31 January 2014

Last Flight - Ruth Merkis-Hunt

by Adam Hunt

Pilot, flight instructor and COPA Flight 8 Ottawa member Ruth Merkis-Hunt died of cancer on 30 January 2014 at age 49.

While she trained dozens of students to licence standard, Ruth will probably best remembered for her tireless contributions as a COPA volunteer during the years I worked there, 2000-07. She manned COPA trade show booths, sold COPA Collection clothing at COPA conventions, edited all the COPA Guides and hundreds of articles published in COPA Flight and flew with me to many fly-ins and meetings, happily conversing with members in English and French equally well.

Ruth's favourite aircraft type was the Cessna 172, which she flew for most of her teaching career, but her small size and light weight meant she was often relegated to a Cessna 152 with a heavier student. She had a lot of affection for the military C-130 Hercules freighter and flew on them several times as a SAR spotter.

We owned four aircraft together, including one we built and two we restored, but by 2006 Ruth's multiple sclerosis had resulted in persistent vertigo that made flying unpleasant for her. She kept her interest in aviation, though, working quietly behind the scenes, editing hundreds of aviation articles for publication, attending Flight 8 meetings, airshows and fly-ins whenever her health allowed.

Ruth's cheerful and kind nature won her many friends throughout the aviation world, as in all the other facets of her life. She was keen on so many things, like aviation, astronomy, bread baking, Buddhism, crochet, cross country skiing, cycling, camping, hiking, Linux, meteorology and music. She made friends through all her interests. She will be sorely missed by many people, especially by me, as we were inseparable partners in everything for over 17 years.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts, donations can be made to Ruth's favourite charity, Sati Saraniya Buddhist Hermitage, to allow them to carry on their valuable teaching work.

External links

15 January 2014

Fisher Flying Products For Sale

January 15, 2014

Press release by Paul Riedlinger, President of Fisher Flying Products

I have decided now is the time to make some major changes at Fisher Flying Products. Effective immediately, we will no longer be selling kits for any of our aircraft to new customers. We will only be offering our excellent full-size plans to people who want to scratch build any of our 14 different aircraft. Full technical support will continue to be offered. In addition, we will be continuing to sell items that are unique to our aircraft such as fuel tanks, cowls, windscreens, etc.

If you are an existing customer, replacement parts and kits needed to complete your aircraft will continue to be available. The changes only affects new customers. I do ask that you place any orders for kits needed by 15 March 2014.

These changes will remain in effect until I can find a buyer for the company who can restart production and carry Fisher forward into the future.

Details Of The Decision

For those of you who know me, you will realize this is not an easy decision. I took over FFP from Gene and Darlene Hanson five years ago and have had the time of my life reviving the company and making these great airplanes available once again. I have made many good friends and look forward to coming into work each day and talking with our great customers. I love dealing with our customer base which is truly world-wide.

So, why the change? Well, it certainly is not because the company is in any type of trouble. In fact we grew 40% in sales last year, invested in new modern production equipment and employed some of highly skilled people. With the US market finally coming back, the future sales potential for the company is very promising. It all comes down to time and being able to treating our customers with the level of service they have come to expect and deserve. What many people do not realize is that I took on Fisher because of my love of aviation and the desire to keep the FFP designs from disappearing. Besides running Fisher, I also own another business, guest lecture at the University of Toronto and I am in the process of getting my Doctorate at Reading University in England. I have always prided myself on providing excellent service and support for Fisher's products and recently it has become clear to me that with everything else going on I simply do not have the time to dedicate to FFP that it deserves. My goal with the changes is to allow me to provide support and products to existing customers while I search for a new owner for the company. I do not want to see anyone left stranded without the parts needed to complete their aircraft.

With all of this in mind, I would also like to announce that the company is for sale. With 14 different designs, a huge worldwide customer base of over 4000 people it is a great opportunity for someone who is looking to immerse themselves in the aviation world. What is for sale is all of the designs, production jigs, engineering, copyrights, etc. If you are interested in finding out more please feel free to contact me.

A quick summary of the changes:

  • New Customers will only be able to buy plans and supporting products
  • Existing Customers - nothing really changes other than if you need kits to complete your aircraft, please place the order before 15 March 2014
  • Technical Support - still available. It is always best to use email for technical support. Provide a detailed description of your question with part numbers and/or plan number you have questions about. Photos are always very helpful. If you want to talk on the phone about an issue, please note that phone support will be available Tuesday and Thursday from 9am-5pm Eastern Standard Time
  • Website - over the next few days you will notice see that the long promised online store will be turned on so you can do most purchases directly from our website
  • If you are interested in buying the company please contact me at for more details

I know that the changes are going to make some people unhappy but I hope you understand why I need to make them. It has been a pleasure dealing with each of you for the past 5 years and I look forward to continuing to support the Fisher line of aircraft. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email.

Contact information

External links

Further to: Does ForeFlight miss…info

ForeFlight has been great dealing with me. Since my queries and comments yesterday I have received several emails and a phone call. Great service ForeFlight Team!

Below is  ForeFlight’s annotated responses to my queries yesterday (the one with red notes). Note departure procedures, called SIDs in Canada, are under Procedures not Taxiways. There are no SIDs under taxiways in ForeFlight. Also note a Taxi Chart under ForeFlight’s Ottawa Procedures? I included the ForeFlight’s Buffalo Procedures screen and ask you to note the Takeoff Minimums item there listed. As well I included Ottawa’s Taxi Chart from ForeFlight’s Procedures for Ottawa. (Raises the question why Nav Canada shows the Aerodrome Chart and not the Taxi Chart in its list of Aerodrome Diagrams on its webpage?)

IMG_3253-17Buffalo procedurescyow taxi chart

OK, I looked in the wrong spot for takeoff minimums at Canadian airports. But I did so using the same logic ForeFlight applies to takeoff minimums for airports in the USA, specifically they are under Procedures!

My preference would be to start from some objectives like:

  1. Keep IFR procedural information in one place, e.g., Procedures.
  2. Keep ground movement information in one place, e.g., Taxiways or Taxi Diagrams.

With these objectives in mind, below is what I would expect to see:

  1. Procedures would include Arrival, Approach, Departure, Takeoff procedures and Noise Abatement, deicing.
  2. Taxiways or Taxi Diagrams would include taxi charts, parking/gate locations, hot spots, and other ground movement information as appropriate. Perhaps deicing too.

I find it interesting that Nav Canada publishes Taxi Charts for some airports, e.g., Ottawa CYOW and ForeFlight shows these under procedures, but not Taxiways or Taxi Diagrams. For many Canadian airports there is only one chart that shows both takeoff minima and taxiways. I believe ForeFlight should show these charts in both Taxiways and Procedures. A little repetition will not hurt.

Speaking or repetition, ForeFlight repeats all approach plates under Runways and Procedures. That is probably useful and intuitive for some pilots, but I wonder if this increases memory requirements and download time?

My goal is simply to point out how one Canadian Pilot misunderstood the logic behind ForeFlight, with the thought that other pilots might make the same mistakes and not find that for which they are looking.

14 January 2014

Does ForeFlight miss Canadian info?

CYVR proceduresCYVR airport chart from Nav Canada


Is your ForeFlight Mobile missing some key Canadian Charts? You will note in the above screen capture from my iPhone 5 that no Aerodrome Chart is listed for Vancouver International Airport CYVR. This could be unhealthy for Instrument pilots departing Vancouver since they will be missing the Takeoff minima that is on the bottom left of Nav Canada’s Aerdrome Chart for Vancouver (also shown above). Takeoff minima climb gradients in Canada is adjusted to reflect obstacles (mountains) in the departure path. Without the noted chart in ForeFlight we may be exposed to this potential risk.

For Ottawa CYOW ForeFlight provides the French Carte d’AĆ©rodrome which does include Takeoff Minima, but only in French. I don’t think I have miss-checked a feature in the Download section of ForeFlight, but that is a possibility I am exploring that with the ForeFlight Team.

Still ForeFlight is a great aid and I would hate to loose it.

13 January 2014

New Name For European Aircraft Manufacturer

A number of European aerospace manufacturers changed their names on 2 January 2014. These companies, all part of EADS, now have easier names to remember, but it does mean some aircraft types will have new names

Here is a summary of the changes:

  • The parent company, EADS, is now Airbus Group
  • Airbus Military, Astrium and Cassidian are now Airbus Defence and Space
  • Eurocopter, the helicopter manufacturer, is now Airbus Helicopters
  • Airbus, the airliner manufacturer, remains as Airbus

This does mean that some current production aircraft, such as the Eurocopter EC135, will become the Airbus EC135, etc.

The company has indicated that existing company documents, such as technical publications, press releases, financial statements and so on will not be re-branded. New documents will bear the Airbus name.

External Links

11 January 2014

Ottawa Flying Club Seeks Photos

From Ottawa Flying Club

Board Director Ryan Lloyd is working on the Ottawa Flying Club's new website and has put out a call for pictures of OFC aircraft, the club house and from OFC trips that we can use on the website. He has the back end on the new site all set up now but he doesn't have enough high quality club photos.

He is looking for shots of the different club aircraft and shots of the club as well.

Please send your best photos and videos as well. In your email state that it is OK for the OFC to use the photos and how you would want your shots to be recognized or attributed.

Email your photos and videos to photos@ofc.ca

10 January 2014

Murphy Aircraft For Sale

Press Release - 09 January 2014

Murphy Aircraft Manufacturing Ltd. announced today that the company is now being offered for sale, to someone who can take the company to the next stage of development.

Mr. Darryl Murphy, Company Founder and President, said "After thirty enjoyable years running Murphy Aircraft Mfg. Ltd., I am approaching retirement, with the desire to spend more time with family and pursue other interests. To that end I find myself in the position of wanting to sell Murphy Aircraft Mfg. Ltd."

Murphy Aircraft Mfg. Ltd. was founded in 1985 and has been a world leader in the design and production of experimental light aircraft, having sold close to 2,000 aircraft kits in over 35 countries. Many of these Murphy aircraft are now flying on floats and skis. The Murphy Moose and Murphy Rebel, with their reputation as rugged, roomy bush aircraft, offering utilitarian high useful loads, are especially coveted for their excellent performance on floats.

Mr. Murphy continued “With strong signs of economic recovery in North America, the time is right for someone else to take over.” This presents a great opportunity, as the cost of designing, tooling, building and testing a new line of aircraft would greatly exceed the asking price. The package includes all 8 aircraft models and 3 sizes of straight & amphibious floats, existing inventory, and quick-build jigs for the Renegade and Moose. The selling price will be in the $2.5 to $4 million range, depending on how much of the manufacturing machinery the buyer wants. A tailored training program can be provided. Murphy Aircraft Mfg. Ltd. will continue to supply new kits and service parts throughout the change-over to new ownership and anticipated expansion.

Patterson AeroSales, who handle all Murphy kit sales and marketing, will continue to accept and process orders for delivery positions now and throughout the expected year-long transition to new ownership.

Anyone interested in acquiring Murphy Aircraft Mfg. Ltd., should contact Mr. Darryl Murphy by email


Murphy Aircraft Mfg. Ltd. is one of the oldest and largest aircraft kit manufacturers in Canada. The Murphy lineup includes the popular Renegade, Rebel, Rebel Sport, Elite, Maverick, Yukon, and Moose kits, as well as 1500, 1800 and 3500 straight & amphib floats. All can be viewed on the Murphy web site.


  • Murphy Aircraft Mfg. Ltd., #2-8155 Aitken Road, Chilliwack BC V2R 4H5 Canada
  • 604-792-5855
  • Email
  • Web site

External Links

08 January 2014

Lecture on the First Human Powered Helicopter

Carleton University's American Helicopter Society (AHS) team are hosting its first AHS event right here on campus! The event will focus on a presentation by the AeroVelo team, who were the first to create a human powered helicopter and get it off the ground. The project was part of the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter (HPH) Competition.

With no designs being successful during the 33 long years of this competition, AeroVelo was able to achieve and exceed the requirements set by the competition committee which included a one minute hovering time, while keeping a steady altitude of 3 meters to win the $250,000 prize.


  • Date: January 9, 2014
  • Location: Porter Hall (University Centre, 2nd floor) Carleton University
  • Time:
    • 6-7 Registration/Social
    • 7 pm Presentation
  • Cost:
    • AHS Members: Free
    • Non-AHS members: $10
    • Students and Faculty: $5 with RSVP
  • Food: Snacks and refreshments provided
  • RSVP to Jen Gatenby

External links

07 January 2014

Fly-in Resturant Now at Oshawa Airport

by John A., COPA Flight 70 Oshawa Chief Gourmet

Mak's Pulled Pork Sandwiches And More has moved from 106 Byron Street South, Whitby, Ontario to the Oshawa Air Terminal.

Have a heaping pile of juicy, mouth-watering pulled pork or pulled jerk pork shavings on a bun, generously drizzled with your choice of Mak's BBQ sauce, or Mak's Heat BBQ sauce, if you want that tangy kick in every bite!

Extra hungry? (I was yesterday & again today) The Mak's Monster also adds a towering combination of coleslaw and cheese.

For non-pork-lovers there is also chicken club wraps and butter chicken. Also there is a traditional breakfast menu, lunch sandwiches and snacks, too.

  • Mak's Monster $8.99
  • Mak's Jerk $7.25
  • Mak's Pulled $6.50
  • Buttered chicken $5.99

Carla and Mark welcome you Monday to Friday, 0830-1430 hrs

01 January 2014

Canadian Private Fleet Shows Continued Slow Growth For 2013

The Canadian private civil aircraft fleet continued to grow in 2013, but at a rate that was once again the lowest seen since 2003, lower than in 2012 and worse than at any time during the recession of 2008-10.

In 2008 the fleet grew at a very fast rate of 3.2%, in 2009 by 2.2% reflecting the recession, in 2010 increased to 2.3% and in 2011 up to 2.5%. In 2012 it was down to just 1.96% and now 1.92% in 2013.

The numbers seem to indicate that recession is still very much with us and that the ongoing poor state of the Canadian economy is affecting aircraft buying. As in recent years, the fact that the fleet has continued to grow and not shrink is probably due to the persistently high asking prices for used aircraft in Canada, as the US economy and its dollar remained relatively weak through 2013. Towards the end of 2013 the Canadian dollar fell about 6% against the US dollar, but this still left aircraft asking prices higher than they should be compared to the US market. This has encouraged cross-border aircraft shopping and driven up the overall number of aircraft registered in Canada. As I have noted in years past, the main problem remains that many of those for-sale-but-over-priced-aircraft are also not being flown much, so while the Canadian civil fleet grows in size, the amount of flying probably isn't increasing and may in fact be decreasing.

In 2013 the total Canadian civil fleet increased in size by 538, compared to 593 for 2012. In 2013 the private segment of the fleet accounted for all the growth seen, increasing by 542, while the commercial aircraft fleet increased by only two aircraft and the state fleet, those aircraft owned by the various levels of government in Canada, shrunk by six aircraft. While private aviation is growing slowly, state and commercial aviation were both stagnant in 2013.

Certified Aircraft

Certified aircraft have been leading the growth in private aircraft for a number of years. They lost that lead to basic ultralights in 2012, but regained it in 2013. The comparatively low US dollar combined with high asking prices for aircraft in Canada makes US imports cheaper than buying domestically. The numbers increased in 2013 with 187 certified aircraft added, up from 2012's total of 172. In 2013 the new additions to the certified fleet were made up of 133 airplanes, 11 balloons and 44 helicopters, while the number of gliders was reduced by one.

Certified aircraft accounted for 35% of the private fleet growth in 2013. There were 16,293 private certified aircraft at the end of 2013, out of a total of 28,813 private aircraft registered.

Basic Ultralights

BULAs were once again the second quickest growing area of private aviation in 2013, after certified aircraft, after being in the number one spot in 2012. In 2013 the category increased by 153 aircraft and accounted for 28% of the private fleet growth. There were 5,780 BULAs registered at the end of 2013.


Amateur-built aircraft were in the number three slot again in 2013, increasing by 90, down from an increase of 98 in 2012. In 2013 the aircraft added were made up of 90 airplanes and two balloons, while the number of helicopters and gyroplanes decreased by one each. Amateur-builts made up 17% of the aircraft added to the private fleet in 2013.

Amateur builts now number 4,069 in Canada and include a wide variety of aircraft, from fixed wing airplanes, helicopters, gliders, gyroplanes to balloons, airships and even one ornithopter.

Owner Maintained

The O-M category added 22 aircraft in 2013, down from the 37 added in 2012, leaving the category in fourth spot once again ahead of advanced ultralights. By the end of 2013, there were 605 O-M aircraft on the registry, made up of 591 airplanes and 14 gliders. O-M aircraft made up 4% of the aircraft added to the private fleet in 2013.

This category has continued to suffer from low numbers of aircraft being moved from the certified category ever since the American FAA announced that O-M aircraft will never be allowed to fly in US airspace or sold in the USA. Overall this category continues to stagger along with very minimal interest from owners.

Advanced Ultralights

Advanced Ultralights remained in fifth place for growth in 2013, increasing their numbers by only 17 airplanes, compared to an increase of 27 in 2012. Their growth in numbers in 2013 made up 3% of the private fleet increase and brought the total number of AULAs on the civil register to 1,193. By the category definition, all AULAs are powered, fixed wing aircraft.

The AULA category was introduced in 1991 and therefore 2013 was its 22nd year. The category has increased its numbers at an average of 54 aircraft per year and so can hardly be considered the success that was anticipated when it was started. As in the past five years, the number of AULAs added in 2013 was well below the average from the category's earlier years. This seems to indicate that the category is slowly dying out, a trend mostly likely linked to the high price of new AULAs and their American counter-parts, Light-Sport Aircraft.

Commercial Fleet

In 2013 the commercial aircraft fleet increased by just two aircraft to bring it to 7,013. The numbers show an increase of five airplanes and no helicopters, offset by a decrease of three balloons. The biggest commercial fleet growth was in three-engined aircraft, with four added, while twins shrunk by 76 aircraft.

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

Imports & Exports

Aircraft imports into Canada in 2013 numbered 669, which was down from 753 in 2012 and well below the 968 imported during the pre-recession days of 2008. In 2013, 770 aircraft were exported, giving a difference of 101 favouring exported aircraft over those imported.

Looking at 2013

World oil prices ended 2013 at US$100.32 for North America (WTI) and US$112.18 for Europe (Brent). These were up slightly, $10 and $2 respectively, from a year ago, showing the careful balance between poor economic conditions reducing oil demand and associated prices and economic recovery increasing demand and prices. Poor economic conditions result in less flying because people have less money, but with world oil production stagnant now for nine years, economic growth increases demand for this limited resource and results in higher oil prices and the inevitable reduction in flying hours. Aviation data from 2013 once again indicate that high fuel prices are restricting private flying.

Note: Data for this report was taken from the Transport Canada Civil Aircraft Register and reflects the difference between the number of aircraft registered in Canada on 31 December 2012 and 31 December 2013. These statistics reflect the net number of aircraft built and imported, minus the number destroyed, scrapped and exported. Just because an aircraft is registered in Canada does not mean it is being flown and therefore the number of registered aircraft should not be confused with the amount of flying activity.