27 November 2014

COPA's President & CEO, Kevin Psutka, announces his intention to retire in 2015

Ottawa, Ontario—November 27, 2014 —COPA’s Board of Directors today announced that Kevin Psutka has declared his plans for retiring from his position as COPA's President & CEO in 2015.

"Kevin’s extraordinary vision and leadership guided COPA through times of tremendous change," said Trekker Armstrong, Chairman of COPA’s Board of Directors. Mr. Psutka, with 18 years tenure in his current position, has proven to be one of the most knowledgeable Executives on general aviation matters in Canada’s Personal Aviation sector.

With over 5000 hours flying experience, including commercial fixed-wing and rotary licences, Mr. Psutka has firsthand experience with past and present challenges facing our sector and very knowledgeable of the future challenges our sector will face. As President and CEO, Mr. Psutka’s duties and responsibilities are wide ranging. In this capacity he is liaison and primary contact person for: Transport Canada, Nav Canada, other Canadian Aviation Associations, AOPA and EAA plus US & Canadian Border Agencies. This extended beyond North America to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), where he serves as Vice President for North America.

While the COPA Board understood and was planning for succession, Kevin Psutka’s announcement to the Board of Directors has triggered the succession plan. He will remain in full capacity as President & CEO until such time as a replacement is found, with a succession transition to follow. The COPA Board of Directors will immediately undertake to enact the succession plan and begin the recruitment process for a new President & CEO.

COPA is the largest aviation Association in Canada covering Personal Aviation – that sector of General Aviation where aircraft are flown for personal travel and recreation. COPA is also the 2nd largest AOPA in the World. COPA protects Personal Aviation and promotes it as a valued, integral and sustainable part of the Canadian Community.

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18 November 2014

TSB Reemphasizes SECURITAS

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is putting new emphasis on its SECURITAS safety reporting program.

SECURITAS has been around for a number of years, but hasn't been widely used in the transportation industry to report problems to the TSB so action can be taken. Reports made under SECURITAS are confidential and the reporter's name is not revealed. TSB investigators take the reports and act on them on behalf of the person reporting the problem to correct safety issues before accidents happen.

The program can be used by transportation industry personnel, such as aircraft pilots, air traffic controllers, ship's crews, pipeline crews and train engineers. It can also be used by passengers and by the general public to report hazards and safety concerns.

To help relaunch the program and get more people using it the TSB is asking people to:

The TSB also asks people to forward their email notices and other materials, but they have marked everything they distribute "Copyright © 2014 Transportation Safety Board of Canada, All rights reserved", which, given Canada's very strict new copyright laws, really precludes sharing anything. Perhaps they need to rethink their licensing and issue their material under permissive licences instead, such as Creative Commons, or even make it explicitly public domain so that people can share it freely.

Canadian Aviation Historical Society - Ottawa Chapter

By Don MacNeil, CAHS Ottawa Program Convenor

Dear aviation or military enthusiasts:

The Ottawa chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society would like to invite you to attend any of our monthly meetings which occur from September through May on the last Thursday of each month. Meetings are held in the Bush Theatre of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum starting at 1930 hours.

Please feel free to bring family members or friends as well. A $1 landing fee is charged to cover coffee and donuts and the museum charges a nominal parking fee for the evening.

Also included is the planned slate of speakers for our 2014-2015 winter season.

If you enjoy our meetings, a membership is only $12 for the digital version of our monthly newsletter or $30 for the paper version making for an affordable gift or personal investment.

Upcoming Events

  • November 2014: Confirmed - "Identifying the remains of Canadian military personnel", Ms. Laurel Clegg, Forensic Anthropologist
  • January 2015: Confirmed - "Women in the CAF", Sarah Hogenbirk, PhD Candidate
  • February 2015: Confirmed - "Letter to my Grandson" & Book Signing, Wally Kasper, Bomber Command Lancaster pilot
  • March 2015: Confirmed - "Canada Aviation & Space Museum Update", Erin Gregory, CASM Staff
  • April 2015: TBD - "NRC Flight Lab Tour"
  • April 2015: Backup - "Bomber Command", Ron Moyes
  • May 2015: Confirmed - AGM and "Vintage Wings Update & Researching Vintage Wings Stories", Dave O'Mally, Vintage Wings - Director of Marketing

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17 November 2014

Transport minister surprises industry with new powers

By Kevin Psutka, COPA president and CEO

Since my previous update in June on Transport Canada’s initiative to amend the Aeronautics Act and Aerodrome regulations to require consultation on any aerodrome development, there has been little progress, or so I thought. The industry participants had received a draft report of the focus group, for which COPA submitted extensive comments, and we were waiting for finalization of the report as well as release of draft regulations this fall for further discussion. The documents associated with this effort are here.

As part of Transport Canada’s initiative, the schedule included the eventual introduction of an Aeronautics Act amendment on the definition of an aerodrome, with the intent to exclude some types of aerodromes, such as ones that are infrequently used, from being protected by federal jurisdiction. As you may appreciate, this initiative is a critical one for our sector and indeed for all of aviation, especially considering all of the work COPA has done, including spending hundreds of thousands from your Freedom to Fly Fund over many years to defend the concept of federal jurisdiction and your right to establish and build aviation-related facilities on your land without interference from local authorities. It has come to my attention that on October 23 an amendment to the Aeronautics Act was introduced to Parliament, contained along with many other unrelated matters in Bill C-43 concerning the budget.

To my knowledge no one in the industry has been consulted on the amendment. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the definition of an aerodrome. Instead, this very broad amendment gives the Minister sweeping powers to prohibit any development at any aerodrome and any change of operations at any aerodrome. It is well beyond what was anticipated during the discussions with industry on the requirement to consult. Furthermore, if the amendment passes into law, the Minister will be able to avoid all consultation processes, such as would be the case when a regulatory change is made, and unilaterally issue an order to prohibit the establishment of any aerodrome, development of any aerodrome and any operational changes at any aerodrome whenever the Minister deems it to be necessary, in the Minister’s opinion, for safety or in the public interest.

“In the public interest” is not defined. With no policy to protect and encourage most of aviation and with a flawed National Airports Policy that puts the future of smaller airports and aerodromes in the hands of local interests, the Minister would be free to make a decision on a case by case basis what would be in the public’s interest, not necessarily in the best interest of the future of aviation.

I asked Shari Currie, TC Director, Policy and Regulatory Services, who is responsible for this file, how this amendment got to Parliament without consulting stakeholders and here is what she said:

"The proposed Act amendment and the work towards the proposed regulatory amendment are related although not the same. There is more work to do on the regulatory amendment including a focus group at which I trust COPA will participate. Basically, the proposed amendment tightens up the legislative authority to make regulations with respect to responsible aerodrome development. Those requirements will come later, and hopefully with your help, so we can find the right balance."

I responded to Shari as follows:

"Thank you for this clarification. Although not directly related to the NPAs that are in development, the Act amendment relates directly to the fundamental issue that we brought to (Transport Canada’s) attention. If the duty to consult is one-sided, whereby aerodrome proponents are required to consult and those who would affect an aerodrome are not, such as residential, wind farm and cell tower proponents, this would be as a minimum very unfair.

The amendment of the Act to give the Minister power to prohibit development and operation at any aerodrome without similar power to prohibit development or operations near aerodromes that would be detrimental to aviation is also very unfair. So, in that sense the Act amendment is very germane and as a minimum should have been brought to stakeholders’ attention before it had progressed this far."

I would like to amplify the point I made to Shari Currie. COPA is not opposed to strengthening the Minister’s ability, if not already available through other means, to prevent abuse of federal jurisdiction when people, for example, flaunt federal jurisdiction in order to use an aerodrome for a land fill operation. However, in the spirit of protecting and promoting aviation, the Minster should also have the ability to step in when activities near an aerodrome, such as residential development, cell towers and wind farms may have a negative impact on an aerodrome, which I believe is very much safety and public interest issues. Proceeding with a one-sided Act amendment to prohibit aviation and one-sided regulatory amendments to require aerodrome proponents to consult is simply unfair.

This rapidly unfolding situation has a very short fuse. Since the Act amendment is already in the hands of Parliament and has already gone through second reading in the House, bypassing all normal consultation processes, the next step is a review by the Finance Committee, which in turn has assigned examination of the Act amendment to the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications (SCOTC).

I have notified the Committee that COPA will submit a brief and I requested an opportunity to appear before the Committee. I have also asked other aviation industry leaders who are involved in the requirement to consult initiative to join COPA in this effort. The goal of the Minister of Transport is to bring the amendment into law before Parliament adjourns for Christmas. Many readers, especially those who own or want to own an aerodrome, are probably wondering about the future of their investment. It is too soon to provide a firm indication of the full impact of the amendment and the yet-to-be seen regulatory amendments. If you are trying to decide what you should do with your investment , please read our Guide to Private Aerodromes and then either wait while all of this unfolds over the next year or proceed at your own risk. COPA’s legal counsel has been asked to provide a report on the legal implications, should the Act amendment and revised regulations become law, but for now we are uncertain of the full implications until the Act and regulation amendments are in their final form. If you want to express your concern about this unfolding situation, contact your Member of Parliament now, tell him/her about how unfair it is for the Minister to introduce such a significant and one-sided amendment without public consultation buried in an unrelated Bill, then ask your MP to influence his/her colleagues to postpone the amendment until proper consideration is given.

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10 November 2014

Flying the Questair Venture

Flight 8 member André Durocher has been flying his new homebuilt Questair Venture.

He reports: "I flew to Martha's Vineyard in 1h30! Also, flew to Cleveland, Ohio in 1h45 minutes!! ... I can't wait to fly my Venture IFR!"

Keep an eye out for its distinctive shape over Ottawa!

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07 November 2014

Rockcliffe Flying Club's IFR Club Continues

The Rockcliffe Flying Club's IFR Club continues to meet monthly, giving a forum for the discussion of light aircraft instrument flying.

The IFR Club was started in 2013 and is described in a COPA Flight 8 blog post from then.

Come out and meet some other IFR pilots and discuss the advantages and pitfalls of instrument flying.


  • Where: Rockcliffe Flying Club Lounge
  • When: Last Thursday of the Month
  • Time: 1930 hrs – until finished!!

External links

Billy Bishop returns

Billy Bishop Goes to War Returns to Ottawa! Plosive Production’s 2013 smash hit returns to Ottawa audiences to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

Same great show, same great cast, but a new venue, the Avalon Studio - 738 Bank Street (at 2nd. Avenue). It runs November 7 to November 23 at 7:30 PM, with Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM

It features Chris Ralph as Billy Bishop (and 18 other characters) with James Caswell as the Narrator and Pianist.

Directed by Teri Loretto (well known for her CBC-TV weather forecasting and as a former manager at Ottawa Aviation Services), co-produced by Plosive Productions and The Acting Company.

"Chris Ralph plays Bishop with gusto, empathy and humour." — The Ottawa Citizen


  • Adults: $30
  • Seniors: $25
  • Students (with ID): $20