Mikey’s D-Day Dak Flies In Time

A Douglas C-47 that dropped paratroopers over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day made its first flight in more than 20 years in time for the June 6 anniversary and is now on the ramp at Thunder Bay Airport. Buffalo Airways Manager Mikey McBryan bought the deteriorating airframe earlier this year at St.-Hubert Airport with the goal of flying it in time to commemorate the invasion. After taking an anniversary victory lap, McBryan had the Dak flown to Thunder Bay where it will wait for a month before being flown to Airventure 2019 in Oshkosh. More than a dozen DC-3s that flew to Europe earlier this month to re-enact the invasion will also be at AirVenture.

The aircraft, whose restoration was obsessively chronicled by McBryan in his Plane Savers video series on YouTube, was delivered to the Royal Air Force in 1944 and almost immediately made the trip over the English Channel. After the war, Trans-Canada Airlines flew it in passenger service from 1947 to 1957 and Transport Canada flew it until the late 1980s. It weathered on the ramp at St-Hubert until Buffalo bought it late last year.

RCAF Announces Pilot Retention Plan

The RCAF is getting competitive in the increasingly tense market for pilots and will likely start paying signing and retention bonuses to experienced military pilots. Too many pilots are leaving the RCAF after serving their minimum amount of time (usually 10 years) after their extensive training and the loss is a double whammy for the Air Force. It not only doesn’t have enough pilots to fill the current demand, it’s losing the very officers who should be going on to become leaders in their squadrons and mentors to the young pilots rotating in. RCAF Commander Lt.-Gen Al Meinzinger told his troops in a message earlier this week the extra money is “vital” to stabilize pilot ranks.

In addition to the financial incentives, Meinzinger said pilots will get to do more of what they signed up for, fly the planes, and less administrative work, which many pilots do not like. Meinzinger said he hopes to offer retention bonuses to experienced pilots and signing bonuses to bring former military pilots back, including those from other allied countries. He said he hopes the measures will solve the RCAF’s pilot shortage within seven years. At last report six months ago, the RCAF was short 275 pilots.

Places to Fly – West: Innisfail

As most, if not all, of our members know, the annual COPA Western Convention and Trade Show is happening this weekend in Innisfail, Alberta, hosted by the Innisfail Flying Club – COPA Flight 130. COPA’s annual general meeting will also take place during the event.

The airport (CEM4), also known as the Big Bend Airport, was opened in 1941 as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as a relief airport during the Second World War in support of the nearby RCAF Penhold. It is located about 4 nm to the northwest of Innisfail, and is home to the Central Alberta Gliding & Soaring Club, Skydive Big Sky and the Innisfail Flying Club.

There is one asphalt runway (16/34) equipped for night use, and two other asphalt runways, (04/22 and 10/28).

The roughly 30-member Innisfail Flying Club, established in 1960, manages the airport on behalf of Red Deer County, owners of the facility. Earlier this year it was announced that the airport would receive a cash infusion of over $1 million for upgrades and a new terminal building, some of which are in place for this weekend’s convention.

More information can be found at the Club’s website and at Fly Innisfail.

See below for aircraft arrival procedures.

2019_Innisfail_Arrival_Departure_Info FINAL

Places to Fly – East: Wiarton

The fifth annual Air and Auto Extravaganza is happening at the Wiarton Keppel International Airport (CYVV) on June 8, 2019. It features many attractions for the whole family, including aircraft, vintage vehicle and motorcycle displays, face painting, a vendor market, aviation museum and, of course, food.

Put on some comfortable shoes and take your time as you browse through our exhibits. We have some great local car and bike clubs who bring their prized vehicles to display; you never know what you will see. Incoming aircraft have the option of regular parking or display parking. Those who choose to display their aircraft have a chance to win the People’s Choice award. First, second and third place awards for the favourites in each category for car, aircraft and motorcycle.

The Hangar Village Market is a shopping experience, featuring interesting products from local merchants and talented artisans. Rest a bit in our aviation museum while watching some incredible footage of the glory days of aviation. Enjoy live musical entertainment by local band Detour, the Williamsons, featuring special guests Makenzy and Olivia; delight in some culinary creations from on-site food vendors and stop in and visit with our resident AMO and more.

Confirmed to be at the show this year (weather permitting) are a 1942 Fleet Cornell II military trainer (also known as a PT-26) from Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation and our Peninsula neighbours Blue Heron Helicopter Tours. We welcome anyone who would like to take part in our event to contact us via our website.

Photo by Jim Norton.

The Dakotas of D-Day

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, and anyone near a television will have undoubtedly seen programming of all the ceremonies marking the event. The embarkation, which sailed from Portsmouth in England, was of course largely a navy operation. However, the allied air forces were an essential part of the landing. Aerial bombing runs were conducted in the areas, Spitfires were omnipresent and troop-carrying gliders (Airspeed Horsas) were used extensively.

An Airspeed Horsa glider loading troops for the Normandy Invasion.

The one airplane that invariably comes to mind as being critical to the invasion is the C-47, or Dakota. Many people know it by the name of its airline version, the DC-3.

Hamilton, Ontario’s Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum has two Dakotas, which are distinguishable from DC-3s by the presence of a glider towing hook and a second door. One of the Dakotas flew in the invasion, serial number FZ692, and is still maintained by the museum in flying condition today. The RCAF had, at its peak, 169 Dakotas in its fleet.

Another Dakota of note that saw action during the invasion is the one that has just been rebuilt by a team led by Mikey McBryan of Ice Pilots NWT fame. The company started by his father Joe, and that Mikey now manages, Buffalo Airways, operates a number of DC-3s. The elder McBryan collects DC-3 parts, which his son depended on for the restoration.

“He’s got basically a Walmart of DC-3 parts,” says Mikey.

McBryan started the restoration project in March of this year, assuming at the time that much of the work on the Dakota would be done in the outdoor area at St-Hubert airport (CYHU), south of Montreal, where the then-abandoned and run-down Dakota was sitting. When he learned of the École national d’aérotechnique (ÉNA) and their presence on the same field, he reached out to them and they offered him hangar space for the project. In exchange, ÉNA students get a chance to observe the restoration project up close.

As eFlight goes to press (so to speak), Joe McBryan is scheduled to fly the Dakota on June 6.

The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a $2 coin commemorating the D-Day.

The Royal Canadian Mint is also marking the anniversary by putting into circulation a new $2 coin. The mint is selling them in rolls of 25 for $79.95.

The photo at the top features one of two Dakotas owned and operated by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum of Hamilton, Ontario.

406 MHz ELTs To Be Mandatory

Transport Canada is proposing an amendment to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) that will make 406 MHz ELTs mandatory in all aircraft that are currently required to be equipped with ELTs.

Notice of the change was published in the June 1 edition of Canada Gazette, the publication where the federal government gives notice of changes in laws.

The notice cites a statistic indicating that in 2017, around 55.4 percent of aircraft currently required to be equipped with an ELT continue to operate with a 121.5 MHz model. Aircraft exempt from the requirement include balloons, airships, gliders, ultra-light airplanes and gyroplanes. Foreign aircraft would not be exempt.

Since 2009, the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite-based tracking system is only capable of picking up 406 MHz signals.

Implementation dates for the new rule are as follows:

  • For air operators, including private operators subject to Part 604, one year from the date of publication of the proposed rule;
  • For recreational operators, five years from the date of publication of the proposed rule;
  • For foreign aircraft operating in Canada, one year from the date of publication of the proposed rule.

“We know [406 MHz ELTs] are not the best,” commented Bernard Gervais, COPA’s president and CEO.

“Numbers have shown they do what they should be doing only 62 percent  of the time. But still, that’s better than the older 121.5 MHz [ELTs] which only work when someone reports you missing and Search and Rescue are in the air looking for you, or someone flew overhead your downed aircraft,” Gervais added.

When asked about the five-year implementation period for recreational aircraft, Gervais responded, “[Five years] will allow for better technology to come forward for SAR capabilities, such as space-based ADS-B that could possibly bring the reliability close to 100 percent. That is why we have supported a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament pushing for this.”

The system allows for a 30-day comment period from the date of publication in the Gazette, meaning the deadline is July 1. Click here for contact details.

Places To Fly – East: Maniwaki

For a fourth consecutive year, the Maniwaki airport (CYMW) will be hosting their annual fly-in event. Mark your calendar: Sunday June 9, 2019 from 10:00 until 16:00. Roger’s famous specialty sausages will still be on the menu, with side dishes and beverages.

Last year almost 100 aircraft visited us, with an estimated 3,000 visitors on site (thank you!). With the great team of ground marshallers from Vintage Wings of Canada, a new ground security team and a radio operator, all operations went smoothly and safely despite lots of traffic. We are aiming for the same standard in 2019. (See photos from last year’s event here.)

As you probably know by now, the airport at Maniwaki offers a high quality runway (4921 feet x 150 feet) and lots of parking space both for airplanes and cars (we can even accommodate campers). We hope to see you in great numbers again this year!

We still have some surprises in store for the aviator in you, including the possibility of flying in a Harvard on Saturday and Sunday. Follow us at cymw.ca.

For any questions, call 819-449-6103 or email us.

Will you be joining us? Hope to see all of you here!