Aerodrome Development Guidance Published

Transport Canada has published the long-awaited Advisory Circular that outlines the consultation process for aerodrome development. The Advisory Circular, 307-001 is the result of new regulations that came into force January 1, 2017, that require proponents to consult relevant stakeholders for prescribed works, including: new aerodrome constructions or the lengthening of a runway by the greater of 100m or 10 percent. The new Advisory Circular is available on Transport Canada’s website:


Airline Crash Victim Dies

The crash of a West Wind Aviation ATR 42 in northern Saskatchewan on Dec. 13 tragically became Canada’s only fatal airline accident of 2017. A seriously injured passenger, 19-year-old Arson Fern Jr. died Christmas Day. Fern, who had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair, was trapped in the wreckage for three hours. He had two broken legs, a broken pelvis, a collapsed lung and internal bleeding and died in a Saskatoon hospital of his injuries. “We never gave up on him until the day he passed away,” his mother Janey Fern told the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. Fern and her husband Arson Fern Sr. were also onboard the aircraft, which went down just after takeoff from Fond du Lac Airport bound for Stony Rapids. There were 22 passengers and three crew on the aircraft.

West Wind Aviation said its staff was “overwhelmed with sadness of this news.” The company hasn’t flown since the accident. It voluntarily suspended operations at first and then Transport Canada suspended its operator certificate for unspecified safety concerns. Passengers reported the aircraft rocked back and forth before hitting the ground and smashing through brush for 250 metres. Anson Fern Sr. was one of the leaders of a group of relatively uninjured passengers worked for 30 minutes to open a rear emergency exit.

Better Night VFR Rules Needed: TSB

A Helijet S-76 medevac helicopter on a night VFR flight almost crashed on the beach below a temporarily-lit landing pad at the Tofino/Long Beach Airport on Nov. 15, 2015 because the crew couldn’t see well enough to land. Their attempts to salvage the landing nearly resulted in disaster according to a Transportation Safety Board report. The report released last week said there wasn’t enough ambient or artificial light for the pilots to see properly and when the pilot flying realized the landing area was closer than expected “the large control inputs made to adjust the descent angle and speed resulted in a hazardous approach profile, which went unrecognized as both flight crew members were occupied with maintaining visual reference,” the report said. The helicopter dropped 67 feet below the landing pad along the shoreline and the crew didn’t regain control until they were just three feet above the sand. A second attempt at landing was successful.

The TSB said it’s been pressing Transport Canada to precisely define the visual references pilots need to safely manoeuvre close to the ground. “This investigation once again highlights the risks of flying under night VFR without sufficient lighting to maintain adequate visual reference,” the TSB report said. “Transport Canada regulations do not clearly define what visual references are required at night. Many pilots believe that it is acceptable to fly at night as long as the reported weather conditions are acceptable, regardless of lighting conditions.” The report said the pilots also had little guidance from their company in assessing such situations. Since the incident, Helijet has increased training and is supplying night vision goggles to its crews. The airport installed proper lighting and other equipment and became formally night certified by Transport Canada a year ago.

Diamond Bought By Chinese Company

Diamond Aircraft Canada is now wholly owned by a large Chinese transportation company and CEO Peter Maurer said that will be good for the company as a whole. Wanfeng Aviation bought 60 percent of Diamond Canada a year ago, leaving the other 40 percent in the hands of Diamond Austria, which was controlled by founder Christian Dries. Just before Christmas, Wanfeng bought the Austrian holdings taking full control of both arms of the company. “Everything is under one umbrella and that’s very positive,” Peter Maurer, CEO of Diamond Aircraft Canada, told the CBC. “We’re currently at 180 employees and we expect to go to 300 by December 2018.”

Meanwhile, the company has completed Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) certification on the DA62 seven-seat twin diesel and diesel version of the DA40 single, both of which are made at the London plant. Wanfeng said it plans to increase production and global distribution under its new CEO Bin Chen, who praised the company’s progress under Dries’ leadership. “Based on this excellent foundation, we intend to take Diamond to a long term leadership position in worldwide general aviation,” he said. Dries said he wanted the company to be sold to an entity that would invest in its growth. “I look forward to seeing Diamond develop further and based on our successful year long partnership in Diamond Canada, I am fully satisfied that I leave Diamond in very good hands,” Dries said.

Marek Not Seeking Re-Election

A third veteran COPA director has announced she will not be running for re-election in the coming year. Cheryl Marek, who represents Southern Ontario, will step aside, leaving two vacant posts in that region. Phil Englishman had earlier announced he would not seek re-election. There will also be two vacancies in the B.C. and Yukon Region. Joe Hessberger, who joined the board in 2016, will not run. Tim Cole retired at the end of 2016 and the vacancy wasn’t filled.

Any COPA member in good standing may run for a position in the region in which they live.  If you have a passion for general aviation and feel you have something to contribute to COPA both on the Board and as a regional representative, please consider volunteering for this very important work.  The term of office for this election shall commence at the summer Board meeting in June 2018 and continue until the summer Board meeting in 2022. Nomination deadline is Feb. 8 and the elections will close April 2.

Places to Fly: Montebello Magic

On the weekend of Jan. 26-28, one of the busiest GA airports in the country will be a patch of ice in front of the Fairmont Montebello Resort for Montebello Magic. As the GPS flies, the Chateau Montebello is at N45 39 / W74 57. This is just west of the village of Montebello, Quebec, on the north shore of the Ottawa River, an endless runway for ski-equipped aircraft. Secure tiedowns will be located in the protected harbour in front of the Chateau. Autogas will be available.

Rotax 915 iSc3 A Certified

Rotax has earned European Aviation Safety Agency certification for its new 915 iSc3 A engine allowing its installation in certified aircraft in Europe. Canada and EASA have a reciprocal agreement on certification so Canadian paperwork should follow fairly quickly. “The EASA type certification (TC) allows BRP to now produce the certified 915 iSc3 A engine for the European market thus allus us to fulfill the request of our customers for a more powerful Rotax aircraft engine with proven reliability,” said Thomas Uhr, general manager of BRP-Rotax.

The new engine is based on the architecture of the 912/914 series but will make 141 horsepower for short bursts during takeoff and climb and 136 horsepower in sustained operation. That’s up from the projected rating of 140 and 135 respectively. The engine is aimed at giving better performance across a wide spectrum of light aircraft and is big enough for some four-place aircraft. Rotax has signed up 12 OEMs as launch customers and has 47 additional companies planning to use the engine.