Places To Fly – West: Pitt Meadows

The BC Coast 99s is holding their annual Poker Run on Sunday, May 26 (rain date June 2) at Pitt Meadows airport (CYPK). Last year’s event was cancelled due to rain and smoke (from wildfires in B.C.’s interior).

There are nine airports to choose from, ranging from Chilliwack (CYCH) in the east to Squamish (CYSE) in the north. Only five need to be visited to participate. Prizes are available together with fundraising for the 99s various scholarships.

More information is available at their website or by contacting the organizers by email.

2019 Western Convention and Trade Show

Only 13 days left before Innisfail 2019 begins!

COPA’s Western Convention and Trade Show runs from June 6 to 8 in Innisfail, Alberta. The Annual General Meeting is also scheduled to take place then.

Can’t make it to Innisfail? Join in the convention fun with free shipping on COPA Collection items from the online COPA Store. Use promo code FLYINNISFAIL2019.

For those flying to CEM4 in a private aircraft, see the bottom of this article for an information package that will help you to plan a safe and efficient arrival.

If you’re piloting an aircraft from Saskatchewan or points east, don’t forget to review pages 30 and 31 of the May issue of COPA Flight, where RCAF Captain Corey Csada explains how to safely avoid a confrontation with military training aircraft operating out of 15 Wing Moose Jaw.

To register, or to obtain further information, check out the Convention website.

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Vancouver Airspace To Be Modernized

In a major announcement at a B.C. Aviation Council conference last week in Kelowna, Nav Canada’s National Director of Service Delivery Initiatives John Urban said that Canada’s air navigation service provider will be initiating an Airspace Modernization Project for the Vancouver area.

The scope of the review encompasses VFR and IFR operations in the Greater Vancouver region and Southern Vancouver Island, and will include CYVR (Vancouver), CYPK (Pitt Meadows), CZBB (Boundary Bay), CYNJ (Langley) CYYJ (Victoria), CYXX (Abbotsford), CYHC (Vancouver Harbour), CYWH (Victoria Harbour), CYCD (Nanaimo) and KBLI (Bellingham, Wash.).

With the terms of reference (TOR) already complete, stakeholder consultation is set to begin next month, with the resulting concepts for options to be assembled by fall of this year.

“If we haven’t contacted you about this review, then please call us,” said Urban to the various member airlines and local government entities of the BCAC.  “We want your input.” Nav Canada expects to have conducted a full analysis of the potential options by the end of March, 2020. That will complete Phase 1 of the three-phase project.

Phase 2 of the review, which will immediately follow, will see a community consultation plan developed and executed during the spring and summer of 2020. Implementation planning will begin in late summer of 2020.

Phase 3 is when implementation of the changes is planned to take place, with Aeronautical Information Manual updates and controller training to be completed before the airspace changes are made. No completion date has been specified as that could depend on the changes to be adopted.

The main impetus of the review is the significant expansion that the Vancouver airport authority is envisioning for the future, with commercial air traffic in and out of that airport expected to grow significantly, with the possible construction of an additional runway within the next 20 years. A second driver of the project is the increase in flight training that occurs in the surrounding, aforementioned airports.

Supreme Court: Skydiving Remains Part of Aeronautics

by Glenn Grenier, Counsel to COPA

On May 23, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a short decision denying leave to the City of Lévis to appeal the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal in the case of A.G. Quebec v. Leclerc. In that decision, the Quebec Court of Appeal held that skydiving was an inseparable part of ‘air navigation as a whole’. Citing the decision in Quebec AG v. COPA by analogy, the Quebec Court of Appeal held that the place where skydiving can be practiced is an essential part of the federal aeronautics power protected by the constitutional doctrine of interjurisdictional immunity. Accordingly, charges of conducting skydiving training and skydiving activities upon lands the city zoned exclusively for agricultural purposes were dismissed. With the Supreme Court of Canada denying the city leave to appeal, that decision stands and that dismissal is permanent.

“We are pleased with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to dismiss the appeal in the case of Ville de Lévis v. Albertine Leclerc,” said Max Sénécal, president of Parachutisme Atmosphair (a skydiving company and COPA corporate member) who operates out of that field. “We will continue to operate in accordance with the laws and regulations that apply to us, as has been the case for the last 26 years. We congratulate Mrs. Leclerc for defending her rights, but also the rights of all aviation operators across the country. We thank COPA for their support and commitment to the interests of aviation in Canada.”

While a denial of leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada is not the same as a ruling affirming the decision, the fact that leave was denied is often viewed as the next best thing. The Supreme Court of Canada does not have to explain why leave has been denied, and such denial can be for reasons other than approval of the earlier decision.

One troubling aspect of the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision however was its finding that Leclerc still needed to obtain a municipal building permit for the new skydiving centre. Although the local building permit regime only allowed building permits to be issued for buildings that complied with local use restrictions, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled those restrictions did not apply, a building permit could not be denied on that basis and thus there would be no interference in the federal aeronautics power. Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was also sought by the responding parties for this aspect of the decision. Such leave was also denied. Accordingly, this aspect of the Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision also stands.

In rendering its decision concerning the building permit, the Quebec Court of Appeal did not reference any of the three decisions of the Ontario Court of Appeal (decided in 1976, 2000 and 2018) which found that municipal building permits based upon provincial building codes and standards were not applicable to hangars/airport buildings.

Two of those decisions have been cited with approval by the Supreme Court of Canada. The failure of the Quebec Court of Appeal to refer to this well established line of cases arguably weakens that aspect of its decision. Unfortunately, this ruling may have thrown into doubt this previously well settled question of law, at least for the time being in Quebec. It appears the Quebec Court of Appeal was understandably concerned about airport structures meeting building standards in terms of safety, but did not consider nor cite the Federal Building Code which has been and is used for such purposes.

COPA CEO Addresses B.C. Aviation Conference

At a well-attended British Columbia Aviation Council (BCAC) conference in Kelowna last week, COPA president and CEO Bernard Gervais joined a panel consisting of four other national aviation leaders from across Canada to present and discuss the state of aviation in Canada. The theme of the conference – Managing The Future Today – focussed on current challenges facing the aviation industry.

Gervais’ presentation highlighted the industry’s labour shortage, the cost of training, crowded airspace and even the social licence from local communities for flight training units (FTU) to operate.

Noting that several large FTUs are clearly humming with activity, Gervais pointed out that in 2006, 81 percent of commercial pilots (CPL – Aeroplane) who graduated from Canadian FTUs were Canadian, and only 19 percent were foreign graduates. Fast forward to 2018 and the picture is very different: less than half of the CPL – Aeroplane graduates were Canadian (48.5 percent). Commercial helicopter pilot numbers came in slightly more positive, with 65 percent being Canadian graduates.

Gervais added that there are fewer FTUs operating in outlying areas, citing the presence of only one FTU in the Yukon and none in either the Northwest Territories or Nunavut. Furthermore, he added, a shortage of flight instructors means many student-pilots are turned away from the bigger FTUs if they don’t participate in the college program most are linked with.

“The first step in any pilot’s career is through the front door of a flight school,” said COPA’s president.

Potential solutions that Gervais put forth include more funding for airport maintenance and improvement, making training for commercial licences eligible for student financial assistance, and permitting flight training to take place out of the classic FTU environment by allowing more freelance flight instruction to take place.

“We need a National General Aviation Strategy to support flight training and community airports,” said Gervais. “We need to recognize that GA as an integral and necessary part of the transportation system in Canada.”

FAA Warns SPOT Users of GPS Interference

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration released an information bulletin last week that warns users of SPOT satellite messengers that their devices can interfere with GPS signals. Citing reports from aircraft operators, the FAA says that when a SPOT messenger is placed in close proximity to a GPS antenna, such as on an aircraft’s glareshield, GPS signal interference can occur.

The FAA classifies SPOT messengers as PEDs, or Portable Electronic Devices. Under the FAA’s rules, the safe operation of PEDs on board aircraft is the responsibility of aircraft operators and pilots in command.

The bulletin states that SPOT’s manufacturer SPOT LLC is cooperating with the FAA in order to provide SPOT users with information that will lead to the safe operation of their devices.

See below for the full text of the bulletin.


Places To Fly—West: Creston, B.C.

In the South Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, just north of the U.S. border, lies the fertile Creston Valley, home to the Creston airport (CAJ3). The airport, operated by the Creston Valley Regional Airport Society, is holding an Airport Appreciation Day (and Fly-In) on Victoria Day (May 20).

Breakfast will be served from 07:30 to 11:00, after which lunch items will be available. The event, which will honour first responders and medevac crews, continues until 15:00.

Local aircraft will be on display, as will remote-control aircraft and drones. CASARA, BC Ambulance Service and other first responders will be present and participating in the displays. Scenic flights will be available.

Creston is the home of Columbia Brewery, makers of the Kokanee brand of beer. Public tours of the brewery are available.

The runway at Creston airport is 3,944 feet long. Contact ‘Cowboy’ Bob at 250-402-8056 for further information.

Where to Fly – East: Stanley, Nova Scotia

The Maritimes’ largest springtime fly-in aviation event is happening this Victoria Day long weekend at Stanley airport (CCW4), located about 11 nm northeast of Windsor, N.S.

Billed as their annual Spring Fly-In Breakfast, the two-day aviation event hosted by the Stanley Sport Aviation Association will see a formal recurrency seminar, featuring award-winning aviation expert Mike Doirion. Scheduled for Saturday (May 18) at 13:00, the CAR 412.05(2)(c)-compliant seminar will last approximately one hour. Pilots are encouraged to bring their logbooks with them for the sign-off.

Breakfast will be served from 08:00 to 12:00 on both Saturday (May 18) and Sunday. Price is $8.

Saturday afternoon will feature classic country and rock music by the husband-and-wife duo Natural Sound. The show starts at 14:30, and hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase during the show.

Drive-in guests are also welcome. On-airport camping, with washrooms, is available. There is also a variety of nearby B&Bs which offer airport transfers.

Runway 09-27, at 2600 feet, is surfaced with turf and some asphalt, Runways 15-33, at 1800 feet, and Runway 02-20, at 1900 feet, have turf surfaces.

Contact the Stanley Sport Aviation Association for more information. Telephone 902-632-2251.

Royal Aviation Museum Currently Homeless

Winnipeg’s Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (RAMWC) lost its previous home on October 24 of last year, but has yet to move into new quarters. With Hangar T-2, its former home on Ferry Road, since torn down, and construction of its future home yet to begin, a number of challenges are facing its staff, volunteers and supporters.

Some items in the museum’s collection of aircraft, reportedly the second largest in Canada, are being stored outside, but many others needed to be kept out of the elements and have been provided with interim housing. Various members of Manitoba’s aviation community came to the rescue and some of the museum’s aircraft have found accommodation thanks to private individuals and businesses.

A number of aircraft from the museum’s collection have found homes in the hangars of aviation businesses surrounding Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport (CYWG), which is where RAMWC’s new home will still be located. Other aircraft are being stored in six different locations outside of the Winnipeg area, including in Brandon and Portage la Prairie, and sometimes in private hangars. The remainder of the collection is stored in a compound near the Winnipeg/St. Andrew airport (CYAV). According to CBC News, Magellan Aerospace is storing some 2,700 boxes of archives and related material.

RMWC’s new home is planned to be completed by the end of 2020.

“The new facilities will be more than a building. The museum will represent repayment of a debt that this community owes pioneers of air travel and will represent our dedication to the future of aviation. In short, it will enshrine our past and will be a window on the future,” said Arthur V. Mauro of the museum’s capital and endowment campaign.