Enstrom 480B Helicopter Cleared for Takeoff in Canada

Enstrom announced this week that Transport Canada has granted certification to Enstrom’s 480B turbine helicopter. The 480B joins other Enstrom helicopters approved for operations in Canada, including the F-28 and 280 series, all of which are powered by piston engines.

The Michigan-based company is currently working with a Canadian launch customer.

“Enstrom has a long history in Canada,” said Dennis Martin, Enstrom’s director of sales and Marketing. “A number of our customers have expressed a desire to operate 480Bs in Canada and this new validation will allow them to do so under Canadian registration.”

“With its legendary toughness, fully articulated rotor head, and low operating costs, we feel the 480B is a natural in the demanding Canadian environment. Our piston aircraft have proved their worth there for years and we look forward to giving turbine customers a new, versatile option,” added Martin.

The 480B has a five-seat cabin and is capable of carrying a litter. The Rolls-Royce 250 C20w turbine develops a maximum of 420 shaft horsepower. The helicopter has a gross weight of 3,000 pounds and an empty weight of 1,820 pounds.

At gross weight, the aircraft can cruise at 109 knots with a service ceiling of 10,000 feet. Enstrom calculates the total direct operating cost, including overhaul and component retirement reserves, of $325.76 USD per hour.

1959 Crashed Plane Found On Lake Bottom

Saskatchewan RCMP have recovered the remains of two pilots who went missing in their Cessna 180 almost 60 years ago. The sunken aircraft was discovered at the bottom of Peter Pond Lake in northern Saskatchewan by the pilot’s daughter and son-in-law with the help of a sonar specialist and his equipment.

The plane, operated by Saskatchewan Government Airways, took off from Buffalo Narrows with pilot Ray Gran and conservation officer Harold Thompson as his passenger with La Loche, Sask. as its destination.

After the aircraft became overdue, the RCAF spent 10 days searching for it. They eventually concluded that the 180 crashed into Peter Pond Lake with no survivors. The lake is adjacent to Buffalo Narrows.

On Wednesday of last week, RCMP underwater recovery team made four dives to the 180 which was lying upside down 20 metres below on the lake bottom. Among the personal items recovered were boots, a pendant, a camera, a knife and a wallet. The human remains and personal items recovered are with the Saskatchewan Coroners Service and will be turned over to the family afterward their investigation is complete.

During the dives, the water temperature was 2°C and the visibility was minimal. “At the bottom, you can’t see your hand. You have to use a light close to your chest to see what you picked up,” said Constable Peter Rhead, one of the divers. “I wish I had more time to see the whole plane, but it was important to gather what we could from the cockpit.”

“I saw the colours and the markings on the plane; it’s obvious it is the right plane.” Rhead added.

Magnetic North Pole On The Move – Quickly

Although the magnetic north pole has always been in motion, scientists say that lately it has been moving much faster than before. Normally, scientists with the World Magnetic Model update its physical location every five years. The last update was done in 2015, but because of the significant shift in location since then, an update has just been issued, a year early.

Canada has been home to the magnetic north pole for centuries, meandering about at an average pace of about 55 kilometres a year. It crossed the International Date Line at the end of 2017, and is now on its way to Russia.

“It’s clear that something strange is happening,” University of Leeds geophysicist Phil Livermore told the New York Times. Scientists are also speculating whether this recent phenomenon is an indication that a magnetic pole reversal is imminent. “It does tick off some of the boxes of magnetic reversal,” said University of Liverpool geophysicist Courtney Sprain. “However,” she added “we definitely can’t say that for sure.” The last time magnetic pole reversal occurred was about 780,000 years ago.

As pilots we know there are implications with a rapidly shifting pole, as there are for others who rely on a magnetic compass as a backup navigation instrument, such as seafarers.

Among the effects a rapidly shifting north magnetic pole can have in the short term on Canadian aviation include accelerated updates to aeronautical publications and the renaming (and repainting) of runways, depending on the path the wandering pole takes.

Another effect that is bound to disappoint Canadian sky-watchers over time is the diminishing aurora borealis, or northern lights, since they are centred around the north magnetic pole.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a U.S. government agency, has a website that allows visitors to visualize how magnetic declination has changed over the years.

Switching over to using true north in aeronautics has been under discussion for many years and would certainly simplify our lives, but we are not there yet while so many elements still rely on the magnetic one.