TSB Faults Pilot in Lake Muskoka Float Plane Crash

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released this week their investigation report into the crash of a Georgian Bay Airways (GBA) Found FBA-2C1 ‘Bush Hawk-XP’ in Lake Muskoka last July, finding that the pilot violated aeronautical regulations by intentionally flying in an unsafe manner prior to losing control of his aircraft.

The Bush Hawk XP, piloted by GBA’s chief pilot and operations manager, was on a deadhead flight returning to its Parry Sound base (CPS1) after dropping off charter passengers at Toronto’s Billy Bishop water aerodrome (CPZ9). Accompanying the pilot on the return leg was a friend.

Family members of the pilot were staying at a cottage on the shore of Lake Muskoka and the pilot decided to overfly the cottage at treetop level on the return flight. The TSB reports that the airspeed over the cottage was 80 knots indicated airspeed. While circling to overfly the cottage again, the aircraft entered a steep turn over the water. Airspeed was insufficient to maintain flight and this resulted in an accelerated stall that the pilot was unable to recover from. The aircraft struck the water in a steep right-bank, nose-down attitude and cartwheeled.

Flight path of the float plane is depicted in the TSB-annotated Google Earth image.

Both the pilot and his passenger were wearing four-point safety belts and sustained only minor injuries. The passenger was unable to find the handle to open her door, even with the pilot’s help, and they eventually exited the flooding cabin through a rear door. Although there were personal flotation devices on board, neither of the occupants were wearing them, nor did either of them grab them on their way out of the aircraft. Neither of the occupants received emergency egress training. The pilot and passenger were rescued by nearby witnesses.

As a result of the their investigation into this accident, the TSB is again repeating long-standing recommendations:

“[That] the Department of Transport require that occupants of commercial seaplanes wear a device that provides personal flotation following emergency egress.”

TSB Recommendation A11-06

“[That] the Department of Transport require underwater egress training for all flight crews engaged in commercial seaplane operations.”

TSB Recommendation A13-02

The TSB report also cites numerous references to documents discouraging ‘showing off’.

The complete TSB investigation report can be seen here.

United Kingdom Gets Portable ADS-B IN/OUT

U.S. company uAvionix has just released SkyEcho, a portable ADS-B IN/OUT transceiver designed to the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) standards. SkyEcho transmits an aircraft’s position, altitude, course and speed to surrounding aircraft to improve traffic awareness. SkyEcho includes a dual-band ADS-B (1090 and 978 MHz) transceiver to transmit and receive position reports from other ADS-B equipped aircraft. SkyEcho is built upon uAvionix’s popular Sentry technology, the ‘Swiss Army knife’ of portable pilot peripherals. This small device weighs in at 120 grams and delivers 12 hours of battery usage.

The U.K. is testing in-flight weather and other services over UAT (978 MHz). SkyEcho comes ready for the future with a built-in 978 MHz ADS-B receiver so that U.K. pilots can benefit from this new service. Like Nav Canada, the U.K.’s NATS is part of the Aireon consortium delivering space-based ADS-B services over 1090 MHz, excluding weather information.

The 1090 MHz transmitter has a 20-watt nominal output. Transmit functionality can be enabled or disabled from the configuration page. The ADS-B IN capability includes both 1090 MHz and 978 MHz UAT for display of live traffic and weather from a U.K. UAT trial system.

SkyEcho comes with a RAM mount, soft case and USB-C charging cable. Currently available only in the U.K., SkyEcho costs £443 (approximately C$750). As with all portable devices, SkyEcho is meant to be used to improve pilot situational awareness and as a navigational aid only and is not intended for use in IFR flight conditions.

It should be noted that SkyEcho is designed for use only in the U.K., and is only available there. It is not suitable for space-based ADS-B as the minimum power requirement is 125 watts whereas the SkyEcho puts out only 20 watts. However, that a company such as uAvionix is willing to develop products for a GA market that is smaller than Canada’s is encouraging. When Canada finally gets an ADS-B mandate, uAvionix will almost certainly be ready to offer Canadians a convenient and cost-effective solution.

With contribution from Phil Lightstone.

TSB Repeats Recommendations After BC Floatplane Crash

A Transportation Safety Board accident investigation report into the crash last summer of a Fort Langley Air Cessna 180H into British Columbia’s Tyaughton Lake was released this week. The TSB determined that the aircraft experienced an accelerated stall while attempting to return to the point of takeoff. In the accident, both the front-seat and rear-seat passengers were fatally injured and the pilot sustained serious injuries.

The aircraft took off from Tyax Lodge on the northwestern side of the lake, that generally runs north-south. While climbing southward after take-off, at about 300 feet above the lake surface, the rear-seat passenger, also a pilot, noted that fuel was leaking from the left wing tank. He advised the pilot to turn around. The aircraft then entered a steep turn, necessitated by the surrounding terrain.

This TSB-annotated illustration shows the flight path of the Cessna 180H.

Density altitude at the time was calculated by the TSB to be 5,250 feet asl, which would have resulted in an increase in turning radius of about 15 percent compared to a similar turn at sea level in standard day conditions.

The TSB determined that the aircraft and pilot conformed with all regulations and standards. They also noted that no-one on board the aircraft was wearing a personal flotation device, that there was no emergency exit from the rear of the aircraft and that the pilot had not received emergency egress training.

In the report, the TSB repeated recommendations that resulted from investigations into similar accidents in the past:

  • “[That] the Department of Transport require that all new and existing commercial seaplanes be fitted with regular and emergency exits that allow rapid egress following a survivable collision with water.” (TSB Recommendation A11-05);
  • “[That] the Department of Transport require that occupants of commercial seaplanes wear a device that provides personal flotation following emergency egress.” (TSB Recommendation A11-06);
  • “(That] the Department of Transport require underwater egress training for all flight crews engaged in commercial seaplane operations.” (TSB Recommendation A13-02).
The Cessna 180H lies upside down and almost completely submerged in B.C.’s Tyaughton Lake.

The complete TSB Investigation Report (A18P0108) can be found here.

TCCA Modifies Flight Test Guides

During the course of its activities since its launch in June 2017, the General Aviation Safety Campaign (GASC) has identified several contributors to fatal accidents. Loss Of Control – Inflight (LOC-I) occupies the top spot on the list of killers to be addressed. Further, the GASC also identified that most of LOC-I accidents happen during the arrival phase of the flight, from the base-to-final turn, and along the final, down to the landing itself. These findings match perfectly the findings of the equivalent American work carried out over the last twenty years.

The GASC activities have led to the creation of nine Working Groups addressing various issues of interest. One of these WG was dedicated to the topic of Stabilized Approaches. TCCA was also looking into this issue in parallel with the GASC. The end result is that Stabilized Approaches have been incorporated in the new Flight Test Guides to be effective 1 March 2019, for RPP, PPL, CPL and Multi-engine flight tests. IFR flight tests already have their own criteria.

This note will not discuss these Flight Test Guides in detail. It will be limited to reporting that the Test Guide will require the individual being tested to identify and state, at a specific point in the approach, say 200 feet AGL for instance, whether or not the approach is stabilized, in accordance with the standards defined in the Test Guide. If the pilot judges the approach to be stabilized, the pilot will continue to a landing. If, on the other hand, the pilot judges that the approach is not stabilized, in accordance with the same standards defined in the Test Guide, the pilot will be expected to initiate a Missed Approach, or overshoot, at that point.

The new Flight Test Guides should be available on the TCCA website by 1 March 2019. TCCA and COPA recognize that these new Flight Test Guides are becoming applicable in very short notice and jointly expect that instructors will be in a position to react quickly and prepare their trainees accordingly as this Stabilized Approach concept was quite likely already part of the training provided. It is now becoming an official part of the flight test.

FAA Issues Alert Over Oil Pressure Switch

The U.S. FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin to alert owners, operators and maintenance personnel of Cessna 172R, 172S, 182S, 182T, 206H and T206H airplanes. These aircraft may have been equipped from the factory with oil pressure switches bearing the part number 83278, or they may have been supplied as spares.

This oil pressure switch is used to supply information to a warning annunciator on pre-Garmin G1000-equipped planes and the annunciator on the primary flight display of G1000-equipped planes. It is also used to drive the Hobbs hour meter on all the above-mentioned planes. Oil pressure gauges are not affected as they are driven by a separate transducer.

These switches have been subject in the past to an airworthiness directive (AD2013-11-11) where a life limit of 3000 hours of time in service (TIS) was specified. The existing AD remains in effect. However, the FAA is considering additional AD action based on their investigation of recent events.

In seven recent events, premature oil pressure switch failures led to oil leaks around the switch housing, which could lead to oil leaking onto the aircraft’s windshield and obscuring vision, or to the loss of engine oil, resulting in engine failure.

The FAA is recommending that operators of the affected aircraft become aware of the issue, be alert to oil residue on or around the forward fuselage upper cowling or the windshield, and inspect the switch housing for the presence of any oil or wrench marks that might indicate over-torqueing of the switch.

The FAA recommends that corrective action be taken before further flight should any of the conditions outlined above be observed. They also recommend that switch be replaced after 1000 hours TIS.

The complete bulletin is available below for viewing.


COPA Flight Safety Foundation

The COPA Flight Safety Foundation

Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.

The foundation is a registered charity, established to assist the promotion of pilot safety through seminars and a Flight Safety Bulletin in various formats.

Please mail your contribution to:

COPA 75 Albert Street, Ste 903 Ottawa, ON, K1P 5E7  

Make cheques payable to COPA Flight Safety Foundation.

Or donate online.

A tax receipt will be issued for your charitable donation.

LGBTQ+ Youth Aviation Mentoring Event Takes Flight in Toronto

LGBTQ+ Youth Aviation Mentoring Event Takes Flight in Toronto

Coming up next month, on March 24, LGBTQ+ pilots and other aviators will be gathering at the Jazz Aviation hangar in Toronto to encourage and inspire LGBTQ+ youth to consider Aviation as a hobby or career. Canadian Aviation Pride has joined with a number of aviation industry partners to plan this exciting, first of its kind event, and COPA is pleased to announce that we will be participating as allies. Carter Mann, our Director of Government Affairs and Communications, will be on hand to speak with the youth about the joy of flying, and how to access various scholarships.

If you would like to get involved, it’s not too late; if you are a COPA member who identifies as LGBTQ+, and will be in (or can get to) the Toronto area for Sunday, March 24, we’d love to have you join us. Please contact Vera Teschow for more information.

This is a great opportunity to show youth the broad range of piloting in Canada, and is an excellent chance to network with other pilots and owners in the industry.

Even if you are unable to attend in person you can help: If you know any young people between the ages of 12 and 16 who may identify as LGBTQ+, please share the link to the registration form, and encourage them to sign up for this exciting event. If you have sons or daughters, nieces or nephews, why not print out the poster linked above, and have them be a good ally and drop it off at their school’s Gay-Straight Alliance?

Thanks to our membership for helping us to support our friends at CAP to make this upcoming event a success.

Pictured above are a few of the partners who have already committed to join and provide support.

Russian Amphibious AULA Lands in Canada

The first amphibious advanced ultralight aircraft (AULA) to be marketed in Canada has received a Letter of Acceptance from Transport Canada. The Borey Model A flying boat was designed and manufactured by AeroVolga Scientific Production Association, a company founded in Russia in 2002.

The two-seat Borey comes with a Rotax 912UL engine producing 80hp and, when configured to Canadian specifications, has a maximum takeoff weight of 560 kg (1,235 lbs). Maximum cruise speed is 83 kts and stall speed is 35 kts.

Takeoff run on land is 525 feet and 690 feet on water. The rate of climb is 787 fpm. When configured with optional long-range tanks, range is 485 nautical miles. A ballistic recover chute, weighing 18 kg (40 lbs), is an option as is an enhanced glass instrument panel.

Nine Boreys have been delivered globally so far, with another one headed to Canada that  should be available for viewing in the Ottawa area come June.

AeroVolga’s first flying boat project, the LA-8, was a twin-engine eight-passenger that made its inaugural flight in 2004.

Last summer, AeroVolga made international news when a flight of their aircraft, comprising one Borey and two LA-8s, flew around the world along a polar route. The expedition took 43 days and the aircraft flew over 10,800 nm.

Those with distributor and/or dealer enquiries are invited to contact George Alafinov or visit their website. Technical enquiries in Canada can be directed to Patrick Gilligan.

Where to Fly – West: Lac La Biche

Another amazing fly-in at Montebello is in the books. Kudos to COPA for their part in making this annual event such a success.

I would like to give a plug to the Western Canada’s biggest, and dare I say ‘other’ best winter fly-in on the frozen surface of Lac La Biche, Alberta. Started in 2010, the annual event regularly draws over 80 aircraft of all sizes and makes. From ultralights and all types of light aircraft to helicopters, light twins and multi-million dollar corporate aircraft.

Each year, Lac La Biche’s COPA Flight 165 joins forces with the Winter Festival of Speed to host car, snowmobile, motorcycle and ATV races, all on the frozen lake.  There are horse-drawn sleigh rides, axe throwing and a trapping display to enjoy. With such a full weekend guaranteed to excite anyone with a pulse, we would like to extend an invitation to COPA members to join us on the lake and see if you agree that the Lac La Biche Ice Fly-in is indeed one of Canada’s best.

The runway is approximately 4000 feet by 100 feet, and expected orientation is 13/31, with right-hand circuits on 31. Unicom is 123.20 and automated weather is available on 122.125. The location may vary, but traditionally it is three miles north of the Lac La Biche airport (CYLB).

On-ice refreshments include roasted hot dogs, doughnuts, hot chocolate and coffee and other fare from various food vendors. This year we remember flying club member ‘Trapper’ Bob Gerbrandt, who passed away suddenly in December, 2018. Gerbrandt, who would always have his furs on display, wood-roasted a pig at last year’s Ice Fly-in. In memoriam, we plan another pig roast on Saturday afternoon.

Club member ‘Trapper’ Bob Gerbrandt, in whose memory another pig roast is being held.


COPA Flight 165 encourages all aviation enthusiast to attend this year’s event Feb. 23-34, 2019 to see why we think this is Canada’s ‘other’ Best Winter Fly-in.

Check our flying club’s website for updates/conditions.

Contributed by Ken Zachkewich for COPA Flight 165. Photos courtesy of Stacey Skyrpan.

Whelen Buys LoPresti Aviation

Whelen Engineering, a U.S. company well known as a manufacturer of aircraft navigation lights, has acquired LoPresti Aviation, another U.S. company that is best known for their speed mods, especially for Mooneys and Pipers.

LoPresti was the first to use high-intensity discharge (HID) technology to develop landing and taxi lights as accessories to go with their speed mods. Their HID market eventually expanded into the corporate jet sector. As LED technology became cheaper, LoPresti also began developing lights using the newer technology.

LoPresti’s speed mod business is included in the deal with Whelen.

The new company is now known as Whelen Aerospace Technologies or WAT, but the LoPresti brand will remain.

In addition to speed mods and aircraft lighting products, Whelen manufactures lighting products for the automotive sector as well as ‘mass notification systems’, or sirens that are typically used at schools when a lock-down is underway, or as tsunami warning devices.

“WAT enables both companies to combine resources and deliver distinct technologies to the market,” says Whelen president and CEO George Whelen.

“Through WAT, we will strengthen our portfolio in aircraft lighting applications and composite structures. This acquisition will be highly beneficial to OEMs, as well as to the end user,” said Tyler Wheeler, LoPresti Aviation CEO. “Maintaining the highest level of customer service is the highest priority for us as we continue growing as one.” Tyler will join Whelen Aerospace Technologies as CEO.

LoPresti, which was founded in 1991, will continue operating at its Sebastian, Florida location. Whelen Aerospace Technologies will be headquartered in Chester, Connecticut, where Whelen was founded in 1952.