19 December 2012

Foreign Takeovers - Ultralight Style

I have written here about the recent and extensive buy-out of the North American aerospace industry by middle-eastern and far eastern interests before. It is always interesting to note this business trend and how North American investors just won't go near their own aircraft manufacturers, while foreign investors, especially Chinese investors, will.

Recently I discovered that the Flightstar Sportplanes website was up for sale and after a web search turned up no news at all I wrote to owner Tom Peghiny to find out what that meant.

Thousands of Flightstars have been built and flown since the type was introduced in 1987. They are very popular in the USA where the single seaters can qualify under FAR 103 Ultralight Vehicles rules.

It seems that Flightstar's business dropped off in the early part of the 2008-2010 recession, to the point of mostly just supplying parts and few new aircraft. A contributing factor was the introduction of the US light-sport aircraft rules and the elimination of the two-seat trainer exemption under FAR 103.

Flightstar Sportplanes had been working with Yuneec International of Kunshan, Jiangsu, China on an electric version of the the FlightStar Spyder, called the eSpyder and it seemed a promising aircraft for the future. Flightstar provided the airframe and Yuneec the drivetrain.

When Flightstar sales dropped off Yuneec bought out the Flightstar aircraft line in 2009, including the rights, tooling and the parts inventory. Flightstar Sportplanes business was quietly wound up the same year, with neither company putting out a press release on the deal. The aviation press seems to have missed it altogether.

Yuneec is engaged in developing the single seat eSpyder, and they now have a web page on it that explains design changes coming:

"The already efficient and lightweight airframe, made from aircraft grade aluminium, Carbon Fibre and Chrome-Moly tubing, will be further enhanced with wing tip extensions, new body design and numerous other changes to allow operation under FAR-103 whilst using the Yuneec 20Kw (27Hp) ‘Electric’ Power Drive motor system. Easy to use, extremely quiet, virtually vibration free, low cost operation and environmentally friendly Electric power is the future and E-Spyder leads the way."

Perhaps the two seat Flightstar II model will be re-introduced with one of Yuneec's own brand of Power Drive electric engines as well.

So even on the very light end of aviation it once again looks like Chinese investors have moved in where no one else will, kept existing products flying and continued innovative development.

Here is how the foreign ownership list now looks:

  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Diamond Aircraft - majority owned by Medrar Financial Group, Dubai
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Flightstar Sportplanes - rights, tooling and parts inventory purchased by Yuneec International, China
  • Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
  • International Lease Finance Corp - 90% New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China

Who will be next?

12 December 2012

Nav Canada Study of Ottawa TCA Airspace Underway

Note: This post is a follow up to the earlier article: Nav Canada to Conduct Study of Ottawa TCA Airspace

COPA Flight 8 Captain Mike Shaw remains the contact person for Flight 8's input into this study, so please send your comments to him or, better yet post them here for discussion.

Message from COPA

Patrick Gilligan, Vice President, Operations, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association writes:

"Nav Canada is proposing airspace change to the region of Ottawa and Quebec from currently class D airspace specified as transponder airspace to reclassify as class C airspace. The purpose is to eliminate conflict between IFR and VFR aircraft. For complete details see the message/invitation for comments below and the included document.

  • Class D specified as transponder airspace, requires bilateral communication with appropriate ATC, the pilot’s intended flight and an encoding transponder.
  • Class C requires authorization from ATC, bilateral communication with appropriate ATC with the pilot’s intended flight and an encoding transponder.

Message from Nav Canada

Yan Tremblay, Nav Canada writes:

As per the Oct 30th, 2012 notices of aeronautical study for the review of the structure and classification of the Ottawa TCA and Quebec City TCA/CZ, Nav Canada initially met with COPA, APBQ and AQTA on Nov 30th to provide details on the proposed changes and search feedback from their executive and membership.

This document is distributed to support the association’s internal briefing. Feedback is to be provided directly to the following point of contact no later than Jan 7th, 2013.

Nav Canada will soon after schedule local consultation meetings at Ottawa and Quebec City for a broader feedback.

Yan Tremblay
Shift Manager
Montréal Area Control Centre
Nav Canada
1750 Chemin St Francois
Dorval, QC
H9P 2P6
Phone: (514) 633-3365
Fax: (514) 633-3371

Nav Canada Ottawa/Québec Airspace Change Proposal

COPA – APBQ – AQTA Briefing, November 30, 2012

As per the Oct 30, 2012 notices of aeronautical study for the review of the structure and classification of the Ottawa TCA and Quebec City TCA/CZ, Nav Canada initially met with COPA, APBQ and AQTA on Nov 30 to provide details on the proposed changes and search feedback from their executive and membership.

This document is distributed to support the association’s internal briefing. Feedback is to be provided directly to the following point of contact no later than Jan 7, 2013.

Nav Canada will soon after schedule local consultation meetings at Ottawa and Quebec City for a broader feedback.


(Refer to the attached depictions)

  • IFR/VFR conflicts are frequent and repeating occurrences in this airspace. The current “D” airspace classification does not support systematic conflict resolution between IFR and VFR aircraft. Consequently Nav Canada is opting for changing the TCA and CZ classification to “C” (ref RAC 801.02).
  • INSET A: Floor raised from 3500’ to 4500’ to reflect the actual use of the airspace and relieve VFR compression
  • INSET B: The frequency range in this quadrant is affected by terrain. Broken communications are often experienced. Raising the floor from 1400’ to 2500’ will mitigate the issue.
  • INSET C: Floor raised from 1400’ to 2500’ to reflect the actual use of the airspace and relieve VFR compression
  • INSET D: Floor raised from 1400’ to 1500’ to relieve VFR compression especially at CNV9 and CST7
  • INSET E: Floor raised from 3500’ to 4000’ to relieve VFR compression and allow for the CYA616 alternative
  • INSET F: Withdrawal and replacement of the Class F CYA616 airspace and surrounding Class D airspace (when CYA616 is not active) by a Class E transponder required airspace from 2000’ to below 4000’.

Through the use of radar, ATC will provide wake turbulence separation between IFR and VFR aircraft operating within the transponder required Class E airspace through mandatory ATC operating procedures. VFR training operation will not be impacted by the change neither required to be in contact with ATC.

IFR traffic operating in the southern portion of the Quebec airspace will benefit from additional altitude options when conditions dictate (ie CB, turbulence, icing, IFR conflicts)

The Class E airspace final dimensions still need to be defined through consultations with customers.


  • IFR/VFR conflicts are frequent and repeating occurrences in this airspace. The current “D” airspace classification does not support systematic conflict resolution between IFR and VFR aircraft. Consequently Nav Canada is opting for changing the TCA classification to “C” (ref RAC 801.02).
  • INSET A: Floor raised from 2500’ to 4000’ over the CYND Class E airspace, north of the powerline for allowing VFR traffic to exit the CYND airspace without entering the Class C airspace (formerly D).
  • INSET B: VFR aircraft transiting to/from practice area (yellow arrows) elect to stay on the ATC frequency while operating below the current 2500’ Class D airspace south of the YOW VOR. VFR aircraft transiting below the current 2500’ Class D airspace south of the YOW VOR (red arrow) are not on the ATC frequency.

This results in conflicts within the same airspace between VFR aircraft on separate frequencies. Locally changing the floor from 2500’ to 1500’ will ensure the CYOW – Practice Area flow is operated entirely under the same airspace rules during the transition to and from the CZ.

CYOW Noise Management Committee

Noise is not a big issue for Ottawa’s International Airport. Sure there was a considerable bump in noise complaints during the summer while runway 07-25 was being resurfaced. During that period most traffic was handled on runway 14-32 thereby routing it over populated areas of the city that normally see fewer aircraft. In fact, excluding the 151 complaints generated during resurfacing 07-25, there was about 61 complaints generated during normal operations using both runways 07-25 and 14-32. This compares well with previous years complaints.

That said, there were some very angry folks affected by noise during the resurfacing of 07-25. One somewhat childish complainer would hold the phone to the air to pick up a passing jet and then yell a profanity into the phone. The complaints extended across Gatineau, QC and in the highly populated approach and departure paths to runway 14-32.

Still with all runways in operation the dominate aircraft type generating most complaints is the light Cessna used for flight training. And for these aircraft it is their circuit over populated regions that generates the complaints. The other activity that generates significant noise complaints are police operations which tend to circle at relatively low altitude over a small area for considerable time, even at night.

2014 will see runway 14-32 resurfaced, but it is expected to generate fewer noise complaints than happened this summer. There may be some impact on long haul flights from Ottawa that need the extra length provided by use of runway 14-32. So we may see slightly fewer long haul flights and perhaps some passenger complaints about less convenient flights. Of course these complaints will fall on the airlines.

This is rough summary of the Noise Management Committee meeting I attended this afternoon at the airport. If you have a comment or concern do not hesitate to contact me.

10 December 2012

Chinese Consortium to Buy International Lease Finance Corp

International Lease Finance Corp (ILFC) is a big name, in fact the biggest name in airliner leasing globally and it is on the block to be sold.

ILFC is owned by American International Group (AIG) and they are looking to sell a 90% stake in the company to New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund. AIG needs the money from the sale, as they owe $182 billion to the US government for its bailout of AIG in 2008. It sounds like a motivated sale.

ILFC may be the biggest, but the fleet of aircraft they own is not the newest, in fact Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group referred to the new owners as becoming "a curator of an old jet museum."

So what gives? Could this consortium just be looking to coast on ILFC's reputation in the airline industry? Somehow I doubt it. Chinese business is always on the move and I suspect they will want to modernize the leasing fleet and the company itself. I have a feeling they are thinking of Chinese airline expansion, too.

This is not a small Chinese purchase, like Epic Aircraft or even Cirrus was. This purchase could be a global game changer in the world airliner business, depending how it plays out.

Once again Chinese investors show that they not only have the money, but also the verve to go big and buy what no one else seems to want to risk. As time goes by the aerospace world is looking increasingly Chinese these days!

Here is how the foreign ownership list now looks:

  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Diamond Aircraft - majority owned by Medrar Financial Group, Dubai
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
  • International Lease Finance Corp - 90% New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China

So who will be next?

06 December 2012

Equestrian Centre moves in beside Pontiac Airpark

By Andrea Cranfield, Editor, The Equity
Quyon, November 14, 2012
(Reprinted with permission)

Fifty-three horses were moved onto an 85 acre farm at the beginning of September right beside the Pontiac Airpark in Luskville.

Owners of the horse farm, Michel Allen and his wife Claude Blanchette, and owner of the Pontiac Airpark André Durocher hope to work together to provide visitors with a positive experience in Pontiac.

Allen and Blanchette plan to offer their services to patrons of the Pontiac Airpark.

"We’re on Hwy. 148 and the air park is on River Road so the only thing between us and the air park is an old railway track that is removed and River Road...so we’re just back-to-back with the Pontiac airport," said Allen.

The horse farm called Elevage Fabie, is known for breeding and boarding Canadian Horses.

"We have Canadians and there’s not that many breeders of Canadian horses, I’m telling you. The Canadian horse is the national horse of Canada, the best kept secret in Canada, I think. We’ve been in the business of breeding the Canadian horse for about 12 years now," said Allen.

Prior to moving the business to Luskville, Elevage Fabie was based in Aylmer with Allen renting land for the horses.

"To me it was a better idea to move and buy a place of our own," said Allen.

He thought the move would be a good opportunity to be a part of the air park expansion.

Durocher is pleased that Allen and Blanchette have purchased the land beside the air park so that pilots can go horseback riding while waiting to fly.

"This farm was for sale for a few years and I worked hard to find someone to buy it to offer the equestrian centre services because it’s going to be good for my clients," said Durocher. "There are many projects like that in the states where you can see the airplanes and the horses all together in the same spot."

Besides giving riding lessons, trail rides, hay and sleigh rides, participating in horse shows and breeding Canadian horses at the new location, Allen said he can transport people to and from the air park.

The first step in expanding the Pontiac Airpark, according to Durocher, was to add the equestrian centre. Next, he hopes there will be more buyers that purchase land next to the air park who will eventually build a golf course, hotel, restaurant and spa.

"It’s going to be a 500 acre project … It’s going to attract tourists. You land on the runway, and you bring your plane to the hotel and then you can play golf, you can go with horses, you can go on the Ottawa River, sailing, boating, skiing, fishing," said Durocher.

Allen said one of his main goals is to get people hooked on the Canadian horse.

"They’re exceptional horses...We’ve sold horses in France, we’ve sold them in the U.S. and all over Quebec and Ontario. We have horses all over the place. We hope to (spread the word) because the Canadian horse is almost extinct," he said adding, "In 1970, there was only 400 (purebred) horses left, and now thanks to a few crazy people like me, we have about 4,500 to 6,000 registered horses."

20 November 2012

COPA's 60th Anniversary

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

An excellent 25 minute slide show narrated by COPA President and CEO Kevin Psutka is now available online.

This 77 slide presentation covers the humble beginnings of COPA and how it grew to become the largest Aviation Association in Canada.

Learn about important statistics regarding personal aviation going back 60 years to better understand trends of our future.

Sixth Anniversary COPA Presentation

14 November 2012

Remembering Dennis Pharoah Night

Where: Riverside Pub, 3673 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1G8, Phone: 613-733-8459
When: 29 November 19:00 to 21:00

COPA Flight 8 remembers Dennis Pharoah. All are welcome to come and share your Dennis experiences.

As many of you may know, several of us accompanied Dennis to the Riverside after Flight 8 meetings for a session of hangar flying. Dennis' brother Jon Pharaoh will join us. He wants to meet Dennis' flying friends and hear their Dennis Stories.

See you there!

09 November 2012

Nav Canada to Conduct Study of Ottawa TCA Airspace

COPA Flight 8 Captain Mike Shaw will be the contact person for Flight 8's input into this study, so please send your comments to him or, better yet post them here for discussion.

30 October 2012

Notice Of Aeronautical Study - Review Of The Structure And Classification Of The Ottawa Terminal Control Area

Nav Canada will be undertaking an aeronautical study to review the structure and classification of the Ottawa terminal control area.

As the provider of civil air navigation services, NAV CANADA regularly reviews its services to ensure that they match the requirements of aircraft operators. The study will involve consultation with customers and other stakeholders. A hazard and risk analysis will be conducted on any proposed changes.

Further information is available on the NAV CANADA web site page Windsor-Toronto-Montreal Airspace and Services Review.

Consultation on this proposal will be conducted during the fall of 2012. Persons wishing to be identified as stakeholders, wanting to obtain further information or interested in commenting on this study are invited to notify the study team leader identified below:

Yan Tremblay
Shift Manager
Montréal Area Control Centre
Nav Canada
1750 Chemin St Francois
Dorval, QC
H9P 2P6
Phone: (514) 633-3365
Fax: (514) 633-3371

30 October 2012

Hawker Beechcraft Buyout Off

As I previously reported Hawker Beechcraft was under offer to be purchased by Superior Aviation Beijing. The deal looked close to a done-deal in the middle of the summer, but it failed to be completed and Hawker Beechcraft is back to looking at emerging from bankruptcy on its own.

So what scuttled the deal? That depends of who you listen to. Different sources have each attributed it to:

  • national security concerns as "the company's defense operations were integrated with its civilian businesses that proved difficult to untangle"
  • "advisers in the U.S. had trouble negotiating with Chinese representatives unfamiliar with U.S. finance and bankruptcy law."
  • CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, Steve Miller, had attributed the failure to "China-bashing by U.S. presidential candidates may have contributed to failure of the talks"
  • A press release from Hawker Beechcraft simply said that, "the proposed transaction with Superior could not be completed on terms acceptable to the company."

So what now?

The company has indicated that it plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection as a stand-alone company and will be renamed Beechcraft Corporation. The new entity will focus on the company's most profitable products, which will mean piston aircraft manufacturing and refurbishing older aircraft, including turboprop and diesel upgrades for piston planes. In other words ending jet production.

The latest news this week is that the Beechcraft Premier will be produced as a single engine turboprop design with seating for up to 11 passengers, that looks remarkably like a Pilatus PC-12.

It will be interesting to see what happens over time as the company emerges from bankruptcy protection.

27 October 2012

Flight 8 Member Killed in Collision

Longtime COPA Flight 8 member Dennis Pharoah, 49, died when the car he was driving collided with a tree on Cavan Street, between Raven Avenue and Larose Street. The collision happened shortly after 4 pm on Wednesday 24 October 2012. Ottawa Police indicated speed was a factor in the collision.

Pharoah was involved in aviation for most of his life, flying single and twin-engined airplanes for both recreation and professionally. He worked in aviation as well, as an Accident Investigation Technician for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada laboratory at the Ottawa International Airport, specializing in the analysis of Flight Data Recorders and Cockpit Voice Recorders.

Flight 8 members will always remember Pharoah for his insightful and penetrating questions directed at speakers at the flight's meetings and also for his habit of being the last flight member to arrive. When Dennis showed up the meeting could then begin, although sometimes Flight Captain Mike Shaw would jump the gun and start the meeting without Dennis.

Pharoah was also an avid curler, playing on the Flight 8 Curling Team. He played Second on the Flight 8 team that were runners up in section B of the 2012 ATC Bonspiel held in Niagara Falls in April 2012.

Dennis's presence as a member of Flight 8 will be greatly missed.


Media report:

18 October 2012

New Edition of the Aeronautical Information Manual

The latest edition of the Aeronautical Information Manual from Transport Canada is now available!

The AIM was at one time the AIP and only available on paper. Today is it primarily an on-line publication, with html versions of each chapter on the TC website and also the full book available as a free PDF download. VIP Pilot Centre also offer a paper version for sale for $19.95.

The AIM is released twice a year, in April and October. This new version includes many illustrations now in colour.

13 October 2012



Civil Aviation Issues Reporting System (CAIRS) is a new system put in place by Transport Canada. Transport’s website says, “The CAIRS provides our stakeholders, including our clients and the public, with a means to raise issues (concerns, complaints, compliments, and suggestions for improvement) to the Civil Aviation Program of Transport Canada.” http://bit.ly/RonR6d

Well, I tried it and I am disappointed with the results, at least when compared to how well Nav Canada replies to queries. Since hearing about CAIRS at a Transport Canada safety seminar (http://bit.ly/RonFUy) in Ottawa last month I have posed a couple of queries but had no response, not even acknowledgement that they were received.

The CAIRS process requires filing-in an MS Word document that one can download, fill in and send to CAIRS email address, CAIRS_NCR@tc.gc.ca. Alternatively one can download the same form as a “pdf” file and fill that in by hand and send it to the above-noted email address.

27 September I sent CAIRS their form indicating that pilots were being confused by the wording in the TC Airman’s Information Manual (AIM) on joining the circuit at uncontrolled airports. The substance of my comments were based on my blog posting, http://bit.ly/Roo1L1. This confusion was amplified by the discussions at the above-noted safety seminar.

Also on 27 September I copied CAIRS on my note to Nav Canada suggesting they eliminate the VFR reporting point called Rockcliffe Park, adjacent to Rockcliffe Airport and close to restricted airspace over Rideau Hall (CYR 538).

On 28 September Nav Canada confirmed by email that they had received my query and told me who would be handling it. On 5 October Nav Canada replied by email that they agreed with my analysis and would be eliminating the Rockcliffe Park reporting point, see http://bit.ly/Roo9tY.

CAIRS has yet to acknowledge my queries. Transport Canada should at least let their “stakeholders, including our clients and the public” know that they received a query and what their intentions are with respect to it. In fact, why not put them all on the TC website so we can all see them and track activity and results?

The bottom line, Nav Canada gets an “A” for excellence, Transport Canada CAIRS less.

Nonetheless, I thank Transport Canada Civil Aviation Inspectors Oonagh Elliott and Claude Hurley for delivering a stimulating safety seminar for COPA Flight 8 on 26 September 2012.

11 October 2012

Oonagh Elliott Answers Questions

Transport Canada Civil Aviation Safety Inspector Oonagh Elliott made a note of some questions asked by attendees at the Safety Seminar that was presented as COPA Flight 8's September meeting.

Here are the questions and the answers:

1) Radio Licence:

Pilots are required to have a radio-telephone operators' certificate when operating an aircraft radio. One attendee indicated that his certificate was included in his old paper licence. However, as that licence is no longer valid, and he is using the Aviation Document Booklet, he should obtain a replacement radio certificate from Industry Canada. They will do this free of charge. What people in this situation need to do, is email their request to Industry Canada at spectrum.certificates@ic.gc.ca. They need to provide their full name, date of birth and mailing address.

2) MF, Standard Radio Calls @ 5 minutes

The five minute reference is contained in CAR 602.101 and it is qualified by a "where circumstances permit" statement.

3) IFR/VFR traffic at MF airport (VMC)

General procedures in the vicinity of an aerodrome are contained in CAR 602.96. MF procedures for VFR and IFR are contained in CAR 602.97 to 602.103 IFR procedures at uncontrolled airports are contained in CAR 602.104. This clarifies the fact that IFR aircraft are NOT required to conduct a VFR circuit when arriving at an uncontrolled airport. They have several options to choose from depending on the circumstances of the day. They are operating under IFR, which requires them to follow published IFR procedures, including published approach procedures. These procedures generally involve a straight in on final approach to the runway from an FAF. The pilot may choose to conduct a circling approach in some cases, which may or may not have a higher inherent risk in itself. He may alternately choose to cancel his IFR flight plan and then conduct a VFR arrival, however, once the flight plan is cancelled, the SAR portion also disappears, therefore, there is a higher inherent risk in this case also. The key is communication between all traffic to sort out any potential conflicts.

4) Transborder Flight Plans

Must be filed, and must be opened on departure. COPA/AOPA have both published guides relating to transborder flights.

5) ELT 406 Update?

No new information was available on this subject.

07 October 2012

Rockcliffe Park VFR Reporting Point to Go.

vta ow044For sometime I have wondered why there is VFR reporting point 1 mile west of Rockcliffe Airport only half a mile from Restricted airspace (CYR 538). I had never heard any pilot or air traffic controller use it. As well, there had been in increase in aircraft entering CYR 538 over Rideau Hall. It seemed to me that the VFR Reporting point might potentially sucker pilots into violating the restricted air space. This topic came up at a TC safety seminar in Ottawa.

I wrote to Nav Canada’s Services folks and suggested they eliminate the reporting point. They checked with ATC, Gatineau FSS, local flight schools and concluded that my suggestion made sense. Below is there reply.

“A submission has been made to remove the check point from the Ottawa VTA and the VTPCs in the CFS and Water Aerodrome Supplement (WAS). This change should be reflected in new Ottawa VTA due in February 2013, the Jan 10, 2013 CFS and the next WAS due March 7, 2013.”

Thanks for listening Nav Canada!

01 October 2012

What's Up With Landings?

Landings, or at least bad landings, seem to be making the aviation news lately. At Flight 8's recent Transport Canada Safety Seminar Claude Hurley & Oonagh Elliott pointed out that 53% of recent light aircraft accidents have been landing accidents and, of those, half were assessed as being due to lack of skill. Judgement only made up 25%, so lack of skill is twice the problem that judgement is at present.

On 30 September 2012 AVweb's Paul Bertorelli published a blog post entitled Johnny Can Read, But He Can't Land making some similar observations about the accident record in US Light-Sport Aircraft. He noted "The leading type of accident for most aircraft is what we call R-LOCs or runway loss of control. This broad category describes a multitude of aeronautical blunders—from crosswind-induced excursions, to drop-ins, to landing long or short or just running into stuff. (Runway lights, localizer bars and, yes, cows.)"

Why is it that lack of skill mostly shows up in landing accidents, rather than in other phases of flight? Bertorelli sums this up very succinctly "Of all the tasks in flying, landing requires the most refined motor skills and hand-eye coordination in reaction to a stream of subtle cues." In other words it is the hardest part of aircraft flight and a lack of skill will show up first and worst in landing accidents.

So why are pilots suddenly turning up with lack of skill accidents? Bertorelli focuses on lack of transition training to the lightweight and easy to over-control LSAs. I am sure that is a factor, but the TC statistics show this same trend in all types of privately-flown light aircraft.

Like everything in flying, landings take time to initially learn how to do them right, but then they require constant practice or else the skills get rusty and deteriorate. I believe this is the crux of the problem.

The recent 2012 COPA membership survey shows some disturbing trends when comparing data to the previous 2007 survey. One of the most worrying to me is the reported median number of hours flown annually, which in that five year period dropped from 40 to 27. This means that half the pilots flew less than 27 hours in 2011. On top of that almost half the pilots (46.6%) reported flying fewer hours in 2011 than previously, with only 15.7% reporting flying more.

The number of hours a pilot needs to fly annually to be sufficiently safe varies a lot and there are many factors involved. Higher total time pilots can get by with fewer hours, as they lean on their accumulated experience. Lower time pilots need more recent practice. The median reported total flying time in the COPA survey was 680 hours, which makes the vast majority of pilots surveyed quite "low time". Flying complex tasks, like helicopter vertical reference long-lining requires a lot of recent practice unless you want to wrap the line around a tree or ten. Fixed wing, day, VFR flying is less demanding.

I think that for low time pilots 27 hours a year is not enough to fly safely, even if they are only flying day, VFR and in light winds. That is barely two hours a month. If you fly that infrequently someone is going to get hurt and the accident statistics exactly bear that out.

There are lots of reasons why people don't fly more, but "too expensive" seems to be at the head of many people's lists. This is supported by the COPA survey again that shows an average member age of 57.2 years, meaning a large number of pilots are retired and living on pensions. They used to be able to afford to fly more and now they can't.

If the high cost of flying is keeping people from flying enough to be safe then something has to be done to reduce costs. Many pilots I listen to grumble about high fuel prices, but even today fixed costs, like maintenance, insurance and hangarage add up to more money than gas does for most aircraft. I think the problem here is that owners have to pay the fixed costs and then many of them pay for gas out of what is left over after that, which often doesn't leave much.

There are lots of ways to reduce the cost of flying. One of the easiest ways is to take on partners. Four partners will cut the fixed costs by 75% per person. It always amazes me how many people insist on owning their own plane, which they can barely afford and can't fly much, but always have excuses to not take on partners.

There are lots of other solutions to high costs as well. The new generation of electric aircraft, like the Yuneec International E430 can be flown for pennies an hour in fuel costs and have much lower engine maintenance costs as well. For many people if you aren't flying much and only locally renting makes more sense than owning.

Whatever the reason is keeping pilots from flying enough to be safe really doesn't matter. We have to look at our own circumstances and if we aren't flying enough to be safe then we can't just keep doing that until we have an accident. Instead we need to either find creative ways to fly more or admit we can't fly enough to fly safely and hang it up.

27 September 2012

NAP Comes Home to Roost

The National Airports Policy (NAP) was introduced in 1994 by Transport Minister Doug Young and has been continued by every minister ever since. That policy basically said that Canada has far too many airports and that the number needs to be reduced.

To accomplish this end TC got out of the airport management business, turning the national system of airports over to local municipalities and local authorities to run. This naturally meant that they did what they thought was best for their community and not for a national transportation system. It has taken a while, but the results of this short sighted policy are now being felt as local communities move to close their airports.

Already we have lost Toronto's privately-owned Buttonville, slated to close in the next few years. This week another move was made to close Edmonton City Centre Airport.

Edmonton has been the scene of a long battle over this airport. It is used for airline connections, medevac flights as well as business and private aircraft. The location is amazing - right downtown. Originally an RCAF Station out in the countryside, the city grew around it as the airport brought in so much trade and commerce.

A 1992 plebiscite indicated a narrow margin (54%) of citizens were in favour of keeping the airport open to all traffic. But a 1995 plebiscite asked whether citizens were in favour of consolidating all traffic at the Edmonton International and 77% voted for that. It is clear these days that the majority of the people of Edmonton want the airport closed and turned into public housing, shopping and condos. To this end citizens recently elected a mayor and council in favour of getting rid of the airport and they are now proceeding to do just that.

The municipality actually owns the airport, so they can do what they want with it. They have set aside $80M to expropriate everyone with an interest or business at the airport with the aim of it being closed by 2013. The only thorn in the side of the plan is a recently filed lawsuit by the Edmonton Flying Club. They have a lease on their site that doesn't expire until 2028 and are seeking $18M and an injunction to prevent the city from closing the airport. On 25 September 2012 a judge allowed the club to apply for a temporary injunction until the lawsuit is settled. The club have indicated they will drop the suit if they get a permanent injunction.

Will the club succeed and keep the airport open against the wishes of the city that owns the facility and the people who live in Edmonton? Perhaps, but I think it is unlikely for long. The federal government certainly isn't defending the airport as what is happening in Edmonton is exactly what the NAP promotes.

All of this shows that the NAP is doing what it set out to do, put airports in local hands so that local people and their governments can decide what they want for their community. As always feared local governments and citizens don't consider what is in the best interests of Canada, what sort of national network of airports the country needs, but just what they want and usually that means "close the airport". Over the years it has been clear that, for the people of Edmonton at least, this has been about aircraft noise and nothing more.

So does this mean that businesses will move their head offices elsewhere, that tourist dollars will disappear, that hotels and restaurants will go out of business and medevacs be diverted? Once the airport is closed I guess we will see what the impact on the city will be.

In the 2012 COPA Membership Survey members indicated that the biggest growing concern was the failure of the NAP and the loss of airports that it brought. It has taken 20 years for the full effects of the policy to be felt, but airports are now closing and airplanes and the business that they were home to are leaving. Many businesses will have no where else to go and will be shutdown. Many aircraft will also have no where to go and will be sold.

Edmonton still has some airports left, like far-out-of-town Villeneuve and the GA-hostile Edmonton International with its high "go away" landing fees. The loss of the Muni, when it does happen, will be felt and right across Canada, too. It is too bad that only the people of Edmonton have a say.

The last word on the issue goes to the man that signed the NAP, Transport Minister Doug Young. In January 2003 the Globe and Mail quoted him as saying that he regretted handing over control of Canada's airports and that the National Airports Policy was the worst decision of his career. I think the citizens of Edmonton would disagree with Young, but most pilots think his assessment is spot on. Too bad his policy endures, seemingly with a life of its own.

Further Reading:

20 September 2012

The Pontiac Airpark Equestrian Centre Is In Operation!

By André Durocher

It’s done! 53 horses have now arrived at the new equestrian centre just north of the Pontiac Airpark!

Elevage Fabie have moved into their new quarters and now offer their services to the airpark and the Pontiac’s residents.

The aerial photo shows the Ottawa River, the airpark, 85 acres of wooded residential land and the equestrian centre located on the left hand side of Highway 148.

A golf course, hotel, restaurant and spa will be located on the right hand side of the airpark! I am looking for someone for these projects!

17 September 2012

2012 Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa


Good on you guys and gals at Vintage Wings Canada! Your 2012 Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa was a great airshow! Thanks for allowing pilots to fly-in and see the show.

Showers dampened Saturday’s event causing folks to seek shelter under the wings of display aircraft. Nonetheless, the show was largely uninterrupted and Saturday’s smaller crowed went home with smiles on their faces. I only attended on Sunday and the show was great and the crowds large. I understand over 30,000 showed up over the weekend to see Canada’s Snowbirds, CF-18 Demo Team, the Discovery Air F-86 Golden Hawk Saber, wing walker Carol Pilon and much of the Vintage Wings fleet of WWII hero planes.

The only disappointment was a mechanical problem kept the Canadian Warplane Heritage Mynarski Memorial Lancaster on the ground on Sunday. Vintage Wings’ Spitfire, Hurricane and Corsair along with other aircraft joined a formation to fly past Rockcliffe Airport to help the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum celebrate of the Battle of Britain.

The event is well on its way to being the major family event in the Nations Captial each September. The airshow, which expanded from a one to two-day event this year, takes place at the Vintage Wings of Canada hangar at the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport (CYND), just 15 minutes from Ottawa. The Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa airshow returns September 14 and 15, 2013. See you there, eh.

10 September 2012

Ottawa Airspace Restrictions 14-16 September 2012

by Mark Braithwaite, Acting CFI, Rockcliffe Flying Club

Due to the Battle of Britain and Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa event, the weekend of September 14-16, 2012, the following NOTAMS have been issued.

Please read and abide by them accordingly.

1209141730 TIL 1209162200

1209151200 TIL 1209161400

1209151000 TIL 1209162359

06 September 2012

RCMP ill-informed about Light Aircraft!


DSC_1311 facedDSCN4386-2 id removed

Are the RCMP afraid of the owners / operators of light aircraft? Their actions suggest so. Somehow they concluded that a banner towing light aircraft was a safety risk for Government Officials. The banner towing aircraft was of course certified by Transport Canada as safe to conduct such operations, as was the pilot. It never enter restricted airspace over our Parliament nor Rideau Hall. It appears to have followed all appropriate Canadian Air Regulations and committed no other infractions. Still the RCMP requested the pilot land the aircraft at the near by Rockcliffe Airport because they considered it a security risk. The RCMP should get off their “high horses” and into this century.

Surely, the many cars, trucks, busses, bikes, etc. that pass the Prime Minister’s residence, the Governor General’s Residence and Parliament Hill are significantly more of a risk than light aircraft. It is unfortunate when false perceptions dictate security risks to the RCMP. Their actions should be based in facts not misperceptions.

03 September 2012

Full-Scale Cessna Simulator Study

By Kathleen Van Benthem

The ACE Lab at Carleton University is looking for participants for a study to explore cognition and general aviation.

If you are:

  • a pilot or a pilot in training
  • medically licensed to fly
  • at least 18 years of age and
  • interested in flying a full-scale Cessna 172 simulator

Please contact one of us to learn more and/or to arrange a time to participate in the study.

The study session is approximately four hours and takes place at Carleton University.

Participation is completely voluntary. You will not be compensated monetarily or otherwise for participating in this study but parking costs will be paid by the study.

05 August 2012

Not Good

The crash of a light aircraft is never a good thing, but some crashes are worse than others and this one seems to be in that category.

On 4 August 2012 Neil Herland tweeted about the crash of a Zenair CH601XL near Carp Airport and provided some pictures:

The 601 looks pretty badly damaged, but the good news is that reportedly the pilot survived, although there is no information provided about injuries. The crash looks serious enough that injuries would have been likely.

The bad news is that the aircraft was unregistered and thus also presumably uninsured.

Herland reports the aircraft carried the US registration N59PA and a check of Airliners.net confirms that this is the same plane. Airliners.net also notes that the aircraft was imported to Canada in 2011.

A quick check of the FAA aircraft registry shows that the Zenair was stricken from the US registry on 27 July 2011, more than a year before the accident. Running the serial number through the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register shows it wasn't registered here, of course, since it still had its US registration numbers painted on it.

So since it was in Canada over a year there are lots more questions that hopefully Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board will ask, such as whether it had a current annual inspection? Hopefully it will be investigated, as it wasn't listed in the CADORS.

Why do people do this sort of thing?

23 July 2012

Glasair Aircraft Sold to Jilin Hanxing Group of China

In what is becoming an increasingly frequent story yet another US aircraft manufacturer has been sold to a Chinese company. This time it is kit maker Glasair Aircraft, who build the Glasair and Glastar series of kit planes in Arlington, Washington, that has been sold.

The buyer is a private Chinese company, Jilin Hanxing Group, who have formed a new company to operate Glasair, Glasair Aviation USA LLC.

The new owners say that they plan to certify the Glastar Sportsman design and retain all production and jobs in the USA. Of note a certified version of the Glastar was previously produced for a short time in Canada as the Symphony SA-160.

So here is how the foreign ownership list now looks:

  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Diamond Aircraft - majority owned by Medrar Financial Group, Dubai
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
  • Hawker Beechcraft - Superior Aviation Beijing, China
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China

I wonder who will be next.

10 July 2012

Pilots N Paws Canada Launches

by Gini Green, Founder, Pilots N Paws Canada

Pilots N Paws Canada connect general aviation pilots with responsible Canadian rescue groups and shelters to help in the adoption process for animals at risk of being destroyed. Volunteer pilots under our program help move animals from areas they are threatened, to areas that their chances of adoption are increased, thereby reducing the number of healthy animals killed every year because no-one could or would care for them.

Our mandate is to only work within Canada with Canadian pilots and only work with responsible Canadian rescues and shelters.

Pilots N Paws has been an extremely successful program in the US and we hope our own Canadian organization will be equally successful but we need your help to get the word out to general aviation pilots. Could you please consider circulating our flyer which is attached or posting our press release to your website?

If anyone has any questions, please send them my way! I know there are a lot of questions regarding the tax benefits available for pilots flying with us.

Hawker Beechcraft To Be Purchased By Superior Aviation Beijing

In what has become the repeat of a very familiar story, another financially ailing US aerospace company has been bought out by Chinese interests.

Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) was a new company put together in 2006 from the old Raytheon Aircraft, purchased for US$3.3B by Onex Partners and GS Capital Partners, part of Goldman Sachs. That was all well and good, but the owners insisted that the company pay for its own purchase, which meant it was carrying US$500,000 a day in interest payments. It was just staying afloat when the 2008 recession hit and bizjet orders dried up. Anyone who thought a company with that kind of debt could survive the recession wasn't paying attention.

The company hired a new CEO, turnaround specialist Steve Miller, who planned to keep it out of bankruptcy, but on 3 May 2012, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy anyway. Despite attempts to restructure the huge debt burden of more than US$2.14B (the last count, as of September 2011), it seems that it was either going to be sold or cease to exist. The final result was that Superior Aviation Beijing of The People's Republic of China made the best offer for US$1.79B. The deal does not include Hawker Beechcraft Defense Co., the subsidiary that builds two military aircraft, the T-6 trainer and the derivative AT-6 light attack aircraft. That exclusion was most likely to avoid any hold-ups in US government approval of the sale.

Superior Aviation Beijing and HBC now have 45 days to put the details together, but it is probably close to a done deal, putting HBC on the same list as a growing number of US aerospace companies that have been recently sold to foreign interests:

  • Hawker Beechcraft - Superior Aviation Beijing, China
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Diamond Aircraft - majority owned by Medrar Financial Group, Dubai
  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei

As I have noted before while selling out the whole US aerospace industry to foreigners may not be seen as a good thing, when these companies all needed domestic financial help none was forthcoming. This has meant that each had a choice between the company ceasing to exist or being bought out by middle eastern or far eastern interests.

The bottom line is that if Americans are really worried about this issue then they would put up the money and buy these companies themselves. In the capitalist system the market sorts these things out and if Americans don't want their domestic aerospace industry then apparently other people do.

04 July 2012

Transport Canada To Require TAWS

Transport Canada announced today that they will require terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) to be installed in all private turbine-powered and commercial airplanes with six or more passenger seats.

TC Press release:

The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced new regulations to improve aviation safety in Canada. The new regulations require private turbine-powered and commercial airplanes with six or more passenger seats to be equipped with an alert system known as the “terrain awareness and warning system” (TAWS).

"While Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world, we are committed to the continuous improvement of aviation safety," said Minister Lebel. “Terrain awareness and warning systems will help save lives."

The system provides acoustic and visual alerts to flight crews when the path of their aircraft is likely to collide with terrain, water or obstacles — a situation that can happen when visibility is low or the weather is poor. This gives the flight crew enough time to take evasive action.

The new regulations will also significantly increase safety for small aircraft, which fly into remote wilderness or mountainous areas where the danger of flying into terrain is highest.

Under the new regulations, operators will have two years to equip their airplanes with TAWS.

The regulations comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards and bring Canadian regulations closer to those of other aviation authorities, including the United States and European Union. Canada’s Transportation Safety Board also recommends the wider use of TAWS to help pilots assess their proximity to terrain.

30 June 2012

First Ever Bushcaddy Factory Fly-in

The first annual BushCaddy Fly-in in 18 years of manufacturing is now scheduled for the weekend of July 14 and 15, 2012 at Lachute, Quebec (CSE4).

Camping on airport will be arranged for those wishing to do so and will be set up at the rear of the Bushcaddy Hangar.

Arrangements are also underway to provide toilet and shower facilities.

RSVP: Anyone intending to camp are asked to confirm with Tony by email as soon as possible.

All meals will be catered for at minimal cost. As well as the usual burgers there will be some international cuisine available for people wishing to try something different.

Activities will be arranged such as a short take-off and landing competition and flour bombing closest to the target. The evening will see a little music and perhaps a karaoke contest for our pilot wannabe rock stars.

All breeds of aircraft are welcome to attend, the more the merrier!

BushCaddy website

26 June 2012

Impromptu Fly-In Held at Morrisburg

Here is some good news about pilots making use of Morrisburg Airport, which owned by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission

Mr. Darren Dalgleish
GM and CEO
St. Lawrence Parks Commission
13740 County Rd. 2
Morrisburg, ON K0C 1X0

Dear Sir,

I would like to refer back to a meeting at your facility last summer between local aviators and yourself arranged by COPA VP of Operations Patrick Gilligan. As a group we discussed the potential of the aerodrome at Upper Canada Village.

Attached are a few photos taken yesterday at the Upper Canada Village airstrip.

This was an impromptu fly-in started by some pilot emailing a friend to "let's do lunch".

The result was that 15 aircraft carrying about 25 people flew in to your airstrip and dined at the restaurant at the golf course. Everyone enjoyed themselves and expressed a wish to do this again.

Food & service was terrific! Staff even transported us back to the aircraft via golf carts.

More photos can be seen at our website in the "Gallery" section.

Small planes fly in regularly during the season that you are open and both the golf course restaurant and the Village are favourite attractions. The planes in the photos came from the St. Lazare Flying Club and the Cornwall Flying Club/COPA Flt. 59.

I remember that in the past, fly-ins to visit Upper Canada Village were planned by different flying clubs, COPA Flights and even the International Flying Farmers. Hopefully this will continue in the years to come.

Thanks again for the hospitality of your facilities.


Barry Franklin
Cornwall Flying Club/COPA Flt 59

Kevin Psutka, CEO of COPA added the following:


Thank you for bringing the fly-in to Mr. Dalgleish's attention. I would like to add my comments in support of this aerodrome, which continues to support area tourism, making aviation a mode of transport to both Upper Canada Village and the golf course and bringing revenue into the local economy. I viewed the additional photos on the COPA Flight web site and would like to emphasize that this sort of activity occurs frequently during the summer flying season. With some minor upkeep, such as removing vegetation from the cracks in the pavement, this aerodrome can continue to serve as a tourism destination for years to come. And if Mr. Dalgleish needs some statistics to show that our sector of aviation is alive and well, and consequently demand for this aerodrome will continue for years to come, I have attached a series of PowerPoint slides derived from Transport Canada statistics, which clearly show that the number of aircraft in Canada continues to grow and that the growth is primarily due to small, privately registered aircraft like those depicted in the photos.

I am aware of the discussions that have occurred concerning retention of the aerodrome. I strongly support its retention and hope that the recent demonstration of its use as well as the statistics I have provided will help in Mr. Dalgleish's efforts to ensure that the aerodrome remains available for many years to come.

Kevin Psutka
President and CEO
Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

Morrisburg Places to Fly Listing

25 June 2012

Aerobatics with Jonathan and Jean-Pierre


COPA Flight 8 invites you to our June meeting. All welcome.

Very few pilots actually take aerobatic training. This meeting will detail what is involved. Is it fun or just hard work, is it worthwhile, will it make you a more skilled and better pilot or will you just spend the airtime barfing? JP Seguin and Jonathan Rotondo present all the answers from their own experiences learning aerobatics.

JP Seguin took Jonathan Rotondo's aerobatic course at Rockcliffe Flying Club and has since done some aerobatics in an Extra 300 and a Harvard. He has videos from both experiences which he will show.

Meeting Details

28 June 2012 at 19:30

Rockcliffe Flying Club Classroom

24 June 2012

No Canada Day Fly-In in 2012?

The Rockcliffe Flying Club has traditionally held a fly-in on Canada Day, July 1, each year, but this year it looks as if it has been cancelled.

The Rockcliffe Flying Club calendar doesn't show the event this year and neither does the club list of flying activities.

I have been to the fly-in the last few years and it doesn't come as a surprise that it does not seem to be on this year. In the past three years it has barely drawn half a dozen aircraft. In 2011 only ten aircraft attended, even though weather conditions were perfect, with a warm, but not hot, sunny day and no significant wind. I think a lot of people have other plans for long weekends in the summer and that the event just petered out from lack of interest.

Update: As described in the comments below it looks like the fly-in is actually "on", it is just that the RFC website has not been updated to reflect that, however it is mentioned on the RFC's Facebook page.

17 June 2012

WACO UPF-7 Flips At Rockcliffe

The 1940 model WACO UPF-7 biplane used by Wetaskiwin, Alberta-based Central Aviation to provide tourist flights from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum flipped on landing at Rockcliffe on Sunday 17 June 2012.

The aircraft was flying two tourists at the time. The pilot was uninjured, while the two passengers were sent to hospital. One, a 64-year-old man, was listed in stable condition with spinal injuries. The other passenger, a 66-year-old woman, was in stable condition with an arm injury and a possible spinal injury.

The cause of the accident is not known at this time. It is also unknown what the extent of the damage is and whether the aircraft will be repairable or not.

Central Aviation has operated tourist flights in Ottawa for the past twenty years without incident and has owned the WACO, registered CF-LEF, since 1996.

15 June 2012

Smiths Falls Flying Club Hangar Survey

By Anne Barr

COPA Flight 100, Smiths Falls Flying Club, is conducting a feasibility study for a series of T-hangars and has prepared an anonymous, on-line survey to help guide this initiative.

The survey is very short, does not collect any personal information, and participation does not imply a commitment in any way, shape, or form.

Many thanks in advance for your assistance with this endeavour!


11 June 2012

Obstructions Near Airports Survey

by Patrick Gilligan, COPA HQ

Our goal in doing this survey is to provide valuable input from our members to Transport Canada with regards to cellular telephone and communications towers, wind turbines and other obstructions that are proposed to be constructed within close proximity of an aerodrome.

The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Thank you.

Survey website

04 June 2012

Hawkesbury East Airport Hangar Fire

By Steve Farnworth, COPA Flight 131, The Hawkesbury Flying Club

There was a fire last night at the Hawkesbury East Airport. The big hangar was completely destroyed. Thankfully no one was injured. The cause presently is unknown.

Our sympathy goes out to Michel and Natalie. They lost many irreplaceable personal things that were stored inside. Fortunately two aircraft normally stored in the hangar were in other hangars, but Michel lost his aircraft as well as many parts and tools and souvenirs.

The Farm Next to Pontiac Airpark Has Been Sold

By André Durocher

The 80 acre farm adjacent to the Pontiac Airpark, that was previously mentioned, has found a buyer and will be developed into an equestrian facility. Residential lots will be available for this project.

Ladies and gentlemen come and play!!

Next step: the golf course, hotel, restaurant and the spa!

Pontiac Airpark Homepage

03 June 2012

Ninety Nines East Canada Section

Wow, Gail and I had a great time last night at the 99s banquet. Thank you all involved!
The Eastern Ontario Chapter hosted the East Canada Section Meeting in Ottawa Friday and Saturday. The banquet saw a good crowd, even several COPA Flight 8 Members attended.
We learned a lot about Canadian heroes and the BCATP from the presentations by the flying Flecks, Rob and daughter Heather Fleck.  They told the Vintage Wings Canada story of Heroes. That’s right, Vintage Wings dedicates their planes flown to the true Canadian heroes, the airmen and solders who flew in them.
Another highlight was dedication by the 99s of a new Canadian stamp honouring the long time 99s member Isabel Peppler for her tireless work educating pilots through up dating the most common Canadian pilot training guide, From the Ground Up, Aviation Publishers Co. Limited. Isabel Peppler’s husband, Bill Peppler, and her son Graeme were presented with plaques displaying the stamp.
Gail and I were honoured to be seated with Martha Phillips, 99s International Inc. treasurer and her husband Mark, Cathy Fox, Governor of Eastern Canada Section, Lisa Bishop (incoming secretary for the 99 East Canada Section) and Bill Reed (COPA Flight 8), and finally Jean-Pierre Seguin and Maria de Sousa (Flight 8 Members). Also present from COPA flight 8 was Dennis Pharaoh. Thanks 99s Eastern Ontario Chapter for a great evening.

Tom Smith Golf Tournament 20 June 2012

There will be a golf tournament and dinner in memory of Tom Smith, former Captain of COPA Flight 132, Embrun. All proceeds from the event will go for liver cancer research.

The event will be held at the Anderson Links Golf and Country Club, 4175 Anderson Road, Gloucester, Ontario 613-822-9644 or 613-822-0337

The dinner is open to everyone, regardless of whether you play in the golf tournament or not.

Please contact Sharon Armstrong for further information or a donation at 613-913-0721

Pontiac Airpark To Have Ferry Access

By André Durocher

We have been awaiting this news for a number of years, the Quyon ferry will now be operating twelve months a year! The boat will accommodate 90 tons of vehicles, including tractor-trailers and motor coaches, instead of the previous 10 ton limit.

The ferry will make car access from Pontiac Airpark on the north side of the Ottawa River to Kanata and Arnprior easy all year around!

99s First Canadian Chapter Poker Run Coming Up

The First Canadian Chapter of the 99s, the women pilots association is coming up in two week's time, on 16 June 2012. The rain date is 17 June 2012.

The event is open to anyone who flies.

Each Poker hand costs $5 or $20 for 5 hands. Hands can be sold to anyone. Pick up some for your friends.

Start at one of the designated airports and buy the hands. Draw the first card at the starting airport.

An aircraft may 'fly' as many hands as they wish. The person to whom the hand was sold does not have to fly in the aircraft to be eligible for a prize.

Fly in any sequence to four more of the designated airports (including the terminus).

At each airport give the hands to the attending 99 and then draw one card per hand. The 99 will randomly staple a card (in two places), to each of the hands, then will stamp and initial the card.


Fly to the terminus airport by 2:30 p.m., draw the last card and hand in the poker hand for judging.

Judging will be according to standard Draw Poker. The judges’ decision is final.

The person who ‘flies’ a winning hand is responsible for picking up the prize at the terminus and delivering it to the owner of the winning hand.

The participating airports are:

  • Burlington CZBA
  • Brampton CNC3
  • Buttonville CYKZ
  • Lindsay CNF4
  • Greenbank (grass) CNP8
  • Peterborough CYPQ
  • Lake Simcoe Regional CYLS
  • Oshawa CYOO

Complete information

17 May 2012

Morrisburg Airport Restaurant Under New Management

by Lloyd Bunbury

I just found out this morning that the restaurant at the golf course in Morrisburg is under new management and that they will be open to serve breakfast seven days a week starting at 8am and will serve breakfast all day!

This is a big improvement over last year when they only opened on weekdays at 11am - and no breakfast to boot!

Perhaps you can put the word out that the runway is now open and breakfast is on the grill!

I love this airport and would like to drum up some support!

Places to Fly Listing

15 May 2012

Invitation to 99s East Canada Section weekend 1 & 2 June 2012

By Susan Begg

On behalf of the East Canada Section 99s I would like to extend an invitation to participate in some of our weekend activities 1 June and 2 June 2012, all happening at the Sheraton Hotel 150 Albert St. in downtown Ottawa.

For $60 you can join in Friday's afternoon Safety Seminar, Friday evening's Wine and cheese, receive an Delegate Insider Badge(D.I.B.) providing discounts to many restaurants and entertainment places in Ottawa the weekend of June 1-2/12. The 99s International President elect will be in attendance.

Saturday evening at the Sheraton Hotel in Ottawa will be a fabulous dinner with guest speakers Heather Fleck and her father Rob Fleck of Vintage Wings. Please see bios below.

Included with the $60 registration:

Friday 1 June 2012 - afternoon:

Safety Seminar by Kathy Fox from 14:30-16:00 at Canada's Air and Space Museum at CYRO. You can even park your aircraft at the Museum, then later, taxi over to the Rockcliffe Flying Club for weekend parking. Will focus on lessons learned from TSB accident investigations. Following the seminar, you can take a self-guided tour compliments of the Museum as they have waived the entrance fee for people registered at our conference.

Friday 1 June 2012 evening:

Wine and cheese reception and Meet and Greet. If you just wish to attend only the reception the cost is $10.

Saturday 2 June 2012:

Saturday you can take advantage of your D.I. badge for the day. Dinner in the evening on the Penthouse of the Sheraton at 150 Albert St. in Ottawa. Cost for dinner only is $45. For information about the guest speakers, please read below.

Great items for sale in a silent auction, a 50/50 draw and other surprises.

Saturday evening Guest Speakers Heather Fleck and Rob Fleck

Heather Fleck

Heather Fleck grew up in the world of aviation. Despite having a father whose profession and passion has always centered around airplanes, she never considered a career in the field until being faced with the big decision at the end of high school. Heather attended Seneca College in Toronto, obtaining a Commercial Multi-IFR, Integrated ATPL, and Applied Degree in Flight Technology. To help pay for beer (and school) she worked as a ramp rat and dispatcher at a local flight school, and taught Helicopter Groundschool. She also volunteered as a Big Sister.

Upon graduation, she was fortunate to be selected as part of a test group of students, who, for the first time in Canada, were taken directly from flight college and put into flying positions at a major airline. She moved to Calgary, AB, to fly for Jazz Air Ltd. as a First Officer on the Dash-8.

In their spare time, Heather, her father and brother, rebuilt a wrecked Challenger ultralight on amphibious floats, and spent many lovely summer evenings skimming the surface of the water in the golden light. They took on several gutsy adventures in this small craft, and were rewarded with many new experiences (and a few engine failures). They also flew the Challenger on skis.

After a year and a half of flying at Jazz, Heather decided to leave the airline world in order to indulge other interests. She went back to school and became a Holistic Nutritionist, taught yoga, worked as a carpenter’s assistant, and did some volunteer travel work.

Eventually, however, she found her way back into aviation, and is very excited to be part of the Vintage Wings team, working as the Assistant Chief Pilot.

Rob Fleck

Robert (Rob) Fleck has a long and extensive career in aviation, accumulating over 12,500 flying hours. He also has enjoyed a fruitful and diverse business career.

His aviation career began in 1976 upon enrolling in the Canadian Forces as a pilot. After graduating with primary pilot training in 1979 Rob’s first operational tour was at 421 Tactical Fighter Squadron at CFB Baden-Sollingen, West Germany flying the CF-104 Star Fighter and T-33 Silver Star. He qualified as a NATO Mass Attach Lead and was responsible for the squadron weapons training and electronic warfare training. In 1983, Rob was selected as initial cadre to form 410 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron when it reformed as the CF-18 “Hornet” Operational Training Unit. He was responsible for Instructing in all disciplines of CF-18 operational flying and penned the official CF-18 “how to fly” manual and the Electronic Warfare (EW) reference manual. Rob also won the prestigious award as Canada’s first Canadian Forces CF-18 “Top Gun” winner.

After a successful 10-year career in the CF, Rob retired in 1986 and joined the business sector where he ran many successful companies including Gralen Communications, Capital Aviation Services, Ener-Genetics Ltd, Kanata Storage, Flight Exec, KnightHawk Air Express, Kelowna Pacific Railway and Execaire Ltd.

In 2000, while still engaged in business, Rob became an Air Canada pilot. He took a special leave of absence from Air Canada in 2004 to return to world-wide corporate charter flight operations and returned to Air Canada in 2005.

Again, in 2009, Rob took a second special leave of absence from Air Canada to run Vintage Wings of Canada, a public Charitable Organization responsible for acquiring, refurbishing and flying a unique collection of Canadian aircraft of historical importance. When not behind a desk, Rob flies Vintage Wings “Hawk One” a refurbished F-86 Sabre, as well as the P51D Mustang and North American Harvard.

Contact Susan Begg

03 May 2012

Questions and Issues from the April 2012 COPA Flight 8 Nav Canada Briefing

Our April 2012 COPA Flight 8 meeting was a briefing by Rob Bishop, Senior Pilot Specialist at Nav Canada. The briefing was very complete but did raise some questions that couldn't be immediately addressed. Bishop was kind enough to note these questions and find the answers to them. Here is his report.

1. How can I tell on the IFR LO Enroute charts where Class E (controlled) airspace begins and ends?

Within the southern control area the solid green areas on the IFR LO Enroute charts represent Class G uncontrolled airspace from the surface to 18,000’, which becomes Class 'A' controlled airspace at 18,000' ASL and above. The checkered green areas represent Class G uncontrolled airspace from the surface to 12,500', which becomes Class 'B' controlled airspace above 12,500’ ASL.

On the LO Enroute charts Control zones are depicted with their class of airspace (except in areas represented by a terminal area chart).

In the white areas under airways and air routes, in most cases Class 'E' begins at 2,200' AGL with Class G below. However, there are instances where the floor of Class E begins at 700’ AGL. There is no way to tell on the charts where the Class 'E' at 700' AGL is located.

For any of the other areas in white, which represent control area extensions such as terminal airspace, there is no way to determine at what altitude Class 'E' airspace begins - or any other Class of low level airspace for that matter - without referring to a VNC or VTA chart. In other words, the IFR LO enroute charts only provide part of the total airspace picture.

In any case, the ATC controller knows the limits of controlled airspace for whatever sector they are responsible for and will notify the pilot in advance if their flight will be leaving controlled airspace.

In summary, the LO Enroute IFR charts only provide a limited amount of information on airspace class and dimensions. Pilots must refer to the VFR charts to get the complete airspace structure.

2. The NOTAM for the displaced threshold due to trees on RWY 04/22 at the Ottawa, Carp airport has been in place for years. Why?

Nav Canada Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) has no information on file regarding this NOTAM. It is possible it was submitted by the aerodrome operator via the London Flight Information Centre (FIC) and therefore was not tracked by AIS. In any case, AIS is asking the aerodrome operator if the runway data in the publications can be updated so the NOTAM can be removed.

3. The preferred IFR route from Ottawa to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is YOW VERGA ILIXU Arrival. The ILIXU Arrival requires me to be at 14,000' at the DUSUB waypoint, but this altitude is not practicable for unpressurized GA aircraft like my C172. How will ATC accommodate these types of aircraft? Should I file a different route instead?

The preferred routes listed in the CFS are not exhaustive and if they do not work for a particular pilot or aircraft then a route that is more acceptable should be filed. To discuss options for filing a route from Ottawa to the City Airport, a pilot could call the ACC at the number listed in the CFS under Toronto LBPIA - (905) 676-4590/4591/4592 or 888-217-1241.

4. How do I know what the MOCA is (lowest safe altitude I can descend to while maintaining appropriate obstacle clearance) when flying STARs or SIDs?

There is no way for a pilot to know what the safe obstacle clearance altitude is by reference to the SID or STAR chart only.

If the pilot cannot maintain the altitudes specified in the SID/STAR, then they would obviously notify ATC. The controller would then advise the pilot of the safe altitude in that area based on the Minimum Radar Vector Altitude (MVA), which provides 1,000' of obstacle/terrain clearance (2,000' in mountainous areas). Any descent below the MVA would be at the pilots ‘discretion’ and would require reference to a VNC or VTA chart to determine the actual elevation of terrain or obstacles.

5. The CYRs around Parliament Hill and the Prime Minister's residence are depicted with different diameters on the VTA chart compared to the VTPCs in the CFS. It is important pilots know exactly where the borders of this airspace are so it can be avoided. Which are the correct depictions?

When the VTPCs in the CFS reach a certain scale, it sometimes becomes impracticable to depict a small discrete portion of airspace such as the downtown Ottawa CYRs. In the case of the Ottawa/Gatineau and Ottawa International VTPCs the CYRs are depicted as solid black dots while on the Ottawa/Rockcliffe VTPC, due to its larger scale, they are depicted as their actual dimensions.

However, there are discrepancies in the size of the black solid dots between the Gatineau and International VTPCs. In addition, the circles depicting the CYRs on the Rockcliffe VTPC are much smaller than their actual dimensions and as compared to the depictions on the Ottawa VTA. It appears the depictions on the Ottawa VTA are correct.

To remedy the situation, AIS is investigating whether or not the scale criteria for depicting black solid dots instead of the actual CYR dimensions were properly applied with the Gatineau and International VTPCs. This includes determining what the standard size should be for the black dots. In addition, the dimensions of the CYRs on the Rockcliffe VTPC will be adjusted to their actual size and the depictions on the VTA will be verified also.

6. The RNAV routes from London to Maxville are almost a straight line but are full of minor jogs with waypoints. Why do the new RNAV routes have so many waypoints with minor deviations when the basic premise for RNAV routes is to allow more direct or straight line flights?

The RNAV routes require minimum distances from some airspace boundaries and other VHF and RNAV routes and this 'juggling' of spacing requirements in the complex airspace in southern Ontario resulted in many minor jogs and bends. In addition, depicting great circle RNAV routes on a two dimensional map and magnetic variation changes along a route contributed to deviations from a strait line. Although effort was made to keep the routes as straight as possible, meeting other requirements and standards has resulted in the numerous waypoints and crooked paths.

7. The link to the Nav Canada "ONBOARD" publication on the front page of the web site should be in a 'fixed' location and not in the 'rolling or flashing window'. This type of web feature does not represent 'best practices' in web design. It is antiquated and ineffective and makes it very difficult to find the desired publications.

This suggestion has been passed on to our IM personnel responsible for designing the web-site.

8. When I am on an IFR flight and using Flightplan.com I will get an update from them on changes to my clearance prior to receiving the change from ATC via the radio. If Flightplan.com can get this information from Nav Canada ATC, why can't Nav Canada provide it directly to us via the new internet flight planning system CFPS (Collaborative Flight Planning System) in the same manner that VFR flight plans can be updated 'live'. In addition, it would be beneficial if the pilot could know their expecting routing in advance as this would save workload for the pilot and controller, especially for unexpected clearances and given the current RNAV operating environment with strangely worded waypoints and complicated routes

Nav Canada provides the FAA with flight plan data and this is where Flightplan.com get their information.

The same two-way communication now available between CFPS and VFR pilots should be available to IFR pilots and their flight plans this summer.

Having the ability for IFR pilots to query ATC (via the Canadian Automated Air Traffic System - CAATS) for the likely route is a great idea and a definite improvement for Nav Canada and pilots alike. Nav Canada Operational System Requirements will explore this once two-way communication with CAATS is in place. Providing updates to pilots on the flight plans, etc using email, text or other means is on the list of CFPS activities.