Upcoming Rust Removers

With the spring weather upon us (or most of us), our eyes are turning to the sky and we start planning to bring our aircraft out of their winter hibernation spots, or call up our local flying club to reserve an aircraft.

Before we get too far ahead, it behooves all of us to make an effort to remove some of the ‘rust’ that has accumulated in our aviation knowledge bank over the winter. Numerous COPA Flights across the country hold ‘Rust Removers’ or Safety Seminars to do just that. One is being held this coming Saturday, April 27, and three are being held next Saturday, May 4 .

Mont Tremblant, in Quebec, is the site of a Rust remover put on jointly by COPA Flight 40 and Aviateurs.Québec. The event is being held at La Cage – Brasserie Sportive (340 Rte 117, Mont-Tremblant) between the hours of 08:30 and 14:00. Admission is $50 for non-members, free for members.

At the Vernon airport (CYVK) in British Columbia’s North Okanagan, COPA Flight 65 – Vernon Flying Club is holding their annual Rust Remover. Over the years, this event had garnered a reputation as being one of the best around. Among the many speakers are representatives from Nav Canada and Transport Canada. Registration is at 08:00, training session is from 09:00 to 15:00. Lunch is included. Come the night before and enjoy a Friday Night Social and Barbecue. Click here for more details.

At Southern Ontario’s Bancroft airport (CNW3), COPA Flight 119 is hosting their annual Rust Remover.  There is no admittance fee and all pilots are welcome. For more information and to register, email Gary at the Bancroft Flying Club.

Also in Southern Ontario, COPA Flight 100 – Smiths Falls Flying Club is holding a Safety Seminar. The presenter is CASARA’s John Ferguson. Attendance, which is free, meets CARs requirements for 24-month regency.  Advance registration is not required. Visit the club’s website or call 613.283.1148 for more information.

High-Flying Helicopter To Serve North

Horizon Helicopters of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory has added a new Airbus AS350-B3e Écureuil to its fleet. The European-made helicopter is certified for flights to altitudes greater than 23,000 feet.

Last year, mountain-climber Monique Richard of Quebec was rescued from the 18,000-foot level of the Yukon’s Mount Logan by Horizon using an older version of the AS350, whose service ceiling is close to 18,000 feet. Richard, who had successfully scaled Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak at 19,951 feet, called for help after she encountered difficulties during her descent.

“This is just going to give us as the pilots, and the Parks people, and the people who are rescued…more power at those altitudes, which can make it safer for everybody,” Horizon’s chief pilot and operations manager Cole Hodinski told CBC News.

Aerospatiale, a precursor of Airbus Helicopters, has a long history of designing and manufacturing helicopters capable of very-high-altitude flight. That reputation has carried forth into the Airbus Helicopters organization.

In 2005, French test pilot Didier Delsalle became the first (and up till now the only) person to land a helicopter on the summit of Mount Everest, making the world-record landing in an AS350-B3 Écureuil. Delsalle repeated the flight to the 29,029-foot peak the next day to prove that the first flight was not a fluke. Delsalle’s AS350-B3 was a standard version, with only unnecessary equipment, such as the rear passenger seats, removed to reduce the aircraft’s weight.

While Horizon isn’t the only helicopter company in the area that can offer high-altitude rescue services, it is now the only one that is capable of reaching the upper reaches of Mount Logan.

“This particular machine, compared to the one that landed on Everest, has more horsepower and a number of other [modifications] that help improve the performance at altitude,” said Hodinski.

ICAO Celebrates 75th Anniversary With Contests

The International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations entity hosted by Canada and based in Montreal, is marking its 75th year since its creation in 1944. As part of the commemorations, ICAO, with the support of Transport Canada, is holding three competitions for children and adults from around the world.

Elementary-school children (ages six to 12) are invited to submit ideas for new piloted or unmanned aircraft, the size and shape of which is limited only by the participant’s imagination. The prize in this category is $1,000 (US).

High school-aged children (ages 13 to 17) are invited to submit the same ideas as for the younger participants, or proposals for new types of operations, including a description of how their idea or ideas can improve or expand upon the way powered flight serves society today. The prize in this category is $2,000 (US).

The third category is open to adults 18 years old and older. Referred to as the Prototypes Competition, the judges are soliciting what they refer to as ‘maturely thought-out’ 3D renderings using still images or video of either new types of aircraft or new types of operations.  A business case summary must also be included in the submission. The winner in this category will be awarded $5,000 (US), as well as a trip to Montreal to accept their award.

“Canada is proud of its long-standing relationship with ICAO as host state, and as an active member of the ICAO council,” said Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport. “Throughout 2019, we join ICAO and its other member states in celebrating flight and the crucial importance of air connectivity worldwide. On this special milestone of its 75th anniversary, I am pleased to support ICAO’s Aviation Innovation Competitions and I encourage all young Canadians to apply.”

Further information can be found by clicking here.

Girls Take Flight 2019

The First Canadian Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an association of female pilots, is holding their annual Girls Take Flight outreach event at the Durham Flight Centre at the Oshawa airport (CYOO) in Ontario this coming Saturday, April 27.

The objective of the all-day free event is to open the minds of girls and young women to the career possibilities in the fields of aviation and aerospace. Ontario’s Porter Airlines will be displaying a Bombardier Q400, whose on-site crew will all be women. Other aircraft on display will include a Piper Navajo Chieftain, a Pitts Special S2 aerobatic aircraft, an RCAF CH-146 Griffon helicopter, an Antonov An-2 biplane, and more.

Booths representing the Air Cadets, Air Canada, Sunwing and more will be set up at the venue with female pilots and others in the aviation field on hand to answer questions.

“Last year was our most successful year yet with a thousand people in attendance and over 200 young girls and women taken for their first flights in a small general aviation aircraft,” Girls Take Flight volunteer Anna Rusinowski told eFlight.

Although pre-registration is available, those interested who haven’t pre-registered are welcome anyway. See the poster below for more information, or check out their website.

Photo credits: Gustavo Corujo
GTF Poster

NWT Flight School Opens

The Terry Harrold School of Aviation opened its doors this month in Fort Smith, the only flight school operating in the Northwest Territories. A division of Northwestern Air Lease (NWAL), the school is partnering with the Pentecostal Sub-Arctic Leadership College (PSALT) to offer newly-trained commercial pilots a diploma in Aviation Management.

“We want to attract Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from the North [to the aviation school] in hopes that we can slow down the revolving door,” NWAL’s Chief Administrative Operator Jim Heidema, told local media outlet Cabin Radio when NWAL began the process of obtaining Transport Canada certification for the school last year.

Heidema cites southern-based regional airlines who come to the North to ‘poach’ pilots for their own operations, leaving northern operations with a dearth of experienced pilots with northern experience.

“It’s disheartening,” said Heidema. “We had one person start on a Monday and leave on a Friday.”

NWAL was founded in 1965 by Terry Harrold and, in addition to its roots as a charter operator, has grown to become a regional airline, offering scheduled passenger service from Fort Smith to both Edmonton and Yellowknife, among other northern destinations using BAe Jetstream turbo-props. The company also operates a DHC Twin Otter and Cessna 185, 206 and 210 airplanes.

NWAL recently purchased and refurbished a Cessna 172 to serve as a primary training aircraft for the school, and is looking at adding additional trainers.

This Cessna 172 underwent a $100,000 refurbishment last year to prepare it for flight training.

So far, over 40 people have expressed an interest in the training opportunity. “This school is not only for Northwestern Air Lease,” Heidema, who also serves as the administrator of the fledgling flight school, said. “It’s for the North.”

Small Airport Traffic Sees Negligible Growth

Statistics Canada (StatCan) released a report recently that revealed virtually no traffic growth for the month of December, 2018 compared to December, 2017, at Canada’s small airports. StatCan defines a small airport as a certified aerodrome having neither a Nav Canada control tower nor a flight service station.

Takeoffs, landings or simulated approaches (all ‘movements’ for StatCan purposes) at the 123 airports for which data was available in both years totalled 36,020 for the month of December, 2018 vs 35,902 for the month of December, 2017, representing a slight increase of 0.3 percent.

StatCan has data available for 130 airports for December, 2018, and from it identifies 10 airports that account for 39 percent of December, 2018’s aircraft movements: Moosenee, Ont. (2,143), Goose Bay, N.L. (1,897), Trois-Rivières, Que. (1,820), Red Lake, Ont. (1,608), Peterborough, Ont. (1,587), Island Lake, Man. (1,134), St. Theresa Point, Man. (1,098), Pickle Lake, Ont. (1,087), Barrie-Orillia-Lake Simcoe Regional, Ont. (1,024), and Comox, B.C. with 943 movements (Comox’s airport is in fact CFB Comox, home of the RCAF’s 19 Wing, which operates its own control tower, and restricts civilian traffic to mainly airlines).

December, 2018 numbers gathered from 111 airports also revealed 28,569 itinerant movements (flights between airports), with Moosonee and Goose Bay airports reporting the most (2,127 and 1,897 respectively).

As for local movements (taking off and landing at the same airport), 6,530 were reported in December, 2018 with Peterborough being the most active with 1,246 movements.

RCAF Helicopter Named After Humboldt Broncos

HMSC Regina’s HELAIRDET (Helicopter Air Detachment) decided to honour the 29 dead and injured victims of the tragic accident involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team by naming their recently acquired, state-of-the-art CH-148 Cyclone helicopter after the team.

“It was a really good opportunity to support not only the players and the families as well as the city, but it also gave us some determination and something to strive towards,” said Cyclone pilot Major Jason Newton in an interview with CBC News. “We can never forget about these things that happened back home and the little things in life that we really need to appreciate.”

Humboldt Broncos shoulder patch worn by members of the Cyclone air crew.

The HMSC Regina, launched in 1992, is a Halifax-class frigate whose home port is CFB Esquimalt near Victoria, British Columbia. The newly named Cyclone ‘Humboldt Broncos’ is one of several CH-148s based at Canada’s West Coast naval base. The ‘Humboldt Broncos’ is currently assigned to HMSC Regina as its shipborne Anti-Submarine Warfare asset. The helicopter is also tasked with Search and Rescue operations as required.

Both are currently serving in the western Indian Ocean as part of Canadian Task Force 150, one of three task forces under U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition of 33 nations patrolling the region and whose mission is to disrupt terrorist organizations and illegal activities related to them.

Major B.C. Flight School Cites High Costs For Instructor Shortage

Kelowna, British Columbia’s Southern Interior Flight Centre (SIFC) cites increasing training costs as a barrier to the training of new flight instructors. Noting that there are now waiting lists to get into flight schools, a shortage of instructors is limiting the training of new pilots.

Marc Vanderaegen, director of SIFC’s flight school, says that to attract more instructors, he would have to pay more, which in turn gets passed on to the students, who are already facing rapidly rising training costs.

Training at SIFC, when concurrent with enrolment in the Commercial Aviation diploma program at their partner institution Okanagan College, takes five 17-week semesters to obtain a commercial pilot licence (CPL) assuming the student does not already have a private pilot licence (PPL). At around $23,500 per semester, that amounts to $117,500 to get a student to the commercial pilot level with multi-engine and instrument ratings and a two-year college diploma.

“And that’s just the current costs,” Vanderaegen told local news outlet Infotel. “That price is going to go up in September.”

If someone wants to work as a flight instructor, they have first to obtain a CPL before they can train for a flight instructor (FI) rating. That will cost approximately $10,000 more and three additional months of training. However, SIFC will consider waiving that cost if the FI agrees to work at SIFC for at least a year afterwards.

Vanderaegen, who testified at the recent House Standing Committee on Transportation hearings looking into flight training costs and related issues, also cites the B.C. student loan program as being woefully inadequate for assisting prospective commercial pilots with their career training. At $5,400 per semester, the maximum loan that can obtained would still leave about $90,000 to be funded by the student.

Wages for low-time pilots at the airlines start at between $35,000 and $45,000 per year, so a heavily financed student would struggle for years to repay his or her loan, even though significantly higher wages may await them later in their career.

“Aviation has become extremely expensive for the students and things like student loans haven’t changed in 30 years, especially in British Columbia,” said Vanderaegen, adding that Alberta provides double B.C.’s amount.

Vanderaegen told COPA eFlight that flight schools in the United States have access to less costly aircraft that aren’t approved for training in Canada, referring to the U.S.’s Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category. “These aircraft are much less costly, are often better equipped and could help to reduce training costs if Transport Canada allowed them to be used by flight training schools,” said Vanderaegen.

NOTAM Format to Change in Fall

Nav Canada announced this week that the format in which NOTAMs (Notice To Airmen) are expressed will be changing this fall to conform with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

“We are confident that the ICAO NOTAM format will benefit our stakeholders by supporting streamlined and pertinent pre-flight and in-flight briefings. This move brings us into compliance with international standards and will eliminate the need for pilots flying international routes to be familiar with more than one NOTAM format,” said Bill Crawley, Nav Canada’s director of Air Traffic Services System Integration, in an email to COPA.

Summary of Changes:

Current After Fall of 2019
Canadian NOTAMs are disseminated in Canadian domestic NOTAM format using NOTAM files. All Canadian domestic NOTAMs will be disseminated in ICAO NOTAM format. Domestic NOTAM files will no longer be used.
Canadian NOTAMs requiring international distribution are converted in the ICAO format and issued by International NOTAM Office (NOF).
Series A, B, Y and Z are used to identify and sequence NOTAMs in ICAO NOTAM format. Series C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, U, and V will be used to identify and sequence NOTAMs.


The new ICAO NOTAM Series model will be based on subjects and selective dissemination by regions and will be promulgated in advance.

RSC reports are disseminated using domestic NOTAMJ format. RSC will continue to be disseminated in Canadian domestic NOTAMJ format until fall 2020.


NOTAM files will continue to be used only for RSC reports.

Runway Surface Condition (RCS) reports will not be changed until the fall of 2020.

NOTAM originators, including aerodrome operators and flight training units that relay information for inclusion in NOTAMs will be required to submit them in the new format. Pilots and other NOTAM users will need to become familiar with the new format.

NOTAM users who access NOTAMs via third-parties (such as via smart-phone-apps) may not see the NOTAMs displayed with the new format unless updated accordingly.

See immediately below for examples of the old and new formats (in English and French). Below that is a document providing further details of the transition.

ICAO NOTAM Format brochure


Further details:

Briefing on the transition to ICAO NOTAM format