Places To Fly – West: Nanaimo, B.C.

The Nanaimo Flying Club – COPA Flight 91 hosts their locally famous Fly-In Brunches on Saturday, Sept. 1 (and the first Saturday of every month) at Nanaimo airport (YCD), located on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Social time is from 09:30 to 10:30. Brunch is served from 10:30 to 12:00 noon (or until they run out of food). If you are going to be arriving later than 12:00 noon, let them know and they will ensure food is set aside for you.

If you’re bringing a large number of folks, a heads-up would be appreciated for planning purposes. The person to contact is President Don (

To show their appreciation in a tangible way, they offer discounted 100LL Avgas to all visiting pilots, all day long. As they like to say, “Have brunch and save a bunch”.

Brunch donations are welcome.

Places To Fly – East: Casey, Que

Under-the-wing Camping at Casey, Que. (47° 56′ 18″ -74° 5′ 23.9″)

A whole weekend under the wing, at the 65-year-old abandoned military airstrip of Casey in the Quebec backcountry. The strip (05/23) hard surface of international airport quality is 8 200′ x 200′. Altitude 1,291’ and the frequency in use will be 123.2.

Over the years, more and more people have shown up; last year there were 144 aircraft over two days, with 25 camping at once one night. On Saturday there will be corn on the cob, hot-dogs and soft drinks. Visit what is left of the old military facilities.

More details can be found here (in French only).

St-Hubert Airport Inaugurates Upgraded Runway

It is refreshing to see an airport seeking growth opportunities, rather than seeking opportunities to restrict access or shut down.

This Thursday, August 30, St-Hubert ( YHU) airport inaugurated its upgraded primary runway. Runway 24R/06L was revamped thanks to the federal Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), allowing it to welcome bigger aircraft to make it a regional air transport hub in Quebec.

Inaugurated in 1927, CYHU slowly became the uncontested general aviation (GA) and training airport in southern Quebec, due to the number of flight training units (FTU) and movements. A target of the ‘not in my backyard’ phenomenon back in 2010 and threatened with closure from all sides, several associations (including COPA) supported the airport and its developers to reach an understanding with the opponents. Many initiatives have been put forward, such as new mufflers for many types of aircraft in the FTUs.

However, if bigger aircraft (737 or A320) suddenly come into CYHU, what will happen to GA? “The current infrastructure allows us to have GA (runways 24L / 06R and 28/10) and the bigger carriers (runway 24R / 06L) cohabit with no incidence. General aviation is now the livelihood of the airport and at the core of its mission”, says Charles Vaillancourt, Chairman of the Board of Aéroport Montréal Saint-Hubert Longueuil (AMSL), who is himself a Diamond pilot at the airport.

The full press release can be found here.


ADS-B Update

Transport Canada has yet to announce an ADS-B mandate. In the U.S., the FAA has mandated that on January 1, 2020, aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B Out to fly in most U.S. airspace where a Mode C transponder is required today. This includes Class A, B, and C airspace; within the 30 nm Mode C ring around a Class B primary airport; and most Class E airspace at or above 10,000 feet asl. The FAA ‘recommends’ 1090ES ADS-B Out hardware in an aircraft on international flights. Although flights between Canada and the U.S. are considered international, the mandate for Mode S transponder-based 1090ES ADS-B hardware has not been set by the FAA as specified in US 14 CFR 91.225. During a flight to the U.S. from Canada, understanding the U.S. airspace transited and at the U.S. destination airport is critical to determining ADS-B equipment and regulatory requirements.

Nav Canada’s joint venture with Aireon LLC has delivered space based 1090ES ADS-B Out services. The U.S. ADS-B environment is based upon a network of ground stations. A typical ground station-based ADS-B aircraft installation has an antenna on the underside of the fuselage. Compliance with a future Nav Canada space-based fabric will require an antenna installed on the top of the aircraft. To facilitate compliance with both U.S. and Canadian requirements, an ADS-B transmitter which supports antenna diversity would be required.

The last four years have seen a rapid advancement in ADS-B technologies from new entrants in the marketplace. The uAvionix skyBeacon replaces a navigation light and delivers 978 UAT ADS-B Out and is equipped with a WAAS GPS, barometric altimeter, LED strobe and navigation lights. Their goal of delivering an installed ADS-B below $2,000 USD for certified aircraft is attainable. uAvionix’s president Christian Ramsey says “Placing an ADS-B antenna on the tip of a wing or on the tail, with visibility to both the sky and the ground, provides an optimal location for reception by a satellite or a ground-based receiver. 1090MHz versions of skyBeacon and tailBeacon are possible.”

With a limited number of ADS-B manufacturers and with no Canadian mandate defined, determining an appropriate strategy would be based upon the usage requirements of the aircraft. If the aircraft is not operating in U.S. airspace, then a wait-and-see strategy would deliver the most cost-effective results.

Watch for more details in an upcoming issue of COPA Flight.

RCAF Sea King Going Out in Style

As the air force’s venerable CH-124 Sea King helicopter approaches its 55th year in service with Canada’s military forces, an additional $2.1 contract was awarded to extend a contract to ensure they can continue flying until the end of 2018.

As reported this week by the CBC, a spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) confirmed that the contract being prolonged was the one signed 5 years ago for up to $459 million to keep the Sea Kings, designed in the 1950s, flying while awaiting their replacement, the much-delayed CH-148 Cyclone.

The CH-124 predates the unification of Canada’s armed forces in 1968, so it initially went into service for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and designated at that time as CHSS-2. To honour the Sea King’s history to Canada, the RCAF had one of the last Sea Kings (CH12417) repainted in its original RCN colours at a new paint booth located at CFB Shearwater in Nova Scotia. On June 13, CH12417 was ferried across to 443 Squadron’s west coast base at Patricia Bay, B.C., from where it will perform navy tasks as well as tour the regional air show circuit during its final six months of duty. At year-end, the aircraft is destined to become a ‘gate guardian’ for the squadron.

Photo above: Spotted on the ramp at the Abbotsford International Airshow in August was CH12417 in its original RCN colours.

Garmin Acquires FltPlan

Garmin, known in the aviation world as a leading supplier of navigation hardware and related avionics, announced this week that they have acquired Flight Plan LLC (FltPlan), a provider of electronic flight planning services.

FltPlan, in business for almost 20 years, has become one of the largest suppliers of flight planning services in the world, creating over 6.3 million flight plans annually and boasts 165,000 registered users. They are particularly known in the GA community for their free flight planning website,, and free smart-phone app FltPlan Go.

“We are happy to have the FltPlan team join the Garmin family,” said Phil Straub, Garmin’s executive vice-president for aviation. “We look forward to combining the comprehensive flight planning and flight management services available from FltPlan with our robust lineup of products and services to provide an unmatched portfolio of end-to-end services to our customers.”

FltPlan also offers premium services including SMS (safety management services), PDCs (pre-departure clearances), eAPIS and APIS (advanced passenger information system), among others. Plans are for FltPlan to work towards the integration of FltPlan into what Garmin refers to as their ‘aviation ecosystem’.

Financial details of the transaction were not released.

Freedom to Fly Fund at Work: Mascouche

The Mascouche/Les Moulins airport (SK3) has been struggling to stay alive for most of the last decade, whether at its ‘pre-consultation, TC-approved site’ or its ‘post-consultation, TC-approved site’. The last claims are related to provincial environmental standards. This could be happening anywhere around the country.

Back in February 2018, we reported a successful outcome in Quebec Superior Court, where the Honourable Martin Castonguay dismissed the case. Not surprisingly, the decision has been appealed and the case is before the Court of Appeal of Quebec.

COPA has applied for leave to intervene in this case as ‘a friend of the court’ and present a memorandum to the court. We wish to highlight the fact that the application of federal aeronautical law cannot be shared with local authorities and can only remain under federal control. We are glad to report that the Honourable G. Marcotte has granted our request on the basis that COPA “…could bring a Canada-wide perspective on the issues in this appeal, likely helping this Court in resolving this debate…”

As THE association preserving the Canadian freedom to fly, it is our responsibility to make sure we build on the cases and decisions we have won in previous instances., and that we don’t lose any ground we have gained. It is of the utmost importance that we have our voice heard in the judiciary process, especially now to try and avoid going once again to the next level, the Supreme Court of Canada.

Learn more about the Freedom to Fly Fund.

Places To Fly: St-Cuthbert, Quebec

You’re invited to spend Friday, Saturday or Sunday at the Quebec Ultralight Festival being held at St-Cuthbert, Que. The new airport (CU2) sports a 1352-foot x 80-foot runway. All types of aircraft are welcome for the weekend. Come meet Guillaume and his team, a COPA lifetime-member who fought for our mission to advance, promote and preserve Canada’s freedom to fly.

TCCA Scales Back Check Pilot Oversight

In a controversial move, Transport Canada-Civil Aviation has announced that they will allow major airlines to conduct pilot proficiency checks (PPCs) on their own pilots with less direct oversight. Currently, TCCA and approved independent operators conduct these evaluations, while TCCA monitors the competence and performance of the independent check pilots. Starting this fall, they will delegate the oversight role to senior private evaluators.

ATAC president John McKenna cites TCCA’s lack of resources for on-site evaluations as a reason he supports the move. Last year, TCCA inspectors reportedly performed only 300 PPCs vs 15,000 by industry-employed check pilots. McKenna was quoted as saying, “The people doing this for industry are much more frequent flyers and pilots than [TCCA] inspectors”.

However, the Canadian Federal Pilots Association (CFPA), the union representing federally employed pilots, disagrees. CFPA Operations director Greg Holbrook insists that it’s important to have independent oversight of commercial pilot testing. Holbrook brings up the possibility of conflict of interest when he was recently quoted as saying, “Do I have to satisfy Transport Canada, or do I go along with what my boss wants, who pays my paycheque, and pass the guy?”

The performance of PPCs of airline pilots has been shared by TCCA and the major airlines for 25 years.