Maritimes Hospitality

Much has been made of “Maritimes Hospitality” and here’s some firsthand experience by me (Russ Niles, editor of COPA Flight and e-Flight) that I think is both remarkable and affirming of that title. My flight to Saint John was delayed and we got in just before 3 a.m. So, there aren’t many taxis available in a relatively small town (130,000) at that time on a Thursday morning and since most pax landing at Saint John took off from there they have a car at the airport or someone picking them up. There were several of us who didn’t have those options. So, Mary Morrison opened her hatchback and the surprisingly capacious confines of her Volkswagen Tiguan to three of us stranded at the airport and delivered us to our hotels. Political views notwithstanding, Mary, you are an angel.

The next day, I needed some kind of backing for the poster of our popular Career and Scholarship Guide to display it on an easel. I thought a piece of thin Styrofoam would work and I set off on foot for Dykeman’s Hardware, about 1.2 kilometres from the convention hall. On the way, I took a cell phone call and I was standing on the sidewalk of an overpass, far from any bus stop, when a city bus slowed to see if I needed a ride before I waved the driver off.  A few minutes later I was at Dykemans, which turned out to be one of those old-fashioned hardware stores that has everything except lumber and sheet material. The guys at the store offered to drive me to a Home Hardware that would have the Styrofoam. Instead, I gratefully took a few sheets of cardboard from their in-house glass shop and the poster is properly mounted if you don’t look too close. Thank you Saint John. I’ve never felt more welcome in a community and it’s only Day One. 

COPA, Saint John Welcome Delegates

Delegates to the COPA Convention and Trade Show in Saint John took part in the annual kick-off reception at the Italian By Night Trattoria in downtown Saint John. Beautiful weather has greeted the convention, which gets under way in earnest on Friday. Thursday was move-in day for the more than 25 exhibitors in the trade show, which is growing in importance and influence. While Thursday was a day for most delegates to relax and enjoy the beautiful waterfront market and restaurant district right outside the convention centre, directors spent a full day dealing with the business of protecting your freedom to fly.

A full board of directors meeting was held and it included all the new directors elected in the highest-turnout election in the history of the organization earlier this year. Kevin Elwood, Clark Morawetz, Doug Ronan, Dave McElroy, David Black and Mathieu Delorme are joining the board. After Thursday’s business session, there will be new executive members, including a president, elected during the convention. President Jean Messier withdrew from this year’s election in March.

It’s On in Saint John

There’s a full list of seminars and information sessions at the 2018 COPA Convention and Trade Show in Saint John NB and safety is a big theme. Two senior Transport Canada Civil Aviation officials, Simon Garrett, who joined TCCA after a long career at Rockliffe Flying Club, and COPA Director of Operations JC Audet will do several sessions focused on the safety mindset. The sessions dovetail with COPA and TCCA General Aviation Safety initiative aimed at putting safety at top of mind for all pilots. There’s also a big announcement on Saturday that is part of COPA’s evolving interaction with its members and customers.

Garrett will lead a TCCA Rust Remover session on Saturday that will focus on staying safe in all flight profiles. Situational awareness and pilot decision making will be reinforced at this important session. Garrett will also lead a session for non-pilots who fly frequently with their spouses and friends on what they can do to enhance the safety of each flight. There will also be an update on the legal issues surrounding the siting of wind turbines near airports. A lot of ground will be covered during the working sessions of this year’s convention.

Thank You For Your Collaboration

Following our appeal for the perspective and comments of COPA members about the ADS-B Aeronautical Study and the NavAid Modernization Program Aeronautical Study, both issued by NavCanada, the COPA membership participated with great interest. These comments were typically in support of COPA’s position with respect to these programs. Your views will certainly be reflected in our position papers and will also be discussed in the two relevant sessions presented at our COPA convention in St-John NB next week.

Several members also indicated their interest in contributing to the Working Groups organized under the umbrella of the General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC). These WG are a golden opportunity to contribute to improving our future as active GA aviators.

Due to the number of responses, it is not feasible to respond to each person individually. This is our way of expressing our gratitude to all respondents for your interest and your efforts. We are confident that we can influence some positive changes in GA.

Pilots Blunder into Airshow Airspace

A brand new flying season is finally upon us with all the enjoyment and pleasures it will provide to the users of our airspace. With this enjoyment also comes the duty for responsible use of that airspace when we do get up there. 

This specifically refers to the need to inform ourselves of NOTAMs that will affect our flights. Along with this same great flying season, we also have airshows and a host of other activities, airborne or otherwise that lead to the publication of NOTAMs. These NOTAMs typically impose restrictions, most for a very limited duration, on some parts of the airspace we all use and these restrictions are enforceable by law. 

Article 5.1 of the Aeronautics Act authorizes the publication of such prohibitions or restrictions, by the Minister, in any area of airspace when deemed necessary in the interest of flight safety or the security or protection of the public.

A perfect example of this would be a NOTAM issued recently covering some airspace north of Toronto in relation to an airshow staged at CFB Borden. The performers included the Snowbirds and an F-18. Despite the NOTAM having been published well in advance of the event, sixteen (16) incursions occurred in this airspace, inducing delays and/or interruptions to both the Snowbirds and the F-18 performances. 

We must understand the perspective that even a small seven-minute delay to an F-18, once airborne, results in a lot of unnecessary fuel burn and could have serious implications by the end of the routine. When taking-off for an airshow routine, this fighter aircraft only carries sufficient fuel for the mission and return: it will not land in Borden to take on fuel for the return flight.

The perspective for the Snowbirds is very similar: the Tutor consumes less fuel than the F-18 but there are nine aircraft up there. Add the risk of a mid-air collision to this perspective: these performers concentrate on their airshow routine, not on looking out for small aircraft intruding in their restricted, protected airspace. Consider that a single aircraft was accountable for several incursions on that occasion. I wonder what the total invoice will be.

COPA AGM Official Notice

The COPA Convention and Trade Show will be held June 21-23 in Saint John, NB and an important part is the annual general meeting, held on June 23, in which staff and directors will report on the many facets of the organization. Click here to view the official notice of AGM that includes a proxy form allowing those who cannot attend the ability to have other members vote on their behalf.


Proposed Bylaw Amendment
To all COPA Members:
Proposed amendments to the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association Bylaws, will be presented for action at the COPA Annual General Meeting, in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Voting will take place at the Hilton Saint John on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
The Board has agreed the following amendments.  These amendments must be ratified by the COPA members at an Annual General Meeting.
Jim Bell
COPA Board of Directors

President’s Corner – July 2018

Space-based ADS-B

The answer to the whole 406MHz ELT debate?

When we know that a recent study conducted by the Canadian Mission Control Centre for SARSAT indicated that ELTs activate in only 38% of Canadian aircraft accidents where the aircraft sustained substantial damage (, we know we can’t rely on this outdated technology anymore to be rescued.

If you go back on our web site and look at my January 2016 President’s Corner, I talk about space-based ADS-B being a possible technology to help replace the ELTs. I wrote: “Encouraging and using commercial services for alerting is better than requiring one specific technology that may grow outdated as technology progresses”.

After a few years of talking about this and having COPA staff put that bug in everyone’s ear whenever possible, I am extremely glad to report that a team of people from Nav Canada and Aireon has bought into this. Along with us, Nav Canada, Transport Canada and perhaps others like DND are now seriously working on the idea of using this technology to meet search and rescue requirements. The first official presentation was done at a joint meeting on June 5th in Ottawa. As this could be developed over the next few years, ADS-B equipage prices will inevitably come down and when everything is ready, replacing your ELT may simply mean putting in an ADS-B transponder for the same price.

Aviation Career and Scholarship Guide

I hope you have leafed through last month’s first annual Career and Scholarship Guide. And that you may have shared it with some younger aviators in your area. Many copies were sent to all schools and colleges across the country and we still have few thousand copies at the office should you need some. We are getting very positive feedback from many groups and we hope this will encourage the new generation of men and women to turn to aviation-related careers. A French version will be available next year.

Online Canadian Plane Trade

As you read this, it has become a reality. After so many years of strictly being in paper or pdf format, Canadian Plane Trade has now made it in a digital, online version. We want this to be the Trade-a-Plane of Canada, the go-to place for any aviation-related classifieds. We will continue to do the paper version, but the digital version will make it a lot simpler, easier and certainly increase the value of your membership.

Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame

On June 7th, I had the honour of being at the official induction of our co-founder John Bogie into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. It was a great ceremony where I was able to witness how many people John touched and influenced, how deep COPA’s roots are in Canada’s aviation. He was a true pioneer and deserves every bit of recognition for what he has done. Rest in Peace, Mr. Bogie.