen by a large number of people across the network. I quickly figured out that tags like #cessna150 have no followers, but that #aviation #flying and #aircraft have quite a number.

I posted some local aviation news items, like press releases about local airports and also embedded some flying videos from You Tube, but I think the best idea I had was posting whole series of photos. When COPA Flight 8 members Michael Dixon and Nathalie Huard sent in some ski flying pictures for use on the Flight 8 website I also decided to post them on Diaspora, one picture per day, with some good general tags. These started attracting comments, "follows" and even e-mail from Diaspora users interested in aircraft. For some reason most are from Germany and Italy.

By the time I ran out of ski flying photos Sun 'n Fun had started and I dug up some SNF photos from past years and started posting those. Finding an archive photo in my collection and making a well-tagged post takes about two minutes early each morning. The idea is to show bright and positive flying photos.

The Flight 8 Diaspora account is not getting much traffic from Flight 8 members as far as I can tell, but it is certainly getting international attention, which is a good thing overall. The Diaspora account is a complement to the website where we have more static information, meeting announcements and larger articles, this blog where we have shorter articles and the opportunity to add comments and the more immediate "newsfeed" approach of Twitter.

As with all social networks the key is having enough content to get and hold the attention of readers. One post a month is not going to do it. Twitter requires more frequent posts, but Diaspora seems to work well with one photo a day, plus the odd news item. On sites like Diaspora you don't want to flood the readers either, as their streams are usually pretty busy as it is. Be there, but don't be annoying.

I think that COPA Flights can benefit from using social media to promote their organization. The trick is to have volunteers who will manage it, preferably one person for each medium the flight is on. Have a plan as to what you will post and keep it fun for the readers.

26 March 2012

Flight 8 members Invited to Kawartha Lakes Fly-in

COPA Flight 101 Lindsay (The Kawartha Lakes Flying Club) has invited the members of Flight 8 and many other flights to attend its fly-in and antique car show at Kawartha Lakes Municipal Airport (CNF4).

After some years of inactivity Flight 101 was recently resurrected by the Kawartha Lakes Flying Club

The fly-in is on 9 June 2012, from 0900-1700 hrs, with a rain date the following day. Click on the poster for complete details.

* Flight 101 website

25 March 2012

Peterborough Airport Restaurant Re-Opens

by Nancy Hewitt, Operations Coordinator, Peterborough Airport

The Peterborough Airport Restaurant re-opened on Friday March 23, 2012 under new management and a new name Landing 27. The hours of operation are Mon to Sat 7:30 am to 7:00 pm and Sunday 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

I hope you will spread the word!

* COPA Flight 70 Oshawa message board announcement

* Landing 27 Bistro's website

24 March 2012

New Flight School at Carp Airport

(Left - Cessna 150M C-GPUY, seen in this October 2009 photo, is International Pilot Academy's first aircraft in their fleet)

We recently discovered that Carp Airport has new flight school, which is just in the process of opening up. International Pilot Academy was quietly announced by the Carp Airport operator West Capital Developments as part of a news release about the Cirrus SR22 demonstration.

The Academy is located in the Carp main terminal building and has a website at www.intlpilotacademy.com. Jules Selwan is the school's President and Operations Manager and Christopher Keep is the Chief Flying Instructor and Person Responsible for Maintenance (PRM). They hold ground school at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and use the Museum's Redbird simulator.

The Academy is offering training for the Recreational Pilot Permit, Private Pilot Licence airplane, Commercial Pilot Licence airplane, Night Rating, Instrument Rating, Multi Engine Rating and Instructor Rating.

While their flying operations are based at Carp Airport, their administrative office is located at 1427 Ogilvie Road, Suite 102 in Ottawa, Ontario. They are in good company there, in the same building as Farm Boy's corporate headquarters.

Even though they go by the English name International Pilot Academy Transport Canada has them listed as Academie de Pilotage Internationale Inc and they advertise bilingual training.

Transport Canada also indicates that they are starting off with one aircraft, a 1976 model Cessna 150M, C-GPUY, but I imagine their fleet will grow from there over time. Presumably their multi-engine training will be done on a different aircraft.

Of note, C-GPUY is a familiar sight at Carp as it used to belong to the previous flight school based there, Carp Flying Academy, which operated between 21 January 2006 and 18 November 2008 and flew a pair of Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipses in addition to the 150.

Flight 8 welcomes International Pilot Academy to the Ottawa area - we hope they have a busy summer of flying!

22 March 2012

Carp Airport Development Has New Video

West Capital Developments has a new video out that showcases their airpark development at Carp Airport

* Website

Cirrus SR22 Demo At Carp On 23-24 March 2012

By Gary Black, Great Plains Regional Sales Director, Cirrus Aircraft Corporation

I will be flying into Carp Airport (CYRP) on Friday afternoon, March 23rd and displaying my 2012 Cirrus SR22 at the West Capital Development. We will plug in the aircraft for display and serve barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner starting at 4 pm. Please stop by to see it and join us for a meal! For directions, please come to 1500 Thomas Argue Road, the March road airport entrance. The FBO building is at the end of Thomas Argue and it is the first building on the left on taxiway Alpha.

If you are planning on attending the BBQ please call John Phillips at West Capital Developments to RSVP at 613-839-7900.

I will be able to do a limited number of demos on Saturday. My current Cirrus demo plane will be on the cover of next month’s FLYING magazine. There is an excellent piece about Cirrus and I thought you would like to have a sneak peak.

Happy flying and see you soon!

More information:

* www.cirrusaircraft.com
* www.whycirrus.com

21 March 2012

Municipality Endorses Pontiac Airpark

by André Durocher

People often ask me if the municipality is giving me tough time with the Pontiac Airpark project and the answer is: "Not at all". In fact the municipality wants me to do this project. The municipality of Pontiac is a big municipality acreage wise, but a big percentage of the land is zoned agricultural. Pontiac Airpark's land is the largest residential piece of land in the Pontiac!

Find included a letter from the municipality of Pontiac signed by the mayor.

* Pontiac Airpark news

13 March 2012

Flight 8 Curling News

by Mike Shaw

COPA Flight 8 has entered a curling team in the Nav Canada ATC Bonspiel in Niagara Falls in April 2012.

The team, skipped by Bill Reed, includes Michael Shaw, Jean-Pierre Seguin and Dennis Pharoah.

12 March 2012

No Canadian Aviation Expo in 2012

There will be no Aviation Expo this year. This would have been its 20th year of operation, if you count back to its earliest beginnings in Toronto. They are indicating that this is just a scheduling conflict and that they will be back next year.

Press Release

by Stephen Wilcox, John Green, Steve Nichols, Mary Donovan-Wilcox (Expo Team), Kevin Psutka (COPA) and Dave Rohrer (CWH)

The Canadian Aviation Expo has postponed the 2012 Expo and its 20th anniversary celebrations until 2013 in order to support this years 40th anniversary of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWH) and the 60th anniversary of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Associations (COPA).

The role of the Expo is to promote and foster the growth of aviation in Canada. It has fulfilled its role for the past 19 years by reaching out and bringing the very best aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, flights schools, industry groups and airports together with aviators and aviation enthusiasts at the annual Expo. In fulfilling its role the Expo is partnered together with two great aviation organizations, CWH and COPA.

It has always been the Expo’s policy to not conflict with the efforts of our partners in the aviation industry. Given the significant anniversary celebration plans of CWH and COPA in 2012, the Expo’s management team has decided to postpone the 2012 Expo and our 20th anniversary celebrations until the spring of 2013 when it will once again be hosted by CWH. It’s a decision that the Expo’s management team feels is in the best interest of aviation and the decision was made with the full support of CWH and COPA.

The role of CWH is to maintain and preserve our rich aviation heritage including artifacts and aircraft operated by Canadians and the Canadian Military. The role of COPA is to work with pilots, the industry and regulators to maintain and enhance our rich freedom to fly in Canada. 2012 will be a very busy and exciting year for both CWH and COPA.

In celebration of its 40th anniversary CWH will be hosting its airshow on the weekend of June 16th and 17th. In addition to the airshow there are several days throughout the year where pilots may fly-in to the museum and landing fees and admission have been waived for these 2012 Anniversary Fly-In Days.

In celebration of its 60th anniversary COPA will be hosting its National Fly-In/AGM on the weekend of June 23 and 24th in Hanover Ontario. Along with the fly-in and AGM the event will include pilot seminars, a trade show and an anniversary celebration.

The 40th anniversary of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and the 60th anniversary of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association represent significant milestones in aviation and present a great opportunity for exhibitors, pilots and aviation enthusiasts celebrate aviation in Canada and your participation is encouraged.

For more information on these events, please visit www.hamiltonairshow.com and www.copacabbana.ca

* Full press release from CWH (PDF file)

11 March 2012

Microsoft's new "Flight"

Here is a first look at Microsoft's new free "Flight" game, which replaces the old Flight Simulator, by Wolfgang Gruener of Conceivably Tech. He does a very detailed review, including many screenshots that give you a good feel for what this new software has to offer.

This is well worth a read for anyone interested in flight simulation programs!

* How “Flight” Will Change PC Gaming by Wolfgang Gruener of Conceivably Tech

10 March 2012

Pontiac Airpark Expands to 550 Acres

by André Durocher

Pontiac Airpark is growing again!

After buying 85 acres north of the airpark and the possibility of developing an equestrian facility on the 80 acres north of that, the site has now added 130 acres to the west, which will be available for a golf course, hotel, restaurant and spa!!

This additional has made Pontiac Airpark a 550 acre project.

* Pontiac Airpark Homepage

07 March 2012

Epic Aircraft Bought Out Again

One of the subjects that I have tried to cover here in this blog is the increasing foreign ownership of the North American aerospace industry.

One of the companies that became foreign-owned in 2010 is Epic Aircraft and there was another twist in this story recently.

Epic was started by Rick Schrameck in 2004 in Bend, Oregon, to build the Epic LT single turboprop cabin airplane as a kit, with factory assistance available. Schrameck intended to certify the LT and also to produce a large range of kit and certified turboprops and jets, but he never got beyond delivering a few LT kits. In August 2009 the landlord seized the plant for non-payment of rent. There were, of course, many reports of "financial irregularities". In September of 2009 founder Schrameck was fired by the company's board and the company entered Chapter 11 reorganization and when that wasn't successful, finally Chapter 7 liquidation.

An irate group of seven kit owners who had been building their aircraft at the plant formed the LT Builders Group and made a bid for the company. So did the Chinese government, as the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd, which announced that they planned to move the operation to China. In the end the court awarded ownership to both jointly, with the company ordered to remain in Bend.

The new venture seemed to be working out okay and CEO Doug King announced in the summer of 2010 that production was on and that they were taking orders.

Then this week came the announcement that Epic had been sold to Engineering LLC, a Russian company.

The Epic Aircraft press release is, of course, full of all the right positive-sounding noises, like "The move allows Engineering LLC to leverage Epic Aircraft’s leading kit aircraft manufacturing knowledge and will allow Epic to expand its services and offerings to a more global audience." But there are far more questions than answers here.

King is still the CEO, so the LT Builders Group influence seems to still be there, but what happened to the Chinese involvement? Did they decide that it was a poor investment? Did they not get along with the US partners? Was the order to leave everything in Bend not going to work for them? There is no mention of them at all in any of the stories on the Russian purchase. The Chinese government has been very methodical in buying North American aerospace companies, so if they sold out their portion there was probably a very good reason for it.

So what is in store for Epic? I suppose time will tell. I have been looking for even one example of a foreign company buy-out where Russian ownership has worked out well and I am still looking. Perhaps Epic will be that sterling example?

Further reading:

* AVweb story
* Portland Business Journal story
* Wikipedia

06 March 2012

Canadian Light Aircraft Equip Ecuadorian Air Force

The Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana has taken delivery of the first six of twelve Diamond Aircraft DA20-C1s that will be used as military pilot trainers in the equatorial South American nation.

Diamond built the military trainers at their Canadian plant in London, Ontario, showing that the company is quickly bouncing back from its financial woes in early 2011 under its new ownership by Medrar Financial Group of Dubai.

The twelve aircraft sale includes maintenance training, as well as operational training and a technical support package.

(Diamond Aircraft press release photo)

* Diamond Aircraft Press Release

05 March 2012

Ottawa International Drastically Raises Landing Fees on GA Aircraft

In late 2011 the Ottawa International Airport Authority proposed changing landing fees for light aircraft in an attempt to recover money spent on the north field, the general aviation part of the airport.

A meeting was held between the airport authority and the two flying schools, Ottawa Flying Club and Ottawa Aviation Services, with Kevin Psutka from COPA representing itinerant aircraft. The current fee structure has seen visiting aircraft charged a $30 landing fee, while private and school aircraft are charged a $30 per month and $100 per month flat-rate basing fee respectively. The airport authority claims that the non-capital operations and maintenance costs for the the north field are $59 per landing and that the airline operations at Ottawa are subsidizing GA. Airport authority CEO Paul Benoit explains, "The increase, the first in 10 years is not related to the 2 million plus cost of resurfacing 04/22, that was paid thru our AIF which the North Field does not in any way contribute to. Rent and PILT which the Government assesses one entire campus is not charged to North Field, the increase does not cover full O & M cost of the North Field, the commercial operation subsidizes all of those costs."

The airport authority proposed a flat $20 landing fee for all aircraft landings, (with touch-and-goes exempted) to replace the monthly school and private aircraft basing fees and visiting aircraft landing fee. On 9 November 2011 the airport authority asked the schools and COPA to provide alternate proposals to the airport authority's concept by the end of January 2012.

The airport authority's proposal would lower the cost for visiting aircraft, but dramatically raise it for Ottawa-based private and school aircraft. By COPA's estimates under the airport authority's proposal school costs would rise about 15% per flight. According to COPA this "will significantly affect their business". While the lowering of the visiting aircraft fee from $30 to $20 sounds attractive, in fact visiting aircraft have largely already abandoned CYOW due to the high fees and this reduced fee is still too high to lure their business back. Psutka explains, "for the transient private aircraft owner, the combination of landing fees and NAVCAN departure fee was already keeping most away from the airport so increasing landing fees from their current levels would only further discourage private transient aircraft from using the airport...it is a proven fact that most private aircraft owners will make decisions to avoid an airport when the landing fee is more than $10."

Airport Authority CEO Benoit stated on 23 February 2012, "We have reached out several times to work with the North Field tenants to get input on how to mitigate the costs of the North Field, we have had no response, we are still ready the receive any and all concrete proposals that would mitigate or eliminate this increase." In response to the request for alternatives COPA responded, but neither of the two schools did before the airport authority's final fee announcement deadline of 1 March 2012 and so, given the lack of input by those most affected, the airport authority has announced it will implement the $20 landing fee on 1 May 2012, having given the required 60 day notice.

Psutka's response to the airport authority underlines the key issues:

"Regarding private aircraft that are parked at the north field, most are doing so under arrangements at either OAS or OFC, so I said that I would leave it to OAS and OFC to develop a proposal for fees that would minimize the impact on those users."

"I also stated at the meeting that the key to increasing revenue from the north field, rather than focusing on landing fees, is to encourage aviation businesses to locate and thrive there so that income from rents and other income sources could reduce the need to increase landing fees. This has been COPA's long-standing position."

"Finally, I mentioned that there should be some accounting for the income that the airport realizes from the sale and or lease of property at the north field for non-aviation uses. If this income was taken into account, the costs attributed to the north field could to a large extent be countered by what I can only imagine is a significant source of revenue for the airport, thereby reducing the perceived need to increase landing fees."

"I trust that this summary of COPA's key points will serve as our proposal for dealing with your cost issues and help you conclude that if you want private aircraft to use the facility, increasing landing fees will not accomplish this goal."

With this fee now a "done-deal" for implementation on 1 May 2012, Psutka indicated that he believes that this new fee will result in reduced overall income to the airport authority, not increased income as aircraft and business leave the airport. He stated "The market will now decide whether or not the fee is acceptable."