27 April 2012

Hawksbury Flying Club (COPA Flight 131) Safety Seminar

The Hawkesbury Flying Club / COPA Flight 131 is hosting a free Safety Seminar Workshop on Saturday May 5th from 0930 to 1200 at the Hawkesbury East Airport. This seminar will be presented by Will Boles from the Transport Canada Safety Office and participants will be issued their bi-annual recency certification.

This is the only Transport Canada seminar being offered in the Ottawa Valley this spring. The seminar is open to everyone - membership in an aviation organization is not required.

Please bring your own folding chair as our club's supply is limited. Refreshments will be served. Fly in or drive in.

The Hawkesbury East Airport (CPG5) is located at 3435 County Road 17, East Hawkesbury, Ontario.

  • Club Website
  • Contact Steve Farnworth hawkesburyflyingclub@gmail.com or 613-632-3185

19 April 2012

Where Are Those COPA Flights?

COPA Flights are of course the local chapters of COPA. A total of 182 COPA Flights have been formed since 1964 and 115 COPA Flights are listed as active as of April 2012. Where are they? All over Canada! 

COPA VP Patrick Gilligan has them all plotted on a map so you can see where they are and even plan to drop in on cross country flights for a visit.

* Google map of all COPA Flights

Ottawa Flying Club Announces Open House

From the Ottawa Flying Club

The Ottawa Flying Club would like to invite you to an "Open House" on Saturday April 28th from 9:00 until 2:00 pm.

This is a great opportunity to view our facilities, aircraft and talk to our Flight Instructors. We can show you how to become either a Professional Pilot or a Recreational Pilot. The Ottawa Flying Club has been training pilots since 1928!

Come out and enjoy the Ottawa Flying Club at 20 Lindberg Private for:

  • Instructor lead seminars on Private, Commercial, Multi/IFR and Float licences
  • See members aircraft and talk to the pilots and Instructors
  • Parking BBQ
  • Take a Sight Seeing Flight or an Introductory Lesson
  • Saturday only discounts on flights and membership
  • Listen to The Jewel 98.5 for contest and information!!

Call 613-523-2142 or visit our website

See you at the "The Club"!

18 April 2012

Vintage Wings Volunteer Training 12 May 9:00 - 15:00

by The Vintage Wings Team

Come One, Come All! To the Vintage Wings of Canada Annual Volunteer Training Day!

This action packed day will be focused on preparing for our two day Air Show, Wings Over Ottawa-Gatineau En Vol, September 15th & -16th. The event is open to all current Vintage Wings volunteers, as well as, anyone interested in joining our volunteer team.

Beginning at 9:00 am, you will have the opportunity to sign-up for the Air Show team that you’re interested in being a part of and meet with your team leader. As a team, you will then brainstorm the roles and responsibilities of each member of your team and consider any equipment you will require.

A hearty BBQ lunch will be provided by the Spitfire Grill team which will keep you fueled up for the remainder of the day. Also at this time The Gear-up store will be open for business with some exciting new promotions. You’ll also meet our new Retail manager Julien Brown who will be looking for dedicated up beat volunteers to assist with our store operations at the hangar as well as assembling a team to take the show on the road attending many different Air Show events across eastern Canada.

After lunch, we will all gather for the coveted Distinguished Service Awards that will be awarded to a few volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help us Commemorate, Educate and Inspire. (If only we had enough plaques for everyone!)

Following the awards presentation we’ll all get together for the Annual VWC Squadron photograph.

For our planning purposes please ensure to let us know that you will be attending through the website to officially register yourself.

If you aren’t already a Member of Vintage Wings you can sign up for a free Friend account in order to register for this event.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Hangar!

16 April 2012

Flight 8 Curling Team

Dennis and JP like this version, Bill and Mike like the one below. 
Front row, Dennis Pharaoh and Jean-Pierre Séguin, back row Bill Reed and Michael Shaw
Yep, that’s money! COPA Flight 8’s Curling Team were Runners Up in section B.
Wow, with Skip Bill Reed’s shot calling, lead Jean-Pierre Séguin’s skillfully placed guards, second Dennis Pharoah’s draw control and third Michael Shaw’s uncanny plan B shots we won every game and lead in points in the round robin. We only to lost the final in a tiebreaker against some pretty good curling female Torontonians. Nonetheless, we were in the money! This was likely due to our skillful manager Maria.
A really big thank you to Toronto Center controllers, specifically Brad and Brenda Hiscock for putting together another fantastic weekend in Niagara Falls curling with Cleveland  and Toronto Centre controllers. In addition they but on an amazing international boat race. It was great seeing all the curlers again including those amazing men and women from BrantAero, the “Blow Dryers” and the “Curling Irons.”
We thank all sponsors, including Best Western Fallsview, Jackson-Triggs Winery, Cleveland Centre controllers and Niagara Fall Curling Club.
The word in club house was that the team from Ottawa were all ringers, “once a year curlers just don’t make shots that good!” Well done Flight 8 Curlers!

12 April 2012

Having trouble contacting FSS stations on 126.7?

From Mike Shaw, Flight 8 Captain

Having trouble contacting FSS stations on 126.7? There is a reason. Check the new Remote Communication Outlet plans as noted by Patrick Gilligan at COPA National.

Here are a couple of links with details:

* COPA National
* Nav Canada

Of course Flight 8 members know about this from Rob Bishop's Nav Canada briefing to us back in June 2010.

Airspace and Victor Airways are changing too. More on this to follow!

11 April 2012

Vote for Hope Air

By Cheryl Marek, COPA Flight 70, Oshawa

Early 2012 Hope Air, for which several of the Buttonville and Oshawa flying community members (me!) are volunteer GA pilots, was nominated for financial support from Lightspeed Aviation Foundation.

The top 5 charities - which you have a chance to identify - will receive a Foundation grant of $10,000!

At Sun 'n Fun Mar 26 - Apr 1, it was announced that Hope Air is one of the 21 finalists!

Please share the opportunity to vote with all you know so that Hope Air will be a $10,000 Lightspeed Foundation grant recipient!

10 April 2012

COPA Fights Social Networking Part 2

twitterTwitter was launched in March 2006 as a micro-blogging platform. A What? I know, I know this sounds like so much techno jargon, but that is how it is described. Twitter has evolved into a significant marketing tool used by many to drive users to their websites, stores, whatever. Further, it is one of the fastest ways to get breaking news over a wide spectrum of topics. It is also a great venue to get interesting stories on almost any topic.

Keeping in mind that I am hardly an expert in Twitter, or anything else for that matter, I will write a little about how it works. In a nutshell, twitter account holders type messages (tweets) and send them via Twitter to their followers. And at the same time account holders follow tweets sent by others. I suspect most Twitter account holders read tweets of others rather than tweet much themselves. One can find twitter information via search engines like Google, Bing, etc., but it is really structured to benefit account holders. Accounts are free and as an account holder you can both follow what others are writing, and send messages (tweets) to your own followers. For example Flight 8 follows 44 other account holders and has 126 account holders following our tweets. That’s small potatoes compared to celebrities and others with thousands of followers. We haven’t gone viral, yet.

Twitter accounts start with the “@” symbol followed by some alphanumerics that are likely a word, e.g., @copaflt8. Most news organizations have twitter accounts and often tweet links to their stories, including CBC, CTV, CNN, NPR, etc. There are a number of Aviation organizations on twitter including, @eaaupdate, @chinaeaa, @AOPAonline@Aviation_daily, @aviationCanada, @aviationweek, @NTSBnews, @aviationsafety, @flyingmagazine@copaflt8, @buttonilfc, @copaflight10. As well, governments including cities to federal departments have twitter accounts.

Before getting into how one signs up for Twitter let’s look at a couple of tweets.

Here are two tweets, the first by COPA Flight 10 in Saskatoon and the second by COPA Flight 8 in Ottawa.

“Check new gallery page 4 pics of projects at Corman Air Park tour on Mar 13!http://www.copaflight10.org/ #pilot #flying#aviation #yxe #flight

“Gary Black of Cirrus showing 2012 SR22 at Carp Friday afternoon and Saturday this week #cirrus bit.ly/GMrH7l bit.ly/GLEjLV”

They look a bit like a METAR or TAF, but don’t let that put you off. Flight 10 is really asking you to click on the link to their website (you know, a link is that part starting with the http:// ...) to see some photos taken at Corman Air Park. Tweets tend to be abbreviated because one has to get one’s message out within 140 characters. The words with “#” marks in front of them are called hashtags or tags. These allow users to search for other tweets on the tagged topic.

Flight 8 is advising followers that they can see Gary Black demo a Cirrus SR22 at Carp Airport. Clicking on “#cirrus” will allow one to find other tweets talking about Cirrus. The tweets listed could include tweets about any use of “cirrus”, such as credit cards systems, high clouds, or Cirrus aircraft. The part starting “bit.ly” are links that have been shortened by BitLy.com because the original link would eat up too many of the 140 characters available to the author. There are two links provided in Flight 8’s tweet. The first is to Flight 8’s Blog (one of the most interesting aviation blogs on the Internet) and the second is to Carp Airport’s website. Unfortunately you have to click on them to see where they go. they are not clickable in this posting because they lack the http:// part in front of the bit.ly part.

That’s just two tweets, but you can see that one need not be a computer scientist to understand them. Also, both of these tweets encourage you to click on a link thereby driving you to a website or other location, like Carp airport.

So who would see these tweets? Well any twitter user that is “following” either of these two COPA Flights. As mentioned, Twitter accounts are identified by the “@” sign as in “@copaflight10” and “@copaflt8”. As well anyone who searched for the hashtags (e.g., #pilot, #flight) within Twitter or Google could also see these tweets. Hashtags are used in a similar fashion in other social media such as Diaspora. Almost any human activity has someone who has a twitter account and tweets on the activity. If you interested in photography, teaching, quilting, boating, golf, you name it, there will likely be a twitter user tweeting on that topic. For example, much of the world first heard about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan via twitter. Some hashtags can be quite short and their topic not particularly obvious. This approach is used to narrow the search to the specific topic and is a technique to help folks find tweets on particular topics.

One can also send direct messages to twitter account holders. For example COPA Flights 8 and 10 have communicated directly via twitter, “both lamenting that COPA National has not joined twitter.” As well we are followers of each other’s tweets. So the folks in Saskatoon (Flight 10) know about activities and news from the National Capital area (Flight 8), such as landing fee increases at Ottawa’s international airport. And Flight 8 folks know that Saskatoon has some great photos and flying activities. We were both surprised that there are only three Flights on twitter. Buttonville Flying Club, also a COPA flight (44) is on twitter but has made only one tweet and has few followers in addition to Flights 8 and 10.

To sign up for a Twitter account point your browser at Twitter.com and follow the links under “New to Twitter?” Sign Up. It is really painless. Keep in mind that Twitter is a commercial company and they want to sell you to others via advertising. That said, I have not found an increase in spam or malware after a few months on Twitter. Once signed up you can use twitter’s search feature to find people, organizations, companies, topics, etc. of interest to you. When you find one of interest, you can follow it passively. That’s right you don’t need to tweet you can do what most of us do and just lurk.

You can also tweet as often as you feel the urge. I don’t know if volume or quality attracts followers. Flight 8’s tweets on topics like the closing and re-opening of restaurant at Peterborough have been commented on in Brantford and Rockcliffe. As well, Flight 8 tweeted information about activities at Lindsay Airport that was intern retweeted to followers of Brantford Flying Club.

Ottawa International Airport commented on a Flight 8 tweet in which we were expressing the opinion that the airport seemed to have an unwritten goal of driving private aircraft off the airport. To some extent tweets need to be pithy, a little outrageous, funny, interesting, informative and perhaps controversial to attract attention. It is a new way of writing for most of us. In an effort to seek a wider audience I have been tweeting photos I took of aircraft in the China Aviation Museum. I tweet photos of planes that will be of interest to North Americans, such as those that claim to have shot down US or other aircraft in Korea or elsewhere. I had expected some comments but none have been forthcoming.

Twitter does have a downside. For example, politicians feel the urge to express political opinions. That’s fine, but twitter also makes it easy for hot heads, the spiteful, the impolite, the belligerent, the caustic to send comments back to the politicians. The NDP’s Charlie Angus quit twitter over these types of issues. You can read his opinion at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/charlie-angus/quit-twitter_b_1394617.html?ref=canada. All I can say is, “Charley, if the kitchen is too hot...”

Flight 8 has not had any such comments and I believe it is more likely to happen to those emphasizing political, and perhaps religious, points of view. Some believe the 140 character limit encourages these types of comments, but I don’t buy that argument. I believe the larger problem for many is sending tweets without thinking about what one has said and how it will be interpreted. The advice to wait until tomorrow so you can re-read your “nasty reply” to an email, applies equally to twitter. As well jokes are easily misinterpreted and taken seriously or personally when this is the farthest thing from the writers mind.

The 140 character limit can be difficult to work within. Books have been written on this topic, my favourite is Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little, by Christopher Johnson.

Finally, Twitter is fun, informative and current. One does not have to tweet to get value from Twitter. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of what I call “dead tweets”, ones that are dead ends and tell very little on a topic.

08 April 2012

COPA Issues 60th Anniversary Video

As part of of COPA's 60th Anniversary celebrations in 2012 Rick Carpenter of the COPA Flight 101 Lindsay (The Kawartha Lakes Flying Club) put together a video for the occasion!

International Pilot Academy to Open This Week

International Pilot Academy, the new flying school located at Carp Airport, is all set to open its doors on Tuesday 10 April 2012, right after the Easter Weekend, according to reports.

As we previously posted IPA's flying operations are based in the Roly Armitage Terminal building at Carp.

The school will commence its first ground school later on in the same week, at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum classroom complex.

IPA's timing looks right as spring is here and summer should be just around the corner, which is the main time for flight training in this part of the world.

Hopefully they will have a busy summer season and lots of great VFR weather to get their new endeavour off the ground.

* International Pilot Academy Website

07 April 2012

Touch 'n Go Aviation Warehouse Closed?

There are reports that Touch 'n Go Aviation Warehouse, Carp Airport's pilot supply shop has closed its doors.

One local pilot reported on 10 February 2012 "Was at Carp today and touch n go aviation has gone out of business according to sign on the door".

Indeed their website is returning "The server at www.touchngoaviation.com can't be found because the DNS look-up failed."

Owned by local retailer and pilot Chad Wilton, Touch 'n Go opened to great fanfare on 26 September 2009. Wilton purchased the entire hangar, turned the ground side into the new store and used the rest for aircraft storage.

The store boasted a large square footage of retail space and even a pilot lounge in the back. If indeed the business is closed it leaves a hole in the local aviation community that will be hard to fill.

04 April 2012

Avgas Prices

The price of automotive gasoline jumped about four cents a litre last night across most of the country and, of course avgas prices will soon rise along with that.

As the price of one fuel goes up the other follows, because they all come from the same feedstock and the same factors, like refining and transportation affect the prices of both. Avgas remains higher in price, mostly because it is more expensive to make with the special handling required due to its tetraethyl lead content.

Today, 4 April 2012, in Ottawa auto fuel is at $1.324 per litre. The Smith's Falls Flying Club is good enough to post their avgas price on their website and keep it up to date and they are selling 100LL for $1.816.

Of course the comments on CBC articles about this story are full of the usual whining and conspiracy theories about why gas prices are so high.

One CBC commenter said "Crude shortage not the problem. No... the problem is greed."

Others take the "government should do something about this" approach. Another CBC commenter said "People are hurting. Yet what does the government do to relieve the pressure on strapped Canadian families? Nothing. Absolutely nothing."

In a free market, and our current federal government very much believes in the free market, the government has no role to play in supply and demand. The market will sort prices and supply out on its own. In 2008 our current PM was asked to lower taxes on gas and he refused, pointing out he would have to raise other taxes to make up the loss.

The truth about what is going on with prices lies not in a lack of government action or even in oil company gouging, but elsewhere. As John Quarterman explained in his talk to Flight 8 in March 2010 these higher prices have been long expected and fairly accurately predicted as well. Marion King Hubbert told us this was coming early in the 21st century, back in 1956 and here we are.

We know that world oil production has been flat since the end of 2005. We also know that world demand for oil overall is up. The OECD countries' demand is generally down, including the USA which has reduced demand by about 5% over last year, mostly through high and persistent unemployment, but demand in India and China is way up, more than compensating.

We also know that the cheap and easy to find oil was burned long ago. Oil today comes from very deep wells in places like the deep water off shore. Production of this oil is expensive.

The growing threat of war in the Middle East is also a factor. The Iranian government has predicted that oil will go to $440 a barrel if anyone attacks them and that they will take military action in the Straits of Hormuz. Every day 25% of the world's oil passes through the straits, so $440 a barrel might turn out to be an understatement. Hopefully we will find a diplomatic solution and then we won't find out if they are right or not.

There are more reasons for price increases and closer to home, though.

Roger McKnight with Oshawa-based En-Pro International Inc is quoted in that same CBC article and he has hit one of the major reasons why prices are going up and are likely to stay up. The reason is refinery capacity.

Many years ago oil companies were very "vertically-integrated", meaning that they owned the whole supply chain. They did exploration for oil, drilled wells, produced the oil, transported it, refined it and retailed it. Then the oil company economists looked at what they were doing and discovered that some parts of the operation were making money and other parts weren't. Retailing and refining were money-losers and were mostly were sold off.

Today anyone running a gas station will tell you that they make almost zero money selling gas. They make their money selling milk and lottery tickets to people who stop for gas. At least they have a model that works for them. Most refiners don't.

Refiners buy crude oil, refine it and then sell the product to the retailers. Their costs are very high, a new refinery can cost $10 billion to build and their margins are so low that they are mostly losing money here in North America. With US gasoline consumption down it doesn't make sense to build new refineries or even to fix old ones. The money losing ones are being closed and refining consolidated. So far, of the five existing US east coast refineries four have been closed and the last one is on the chopping block, up for sale with no one lining up to buy it. If it isn't bought it will be closed this summer.

ASPO says: "The loss of refining capacity in the Northeastern US continues to pressure prices. The EIA says the operating refinery capacity in the region is down to 1.2 million b/d from 1.6 last summer. There is still no word on the sale of the Philadelphia area Sunoco refinery which may be closed in July sending the region’s gasoline situation into crisis."

"That region" is us.

With Montreal's refineries long closed, the Ottawa area has been supplied by those closed (and closing) east coast refineries. So where will we get our avgas and car gas from in the future? From the US Gulf of Mexico coast refineries. Yes, they will truck gas all the way here from Louisiana.

Even a few years ago Ottawa had gas storage tanks on West Hunt Club, but those are mostly gone now. Nobody stores gasoline anymore, if they can avoid it, as it is too expensive to do that. Imagine the insurance costs alone on an urban tank farm. No, instead we do "just-in-time delivery" now, meaning a steady stream of tank trucks driving from Louisiana to Ottawa to keep our gas station and airport retail tanks full, all arriving just as the tanks empty. The transportation costs will be high and so gas prices have to rise to pay for it, but not as far as if new refineries had to be built.

The greater danger, especially with a long supply chain like that is disruptions, like a refinery fire, a hurricane (the gulf coast gets those), highway closures or tanker trucks breaking down, will occur. Any one of those could mean local fuel supply shortages in Ottawa. That long supply route will mean higher gas prices this summer, but it also might add up to a period of time where we have no gas at all - not for planes and not for cars, either.

The inability of refiners to make money refining over the last ten years has manifest itself in this long and very fragile just-in-time delivery system, that will be subject to disruptions. If we had accepted higher retail prices a few years ago to give refiners a better cut we wouldn't be in this situation, but we are here now.

Of course the general population will keep whining that it is all an oil company conspiracy and that the government should do something about it, but whining won't accomplish anything. The free market sets the prices and consumers of avgas and auto fuel will individually have to decide for themselves whether they are "in" or "out" of that market. When enough people drop out then demand will stabilize and so will prices.

These sorts of situations always have a silver lining, though. High fuel prices will result in fewer people driving and flying, so the roads and airports will be less busy. There will be less airline flying as ticket prices rise to account for the price of fuel, too.

The price of used aircraft will fall, too meaning this will be a good time to buy an airplane, as long as you can afford the gas!

Will this prove to be a price spike or a new permanent price for fuel? Probably both. Prices will probably spike this summer and then settle down to a new normal, that, with the long transportation chain will be higher than the old normal price. We'll have to see how it shakes out.

What will happen if we do have a period with no fuel available here, due to, say, a gulf coast hurricane? Well a bicycle would be a good idea. Just don't ask the government to do something about it.