Annual Air Races in Edmonton?

The Edmonton Airshow, held at Alberta’s Edmonton/Villeneuve airport (CZVL) since 2014, is planning to hold an air race at the 2019 show, scheduled for August 17 to 18. And if things go the way airshow president and CEO Richard Skermer hopes they will, Villeneuve airport will eventually join other airports on the air race circuit and become the site of the semi-final race before the finals in Reno, Nevada.

This year’s race will be a demonstration event only, and will be limited to Van’s RV-6s. Sixteen contestants have been lined up for the race, which will be modeled after the Air Race Championship held at the 2017 Portugal Air Summit, an annual air show and air race held in that country.

Skermer touts the Villeneuve airport as an ideal site for competitive air racing, citing the flat terrain, lack of neighbours or structural impediments, yet only a few minutes from a major city. He says that is a combination the Reno Air Racing Association is looking for.

Organizers hope to host a full-scale air race next year, and envision the event eventually rivalling the Calgary Stampede’s chuckwagon races for popularity and economic spin-offs.

Aviation Day on the Hill 2019

This week representatives from various sectors of Canada’s aviation industry gathered for the first time at ATAC’s annual Aviation Day on the Hill, an opportunity to promote aviation and discuss issues facing the industry with Ottawa’s lawmakers. COPA was a key contributor and assisted with the organizing of this event.

MPs Judy Sgro, LPC – Humber River—Black Creek (Ont.) and Chair of the House Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities; Jim Eglinski, CPC – Yellowhead (Alta); Robert Aubin, NDP – Trois Rivieres (Que.) and Elizabeth May, GPC – Saanich—Gulf Islands served as the parliamentary co-hosts for the event, a function required of all events that take place on Parliament Hill.

Throughout the evening, the discussion centred on the pilot shortage and the various ways the different sectors of the industry are coping with the challenges on this front. COPA has long maintained and advocated for General Aviation’s role as the front door of the aviation industry. In that context, COPA representatives discussed the continuing threats to community aerodromes across Canada from other levels of government, utility companies and land developers. The federal government’s sole role in regulating aeronautics and aerodromes has been repeatedly upheld at the highest levels and we continue to rely on that protection to ensure the survival of our aerodromes. Without places to train and to entice a new generation of pilots, Canada’s aviation industry would come to a grinding halt.

Many MPs and a few Senators from all political parties attended and each one shared their commitment to ensuring a strong and viable aviation industry for all sectors. The event provided the opportunity to maintain existing relationships, build new ones, and even sign up some new COPA members. We look forward to seeing this initiative grow and participating in subsequent Aviation Days on the Hill in years to come.

In coordination with this event, identical letters were sent to all party leaders urging them to prioritize and facilitate training in the aviation sector. See below for a copy of the letter to the Prime Minister.

In the photo above, COPA CEO Bernard Gervais is seen with Government House Leader Bardish Chagger, MP for Waterloo, at the Aviation Day on the Hill event.

Prime Minister Letter May 6 final JMcK

Places to Fly: Sundridge/South River

Join COPA Flight 23 – North Bay as they celebrate the reopening of the Sundridge/South River Airpark (CPE6) in southern Ontario this weekend. The airpark sports a “3200-foot landing strip on hard-packed sandy soil with a thin turf cover.”

There will be barbecued hot-dog and hamburgers available, as are bikes and canoes. Hotels and restaurants are only a five-minute ride away in the nearby town of South River. Underwing camping is permitted.

Breakfast starts at 09:00 on Saturday, May 11 and pilots-in-command eat free.

Click on COPA Flight 23 for more information from the club about the event, and on Sundridge/South River Airpark for more information about the airpark and its rebirth.

B.C. Plane Crash Victims Identified

Two of the three victims killed in last Saturday’s crash of a Cessna 182 in the mountains about 100 kilometres northeast of Smithers in central British Columbia have been identified. The crew of the aircraft, contracted by the B.C. Wildfire Service, was conducting an aerial survey of damage to forests caused by wildfires last year using specialized scanning equipment.

Passenger Lorne Borgal was founder and CEO or Precision Vectors, a company specializing in aerial mapping. Borgal was a former CEO of Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation.

“If you knew Lorne, you knew he was real. His integrity is uncanny and he is respected and loved by so many,” Chrissy Chapman, who worked before with Borgal, told CBC News.

Another victim was 26-year-old Amir Sedghi of North Vancouver, who worked for Precision Vectors as a data analyst and was a neighbour of Borgal’s when he was growing up. “They loved each other. They loved working together,” Sedghi’s brother Ammar told CBC News.

The pilot, not yet identified, perished in the crash. The lone survivor, who the CTV News reported was working for a U.S. company, was rescued and flown to Vancouver where he is recovering in hospital. He has not yet been identified.

The crash site was found quickly thanks to the proper operation of its Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), which alerted the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria of the aircraft’s GPS coordinates.

Both the Transportation Safety Board and the B.C. Coroners Service are continuing their investigations.

Photo courtesy of the Transportation Safety Board.

The Downside of Consumer Drones

Drones operated irresponsibly continue to be a menace to public safety. In March of this year, two men were arrested for using a drone in an attempt to deliver cellphones to prisoners inside of Rivière-des-Prairies prison in Montreal. In a similar incident last year, guards intercepted a drone carrying tobacco and drugs into Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford, just outside of Metro Vancouver. And in March of this year, another interception was made as $86,000 in contraband, including a knife, was seized at the perimeter of Kent Institution, British Columbia’s only maximum security prison, located in the town of Agassiz in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.

The latter incidents have prompted the Correctional Service of Canada to issue a call for proposal for equipment that can serve as an intrusion-detection system at six federally-run prisons across Canada.

The pilot project (no pun intended) will run over a period of four years at federal prisons in Mission, British Columbia, Stony Mountain in Manitoba, Collins Bay in Ontario, Cowansville and Donnacona in Quebec and Dorchester in New Brunswick.

And in Sudbury, Ontario, air ambulance service provider Ornge  is urging the drone-piloting public to respect a no-fly zone near the roof-top heliport at that city’s Health Sciences North hospital. In a press release, Ornge stated “Drones can put air ambulance personnel and aircraft at risk if they are flown in an unsafe manner. They are difficult to spot from a distance and only become visible when within short range of an Ornge aircraft, particularly helicopters.”

“As a result, unsafe drone use may impact Ornge’s ability to safely perform patient transports,” the statement added. Ornge also identified other area landmarks where the presence of drones can negatively impact the safety of medevac flights.

“Our mission requires us to fly the most direct route to patients and the definitive care that they need. If our crew needs to alter their flight paths to avoid contact with drones, that poses a serious safety concern to the aircraft, crew and patient,” said Ian McLean, Ornge’s chief operating officer for aviation affairs.

Image of Kent Institution courtesy of Google Earth.

Historic Alcock-Brown Flight To Be Celebrated

In what is the 100th year since British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made history by piloting the first transatlantic flight, crossing from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland, Aviation History Newfoundland and Labrador (AHNL) has formally announced the celebrations that are being organized to celebrate the centennial next month in St. John’s.

For those not fully aware of the accomplishment, let’s go back to 1913. In April of that year, the London-based newspaper The Daily Mail offered a prize of £10,000 to “…the aviator who shall first cross the Atlantic in an aeroplane in flight from any point in the United States of America, Canada or Newfoundland to any point in Great Britain or Ireland in 72 continuous hours.” The First World War caused the suspension of the contest, but it was re-initiated after the war ended.

So it was, that on June 14, 1919, pilot Alcock and navigator Brown, both RAF veterans and former POWs from the First World War, formed one of several teams that assembled in St. John’s to take up the challenge. However, Alcock and Brown were first off in their modified Vickers Vimy, which was powered by two 360-hp Rolls Royce Eagle engines. Less than 16 hours later, after flying through rain and snow, and spiralling down uncontrollably in fog, Alcock piloted the unheated, open-cockpit Vickers to a crash-landing in a bog near Clifden in Ireland’s County Galway.

Celebrations to mark the historic flight include a five-day festival in downtown St. John’s beginning June 12, a Garden Party on June 13, an Aviators’ Ball on June 14 and, later in the fall of 2019, the unveiling of a sculpture.

“What we are really celebrating is the spirit of adventure, innovation and the drive to succeed that in this instance, marked the beginning of the commercial aviation industry.  An industry with many firsts involving Newfoundland and Labrador. Firsts that can continue to inspire if we choose to look at them through the right lens,” said COPA Eastern Vice-Chair and AHNL co-founder and co-chair Bill Mahoney.

Photo courtesy of the AHNL collection

Click here to be taken to the organizers’ website.

Labrador Plane Crash Claims One Life

A 73-year-old British man has died after the U.S.-registered Piper PA-46 Malibu he was a passenger in crashed Wednesday on a mountain slope near Makkovik on the east coast of Labrador. The 47-year-old  pilot, a Belgian national, was seriously injured and is in hospital in Goose Bay, N.L.

The aircraft went down about 74 kilometres southeast of Makkovik, which works out to about 300 km into its flight from Goose Bay/Happy Valley airport (CYYR) to Greenland.

Rescuers were able to establish two-way communication with the pilot, who remained conscious after the crash. Both an RCAF Hercules and a Cormorant search and rescue helicopter reached the area Wednesday evening, but bad weather kept them from getting close.

“We tried to get our Cormorant helicopter into the site, but the weather prevented us from getting anywhere near it,” Maj. Mark Gough of Maritime Forces Atlantic was quoted in the National Post. “Even the ground search and rescue team had a difficult time in reaching the site.”

According to Maj. Gough, rescuers from Makkovik reached the crash site, located about 400 metres above sea level, by snowmobile and transported the victims to Makkovik in blizzard conditions. However, the inclement weather prevented the Cormorant from landing at Makkovik until Thursday morning, at which time it transported the victims to Goose Bay, reaching the medical centre there at about 05:00 local time. In the meantime, the British man succumbed to his injuries.

The rescue team included an RCMP officer and eight volunteers from Makkovik, including two members of the Makkovik Canadian Rangers.

Photo courtesy of Piper Aircraft, Inc.

Cessna Lands on Ottawa Thoroughfare

A Cessna 150 landed on Ottawa’s Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway Thursday afternoon. Emergency crews were dispatched to the scene shortly after noon local time. None of the occupants in the two-seat aircraft were injured and the aircraft was not damaged. The landing site, not far from the Rockcliffe airport (CYRO), was cordoned off until the airplane could be removed.

There is no word yet on who the pilot was or the reason for the off-airport landing.

The privately-registered Cessna 150G was manufactured in 1967, and public records for the aircraft, registration C-GGVY, show it to be based in St-Mathias-sur-Richelieu airport (CSP5), Quebec and registered to a man with an address in the same town.

Photo by Scott Stilborn/Ottawa Fire Services

TSB Releases Non-Conclusive Report on Carp Midair

In a report made public today (May 2), the Transportation Safety Board highlights the “inherent limitations of the see-and-avoid principal” among other factors that led to the November 4, 2018 mid-air collision between a Piper Cheyenne and a Cessna 150 over Ottawa/Carp airport (CYRP) and resulted in the death of the Cessna pilot.

According to the investigative report, the Piper PA-42 Cheyenne III (C-FCSL) was on a visual approach to Carp airport and crossed over midfield from the upwind side before beginning a turn to join the downwind leg for a landing on Runway 28. It was as the Cheyenne began its turn to join the downwind that it collided with the Cessna, shearing off part of the Cessna’s left wing and aileron and causing it to plummet to the ground in a near-vertical trajectory. The  Cheyenne received damage to its right main landing gear but its primary flight controls were unaffected and its pilot elected to land at nearby Ottawa international airport (CYOW).

The TSB investigators report that the Cheyenne pilot made at least three calls on the Airport Traffic Frequency (ATF) announcing his intentions, the first one 5 nm out, the second while overflying Carp and the last before turning to join the downwind leg of the circuit. The TSB points out that calls on an ATF are recommended only, and not mandatory.

Based on weak primary radar returns, the TSB concluded the Cessna 150G (C-FGMZ) was conducting circuits for Runway 28. According to the Cheyenne pilot and other pilots in the area at the time, no radio transmissions were heard from the Cessna pilot.

Flight paths of the Piper (C-FCSL) and the Cessna (C-FGMZ). The left-wing outboard section of C-FGMZ was found 635 feet southwest of the main wreckage site. (Source: Google Earth, with TSB annotations)

The TSB noted that, after a subsequent examination of the Cessna’s transceiver by their engineering laboratory, no conclusion of its serviceability could be made due to post-impact damage. An examination of the Cheyenne’s radio uncovered no indication of a malfunction.

Other comments included by the TSB in its report cited an earlier recommendation that light aircraft that are not currently required to be equipped with flight data or cockpit voice recorders, be required to be equipped with ‘lightweight flight recording systems’.

Noting that the Cessna was equipped with a 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT), which is no longer monitored by search and rescue satellites, and not with the currently monitored 406 MHz technology, the TSB cited an earlier recommendation that all Canadian-registered and foreign aircraft operating in Canada be equipped with a 406 MHz ELT.

Photo courtesy of the TSB

The full report can be viewed below: