31 January 2015

Special Event For Kevin Psutka

by Jack Hawley, Director, Communications and Advertising, The Cornwall Flying Club/COPA Flight 59

The Cornwall Flying Club/ COPA Flight 59 will be hosting a very special event to honour the work of our COPA President, Kevin Psutka who will be retiring soon.

Please reserve the April 18, 2015 and consider attending this most auspicious occasion to show our respect and gratitude for all that Kevin has done on behalf of the members of COPA and indeed for Canadian General Aviation in general.

  • Date: Saturday, 18 April 2015
  • Cocktails: 1700 hrs, Dinner at 1800 hrs
  • Location: Best Western Parkway Inn & Conference Centre, 1515 Vincent Massey Drive, Cornwall
  • Cost: ~$35‐40/person

If you are interested in attending please send an e‐mail to me and I will send you the tickets.

28 January 2015

US Customs and Border Protection Updates Border-Crossing Documents

Dianna Sullivan, the General Aviation Program Manager-Operations, Office of Field Operations, CBP Headquarters recently announced that new versions of several border-crossing documents giving guidance for private aircraft have been written. These documents give the latest procedures for flying into the US.

Sullivan wrote:

We have updated the Airports list and the Service Providers list along with republishing and updating the Private Air guide. Please check the FAQ section of the Private Air Guide, we were able to include some recurring issues that have been brought up to CBP’s attention recently.

The new documents are all found on the CBP Pleasure Boats and Private Flyers page. This include:

External links

27 January 2015

Heather Sifton Last Flight

by Jeff Page, COPA Flight 70, Oshawa

Heather Sifton passed away Friday January 23rd.

The Sifton family has asked that the news be shared with the aviation community. Heather was a strong supporter of the Buttonville Airport and the Buttonville Flying Club.

The funeral was a low-key, private, family affair, not open to the public.

External links

24 January 2015

Kevin Psutka Reveals Plans

by Kevin Psutka

After 18 great years at COPA I have decided to move on. Please see the announcement of my retirement from COPA and my farewell message to members.

The COPA Board is seeking a new President and CEO (the ad will be available on the front page of the COPA website), and in the interim the CEO will be Trekker Armstrong, COPA Chair, assisted by COPA Director Jean Messier.

My last day in the office is 28 January 2015. As of 29 January, any email for the President and CEO should be sent to president@copanational.org and it will be responded to as soon as possible. kpsutka@copanational.org will be deactivated.

As of 2 March 2015 I will be employed as a Safety and Security Representative at the Air Line Pilots Association International.

Media Contact

21 January 2015

Upcoming Crystal Sissons Book Signing

By Jay Hunt, Volunteer Tour Guide Lead, Vintage Wings of Canada

During tours of the Vintage Wings aircraft, when we stop at our Hurricane MK XII restoration project we make a point of talking about how Elsie MacGill became the first female electrical engineer in Canada when she graduated from the University of Toronto and was the first woman in the world to earn a Master’s degree in aeronautical engineering and the first woman to be admitted to the Engineering Institute of Canada. We tell how she set up an assembly line at Canadian Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario (now part of Thunder Bay) that produced over 1,450 Hurricanes for the WWII war effort.

We neglect to mention that following the war she became a tireless advocate for women’s rights. She was a member of the Ontario Status of Women Committee (an affiliate of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women), and served as a commissioner on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada . She was awarded the Order of Canada for her work on women’s rights in 1971.

The full story of this amazing woman is now told in a new book “Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie MacGill” by Gatineau author Crystal Sissons. Crystal is a history Ph.D. graduate of the University of Ottawa who works in the social sciences and humanities field. She is an active member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Ottawa.

Please join us in welcoming Crystal to the VWC hangar on Saturday, January 31 from 1 to 3 PM. She will begin at 1 PM with a brief talk on Elsie’s life followed by a discussion. She will then sign books until 3:00 PM.

External links

12 January 2015

Call for Presentations – Aviation History Convention

By Dr. Richard Goette, CAHS National Vice- President, 2015 Convention Co-Chair and Jim Bell, CAHS National Secretary, 2015 Convention Co-Chair

The Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) is holding its 2015 convention in Hamilton, Ontario, from 17-21 June, at the "Courtyard Marriott Hotel. The theme will be "Celebrating Canada's Aviation Industry" with sessions exploring civilian and military topics.

This convention is open to all – university students, aerospace industry professionals, academics, military personnel, professionals in aviation or heritage industries, and aviation enthusiasts of every kind. International presenters are also welcome. Our focus will be on history, but we welcome proposals addressing the current aerospace industry and those utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches. Presentations should be 30 minutes in length and may be formal academic papers or informal talks. Power point will be available.

As part of the CAHS 52nd Annual Convention, the conference will include a trip to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum for its annual Father's Day weekend flying event plus other aviation-related events and activities. Held near the Hamilton International Airport and only a short distance from Canada's primary aviation hub, Toronto Pearson International Airport, a variety of exciting local and regional (Toronto/Niagara Falls) activities promise to make your trip worthwhile.

If you are interested in participating in our convention, please send a short proposal and a short biography (one page each max.) to Richard Goette and Jim Bell at CAHSHamilton2015@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is 15 February 2015.

Please feel free to forward and post this message widely!

External links

11 January 2015

Pontiac Airpark Project Ends

André Durocher, the driving force behind the Pontiac Airpark, recently announced that he has ended the project.

The 550 acre residential fly-in community was slated to have included not only a large number of home lots, but also a club house, two runways and a seaplane base on the Ottawa River. There is also an existing equestrian facility next door.

The project was conceived back about 2003 by Durocher, a land surveyor, as a place for people to build homes and park their aircraft in their own hangars, next to their houses. The airpark was to have been located west of Ottawa, on the north side of the Ottawa River in Quebec.

By the summer of 2011 the two perpendicular runways had been completed and gravelled in, with a plan to pave them later. The water aerodrome facilities for floatplanes on the Ottawa River adjacent were commenced and registered with Transport Canada.

Construction on the first residential lots at the airpark project had started in December 2011, with the intention that home building would commence in the spring of 2012. In February 2012 an additional 85 acres of land, located immediately north of the airpark project and north of the River Road, was acquired. This parcel became the Elevage Fabie equestrian facility, which was opened in the fall of 2012. By March 2012 a further 130 acres to the west of the airpark's location was added, with the intention of making it available for a golf course, hotel, restaurant and spa. Also in March 2012 the mayor of the Municipality of Pontiac endorsed the project. In February 2013 seven more parcels of land from the former Canadian Pacific Railway line property were added to the project. The intention was to construct trails for horseback riding, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and allow greater access to the surrounding countryside.

In having to terminate the project Durocher said, "unfortunately, after 12 years of great efforts I only sold one (1) lot so I decided to close the project." He stated that the land the residential airpark was to have occupied has been already been sold. Durocher indicates that he doesn't think the new owner will quickly develop the property, but will likely hold it as a long-term investment.

07 January 2015

Book Review: Polar Winds - A Century of Flying the North

  • Polar Winds - A Century of Flying the North
  • By Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
  • Published by Dundurn Press, Toronto
  • 7" X 10" softcover
  • 224 pages including index, bibliography, notes and glossary
  • $28.99

Polar Winds - A Century of Flying the North is Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail's second book, following on the success of For the Love of Flying: The Story of Laurentian Air Services. Polar Winds was launched late in 2014.

In taking on the story of aviation in Canada's north, Metcalfe-Chenail was left with some choices. She decided to make 60 degree north her latitude cut-off, recognizing its arbitrary nature. She also recognized that covering the complete history of northern aviation would be a daunting task. In the book's introduction she notes that Polar Winds is "not an exhaustive history, but a representative one." She has attempted to tell the key stories and also stories that typify northern aviation, intentionally making sure that people usually left out of these sorts of histories, such as women and native people, have their stories included as well. The book is profusely illustrated, using a wide range of period photographs and a much-needed two page map of the north.

In researching this book Metcalfe-Chenail proved no armchair historian, preferring to walk the ground and dig up the stories first hand. While working on this book she lived for three months at the Berton House Writer's Retreat in Dawson City, wading through northern archives and libraries, as well as interviewing people. She also travelled throughout the north, flying on Air North's turboprop airliners to places like Whitehorse, Dawson City and Old Crow. She flew on Buffalo Airway's antique DC-3s and Norseman bush-planes in the summer and winter, piloted on occasion by "Buffalo" Joe McBryan himself. She saw ice fog over the Mackenzie Delta, as well as the midnight sun.

History books like this are specialist publications and doing all that travel, spending the time writing and doing research over such a wide area wouldn't make sense without the financial support the author received from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Edmonton Arts Council and the Fox Moth Society of Yellowknife. Her publisher, Dundurn Press of Toronto, is also supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

The book starts with stories of the Klondike gold rush during the last years of the 19th century, when Dawson City filled up with prospectors, miners and a lot of hangers-on, all looking to get rich. Travel to Dawson was a slow and perilous process with some people taking up to two years to get there from Edmonton. Many people sought to shorten the trip with air travel by balloon, airship and later airplane, although none succeeded until much later, after the gold rush was long done. The first person to fly over Dawson City was "Professor" John Leonard, who in 1899 shipped a balloon to the city and made several ascents and parachute jumps, all in exchange for passing the hat for donations. No other aeronaut did as well in the north.

Polar Winds continues with the stories of many northern aviators, like Dolar De Lagrave who flew a glider in Dawson City in 1927 and American barnstormer Clarence Prest who flew a Standard J-1 into the Yukon but was denied carrying passengers for hire for competitive reasons, not that there were any Canadians to compete with. The book goes on to cover many dozens of tales, including the RCAF's Hudson Strait expedition, the American Alaska Air Expedition, the mineral exploration boom of the 1930s, flying the mail, the flying fur trade and, of course, the manhunt for the Mad Trapper of Rat River, when aviation proved its worth and helped the Mounties get their man.

The book covers the exploits of not just individual pilots, but the RCAF, RCMP and other organizations that flew the north, including the Hudson's Bay Company. The stories of building both the poorly-planned Alaska Highway and the Canol Pipeline during the pressure of the Second World War are included, along with the Cold War defence stories, such as the building of the DEW line. The scourge of tuberculosis that ravaged native populations and required air travel to treatment facilities, is here as well. Metcalfe-Chenail doesn't shy away from the darker and more controversial uses of aviation, such as its part in taking native children to their fates at the residential schools. She also covers the story of Fred Carmichael, Canada's first indigenous pilot, as well as women aviators such as Lorna de Blicquy, who became the nation's first female Department of Transport inspector following a career flying up north.

While not dwelling excessively on the hazards, Metcalfe-Chenail also includes a chapter on some famous crashes, searches and survival stories, plus some stories of wrecks that had less positive outcomes, some being found only years later. She gives coverage to helicopters and ultralights employed in the north as well.

Polar Winds - A Century of Flying the North is definitely a worthwhile addition to any aviator's bookshelf.

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail continues to write in her current position as Edmonton's Historian Laureate.

External links

04 January 2015

Canadian Private Fleet Growth Slows Further In 2014

The Canadian private civil aircraft fleet continued to grow in 2014, but at a very slow rate, one that was lowest since 2001 and worse than at any time during the recession of 2008-10.

In 2008 the fleet grew at a peak rate of 3.2%. By 2012 it was down to just 1.96%, dropping to 1.92% in 2013 and now 1.21% in 2014.

The numbers seem 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, plus demographic factors involving an aging pilot population. As in all recent years, the fact that the fleet has continued to grow at all and not shrink is probably due to the persistently high asking prices for used aircraft in Canada. The US economy and its dollar remained somewhat weak through early 2014 and the Canadian dollar only fell precipitously with oil prices late in the year. With the Canadian dollar now at 85 cents US, Canadian aircraft asking prices in US dollars may have dropped enough to reduce the recent year's cross-border aircraft shopping spree which has driven up the overall number of aircraft registered in 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 2014 the total Canadian civil fleet increased in size by 296, compared to 538 in 2013. In 2014 the private segment of the fleet once again accounted for all the growth seen, increasing by 349, while the commercial aircraft fleet shrank by 49 aircraft and the state fleet, those aircraft owned by the various levels of government in Canada, shrank by four aircraft. While private aviation is growing very slowly, state and commercial aviation both got smaller in 2014.

Certified Aircraft

Certified aircraft have been leading the growth in private aircraft for a number of years, including in 2013, but lost that lead to basic ultralights in 2014, probably because as the US dollar climbed it made importing aircraft more expensive. The numbers dropped in 2014 with 103 certified aircraft added, notably down from 2013's total of 187.

In 2014 the new additions to the certified fleet were made up of 66 airplanes, 40 helicopters and 1 balloon while the number of gliders was reduced by four. Certified aircraft accounted for 30% of the private fleet growth in 2014. There were 16,396 private certified aircraft at the end of 2014, out of a total of 29,162 private aircraft registered.

Basic Ultralights

BULAs were by far the quickest growing area of private aviation in 2014. In 2014 the category increased by 135 aircraft and accounted for 38% of the private fleet growth. There were 5,915 BULAs registered at the end of 2014. The enduring attraction of this category is undoubtedly its relatively low cost.


Amateur-builts were in the number three position again in 2014, increasing by 67 aircraft, down from an increase of 90 in 2013 and 98 in 2012. In 2014 the aircraft added were made up of 65 airplanes, four helicopters and four balloons, while the number of helicopters and airships decreased by four each. The number of gyroplanes remained unchanged at a total of 183. Amateur-builts made up 19% of the aircraft added to the private fleet in 2014.

Amateur builts now number 4,136 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 26 aircraft in 2014, up from the 22 added in 2013, leaving the category in fourth spot once again ahead of advanced ultralights. By the end of 2014, there were 631 O-M aircraft on the registry, made up of 615 airplanes and 16 gliders. O-M aircraft made up 7% of the aircraft added to the private fleet in 2014.

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. Overall this category continues to stagger along with a low degree of interest from owners.

Advanced Ultralights

Advanced Ultralights remained in fifth place for growth in 2014, increasing their numbers by only 17 airplanes, the same number added in 2013. Their growth in numbers in 2014 made up 5% of the private fleet increase and brought the total number of AULAs on the civil register to 1,210. By the category definition, all AULAs are powered, fixed wing aircraft.

The AULA category was introduced in 1991 and therefore 2014 was its 23rd year. The category has increased its numbers at an average of 52 aircraft per year 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 2014 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 2014 the commercial aircraft fleet decreased by 49 aircraft to bring it down to 6,964. The numbers show an decrease of 21 airplanes and 29 helicopters, with no increases in any category.

In round numbers, at the end of 2014 the private fleet made up 80% of the aircraft in Canada, with the commercial fleet at 19% and the state fleet at 0.7%, all basically unchanged from 2013. As commercial aviation fails to grow or even shrinks over time private aviation is making up a greater proportion of the fleet.

Imports & Exports

Aircraft imports into Canada in 2014 numbered 619, which was down from 669 in 2013 and well below the 968 imported during the pre-recession days of 2008. In 2014, 850 aircraft were exported, giving a difference of 231 favouring exported aircraft over those imported.

Looking at 2014

World oil prices dropped below US$60 per barrel late in 2014 taking the Canadian dollar with it, as the world markets were temporarily over-supplied with oil. Oddly, while automotive gasoline prices dropped, avgas generally didn't, or at least hadn't yet by year end, often leaving it almost twice the price of car gas. If avgas prices do drop in 2015 this may encourage more flying to take place, but there is also a real risk in 2015 or 2016 of a sudden increase in oil prices, as the far eastern economies recover and demand surges in the face of a current loss of oil capital investment and the resulting supply shortages.

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 2013 and 31 December 2014. 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.