Electric Pipistrel Nears Certification

Transport Canada is reportedly poised to confer full certification (advanced ultralight) status to an electric aircraft. A Pipistrel Alpha Electro was recently delivered to a customer at Pitt Meadows Airport near Vancouver. The aircraft was purchased through Pipistrel Aircraft Canada and delivered in a crate to the owner’s hangar. It took only a few minutes to assemble.

The Alpha Electro is primarily designed as a trainer and is especially suited to circuit work. It will happily touch and go for an hour with a 30-minute reserve in the batteries. It takes a half hour to recharge the battery to full capacity. The 60 kilowatt Siemens electric motor makes the equivalent power of an 80 horsepower gas engine. It has a 34-foot wingspan and is 21 feet long with an all-up weight of 1212 pounds. It will climb at more than 1,200 feet per minute.

Registration Open for Montebello Magic

Registration is now open for the annual Montebello Magic Challenger Winter Rendezvous at the historic Fairmont Montebello Resort between Ottawa and Montreal Jan. 26-28. The 28th annual event draws dozens aircraft to the Ottawa River. As many as 100 aircraft and 300 participants have attended. While the fly-in is officially a gathering of owners of Challenger ultralights, it draws aircraft and pilots of all types and has become one of the premiere winter flying events in Canada. COPA has become formally involved with the planning and organization of the event.

While much of the weekend is about socializing with like-minded aviators and enjoying the luxurious ambiance of the resort, there are also seminars and workshops covering technical and airmanship topics along with a trade show and banquet. The main hotel fills quickly but there is a host of other accommodations nearby that have earned high marks from previous participants.

Boundary Bay Fees Under Review

Alpha Aviation, the operators of the Boundary Bay Airport in Delta, B.C., is at least temporarily suspending implementation of a controversial schedule of landing fees that were to have become effective Jan. 1. The schedule of fees was posted to Alpha Aviation’s website on Dec. 19th, 2017 but has since been taken down in the face of quick and vigourous opposition from the local flying community and consultation with COPA.

The Web posting announced a minimum fee of $25.00 for aircraft and helicopters under 6,600lbs or 3,000kg and $50.00 for aircraft and helicopters between 6,600lbs and 12,500lbs (5,669kgs) and said the fees “can be waived with a set amount of fuel purchase”.

COPA President Bernard Gervais spoke with Marcello Garofalo Friday about the fee proposal and was told the plans are under review until further notice. Gervais said he discussed, in particular, waiving the landing fees for transient recreational and private aircraft, citing the economic benefits of visiting aircraft to airports as detailed in COPA’s GA economic impact study released earlier this year.

Gervais said he’s hopeful any future discussions about landing fees at Boundary Bay will include an exemption for transient private and recreational aircraft. Aircraft based at Boundary Bay were already exempt under the fee schedule. Gervais said Garofalo pledged to keep COPA and other interested groups well informed about developments on implementation of the fees.

COPA has long-advocated airport operators seek out numerous, alternative avenues available to fund operations and improvements without imposing costly tariffs and charges on the general aviation community. Several airports in Canada have experimented with landing fees and in all cases have discovered it drives away business. The average revenue generated by one visiting aircraft in fuel, food, local transportation, lodging and tourism often eclipses the revenue forgone by charging pilots to land and this number multiplies as aircraft return to those airports known to be friendly to general aviation. Earlier this year, COPA released an economic study of the impact of General Aviation in Canada that showed GA operations in Canada contribute $9.3 billion in economic output nationally and account for almost 36,000 full-time jobs in communities across the country. The report also highlights the benefits that General Aviation operations bring to communities in terms of tax revenues, direct, and indirect employment.

COPA represents over 16,000 pilots and aircraft owners across the country and is the national voice for General Aviation in Canada. Through the mission of advancing, promoting, and preserving the Canadian Freedom to Fly, COPA is at the forefront on issues that affect pilots, aircraft and airports in communities across Canada and is an active partner with all levels of government in ensuring a bright future for General Aviation. For more information, visitcopanational.org.

Places to Fly: Sebring

If a winter flying getaway is in your plans, consider a stop at Sebring Airport in central Florida for the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo that starts Jan. 24. You’ll find plenty of fellow Canadians there and lots of Canadian companies showing their quality products.

Helicopter Crash Claims Four

A Hydro One AS350 carrying four people working on a Hydro One project near Tweed, Ontario, about 70 km. northeast of Belleville,  crashed just before noon Thursday killing all on board. The helicopter was being used to shuttle staff to areas of the project not accessible by road. Witness Kim Clayton said the helicopter had been in the area for about a week. “There were times when the chopper would fly right next to the (power) lines. I thought to myself he’s a really good pilot to fly that close to those lines,” Clayton told CTV News.

Hydro One owned the helicopter and all those killed were employees. The weather was clear and cold with light winds at the time of the crash. “Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this difficult time. During this grieving process, we will do everything we can to assist our employees and their families who have been affected in any way, by providing counseling and support

Canadian Companies at Sebring

Most Canadian pilots know about Sun ’n Fun and AirVenture but there’s another fairly major show that draws thousands to central Florida at the end of January. The Sport Aviation Expo at Sebring (the airport is right next to the famous race track) runs Jan. 24-27 and is aimed primarily at the lighter side of the GA but exhibitors run the gamut of industry players. While participants occasionally need a light jacket, the weather is a lot better than Canada’s in late January. There’s usually a good showing of Canadians at the show and among the founding exhibitors are Rotech Research, of Vernon, B.C., which distributes and services Rotax engines and Zenith Aircraft, the sister company to Midland, Ontario’s Zenair is particularly active at the show.

Zenith holds hands-on seminars on basic construction methods in which participants build the rudder from a standard kit. “The Zenith workshops are aimed at the first-time airplane builder and have become popular with sport aviation enthusiasts who are considering whether or not to build their own aircraft, but are unsure if they have the required skills, work-space and tools,” the company said in a news release. Participating…makes an excellent getaway for you and your spouse or a friend.”

Maintaining IFR Recency

By Jean-Claude Audet

We recently initiated a discussion on IFR topics, starting with clarifying the IFR Flight Test Guide (Feb 2017) requirement (Aeroplane (b) on page 2) for an aircraft used for an IFR Flight Test to ‘’be equipped with GNSS receiving equipment … ‘’. This initial step then brought us into a discussion on the instrument recency requirements of CAR 401.05(3), and more specifically the 6-6-6.

From the beginning, COPA and TCCA have worked in very close collaboration in the spirit of clarifying these issues and interpretations to the benefit of all our pilots. We have received numerous comments/questions/feedback/queries from our readers presenting various interpretations. This feedback demonstrates that there is a need for fostering a better understanding of these regulations and interpretations and we are very happy at this turn of event. I personally remember the early 80’s when I had just started instructing and some of these issues and interpretations, as well as some others too, were dynamic topics of discussion in our flight school.  COPA has the full support and collaboration of TCCA in this matter. They too have received similar feedback, which has generated much internal discussions with respect to these interpretations. Note that this is a situation where TCCA has definitely paid serious attention to COPA’s perspective and their personnel has focused on interpreting the regulation in a manner that is as accommodating as possible to our pilots, while respecting the regulations and maintaining safety of flight. This level of communications with TCCA will be maintained until we attain the point where all reasonable questions are satisfactorily addressed. At this point, both COPA and TCCA sincerely hope this will be the last iteration. We jointly believe that the added value associated with bringing this discussion in the open, albeit somewhat inadvertently, is unquestionable.

The initial post on this IFR topic incorporated an erroneous statement to the effect that even if your 6-6-6 was not current, your IFR rating was still valid and you could file and fly IFR in VMC. A second post subsequently clarified this and included some additional clarifications. We have now uncovered that some further clarification is required with respect to the 6-6-6. This new clarification addresses the interpretation of simulated instrument time and its impact on the 6-6-6. TCCA interprets this as meaning ‘’with the use of a Vision Limiting Device (VLD)’’ when flying/practicing in VMC.

Let us look at two relevant scenarios. In both scenarios, your IFR ticket is within its two-year IPC period and is valid.

Scenario 1:

Your 6-6-6 is current but about to expire. You can then file and fly IFR. The 6-month period will be up in a few days and you are missing two approaches and a bit of instrument time. You have three possible means of catching up and ensuring your 6-6-6 does not expire:

  • Use an FSTD which is instrument ground time with an instrument-qualified instructor and is always a valid means of maintaining your recency;
  • VFR in VMC: this is the simulated instrument time scenario. TCCA interprets this as ‘’with the use of VLD’s’’. Then, you definitely need a safety pilot;
  • IFR flight plan in IMC or VMC: file an IFR flight plan and go fly the required approaches and instrument time in IMC or VMC.  In order to have a more effective practice of instrument flight a VLD is recommended in VMC and requires a safety pilot with you to help keep an eye out for other traffic.

Scenario 2:

Your 6-6-6 has expired. Even if your IFR ticket is still valid, you cannot file IFR. You have three possible means of updating your 6-6-6:

  • Use an FSTD which is always a valid means of renewing your currency with an instrument-qualified instructor;
  • VFR in VMC: this is the simulated instrument time scenario. TCCA interprets this as ‘’with the use of Vision Limiting Devices (VLD)’’. Then, you definitely need a safety pilot;
  • IFR flight plan in IMC or VMC: You cannot file IFR in this scenario. You then need somebody with you whose IFR is valid and 6-6-6 is current. The IFR flight plan will be filed on that qualified person’s IFR ticket and you go fly the required approaches and instrument time in IMC or VMC. Our second post stated: ‘’ That qualified person can be a Flight Instructor with valid IFR and 6-6-6, a CPL with valid IFR and 6-6-6, an ATPL with valid IFR and 6-6-6, or you can go all the way to a TCCA authorized and qualified examiner.’’ We can now add a PPL to this list of qualified pilots.

The astute reader will notice and question a peculiar aspect in all of this. If you fly on an IFR flight plan in VMC, you do not need a VLD to satisfy you 6-6-6 currency. If you fly in VMC with no IFR flight plan, you would need a VLD to be able to count your flight time as simulated instrument time towards your 6-6-6. Discussions are still ongoing within TCCA on this one. Don’t go away, we will be right back!

COPA Directors Not Seeking Re-Election

Two sitting members of COPA’s board of directors have decided not to run for re-election, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for those looking to help COPA in its mission to preserve Canadian pilots’ freedom to fly. B.C. and Yukon Director Joe Hessberger has decided to step aside after serving the past two years as a director. Since former director Tim Cole retired last December and his seat was not filled, there are two seats open in B.C. and Yukon. Southern Ontario director Phil Englishman is also stepping aside. New directors will join the board at the COPA Convention and Trade Show in Saint John, New Brunswick June 21-23.

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.