11 December 2015

Canadian Beacon Registry Verifier (CBRV)

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

The Canadian Beacon Registry (CBR) ran a pilot project in 2012 which sent users of registered 406 MHz beacons an email when the self-test of their beacons were detected. The pilot project was a resounding success, with the general aviation and small operator communities in particular, as it demonstrated the value of registering 406 Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). Unfortunately that pilot project was suspended later that year when the CBR database was reengineered.

Since 2012 and on every occasion, COPA has been reminding the Canadian Beacon Registry authorities to re-introduce this email tool. Recently during my presentation at SARScene 2015, I had a slide on suggestions to improve the ELT image amongst pilots, one of which was an “End to End” email testing of 406 ELTs. I was later approached by CBR staff informing me of the soon to be re-launch of this email tool.

External links

02 December 2015

Book Review - Canadian Women in the Sky

  • Canadian Women in the Sky - 100 Years of Flight
  • by Elisabeth Gillan Muir
  • Published by Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2015
  • 6" X 9" trade paperback
  • 175 pages, including a forward by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, preface, acknowledgements, introduction, appendix - milestones in aviation, notes, bibliography, index
  • $21.99

It is sad to think that here, in the 21st century, after more than 100 years of powered flight, that books promoting women in aviation are still needed. But the truth is that even today in Canada women make up only a very small proportion of pilots and very few young women see it as a viable career or past time. Author Elisabeth Gillan Muir seeks to tell the story of individual women in Canadian aviation and at the same time perhaps motivate and inspire a new generation with the fact that women really can fly.

Muir is no stranger to women's history. She has degrees from Queen's University, the Harvard Business School and McGill, where she earned her PhD. She also taught Canadian history at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, too. She has tackled the history of Canadian women in several areas, including in Upper Canada.

Given her academic qualifications and background readers might be a bit wary that Canadian Women in the Sky would be an academic work, but that is not the case. No dry and extensive tome, Muir has intentionally written a simple and easily readable little volume, composed in language that teens can readily read and illustrated with many black and white photos, which adds to the interest factor.

Muir presents her look at women who fly by starting at the beginning, with a certain Mme Godard who was the first woman in the air over Canada, as a balloon passenger in 1856. Another aeronaut, Nellie Thurston, piloted her own balloons and parachute jumped from them as well, at 19th century fairs in Canada. With powered, heavier-than-air flight in the early 20th century, women soon became passengers, and later pilots, of these new "aeroplanes". Muir provides short biographies of women such as Dolena MacKay MacLeod, who was the first airplane passenger in Canada in September 1909, just seven months after the first airplane flight in the country. MacLeod flew with Casey Baldwin of the Aerial Experiment Association in his "Baddeck" biplane. Other early passengers included Grace Mackenzie and Olive Stark, who almost became Canada's first female aviation casualty.

Katherine Stinson, an American, was the first women known to pilot an airplane in Canada. Called "the flying schoolgirl", the petite Stinson flew at fairs and exhibitions all across Canada during the First World War. She did aerobatics and flew solo at night, by the light of flares. She also set records and carried the first airmail in western Canada.

Other chapters cover such fliers as Madge Graham who flew in the Curtiss H2SL flying boat, La Vigilance, which is now in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Pilots with short biographies include Eileen Vollick, Enid Norquay MacDonald, Louise Mitchell Jenkins, Marion Orr, Vera Dowling, Felicity McKendry and Dee Brasseur, who was one of the first women CF-18 pilots. Most of these women were career fliers, but there is a very short chapter on Canadian figure skating champion Barbara Ann Scott who flew for fun. Canada's first woman airline pilot, Rosella Bjornson also gets her own short chapter. Muir has a chapter on the Americans who were influences on Canadian women, too, including Harriet Quimby, Alys McKay Bryant and Amelia Earhart.

Muir tackles discrimination carefully throughout the book, but one chapter points out how women were discouraged from piloting and funneled into becoming stewardesses instead. She details the requirements and the challenges of that profession.

Further chapters cover Margaret Fane Rutledge, the Flying Seven and their efforts to promote women flying in the 1940s, Elsie McGill, Canada's first female aeronautical engineer and the 166 women who flew in the Second World War in the Air Transport Auxiliary delivering aircraft domestically and overseas. Canadian women bush pilots are profiled, too, including Lorraine Cooper, Vi Milstead Warren, Lorna de Blicquy, Elisabeth Wieben, Judy Adamson and Berna McCann as well as Judy Cameron who went on to become Air Canada's first female pilot. There is also a section on Mary Ellen Pauli, a helicopter bush pilot.

Other chapters cover women who have flown around the world, the group of Ninety-Nines who started the pollution patrol volunteer service Skywatch and the military pilot who flew with the Snowbirds and then went on to command the team, Maryse Carmichael.

The final chapter of the book deals with the two women who went further than any other Canadian women have done so far, Roberta Bondar and Julie Payette, Canada's two female astronauts who were crew on the Space Shuttle and later, in Payette's case, the ISS.

This is a lot of material to pack into 175 pages and so the stories told about each person are short and to the point. The book makes for fast-paced reading and, while it can easily be read by teens and adults, it might almost be ideal for bed-time stories read to a young aspiring aviator.

Dundurn Press's publishing program is supported by both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

External links

26 November 2015

GPS failure – the need for data

By Al Hepburn, Captain, COPA Flight 178 Pembroke

There can be no doubt that the introduction of GPS has been a game changer in the world of general aviation. In this article, we’ll look at the effect it has had, and is about to have on the General Aviation IFR Owner/Pilot.

The Air Traffic Control system has evolved over the years to the point that most pilots seldom use the so-called "Traditional Aids." A brief glance at the Canadian LO 6 en route chart (the one covering the Windsor to Quebec City corridor) will show the impact this has had on en route IFR navigation.

All the airways at the heart of this corridor have disappeared, and have been replaced with the so-called "Tango Routes," based on RNAV waypoints. Traditional navaids and airways are

being decommissioned at a fairly rapid pace. In the more remote areas of the country, many pilots would hesitate to fly without GPS, as the only alternative is NDB navigation, and flying NDB approaches is a dying art.

Many aircraft now flying in southern Canada no longer carry ADF, so are effectively excluded from IFR flight in areas where an ADF is the only practical backup. Nor do they carry DME, which is also required to fly just about all VOR approaches.

All this means that traditional navaids are becoming an anachronism, and the service provider, NavCanada, is quite rightly keen to decommission as many of these navaids as possible, particularly VORs, which are expensive to install and maintain.

Before we go too far down the decommissioning road, however, it is appropriate to ask the question "What happens if GPS fails?" The answer, in a nutshell, is "You revert to using Traditional Aids, or fly VFR." That then begs the question "How often is there likely to be a loss of GPS position information in IFR use, and how long will the outages last?" You would think the answer to these questions would be readily available, but this does not seem to be the case.

Transport Canada has had a "GPS Anomaly Report" form since 1997, but its existence is not well known. To date, it has only received 35 entries.

To get some kind of handle on pilots’ real world experience, COPA, in co-operation with AOPA, recently conducted an on-line survey. This evoked 513 responses over a period of a few days.

The author’s personal experience indicates that, if anything, the incidence of GPS failure events is increasing. In a recent two-week period, I flew on two occasions, and saw the dreaded "GPS Signal Loss" screen both times. The failures were at different locations, on different aircraft, and using different (Garmin) equipment. Both failures lasted a few minutes. On neither occasion was there a NOTAM relating to possible GPS failure.From a technical point of view, the GPS signal is susceptible to jamming, since it uses a single frequency, and is extremely weak. By the way, you can already buy jammers on the internet, the "best" of which is reported to have a ten-mile range. Truckers buy them, so the boss can’t monitor where they are!

So, how robust will the Traditional Aids backup system be? This will clearly depend on the frequency and duration of the loss of signal threat. If outages are very brief, they will have little effect on air navigation.

Longer outages (say of a few minutes or more) would force you to revert to Traditional Aids navigation, and it’s here that the architecture of the Traditional Aids backup system becomes a key concern. The COPA/AOPA survey indicated that there were a surprising number of such failures. Thus, it is of critical importance to have a statistically significant volume of data on GPS failures before the Traditional Aids structure is significantly reduced. COPA will recommend to Nav Canada that a web-based tool be added to the AWWS website to facilitate this, but in the meantime, please take the time to fill out and submit that "GPS Anomaly Report."

Note that the intent is to have one report per event, not one to cover the totality of your experience since you started using GPS. Make it very clear when the event was reported using IFR approved equipment, since only these events are directly relevant to IFR operations. In view of the suspected dynamic nature of GPS failures, it is recommended that you concentrate on data not more than a couple of years old. You should send the form to service@navcanada.ca.

Alan Hepburn: Has flown IFR for 43 years and flying GNSS IFR since 2002, flight instructor, and representing COPA in discussion on future IFR requirements.

External links

05 November 2015

Book Review: Fangs of Death

  • Fangs of Death - 439 Sabre-Toothed Tiger Squadron, Standing on guard for thee since 1941
  • by Marc-André Valiquette and Richard Girouard
  • Published by Imaviation, 2015
  • 12.5" X 9.5" hard back book
  • 264 pages, including three forwards, two prefaces, eight addenda, glossary, bibliography, index
  • $49.95

Marc-André Valiquette is most well-known for his extensive series of five books on the Avro Arrow, but lately he has branched out into Canadian military squadron histories, most recently tackling 425 "Alouette" Squadron.

With a title like "Fangs of Death" the casual reader glancing at the book might think this is a horror story, but the title comes from the post-war motto of 439 "Sabre-Toothed Tiger" Squadron, the unit that is the subject of the book. A large-format and hefty (4 lb, 1.8 kg) hard-cover book, Fangs of Death is largely a photo album of carefully collected squadron photos from the Second World War right through to 2013, with text and captions describing the history. The book is bilingual, with each leaf written in English on the left page and French on the right. The title in French is "Les Crocs de la Mort". With the large numbers of photos, drawing and paintings, plus the bilingual format, the book is a relatively quick read, as most people will only read it in one of its two languages. Vaiquette shares credit for the book with historical and photographic researcher Richard Girouard.

The book starts with 439 Squadron's origins as the School of Army Co-operation and later 123 Army Co-operation Training Squadron, flying Grumman Goblin biplanes and Westland Lysanders from RCAF Station Rockcliffe in Ottawa. Converting to Hurricanes and moving to Debert, Nova Scotia, the unit languished far away from the fighting until ordered overseas in 1943. Once in the UK, the squadron traded their aging Hurricanes for brand new Hawker Typhoons and started operations on 2 March 1944 in the ground attack role. Prior to D-Day they engaged in attacks on targets such as the V-1 "flying bomb" launching sites and conducted anti-shipping missions. During the June 1944 invasion of Normandy the unit took on German coastal batteries and performed attacks on road and rail targets ahead of the allied ground forces, including interdicting German armour. Throughout the latter part of 1944 the squadron took part in the fighting in France, Belgium and into Germany, including taking part in the Battle of the Bulge. In early 1945 they joined the battle for Holland. Not all targets were on the ground, as unit pilots downed two Me-262 jets, among other German aircraft.

439 became the first RCAF squadron to operate from a German base, with its move to Goch in March 1945. With the war in Europe over in May 1945 the squadron had 86 pilots who served with it in total, of which 20 finished their tours, 24 were killed or presumed dead on operations, plus five killed in accidents, eight were POWs and three escaped after being shot down.

The squadron was reformed on Sabre Mk IIs at RCAF Uplands, again in Ottawa, in 1951 as part of Canada's NATO commitment. They became the first unit to fly their Sabres over to Europe, rather than having them shipped, as part of Operation Leapfrog I. They flew from Ottawa to Bagotville, Quebec; Goose Bay, Labrador; Bluie West in Greenland; Keflavik, Iceland; Kinloss, Scotland and onto North Luffenham, England where they were initially based. Four years later the unit moved to its operational base at Marville, France, the new home of No. 1 Fighter Wing. The unit later upgraded to Sabre Mk 5s and finally 6s, holding quick-reaction intercept stand-by and training at weapons meets, NATO exercises, Tiger Meets and other opportunities to hone their skills. The Tiger Meets were NATO gatherings of squadrons that had tigers as emblems.

It was in this post-war period that the squadron got their sabre-toothed tiger badge and the deadly-sounding motto to go with it. In 1961 the Maharajah of Rewa in India donated a stuffed tiger, which became their mascot, Fang. 439 became the last Sabre RCAF squadron in Europe, prior to its conversion to the CF-104 Starfighter in 1964.

In 1966 France ended its military involvement in NATO and 439 moved to Lahr in Germany. It was in 1969 that the squadron first painted a CF-104 in overall tiger stripes to take to the Tiger Meet. In 1970 all CF-104 flying was moved to CFB Baden-Soellingen and, in 1973, 439 received its squadron colours from the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1984 the squadron flew its last CF-104 sortie and was disbanded, to be re-formed flying the CF-18 late the next year, still at Baden. The unit formed the "Desert Cats", along with 416 Squadron, as part of Canada's participation in the liberation of Kuwait in 1990-91. In January 1993 Canada ended its commitment to provide a fighter wing to NATO and 439 was disbanded, its CF-18s returned to Canada. The unit flew them home, across the Atlantic, with air-to-air refuelling.

On 1 April 1993 the squadron was reformed, by rebadging Base Flight Bagotville as 439 Combat Support Squadron, flying the Bell CH-118 Iroquois helicopter and the venerable T-33 two-seat jet in the rescue, transport and utility roles. In 1995 the unit re-equipped with three Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters and in 2000 retired the T-33 jets. As well as covering base rescue operations, 439 also participated in the Saguenay flood operation of 1996, and the international response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, as well as deploying to Jamaica to cover SAR for the island in 2011 as the Jamaican Defence Force was shorthanded.

439 Combat Support Squadron continues today in Bagotville with its three Griffon helicopters in the rescue and transport roles.

The book, Fangs of Death, is well written, very readable with roughly a double page for each year the squadron has been in existence, with more coverage of the Second World War years, naturally, as those were busier times. The choice of photographs is outstanding and I am certain that it was hard to decide which ones to include, given the photographic riches available.

My only criticism of the book is not on what was included, but excluded. The book does seem to shy away from controversy and even though the unit picked up the nuclear strike and reconnaissance roles in 1964 with the phasing in of the CF-104 there is lots about the photo recce role, but not a word about the nuclear weapons that were very controversial at the time. Other historical sources mention the nuclear strike role for 439, but not this work. Similarly the CF-104 had a very high loss rate, with half the aircraft built lost in accidents, but not a single Starfighter crash is mentioned in the book, during almost twenty years of flying the type, which seems odd when reading it. Other works, like Larry Milberry's Sixty Years, delve into the high number of Starfighter losses in some detail. Not to pick on the CF-104, but of the Sabre years, 1951-63, only one accident is mentioned in the book and then it seems only because it was the squadron commanding officer, Squadron Leader CJ Clay, who was killed and only a month and a half after assuming command, too.

Other than these omissions this is a fascinating book, a photographic window into the world of wartime operations and peacetime flying in Europe with NATO and in Canada. It will surely appeal to any present and former squadron members as well as anyone interested in fine-grained twentieth century history and military aviation.

Valiquette notes that none of his books have received any financial support from any level of government and that he publishes them himself through his own publishing company, Imaviation. While his five volumes on the Avro Arrow and his 425 Squadron history are featured on his website, at the time of this writing, Fangs of Death is not yet on the website, although I expect it will be soon. It should also soon be available in museum bookshops and the other bookstores that stock aviation titles.

External links

02 November 2015

Book Review: Hangar Flying Vol 1

  • Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, Vol 1
  • by Jack Schofield and Arthur Cox
  • Published by Coast Dog Press, Mayne Island, British Columbia, 2015
  • 6.25" X 8" electronic book
  • 84 pages
  • Price - free

It is hard to argue with a professional-quality book of flying stories that is offered at this price - free! And perhaps best of all, this is the first of three volumes of books for free that author and publisher Jack Schofield has planned in conjunction with writer and illustrator Art Cox.

Both Schofield and Cox earned their aviation writing and artwork skills honestly, honed during years of lay-overs awaiting passengers in that "downtime" that all pilots find they have at points in many flight itineraries. These two are not writers who know a bit about flying, (but get the details wrong), these are both veteran pilots who learned to write about aviation, as well as draw and paint airplanes, too.

So what's with "free"? Schofield relates that it is so hard for aviation writers to get published these days by traditional book publishers, that he started his own publishing house, Coast Dog Press. Upping the ante, he publishes or distributes not only his own works, but books by other aviation writers, too. The Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, series is intended to be a showcase for the talents of the writers in his stable, as he includes writers like Bill Grenier and Peter Barratt in this book. As a platform the book also includes one small advertisement for some of the other titles he sells. He hopes that volume two will have a bit more advertising, at least to help cover costs. It seems like a good formula that works for all concerned, especially readers, who get a free book and will likely get two more volumes of free books in the near future. As a COPA member, all you have to do is send Schofield an email and he will send you the link for the book. He will also send you a note when the future volumes are posted. It is hard to beat that kind of service, all for free!

So what do you get for the price? The book Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, is 84 pages. It took me just over an hour to read it, so it is not a long book.

The chapters are short tales, each a good aviation story that the authors thought should be recorded for posterity. Some are amusing and some are thought-provoking, but there is something to be learned from each one.

You get:

  • Big Bang by Jack Schofield, the tale of a Beaver engine failure on floats.
  • Back to Basics by Arthur Cox, about flying visual circuits in a Lockheed L-1011.
  • Thrills in a Tigerschmitt by Jack Schofield, about an off-airport landing in a Tiger Moth.
  • New Tricks for an Old Dog by Bill Grenier, covering his leap from a Boeing 747 cockpit to a Robinson R-22 and later R-44 helicopters.
  • Pringles for Bleriot by Jack Schofield, covering the foibles of being an airline passenger.
  • Near Misses by Arthur Cox, about the very near-shoot-down of an airliner over Lake Michigan in 1988.
  • Sex and the Single Engine by Jack Schofield, the story of a free-spirited woman pilot who once worked for him.
  • North Star to the Rescue by Arthur Cox, about a repatriation flight for a UN official who had been kidnapped.
  • The Homecoming by Peter Barratt, about a special helicopter flight for an NHL star's return home.
  • B-25 by Arthur Cox, where he relates flying the venerable bomber in post-war Winnipeg.
  • In The Wake of the War Canoe by Jack Schofield, about Queen Charlotte Airlines and the fate of a remote BC camp.
  • Fiction - No Laughing Matter (part one of three) by Jack Schofield with illustrations by Art Cox about a Gulfstream biz jet charter adventure with some shady passengers. No Laughing Matter will be continued in the next two volumes.

There are also several extra anecdotes thrown in, in between chapters, including a few subtle smirks that some people might miss, like a little half-page story about General Romeo Dallaire that has a photo of someone else to illustrate it.

Speaking of illustrations, aside from the photos, the book includes Schofield's art, sketches and pointillism drawings as well as Cox's paintings, which add up to give the book a rich, custom feel.

I enjoyed the book, it is great fun and will probably make most pilots recall similar stories from their own hangars. I would normally say something like, "this book would make a nice addition to any pilot's book shelf", but this book is web-based, so it will only find a home on your coffee table and then only as long as that is where you keep your laptop or tablet.

External links

27 October 2015

Book Review: From Miles to Millions

  • From Miles to Millions - Aviate, Syndicate, Accumulate
  • by Bill Grenier
  • Published by Pagebrook Publishing, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2015
  • 6" X 9" trade paperback
  • 548 pages, including epilogue and acknowledgements, eight page colour insert, with 19 colour photos plus 11 B&W photos
  • $23.95

Readers are often skeptical about reading autobiographies and self-published autobiographies are often on their "do not fly" list, but From Miles to Millions by Bill Grenier is in a different category from most autobiographies. For one thing the author claims it isn't an autobiography. He says on the last page, "This book is not an autobiography. It is a memoir of events and anecdotes as I recollect them and therefore not necessarily in chronological order or complete."

In his defence, Grenier signed up lots of professional help in the editing, proofreading and layout of the book and the final product is on par with any that you would find from the commercial publishers of Canada.

Even though it is a self-published autobiography there is no need to accuse the author of arrogance, as, at many points in the book he humbly addresses that. For instance, on page 274 he says, "it's not exactly a chip on my shoulder - at times it is more like a block of wood." But given the era of the story (1936-87) and his childhood experiences, the reader really wants to forgive him any shortcomings in that regard. If he had been reticent he couldn't have done the things he accomplished in life in that period of history.

Also worth noting is that the book is for a good cause. His website says, "net proceeds from the sale of From Miles to Millions by Bill Grenier will be donated to aviation student scholarships.The author has sent the first installment of $2000 to the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association who will add it to the Neil Armstrong scholarship fund for the express purpose of assisting aviation students in their quest for advanced training in flying skills." Now that is hard to take umbrage with! It is a book about aviation that will lead to future flying for some worthy young people.

This is the story of a person who learned to fly, worked his way though the dues-paying flying years making little money and then broke into corporate aviation and finally a job with Air Canada. He worked his way up in that famous company, too, becoming a 747 captain in that plane's early days with the airline. He started a housing development to provide his family with a place to live and ended up spending his off days in the real estate business, gradually building up what became a large property development empire, Pagebrook. He took early retirement from Air Canada at age 50 in 1985 and dedicated himself to the real estate business full time. He covered many miles flying, but in the end made more dollars in real estate than miles flown, as he concludes in the book.

The book starts with a chapter detailing a dramatic pilot incapacitation incident combined with a non-retracted main gear on a fully-loaded Boeing 747 taking off from London and bound across the Atlantic for Canada. Grenier was first officer on that flight and managed to get the captain and the rest of the aircraft and crew home all in one piece. He offers this up as some of the most challenging flying that can be found on airline heavy iron and the chapter is a very engaging start to the book.

The second chapter goes back in time to the author's days trying to scratch out a living flying in Florida in the early 1960s, when he ended up doing light airplane repossessions. He recounts many lessons he learned there in the deep south in that rather rough game. He goes on next to detail the day he was asked by a bank to take over and fix a large real estate development company, Mascan, that had fallen in arrears. Similar to the 747 incident in the first chapter, Grenier describes how he used the same sort of flying skills to tackle that job.

The author waits until the fourth chapter to go over his childhood and it was a rough one, full of conflict, violence and too much abuse and neglect for a small child. It isn't hard to see where Grenier developed his approach to life, his drive to succeed and his "street smarts". The chapter fits in well with the rest of his story.

Having owned many personal aircraft, the author dedicates one whole chapter to the clapped-out Funk B85C he and a friend bought as a time builder early in their aviation careers. You can feel his affection for the odd-ball and much-maligned plane shine through. Eventually he owned and restored another Funk B many years later, one that was later often flown by his youngest son and one-time COPA Board Member, Glenn Grenier. Today the younger Grenier is COPA's legal counsel.

Other chapters give accounts his flying on the DEW line construction in DC-3s and Avro Yorks, his early days getting hired by and then laid-off by Trans Canada Airlines, which left him having to move to the US to feed his young family and led to the airplane repo job. His big break was being hired by General Electric for their corporate aviation department, a place he worked and honed his flying skills on aircraft like the Convair 440 and Grumman Gulfstream I. Finally he was recalled to Trans Canada, now Air Canada, and flew Viscounts, Vanguards, DC-8s and ultimately the 747 there. It was during this time that he got into real estate development in Toronto and he relates many of the lessons learned in that business as well.

The book is approximately half aviation and half business stories, but it is a very worthwhile work for anyone interested in either field of endeavour. This is not a thin book, but it moves along at a good clip and never gets bogged down in the minutia of the business world that would lose the attention of aviation readers. Right until the end of the story the book remains engaging and genuinely hard to put down. It is a good read, would make an excellent gift, and would be a splendid addition to anyone's aviation bookshelf.

The book won a bronze medal from the American Independent Book Publishers.

External links

20 October 2015

CAUTION Canadian PIlots use Foreflight with CAUTION

I checked NOTAMS for Rockcliffe Airport (CYRO) just after lunch today and on Nav Canada's site there is NOTAM closing the runway, but that NOTAM is nowhere to be found under NOTAMS for CYRO in Foreflight. See the two screen captures.

Use Foreflight Mobile with Caution in Canada!

15 October 2015

New AIM is out!

The 15 October 2015 copy of the Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual is now available for free download as a 38.1 MB sized PDF!

Transport Canada doesn't give a lot of stuff away for free these days, so get your free copy of the newest edition of the AIM today.

External links

Have you seen this Cessna 172?


Keep your eyes open for a red and white C-172F, registered C-FSQK.

It was stolen from a fellow COPA member on 16 September 2015, at Mascouche Airport (CSK3) Québec.

If you see it, please call your local police department.

14 October 2015

COPA/AOPA Survey on GPS Failure

By Patrick Gilligan, VP, Operations, COPA National

The Federal Aviation Administration and Nav Canada are transitioning to a satellite based navigation system and have begun decommissioning the bulk of ground based navigational aids. Many pilots have already transitioned to GPS as their primary navigation method. This survey’s goal is to receive pilot feedback on how the GPS system is performing.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and the US-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) are launching a survey to gauge the amount of GPS interference and number of outages pilots flying in both countries have experienced.

The survey comes at a time when more satellite-based instrument approaches are being created and ground-based approaches are being taken offline. As Nav Canada and the US FAA prepares to switch to a satellite-based NextGen air traffic control system, the two associations want to ensure that the new system has the capabilities that general aviation pilots need and that it is as resistant as possible to interference and outages.

The anonymous survey, which will be available until 15 November 2015, asks pilots about the location and type of flying they do, if and how pilots use IFR-certified GPS units, and the nature of any GPS interference or outages experienced and how that affected the flight, among other questions. The survey provides an opportunity for pilots to fill in their personal information to receive more information, but the fields are not mandatory to complete the survey.

The two organizations will use the survey data to advocate on behalf of pilots.

Thank you for participating in our survey. Your feedback is important.

External links

05 October 2015

Westport "Pigs and Pies" Fly-in

The Rideau Lakes Flying Club (COPA Flight 56) will hold their annual "Pigs and Pies" Fall Fly-In on Saturday 17 October 2015

The club says: "come join us for a great fall celebration near the fabulous town of Westport, Ontario. View the planes, celebrate the changing leaves, and enjoy the Westport throughout the day. Fun for the whole family."

Everyone is welcome to fly or drive in.

Here are the details:

  • What: Westport "Pigs and Pies" Fly-in
  • When: Saturday 17 October 2015, food served from 1000-1400 hrs
  • Where: Westport ON (CRL2), (N) 43 39 93 (W) 76 23 92
  • Runway: 07/32, 3118 feet long
  • Radio: Traffic 123.2 MHz
  • Food: Smokies and delicious pies served from 1000 until 1400hrs in exchange for a donation to the club
  • Contact: Mike Miles 613-276-6276 or Russ Walker 613-273-7349

External links

21 September 2015

Ottawa Flying Club to Hold 57th Annual Fly Day

By The Ottawa Flying Club

It's that time of year again! On Saturday 26 September 2015 the Ottawa Flying Club will once again host its Annual Fly Day event supporting The Rotary Club of Ottawa. Members of the public will be able to register the morning of the event to take a sightseeing tour of our beautiful city for $40 per person.

Pilots Needed!

We have about 15 planes to date but more never hurts....! Fly Day is a great opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering your time as a pilot. We are seeking as many pilots and 4 seat or larger aircraft as possible. A tax receipt will be provided to pilots for their fuel used during the event. For more detail please contact Marc Desjardins.

Volunteer opportunity!

The OFC is seeking energetic people to assist with multiple tasks during the day of the event including passenger escort and aircraft marshalling. At a minimum volunteers who will be airside require a student pilot's permit. We can still use non-pilot volunteers for other non-airside tasks! For more detail please contact Julie Marion.

The OFC has been supporting the Rotary Club of Ottawa for more than 30 years through the annual Fly Day event. The Rotary Club is a not-for-profit international organization with a mission of assisting families with physically challenged kids by providing respite care services. Over the past 10 years the OFC has helped raise more than $100,000 through the Fly Day events with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the Rotary Club of Ottawa.

Fly Day is a fun and popular way for the community to learn about the Ottawa Flying Club while doing something great for a local charity. This year's proceeds will benefit the Ottawa Rotary Home, long known for offering short-term respite care to families who have children with disabilities, and the Rotary Club of Ottawa.


Tour tickets are $40 per person. The gates open at 0830 hrs and the first flight is at 0900 hrs.


Events (apart from flying) will include:

  • Ground Displays and Demonstrations
  • Colouring Contest for the Kids
  • Breakfast and Barbeque, and food services from our excellent Lunch Pad Café
  • Information about learning to fly

For more information, please contact Margot Nichols of the Rotary Club of Ottawa at 613 860-1521

External links

15 September 2015

Gatineau to Host September Air Display

Thanks to the work of Vintage Wings, Gatineau Airport will host a small airshow on Saturday, 19 September 2015.

The event is the Battle of Britain Air Show & Pub Night, taking advantage of the military aircraft that will be in town for the Battle of Britain Parade that day.

The airshow will consist of a CF-18 Hornet demonstration, at 1530 hrs, followed by the Snowbirds at 1600 hrs. There will also be static displays, followed by a twilight run-up of a Spitfire, Hurricane, Lysander and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Lancaster bomber.

The air demonstrations are open to the public, while the Vintage Wings pub night at their hangar require tickets to be purchased.

The gates open to the public at 1300 hrs.

External links

02 September 2015

Lancaster Airpark’s Annual Labour Day Corn Boil

The Lancaster Aero Club (COPA Flight 190) will host their Annual Labour Day Corn Boil on Monday 07 September 2015 between 1100-1400 hrs.

Everyone is invited to fly in, drive in, or bike in to the airpark!

Here are the details:

  • Date: Monday 07 September 2015
  • Time: 1100-1400 hrs
  • Location: Lancaster Airpark (CLA6), Latitude: 45 12 00 N, Longitude: 74 21 45 W
  • Runway: 07/25 2,400' grass, elevation: 145' asl.
  • Note: All circuits to the north
  • Frequency: Traffic: 123.2 MHz
  • Food: Hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob
  • Prices: Adults: $8, Children under 12 free!
  • Contact: Brian Russell, 613-347-7000

External links

25 August 2015

Safety Alert on Unmanned Air Vehicles

Photo by Zimin.V.G.WikiMedia Commons

by Mélanie Drouin, Manager, Canadian Aviation Regulations Advisory Council, Transport Canada

Transport Canada issued a Civil Aviation Safety Alert to remind all persons operating unmanned aircraft (model aircraft and unmanned air vehicles or UAVs), for any purpose, about the safety impacts and consequences of interfering with manned aircraft operations, including firefighting aircraft.

This summer, a number of incidents occurred in British Columbia where manned aircraft fighting forest fires were grounded due to interference from unmanned aircraft. The Canadian Aviation Regulations state that no unauthorized person shall operate an aircraft within 5 nautical miles (9km) of a forest fire or within any associated restricted airspace.

The Civil Aviation Safety Alert is also a reminder of the consequences of contravening regulations pertaining to the use of unmanned aircraft.

Please distribute the Alert or this message where appropriate.

20 August 2015

Book Review: Lost - Unsolved Mysteries of Canadian Aviation

  • Lost - Unsolved Mysteries of Canadian Aviation
  • by Shirlee Smith Matheson
  • Published by Frontenac House, Calgary, Alberta, 2015
  • 9" X 6" soft cover
  • 224 pages, including notes and sources, aircraft index, general index
  • $21.95

This book, by author Shirlee Smith Matheson, was originally published in 2005 as Lost: True Stories of Canadian Aviation Tragedies. The new edition, with a new name, is more than just a reprint, it expands some stories and even completes some, when old wrecks have been located in the intervening ten years since the first version came out.

The theme that ties this collection of chapters about missing aircraft is how easy it is to completely lose an aircraft in the Canadian wildness and not just small aircraft, as some aircraft lost for years have been quite large.

The book starts with the story of Ken Leishman and his 1979 disappearance while flying a medevac in a Piper Aztec between Sandy Lake, Ontario and Thunder Bay. The charismatic Leishman literally lived a life of crime, having stolen everything from furniture to gold and carried out bank robberies, but he was caught and did jail time. He even completed several jail breaks, but it was after his debt to society had been paid and he seemed to be "going straight" that he disappeared doing a "real" job, flying for a commercial carrier. His aircraft wreck was found some five months later.

Another chapter covers the loss of Sigismund Levanevsky and the Soviet four-engined Bolkhovitinov DB-A bomber he was flying across the North Pole in 1937 as part of raising Soviet technical prestige and that was never found.

There is the story of Gavin Edkins and his Cessna 150 flight from Fort McMurray, Alberta to Red Deer in 1996 that never arrived. In that chapter author Matheson criticizes the Canadian Forces SAR team and their scientific search methods, giving a lot more credence to people's dreams about where the aircraft was and the inherent wisdom of the local bush pilots, but when given free reign none of them could locate the aircraft either and it remains lost to this day. That same chapter covers the strange story of gold miners and suspicious mine stakes, ending in the loss of a Fairchild 82, pilot Chuck McAvoy and two American geologists in 1964. That wreck was located, 39 years later, in 2003.

The author next delves into British Columbia and its habit of "collecting wrecked planes". This chapter covers the 1942 crash of a Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra en route to Vancouver from Prince George, BC. Its ten passengers and crew of three died when it hit Mount William Knight in the Cheam Range. The aircraft was not found for eight months. Another BC wreck was an RCAF Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber that disappeared in 1945 on a training flight from Abbotsford, BC. It was found three weeks later, also in the Cheam Range. A Trans Canada Airways Canadair North Star with 66 people on board disappeared in 1956 on a flight from Vancouver. The captain declared to ATC that one of the North Star's Merlin engines had caught fire and was heading back to Vancouver when it impacted Mount Slesse, not far from the other two. It was found five months later, possibly the victim of mountain wave conditions. There had been no survivors.

Other chapters cover war hero and seasoned bush pilot Johnny Bourassa's 1951 disappearance, another wreck that was never found, plus the crash of a US Army crew and their Martin B-26 Marauder in 1942 on what was to be a ferry trip from the US through Canada to the UK. It crashed in Labrador and was noted for the fact that when it was found the captain had left a lengthy diary that detailed how the crew eventually starved to death awaiting a rescue that never came. SAR during World War Two was often non-existent. Further stories include a U-boat hunting Lockheed Hudson that has eluded location in Nova Scotia since 1943 and a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress lost in Labrador. Another chapter deals with famous hockey player Bill Barilko, who had scored the Stanley Cup winning goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1951, but who disappeared on a fishing trip with a friend just a few months later, a wreck that wasn't found for 11 years.

For her final chapter the author returns to British Columbia's "Graveyard of Lost Planes" and relates a set of stories that include a lost Convair B-36, an enormous six-engined bomber that iced up, lost three engines and jettisoned a "Fat Man" atomic bomb over BC waters in 1950, the USAF's first "Broken Arrow" incident. The crew bailed out and the bomber flew on to crash, but it was not found for three years.

Overall the book is an interesting read for all aviators. It can be a bit dramatic in places, but never gruesome. It really drives home the reality that you can never be "too prepared" to survive in the terrain that is under your route of flight, because, even with modern ELTs and SAR, some aircraft still go missing and are never found. You really want to stack the odds in your favour.

The publisher, Frontenac House, is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and also the Alberta Government's Media Development Fund.

External links

11 August 2015

Embrun Fly-In 2015

The Embrun Aero Club (COPA Flight 132) will hold their fly-in breakfast on Sunday 23 August 2015, between 0800-1100 hrs at the Embrun Airport.

Everyone is welcome!

Here are the details:

  • Date: Sunday 23 August 2015
  • Time: 0800-1100 hrs
  • Location: Embrun Aerodrome (CPR2) Latitude N: 45 14 28, Longitude W: 75 17 55
  • Frequency: Traffic 123.2 MHz, within 5 nm 1320 ft ASL
  • Caution: Watch the wires on short final to Runway 26, they are marked with balls but are 30 feet high.
  • Price: Breakfast:
    • Youth (13 and up) and adults: $7.00
    • Children under 12: $4.00

External links

Carleton Place Fly-In 2015

The Carleton Place Flying Club (COPA Flight 121), will hold their 16th annual fly-in BBQ event on Saturday 12 September 2015, at the Carleton Place Airport. This annual event is well-known for the large number of ultralights it attracts, especially Quad City Challengers.

Everyone is welcome but an RSVP is requested by Wednesday, 09 September to allow for food planning purposes.

Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday 12 September 2015
  • Rain date: Sunday 13 September 2015
  • Time:: All day, but lunch is served 1100-1400 hrs
  • Location: Carleton Place Airport (CNR6), Latitude N: 45 06 14, Longitude W: 76 07 24
  • Frequency: Traffic 123.2 MHz
  • Caution: Low-slung wires 200 feet short of the threshold of runway 35
  • Contact: 613-836-7243 or email

External links

05 August 2015

Edenvale Gathering Of The Classics

This upcoming Saturday, 08 August 2015, is the annual Edenvale Gathering Of The Classics, one of the summer's bigger fly-in events.

The event features classic and antique aircraft, including Second World War aircraft, homebuilts and ultralights. Also on display will be classic cars and motorcycles.

Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday 08 August 2015
  • Rain Date: Sunday 09 August 2015
  • Time: 1000-1600 hrs
  • Location: Edenvale Aerodrome (CNV8), Latitude (N): 44 26 28, Longitude (W): 79 57 45
  • Frequency: ATF 122.775 MHz, AWOS 123.175 MHz
  • Circuits: Left hand circuits to all runways.
  • Admission:
    • Adults: $10
    • Youth (10-17): $5
    • Children 9 and under: free
    • Pilots and passengers flying in: free, plus free coffee and a donut!

The Short Wing Piper Club is planning to fly-in to this event!

External links

14 July 2015

News from the Carleton ACE Lab

Kathleen Van Benthem, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carleton University Advanced Cognative Engineering Lab (ACE), who has spoken to COPA Flight 8 in the past, recently send news about the Aging Pilot Study.

The study is complete and four videos have been produced that outline the project and its results.

Van Benthem writes:

It has been a while, but I am finally finished the Cessna study at Carleton U! We were very fortunate in that SmartPilot.ca came out last fall and made some professional videos about the lab and this study (much better than our homemade ones!). You will find the videos here (no login in required).:

The four videos presented cover:

  • The people of the aging pilot study
  • Understanding the study
  • So what? Lessons learned
  • About the Lab

Van Benthem also noted that a recent Carleton article has focused on the work done at the ACE lab by several grad students, including the work of Chris Nicholson, a psychology PhD student who is interested in how flight simulator motion affects pilot training.

In that same article Van Benthem summarized the findings of the aging pilot study:

Research at the ACE lab showed that, although older pilots did show poorer results on some aspects of flight performance when compared to younger pilots, some of the effects of age were reduced by having higher levels of expertise. "This emphasizes the need for continued upgrading of skills throughout the pilot lifespan," says Van Benthem.

She also notes: "I am also happy to say that we are working on finding the funding to continue this work, and develop a GA-purposed cognitive health screening tool."

Flight 8 would like to congratulate Kathleen Van Benthem on completing the study!

09 July 2015

Book Review: Wings Over High River

  • Wings Over High River - Conversations with A. Gordon Jones - The Biography of a BCATP Pilot Instructor
  • by Anne Gafiuk
  • Published by The Nanton Lancaster Society, Nanton, Alberta
  • Book launch 1 December 2012
  • 11" X 8.5" soft cover
  • 287 pages
  • $47.00

This book, by freelance writer Anne Gafiuk, was an accidental project. She started off writing a story about another World War II pilot when her background research took her to the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alberta. The Museum's Tink Robinson connected her with Gordon Jones, a local pilot who was an instructor with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during the Second World War and taught at #5 Elementary Flying Training School in nearby High River, Alberta. In interviewing Jones and his family at their home in High River in southern Alberta, Gafiuk became entranced by his story and the museum convinced her to create the book from her interviews. The museum then published the book in house. Jones was well known at the museum because he owned and flew a deHavilland Tiger Moth, a yellow one in BCATP markings and he displayed it often at the museum.

Gafiuk showed up at the Jones house for her first interview bearing a homemade lemon meringue pie and that won over hearts and minds. She came back, several times, to complete the interviews through 2011-12.

Gordon Jones was born on 12 January 1923 in Bangor, Saskatchewan, the son of Welsh pioneer settlers. Jones' father served in the infantry in the First World War and was gassed in France. He came home with shrapnel wounds. Jones himself lived through the rigours of farm life in the Great Depression and then he enlisted in the RCAF when he turned 18 in 1941. He had to redo the medical three or four times before they took him and he then reported to #2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba in May 1941. After basic training he was assigned to do guard duty as an Aircraftsman Second Class at #10 Service Flying Training School at Dauphin, Manitoba. He was next sent to #4 Initial Training School in Edmonton, where he flew the Link Trainer simulator.

Jones did his Elementary Flying Training at #5 EFTS in High River, Alberta, on Tiger Moths, where the instructors were civilians at that time. Jones arrived in Fort Macleod and #7 SFTS for his service flying training on Ansons. Billy Bishop himself pinned Jones' wings on and Jones was then promoted to Sergeant pilot. Hoping to be sent overseas, Jones was surprised to be posted to #1 FIS in Trenton for instructor training on 1 January 1942, on Harvards. He says of the 40 or so members of his course who did go overseas, only one made it home.

After instructor training Jones was posted back to #5 EFTS in High River in March, 1942 to teach pilots and was promoted to Pilot Officer and later Flying Officer. It was in High River that Jones met his future wife, Linora Randle, and he says that she taught him how to dance at Alberta country dances. In October 1943 the school converted to Cornells, but Jones never lost his admiration for the Tiger Moth. Jones and Linora Randle were married in October 1944 and it was in that month that the orders came to begin the closure of #5 EFTS as the war wound down. Jones was sent to #1 FIS Trenton and later posted to #16 SFTS in Hagersville, Ontario, where he became a testing officer, taking trainees up for flight tests. No matter how much an instructor wanted to be sent overseas, once you had some seniority in the job you were too valuable as an instructor to go.

After the war Jones went back to farming and stayed in High River the rest of his life. He owned a Piper Cherokee 235, became a member of the International Flying Farmers and a freelance instructor. For a while he owned a flying school and flew charter flights as well, including air ambulance flights. He served on the local airport commission and became the Flying Farmer representative to the COPA board. He was elected to the Municipal District of Foothills five times and became the Reeve. He had kidney cancer in 1973, but overcame it. He later traded his Cherokee for a Piper Lance and then in 1994 bought a real yellow BCATP Tiger Moth when it came up for sale. He kept the Lance as well until 2008, when he was diagnosed with cancer again, beating it again. In 2012 he was given an Award of Merit by COPA President and CEO Kevin Psutka. He kept his Tiger Moth to the end of his life, willing it to the museum.

His biography was published in late 2012 and Gordon Jones passed away on 10 September 2013, at age 90.

In many ways this isn't a classic sort of biography of a World War II pilot. Instead this is a sort of a scrap book of interview transcripts, old photos, pages from logbooks, flight test reports, that sort of thing. It's a warm and personal book and has an intimate quality to it. During the long interviews that the author did with Jones and his family, friends and wartime associates she became a part of that family and very close to her subject. The book is full of the little stories and anecdotes that made up wartime service, even here in Canada, far from the fighting, stories of low flying exploits, cross country flights, promotions, train trips and country dances held on remote prairie air bases. Overall it is a delightful read and surprisingly compelling. It is also profusely illustrated with hundreds of photos and documents.

Wings Over High River is an interesting personal story, one that most aviators would find of interest.

External links

07 July 2015

Bancroft 2015 Pancake Breakfast Fly-In

The Bancroft Flying Club (COPA Flight 119) is holding their 2015 pancake fly-in breakfast on 12 July 2015.

The event will include a display of classic automobiles. Airplane rides will also be available from WM Aeroflight at $50 per person on both 11 and 12 July.

Everyone is welcome to fly in or drive in!

Here are the details for the event:

  • Date: 12 July 2015
  • Time: 0800-1200 hrs
  • Location: Jack Brown/Bancroft Municipal Airport (CNW3), N45 04 23 W77 52 44
  • Frequency: Unicom 122.8 MHz, within 5 nm and 4100 feet ASL
  • Breakfast:
    • pancakes
    • sausages
    • orange juice
    • coffee
    • real maple syrup
  • Prices:
    • Adults: $6.00
    • Children (5-10) $4.00
    • Children (under 5) free
    • Families: $20.00

External links

Midland Fly-In 2015

The Midland Fly-In is coming up soon on 11 July 2015! The event is organized by the Midland-Huronia Chapter of the RAA and sponsored by Aircraft Spruce and Speciality.

The event includes a Transport Canada Safety Seminar at 1000 hrs.

Other highlights include an airport terminal open house and displays by Aircraft Spruce and Speciality, as well as the Midland District Model Railroad Club. Zenair will also be holding an open house and there will be displays of vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

Everyone is welcome.

Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday 11 July 2015
  • Time: 0900-1500 hrs
  • Location: Midland-Huronia Airport (CYEE), N44 41 05, W 79 55 46
  • Frequency: Unicom 122.85 MHz
  • Telephone: 705-526-8086
  • Food: Lunch will be available on site

External links

06 July 2015

RAA Ottawa-Rideau­ Chapter 4928 Fly-In BBQ Lunch

RAA Ottawa-Rideau­ Chapter 4928 is holding its July fly-in BBQ lunch on 12 July 2015 at Kars/Rideau Valley Air Park.

Everyone is welcome to attend! Fly-in or drive-in.

Here are the event details:

  • Date: Sunday 12 July 2015
  • Time: Lunch served 1100-1400 hrs
  • Location: Kars/Rideau Valley Air Park, Kars, Ontario (CPL3), 45°06′N 075°38′, RWY 26/08
  • Radio: Traffic 123.4
  • Food: BBQ

External links

29 June 2015

Smiths Falls Fly-in Lunch

The Smiths Falls Flying Club, COPA Flight 100, will host a fly-in lunch on 18 July 2015, in conjunction with a Transport Canada training session.

Everyone is welcome to attend! Fly-in or drive-in.

The Transport Canada recurrency training session will start at 1300 hrs, following lunch at 1100 hrs.

Here are the event details:

  • Date: Saturday 18 July 2015
  • Time: Lunch starts 1100 hrs, Transport Canada recurrency training session starts 1300 hrs
  • Location: Smiths Falls-Montague (Russ Beach) Airport, Smiths Falls, Ontario (CYSH)
  • Radio: Unicom 122.7 Mhz within 5nm and 3400 feet ASL
  • Food: The Ad Mare Seafood Truck will be at the airport. Ad Mare’s famous fish and chips or fish tacos will be served. Price will be $12. Indoor seating will be available.

External links

28 June 2015

Iroquois Flying Club’s 49th Annual Fly-In Breakfast

The Iroquois Flying Club will hold their 49th Annual Fly-In Breakfast on 19 July 2015 at the Iroquois Municipal Airpark and everyone is invited to fly or drive in.

Here are the details:

  • Date: 19 July 2015
  • Time: 0800-1130 hrs
  • Location: Iroquois Municipal Airpark (CNP7)
  • Frequency: Unicom 122.8 MHz
  • Information: 613-657-1646
  • Menu: Eggs, Ham, Baked Beans, Roll, Coffee and Juice.
  • Price: $6.00, Children 6 and under $3.00
  • Note: There is a separate breakfast line for pilots and their passengers

Canada Day Fly-In 2015

by Brenda Reid

On 01 July 2015 Canada Day, The Rockcliffe Flying Club will host its Annual Fly-In Breakfast from 0730-1100 hrs. Cost for breakfast is $6.00/per person. This year we are serving pancakes and sausages, baked beans, rolls, coffee, tea and juice. We will be serving bacon and eggs for those who prefer the traditional RFC breakfast.

Sightseeing flights in a Cessna 172 will be available from 0930-1630 for $35/per person. Registration is based at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The flights will be based at the RFC. The customers will be shuttled back and forth from the Museum to the RFC.

If you have any questions you can contact Brenda Reid or call 613-746-4425.

External links

23 June 2015

Book Review: Air Canada - The History

  • Air Canada - The History
  • by Peter Pigott
  • Published by Dundurn Press, Toronto, Ontario, 1 March 2014
  • 10" X 7" soft cover, also available in PDF and ePub digital formats
  • 328 pages, including notes, further reading and index
  • $35.00 in hard copy and PDF, $16.99 in ePub

Peter Pigott's recently published history of Air Canada is surprisingly readable, and while not as gripping as a mystery story whose ending is unknown, this book will keep you reading right to the end.

Pigott has researched his subject well from original sources, archives, interviews and papers and presents it in chronological fashion, starting from the formation of Trans Canada Airlines in 1937. Not a commercial enterprise when it was conceived, the fledgling national air carrier was created as a part of Canadian National Railway and as a policy instrument to establish something that Canada lacked, a national airline. In those days there were lots of small air carriers, but none provided more than local service; no one was flying passengers or freight coast to coast.

It had actually been the short-lived Conservative government under RB Bennett that started the construction of a national series of airfields and navigation facilities as a Great Depression relief effort, to provide work for unemployed men. The Trans Canada Airway was inherited by the Liberal Mackenzie King government in 1935, almost complete. All it lacked was an air service to use it. TCA was born as a result and given a monopoly on the airway. It was to be a "social instrument - an essential service like the provincially owned electricity companies or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, designed to bind the country together...." The first minister responsible was the irrepressible CD Howe. The first flight was flown from Vancouver airport in a Lockheed 10A Electra to Seattle, on 1 September 1937.

The airline went on to fly a wide variety of aircraft including the Avro Lancastrian, Canadair North Star, Vickers Vanguard and Viscount and the jets, the Douglas DC-8 and DC-9, the Lockheed L-1011, the Boeing 747 and 727 and the Airbus A320, A340 and A319.

Pigott goes on to detail the airline's life in a good level of detail, including the decisions made in the executive suite, the political interference suffered, the aircraft purchased and sold, the organization, uniforms, the strikes and other challenges. Much of the tale is told with the spectre of privatization hanging over the whole endeavour, something wholeheartedly supported by most of the leadership over the years and only completely achieved in July 1989.

The author divides the story up by company president, with chapters on the years dominated by Gordon McGregor, Yves Pratte, Claude Taylor, Pierre Jeanniot, and finally the Americans, Hollis Harris, Lamar Durrett and Robert Milton. The book ends in 2002, leaving the newer tales for a future volume.

Pigott includes pretty much everything, the crashes (including the "Gimli Glider" incident), the national and regional politics and the politics of routes, the early computer reservation systems, finances, cabotage and rights granted, competition with Canadian Pacific, Pacific Western, Wardair and WestJet, customer complaints about poor service, the takeover of the ailing Canadian Airlines, even the "Airbus Scandal" of the Mulroney years. The book is illustrated with many photos of the aircraft, the designer uniforms, aircraft paint schemes and the key people involved. He also covers the regional and budget air services Air Canada started: Air Canada Connector, Jazz, Tango, Zip and even AeroPlan, the customer loyalty "points" system. Even though he shows obvious keen interest in the subject, Pigott is a consummate historian and the reader never feels like this is a "fan" work, but always a passionate, but unbiased history.

I have to admit when I picked this book up I thought, "how interesting can a history of Air Canada really be?" But the author tells a story worth relating and he makes it engaging, if not gripping. I think this is a book that anyone interested in aviation or just general Canadian history will enjoy and find hard to put down.

The book's publisher, Dundurn Press of Toronto, is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

External links

18 June 2015

COPA Announces New President & CEO

By Trekker Armstrong, Chairman, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

June 15, 2015

COPA’s Board of Directors today announced that Mr. Bernard Gervais has been appointed as the next President and CEO of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. He will officially begin his term on July 1st, 2015.

The Succession Committee of the COPA Board, went through a structured and disciplined recruitment process and was fortunate to have attracted numerous qualified applicants. We wish to thank and acknowledge those applicants who sought to contribute to the success of the Association.

Mr. Gervais is the Past Chairman of the Board of the APBQ (The Quebec Aviators and Bush Pilots Association) and is an outspoken advocate for personal aviation. He has actively collaborated with Transport Canada, NAV CANADA and Community stakeholders on numerous cases. Mr. Gervais has been instrumental in organizing air rallies and provincial air tours to promote general aviation and flight safety. He holds a Private Pilot’s license with a Night and Seaplane endorsement. He flies a 2008 Maule MX-7 on wheels, floats and skis.

As President and CEO, Mr. Gervais’ duties and responsibilities are wide ranging. Mr. Gervais will be responsible for providing valuable membership services, contributing to the corporate strategy and business plan, leading and integrating corporate goals and deliverables, while influencing government bodies. He will be the liaison and primary contact person for entities such as Transport Canada, NAV CANADA, other Canadian Aviation Associations, AOPA and EAA, as well as US and Canadian border agencies. Mr. Gervais will work with the COPA Board regarding corporate governance, while leading and managing a small team of dedicated professionals at COPA's national office in Ottawa.

Mr. Gervais will attend COPA’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday, June the 20 th at St. Andrews Airport (CYAV) in Manitoba. He welcomes the opportunity to meet with COPA members and with others in the broader aviation community.

External links

17 June 2015

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Fly-in - 09 August 2015

The L'Association des Pilotes et Propriétaires de Hangar de St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (COPA Flight 160) are holding their 11th annual fly-in on Sunday 09 August 2015 and everyone is invited to come!

The event features free hotdogs, corn on the cob and soft drinks plus a one day pass for all pilots and passengers to the International Hot-Air Balloon Festival which is held at the same time and place.

Pilots can check for NOTAMs on the club web site for last minute updates.


  • Location: St-Jean Airport (CYJN)
  • Date: Sunday, 09 August 2015
  • Time: All day, except runways closed 1800-1900 hrs for balloons
  • Frequencies: Tower 118.2 MHz, Ground 121.7 MHz
  • Contact: Nicole Legault

External links

28 May 2015

COPA Annual General Meeting Coming Up


Join COPA in Winnipeg on 20 June 2015, at our Annual General Meeting. A host of activities are planned in connection with the COPA business session. Friday evening there will be a barbeque meet and greet at Lyncrest Airport and participants will be able to take part in a progressive fly-out dinner on Saturday. Tours are being arranged to visit Nav Canada's Area Control Centre, CYAV Tower, Canadian Propeller, AeroRecip,the Western Canada Aviation Museum, the Museum for Human Rights and the Polar Bear Exhibit at the Winnipeg Zoo.

For more information and to register visit www.copawinnipeg2015.ca.

See you in Winnipeg!

22 May 2015

Howard Watt: Air Mail and Bush Pilot 1926-1941

By Diana Trafford

I'll be giving a talk on my uncle, Howard Watt at Venturing Hills, Luskville, Quebec, on Thursday 28 May 2015 at 1900 hrs.

Uncle Howard flew in the Red Lake Gold Rush of 1926 in a Curtiss JN-4, then owned a Standard J-1 based in Toronto, flew a Ryan M-2 out of The Pas which he later bought, then flew mainly Fairchilds for Canadian Transcontinental and Canadian Airways on the Quebec North Shore mail service, and finally set up in the Lower St. Lawrence as an independent operator with 2 Fox Moths and later a Dragon.

The talk - very much a story telling approach - will last 45-50 minutes, probably with a break in the middle to allow people to talk to each other. I have about 100 slides and hope to show video clips as well so that people will get a feel for those early planes. Technical details for the planes I mention are given on the slides.

I'll be giving a 30-minute version of this talk at the 2015 convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in Hamilton on 18 June 2015.

14 May 2015

Crosswinds Café opens weekends for the summer at Huronia Airport

The Crosswinds Café is re-opening at Huronia Airport on 16 May 2015. It will be open on weekends in the summer.

The Huronia Airport is located near the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene on Georgian Bay, Ontario and is owned and operated by the municipalities of Midland, Penetanguishene and the Township of Tiny.

The airport is also known as the home of Zenair, one of Canada's most prolific kit plane manufacturers.

External links