TSB Cites Crosswind in Dragon Rapide Crash

In a Transportation Safety Board Investigation Report issued on March 28, investigators cited a strong crosswind as a possible factor that led to the crash of a vintage de Havilland DH-89A Dragon Rapide shortly after takeoff during the Abbotsford International Airshow at British Columbia’s Abbotsford airport (CYXX) last July.

ATC ground controllers had advised the Dragon pilot that winds were 180° at 11 knots, gusting to 18. Runway 19 was available, but aircraft displays occupied 60 percent of the runway’s length. The pilot decided to use Runway 25 instead, commencing the takeoff roll from its intersection of Taxiway D. The crosswind component was calculated to be 18 knots at the moment of takeoff. The Dragon encountered gusting winds approximately 30 feet above the runway and lost airspeed, causing it to nose over and crash just beyond the edge of Runway 25. The pilot and one passenger were seriously injured, and two passengers sustained minor injuries.

The TSB investigators determined the pilot was properly licensed. They also noted that the Dragon is known to be underpowered and difficult to control in crosswinds. The investigators point out that since the Dragon has only a single pilot position (along the centreline of the cockpit), pilot training on the model is difficult.

The aircraft, operated by U.S.-based Historic Flight Foundation (HFF), was being used to provide rides for paying members of the public. However, the investigation revealed that the flight authority that the aircraft was operating under (an FAA-issued Special Airworthiness Certificate – Experimental) did not allow for the carrying of passengers in Canada. Transport Canada had issued a special authorization (Foreign Flight Authority) to the HFF to fly the Dragon into Canada, but this permit does not allow for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward.

The complete TSB Investigation Report can be found here.

Alberta College Starts Aviation Certificate Program

Medicine Hat College, located in southeastern Alberta, has teamed up with Super T Aviation Academy to offer a certificate program in Aviation Management. After signing a memorandum of understanding over a year ago, the two institutions began work on the development of the curriculum. The first student intake is planned for this coming September.

“It’s been a long road, we’ve been working with the College for some time,” said COPA member Super. “We’re very pleased that this has finally come through.” Super T will handle the flight training, while the college will provide 10 courses that address topics such as management, mathematics and meteorology.

Students will finish the program with what is referred to as a ‘frozen ATPL’, which means that graduates will have written and passed all examinations up to and including those for the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), with a total of approximately 176 hours of flight time plus an additional 83 hours of training on an Alsim flight simulator. The ATPL cannot be granted until a pilot has logged a minimum of 750 hours of flight.

“We’re going to go and take a look at the academic side of the whole partnership, and give them some really good academic back bone to support them as they go forward into the aviation industry,” said Dean of Trades and Technologies Dennis Beaudoin.

Over a decade ago the college offered similar courses, however is wasn’t a credit course at the time. “What we’ve decided to do is to re-focus it, make it a credit course,” said Beaudoin. “So, now this is going to be a certificate that’s going to be recognized.”

The college is recommending that students plan for a program length of between 18 and 24 months.

Canada Post Issues ‘Canadians in Flight’ Series

This week Canada Post issued five commemorative stamps that celebrate Canadians and Canadian technology in the field of aviation. The Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa collaborated in the initiative.

Three Canadian aviation legends are being honoured. First World War ace and Victoria Cross recipient William George Barker, VC, remains the most decorated member of the military in the history of Canada and the British Empire.

Legendary bush pilot C.H. ‘Punch’ Dickens made the first reconnaissance flight across the Northwest Territories, which back then included all of present-day Nunavut. Dickens was also a First World War ace and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The first woman in Canada to receive an electrical engineering degree was Elizabeth ‘Elsie’ MacGill. She was also the first woman in the world to earn a Master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. As a professional aircraft designer, MacGill oversaw the production and design refinements of the Hawker Hurricane, for which she was dubbed ‘Queen of the Hurricanes’.

Also recognized are two aircraft that illustrate Canadian technical ingenuity. The Lazair is a family of twin-engine ultralight airplanes that were sold in kit form between the years of 1979 and 1985. Designed by Port Colborne, Ontario native Dale Kramer, the Lazair is considered one of the best airplanes in its class. Kramer was selected by the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute to receive the Roméo Vachon Award in 1983 for his outstanding contribution to the development of aeronautics in Canada.

Lastly, the Avro C-105 Arrow is remembered for its technological achievements, considered by many to have been ahead of its time.

“As Canada’s storyteller, Canada Post is proud to share these stories of personal bravery and ingenuity, and to commemorate the aircraft that demonstrate Canadian technological innovation,” says Doug Ettinger, Canada Post president and CEO.

de Havilland Fox Moth To Fly This Summer

Volunteers from Sault Ste Marie’s Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre have finished their labour of love, a replica of the de Havilland Fox Moth, designed in Britain in 1932. It took 25 years to reach this point, and the only thing preventing it from taking flight is some last-minute airworthiness ‘wrinkles’ that are expected to be resolved before the planned first flight scheduled to take place this summer between June 21 and 23, at which time Dave Hadfield is expected to pilot the biplane.

“We built it by hand. We scrounged everything we could,” volunteer John Lalonde told local news outlet SooToday as he explained how the group sourced as many original parts as they could.

Ninety-eight Fox Moths were built in Britain with another 53 assembled in Canada. “This is Canadian history. If we hadn’t finished it, the children of today would not have known how significant it was in developing the North and the Arctic. Some Canadian airlines started with the Fox Moth. Bearskin Airlines, which flies into the Sault, had one,” Lalonde explained.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the museum, and the Province of Ontario offered up a grant of $507,600. According to a news release, the funds will go towards new exhibits, infrastructure and for the creation of three new jobs. An additional $438,000 from the federal government, $100,000 from the Sault St. Marie Development Corporation and $25,000 from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie added up to $1.2 million in total in grants to the museum.

Collingwood Airport Finally Sold

The mayor of Collingwood, Ontario announced earlier this month that the town has finally sold off their airport (CNY3) to Winterland Developments, Ltd.

“The original purchase price was $4.1-million, and that’s still the purchase price, and they are accepting all of the outstanding leases and operating agreements with respect to the airport,” said Mayor Brian Saunderson.

A deal was first announced last year but was held up due partially to a dispute with Genesis Flight College. The college’s position was that their road access would be hampered.

It’s an agreement that guarantees access to the airport properties,” Genesis president David Gascoine told CTV News. “That agreement was registered with the land titles act like it would be if you had a shared driveway.” Genesis expects to now move forward with expansion plans.

“This private owner has assured us that it will remain an airport,” says COPA Director Kevin Elwood. “COPA, as well as the pilot community, fought to protect this airport.”

“COPA invested heavily in the legal defense of this aerodrome, along with nearby Clearview Field in Stayner, to protect them from a proposed wind turbine farm,” said Carter Mann, spokesperson for the organization. “We are encouraged at the confirmation that Collingwood will remain open and accessible as a general aviation airport.”

Fredericton Police Acquire Drone

Thanks to a donation from Stephen Costello of Costello Utility Consultants (CUC), the Fredericton, New Brunswick police department will soon begin drone operations using an Aeryon Skyranger R60 UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) that had previously been used by CUC for the inspection of power transmission lines and infrastructure.

“This drone is one of the best of its class,” said Costello. “It’s used extensively by police forces in Ontario, the RCMP, and the Ontario Provincial Police.” Equipped with infrared and thermal imaging cameras, the value of the drone is $150,000.

Speaking on behalf of the Fredericton Police Force, Chief Leanne Fitch said the Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS) “can help us understand a situation that we need to respond to and allows us to learn about the factors that contributed or created an incident. Technologies, such as this drone, can also play a valuable role in locating missing persons during a search and rescue operation, or assisting during a disaster.”

The police force has said that video recorded by the RPAS will be protected under existing privacy regulations. Six police officers will be selected and trained in accordance with new TCCA rules and regulations that are set to take effect on June 1 of this year.

According to the Waterloo, Ontario-based RPAS manufacturer Aeryon, one of the capabilities of this model is the ability to read a licence plate from 300 metres away.

“It’s a high-quality digital camera with 30x optical zoom and a 60x digital zoom,” said Costello.

Aeryon manufactures state-of-the-art drones, exporting them to military, public safety and industrial customers around the world. They maintain offices in numerous U.S. cities, and has team members spread throughout the world in London, U.K., Dubai, U.A.E., Antalya, Turkey and Singapore.

Winnipeg’s Aero Recip Receives Endorsement

In a recently released announcement, U.S.-base Hartzell Engine Technologies says they have named Aero Recip (Canada) Ltd. as their first Canada-based maintenance and repair shop to earn designation as one of their Recommended Service Facilities (RSF). Together with an Oklahoma-based company, Aero Recip are the only two RSFs for AeroForce turbochargers.

“We are very proud to welcome our friends at Aero Recip (Canada) as the first Recommended Service Facility approved in Canada to provide inspections and maintenance on AeroForce turbocharger systems,” said Hartzell Engine Technologies president Keith Bagley. “We introduced our Recommended Service Facilities program in 2014 to give aircraft owner /operators who fly with our equipment a pre-approved network of shops that have the training, tools, and commitment to quality necessary to ensure that these customers get the highest level of repair and overhaul services for their units.”

Bagley made the point that being designated as an RSP for Hartzell is more than just signing an agreement. “RSF network shops must agree to adhere to our set of rigorous guidelines,” he said. “For example, they will be regularly audited, they have agreed to follow our manuals and will maintain the proper facilities with approved tools and equipment.” Bagley went on to add “In addition, they will send their technicians to our facility for ongoing training, and they have agreed they will only use genuine Hartzell/AeroForce replacement parts.”

Aero Recip, founded in 1988, is the largest piston engine and accessory overhaul shop in Canada specializing in Continental and Lycoming horizontally opposed and Pratt & Whitney radial engines.

Hartzell Engine Technologies is a sister company to Hartzell Propeller. It is a leading OEM supplier of a number of aviation products, including Janitrol Aero, AeroForce, Plane-Power, Sky-Tec and Fuelcraft brands.

Flying Club Uses Unique Theme For Fundraiser

Southern Ontario’s Windsor Flying Club (WFC) is using its 75th anniversary celebrations to raise $75,000 by September that will be used to launch the commercial piloting careers for two bursary winners.

“We want to give back to somebody who may not have the financial resources to go through it but it’s always been their goal in life to have a career in aviation,” said WFC’s marketing and social media manager Miranda Dupuis.

The first fundraising event for the 200-member club, a dinner and dance, will have a ‘1940s Hollywood Canteen’ theme, and attendees are invited to dress in period costumes. Catering is supplied by Just Jeff’s and Walkerville Brewery. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Iron Tonic Jazz band and the Hep Cat Hoppers.

The event will be held this coming Saturday, March 23 at the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association (CHAA) museum at the Windsor airport (CYQG). Doors open at 5:30 pm and dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.

Admission tickets are available at both the WFC and CHAA offices, or purchase them online at the WFC’s website.

Industry Manpower Shortage Extends to Maintenance Facilities

While there is much focus on the shortage of aircraft pilots in the aviation industry, both nationally and globally, another branch of the industry is suffering an acute shortage of skilled personnel.

U.S.-based global aviation services leader AAR, which acquired Premier Aviation of Trois-Rivières, Que. and Windsor, Ont. in 2017, is criss-crossing the country in an effort to recruit aircraft maintenance personnel for its Windsor facility. “We’re trying to make our presence known throughout Canada,” said David Robertson is AAR’s vice-president in charge of the Windsor operation.

AAR would like to more than double their 140-strong staff in the next one to two years to 300. “If tomorrow I could have 60 people, I’d take them right at the drop of a hat,” added Robertson. AAR is the biggest MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) company in North America, and Robertson says the Windsor facility is now thriving. Last December, for example, their hangar was at capacity with seven narrow-body jets inside for maintenance.

Robertson also concedes that part of his challenge is attracting people to relocate to Windsor. “We’re working very hard to change people’s opinion on Windsor,” he said. “Not just professionally, but from an economical standpoint, getting out of the rat race of the big city. It’s a good place to raise a family and just get away from the Torontos and Montreals.”

The City of Windsor’s mayor, Drew Dilkens, is simultaneously proposing to his council a $1 million initiative to rebrand the southern Ontario city. “I cannot be alone in this feeling about our community. Having lived here my whole life, I know this is a great place,” said Dilkens. “As reticent as I am to get on the rooftop and start shouting these benefits for fear of getting an onslaught of people here, I need to do it, I want to share the story, I want more people to come here.”

House Transport Committee Issues Report on Aircraft Noise

by Carter Mann, Director of Government Affairs and Communications, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities issued its final report following a study into the impacts of aircraft noise at major Canadian airports. The report, which puts forward sixteen recommendations to the federal government, criticizes several identified deficiencies in the regulatory and oversight regime currently in place for monitoring aircraft noise at Canadian airports. During its study, the Committee heard from 43 witnesses representing various airport authorities, air operators, academics, municipal and local governments, as well as community groups organized to combat increased air traffic and associated noise around airports. In addition, 32 written briefs were received from a similar array of groups.

Harshly critical of the oversight system for aircraft and airport noise, the report suggests that many neighbours feel left out of a process that does not provide a meaningful forum for stakeholder input. It highlighted concern that the 1996 privatization of Canada’s air navigation services to Nav Canada has made the process increasingly unable to “fairly consider and respond to public noise complaints given their financial relationship with airlines.” The report also pointed out that in 2017, across Canada’s four major airports, a total of 41 people were responsible for over 166,000 noise complaints – representing over 66 percent of all calls received.

In a supplementary opinion included in the report, the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) cited testimony from the group Comite antipollution des avions de Longueuil regarding the Saint-Hubert airport (CYHU) outside Montreal that pointed to the level of “small aircraft such as the Cessna 150 and Cessna 172” using the airport unequipped with “noise suppressors.” One of the NDP’s recommendations is for a ban on takeoffs and landings at major airports between 11 pm and 7 am. While Saint-Hubert was outside the scope of the Committee’s study, the NDP referenced it as “an example not to follow” and where the government should intervene to ensure “good relations between airport authorities and neighbouring communities.”

Indeed, while the scope of the study was limited to ‘major’ airports, the sixteen recommendations contain measures which could be applicable to all airports, such as reviewing policies that allow night flights, or that airport authorities and municipalities work together to ‘integrate’ long-term land-use planning around airports.

With the 2019 federal election just around the corner, this study serves as a reminder that Canadians’ freedom to fly is under constant scrutiny and needs to be protected. COPA will continue to ensure that General Aviation has a voice at the table to effectively represent our freedom to fly wherever it is threatened.

The committee’s full report can be viewed on the Parliament of Canada’s website.