Places to Fly: Inuvik

If you’re in the area and you want to meet some Soviet cosmonauts and a grand adventure, Inuvik is where you should be on or about June 20. The cosmonauts are part of expedition circumnavigating the Arctic Ocean and it includes nine stops in Canada, starting with Inuvik.

General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC) Update

During the recent COPA Convention held in St John, NB, on 21-23 June 2018, Ms Heather Schacker, Standards Branch, Transport Canada, Civil Aviation (TCCA), presented an update on the General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC). This summary is based on Ms Schacker’s presentation. 

Launched in June 2017 at the COPA Convention in Kelowna, BC, the GASC is a collaborative initiative between TCCA and the industry, through COPA. The primary objective of the GASC is the enhancement of safety in General Aviation (GA) through safety promotion and education and relies heavily on lessons learned. It is a 3-year campaign intended to turn into a National Safety Program that will continue to as a collaborative effort between TCCA and industry to identify and address safety concerns, and to develop and implement Safety Initiatives.

The GASC is an opportunity for TCCA to reach out and engage with the GA community, primarily through COPA, and to collaborate with industry partners, addressing TSB recommendations and improving safety without relying on regulatory changes.

GA numbers 446,000 aircraft worldwide, with 34,472 of them in Canada and COPA numbers in excess of 16,000 members. Therefore, GA is a vital part of the aviation sector and it needs to be adequately maintained to keep it safe and in operation.

The GASC aims to decrease the number of fatal accidents, to improve and to promote aviation safety, to encourage external and internal collaboration on safety strategies, and to promote compliance to current regulations through non-regulatory instruments. Surveillance tools will be used, enabling a better evaluation of our programs through appropriate focus on specific areas of interest.

Ms Schacker reports that the GASC relies on three strong campaign pillars, each of these relying on specific safety topics. These campaign pillars include Pilot Decision Making, Pilot Proficiency, and Best Practices. Pilot Decision Making addresses four major topics such as environment and weather, human factors, flight planning, and situational awareness. Pilot Proficiency addresses the issues of maintaining piloting skills and recurrent training. Best Practices include passenger safety briefings, personal checklists, and safety equipment.

Since the launch of GASC a year ago, the GASC Focus Group and the Safety Initiative Team have been formed. Also, several Working Groups (WGs) have been defined and are in the process of being formalized. The Focus Group consists of TCCA and industry partners who will provide valuable input to guide the campaign towards a successful outcome. The recommended changes that the WGs identify require Focus Group support and TC Management approval. The Focus Group defines the strategy and objectives of the GASC, and monitors the progress of the project. The Safety Initiative Team (SIT) consists of TC and COPA personnel and serves as a guiding body for the working groups. The SIT is responsible for the coordination and management of the working groups. 

The SIT has identified numerous areas of concern over the past few months. These areas of concern have led to the creation of eight distinct WGs. The purpose of these WGs is two-fold: to improve communication flow with respect to aircraft operation, the regulations, and the overall operating environment, and to provide a means for the GA community to share with TCCA their perspective on what works, what needs improvement, and how to maintain compliance. These WGs include Maintenance, Angle Of Attack Indicators, Voluntary Reporting, Single Pilot Resource Management, Stabilized Approach and Landing, Safety Equipment, Flight Risk Assessment Tools, and TC Pilot Decision Making. Numerous persons responded to COPA’s call initiated at the suggestion of the Focus Group for participation in these WGs and work is progressing rapidly to structure them. We anticipate being in a position to contact the participants very shortly.

Follow-up: Variable Pitch Propellers Overhaul Exemption

Numerous COPA members have been anxiously awaiting a TCCA decision with respect to our request to grant private owners of privately used small aircraft an exemption to the mandated 10-year variable pitch propeller overhaul. COPA submitted the request for exemption in November 2017, TCCA completed their assessment in March 2018, COPA and TCCA met in April to discuss the result of this assessment. At first glance, TCCA does not support COPA’s initial request for exemption.

Mr Jeff Phipps, Chief, Operational Airworthiness, Standards Branch, participated in the COPA convention in Saint John, NB, delivering a presentation on aircraft maintenance requirements on June 22. Mr Phipps addressed the specific issue of our request. He cited two main reasons for not supporting our request for exemption for now: lack of data and conflict with current Instruction for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) recommendations that come from the manufacturer. ICA recommendations are precisely that: recommendations. These recommendations are typically used to provide guidance in the development of aircraft maintenance requirements and programs. COPA recognizes that the airworthiness authorities often mandate these recommendations, but not necessarily in all cases. These same authorities will occasionally review the criteria of ICA recommendations and may from time to time support a more flexible approach.

With respect to lack of data, COPA has a different perception. Ours reflects the FAA’s approach. The US General Aviation (GA) fleet of privately utilized aircraft numbers are well beyond the equivalent Canadian fleet. The US annual flying hours for GA on variable pitch propellers are far in excess of those in Canada yet the US do not have a mandated 10-year variable pitch propeller overhaul. COPA’s investigation indicates that the US GA fleet does not exhibit problems related to variable pitch propeller failures. Through our investigation in preparing our submittal to TCCA, we know there are currently no statistics or data relevant to variable pitch propeller failures of significant value within the context of this discussion. In fact, aviation insurance companies such as AIG for instance, one of the most important aviation insurers, cannot provide specific statistics on this due to the lack of insurance claims concerning aircraft accidents resulting from variable pitch propeller failures as these do not occur enough to generate meaningful statistics. Considering that aircraft and aircraft components used in Canada originate almost exclusively from the US, COPA believes it would be appropriate to consider the US experience as a suitable source of reliable data. At this conjecture, COPA is wondering what approach TCCA will use to collect any relevant data if any, and how long this will take. COPA has offered to help on getting some data from our members. 

Mr Phipps, in his presentation, also identified some future steps. TCCA will look at options other than an overhaul, the possibility of developing an internal inspection task (hopefully not requiring dismantlement of the propeller) that could result in either continued monitoring or overhauling depending on findings, and further exploratory discussions on other options. They are looking to present something to us by the end of this year. COPA wishes to reassure its membership that we will keep TCCA to their commitments and continue our discussions with them in finding a safe and less financially cumbersome solution than an unwarranted prop overhaul.

Cosmonauts On Arctic Expedition

Anyone who might be flying to some of Canada’s most northerly airports late this month could run into a couple of Soviet cosmonauts on an unusual circumnavigation. Valery Tokarev and Oleg Atkov are among those flying three Russian-built amphibious light aircraft around the Arctic Ocean. The aircraft are a single-engine Borey advanced ultralight and two eight-seat twin-engine LA-8 aircraft, all built by AeroVolga LLC.

The aircraft are now in Alaska and are expected to cross into Canada about July 20. They will visit nine airports in Canada including Inuvik, Paulatuk, Kugluktuk, Cambrige Bay, Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, Igloolik, Glade River and Qikiqtarjuag. COPA staff helped the expedition obtain visas for the long Canada crossing.

COPA’s Carter Mann in Top 20 Under 40

Carter Mann, COPA’s director of government affairs and communications, has been named to Wings Magazine’s Top 20 Under 40 in the aviation industry. The magazine, which works with Seneca College in producing the list, says the list “recognizes exceptional young leaders influencing the direction of Canadian aviation and aerospace,” and has representation across the spectrum of aviation careers. “This diverse group represents industry innovation and vision, corporate development, entrepreneurial leadership and pure passion for the vast world of aerospace.”

Mann, 30, joined COPA in January of 2017 coming off a stint on the communications staff of former B.C. Premier Christy Clark. He’s also held positions in various federal government departments including press secretary for the Department of National Defence and the Canada Revenue Agency. He’s also an experience pilot and flies a Nanchang CJ6. 

President’s Corner – August 2018

What’s in a title?
Transport Canada reviewing their “Targeted Inspections”
When we got the General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC) going last year with TC, it was agreed that a lot of the work would concentrate on doing things differently, educating, informing, finding safety-enhancing solutions but certainly not more regulations. Great. After more than a year, this goal has been maintained and progress has been made on many fronts. Measuring success is an integral part of any project or initiative but unfortunately, there is one big thing that came up that just doesn’t really work: “targeted inspections”. Unless these are actually what they sound like, perhaps a better choice of words was needed. We’re told the official goal is “to determine baseline regulatory compliance and to determine, where possible, how compliance is, or is not achieved. Results from “targeted inspections” “will be analyzed to understand how the sector generally operates and applies regulation. “Targeted Inspections” for GA are also an opportunity to inform and promote safety. Where there is non-compliance or lack of knowledge we seek to uncover why and to educate the community”.

So we all quickly found out that having “inspection” in the title was not a winner. In fact, during our convention in Saint John (NB), there was a seminar and presentation by a Senior TC official about these targeted inspections, where he tried to explain left and right how these “targeted inspections” were not “targeted”, or “inspections”, at all. The members present raised their collective eyebrows, saying they may understand the goal but why give it such a bad name?

I am pleased to say that after the Convention and the feedback we received, I have spoken with senior officials at TCCA committed to the GA Safety Campaign who have reviewed their position to make this work. Because it is already used in their regular operations and systems, “Targeted Inspections” will only be internal jargon to TC but what they will be doing and conducting with GA and our members will be known as “GA Safety Survey”. This is what will actually be communicated but mostly, that is what will be done!

I would like to thank our members for their tremendous feedback but also TCCA officials and everyone committed to making the GA Safety Campaign a collective success.


Earlier this summer, I met with Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary-General of the International Civil aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal to prepare the International AOPA meeting that will take place in Montreal from June 29th to July 3rd 2020. As a sign of the times and knowing GA is the feeder system to all of civil aviation, Dr. Liu asked us to explore solutions to the pilot shortage and the gender difference in aviation-related careers.

Places to Fly: Bernie’s Splash-In

On Aug. 11-12 Bernie’s Splash-In will mark its ninth event. Seaplanes and helicopters are welcome on the Notawissi Lake (North 47-06-30, West 75-27-40). Sand beach 2600 ft long. Cottages available, restaurant, fishing, etc.:  819-623-2525. 110 NM north of the Ottawa airport (CYOW). Contact Bernie: 819-465-2069, or Andre 819-329-2830,


COPA at AirVenture 2018

COPA will have an even bigger presence at AirVenture 2018 and a big Canadian reunion is the centrepiece. COPA, in partnership with Magnes, AIG and McLarens Aviation will hold its annual Canadian Oshkosh party July 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the air conditioned Partner Resource Centre, across from Hangars A and C. It’s a chance to meet COPA staff and directors and mingle with pilots from across Canada who make the trek to AirVenture each year. COPA and its partners will provide the food and beer available along with numerous prize draws. Admission is free for COPA members. But there’s some serious work to do at AirVenture, too.

Thanks to a collaborative national effort to improve general aviation safety. COPA representatives will man a booth with Transport Canada Civil Aviation to promote the General Aviation Safety Campaign. The campaign was launched by COPA and TCCA in 2017 at the annual convention and trade show in Kelowna and is now in the early implementation stages. The booth will be located in the International Pavilion at AirVenture and anyone is invited to ask questions and take away information on the effort, which is aimed at reducing aircraft accidents by focusing on the frustratingly recurring main causes. But it’s not all about that serious work.

COPA, in partnership with Magnes, AIG and McLarens Aviation will hold its annual Canadian Oshkosh party July 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the air conditioned Partner Resource Centre, across from Hangars A and C. It’s a chance to meet COPA staff and directors and mingle with pilots from across Canada who make the trek to AirVenture each year. COPA will provide the food and there will be beer available along with numerous prize draws. Admission is free for COPA members.