Feds Reject Inverness Airport Proposal

A statement released last week from the Rural Economic Development minister’s Ottawa office announced the cancellation of a review of a proposal by the owners of two Nova Scotia golf courses, Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs, to build an airport near Inverness, N.S.

The statement cited the lack of information on how the proposed, $18 million airport would serve the needs of Cape Breton residents.

“The project will not receive approval until such time the proponent can submit a revised proposal which would clearly demonstrate how the proposed airport would improve the quality of life for residents in those communities,” read the statement.

The proposal had raised plenty of controversy, with many residents saying that the airport would only cater to the wealthy who want to fly in for their golf vacations. Port Hawkesbury, which has an airport that is located about an hour away from the proposed site of the new one, was afraid a new airport near Inverness would make theirs economically unsustainable.

“I think it’s wonderful news…for all of Inverness County,” said Inverness County councillor and Port Hawkesbury airport committee member John Dowling to the CBC after learning of the federal government cancelling the review.

The mayor of Port Hawkesbury says that the whole island of Cape Breton should be involved in discussions of air tourism.  “I think there is a realization that if we want to grow our region…that people and elected officials in particular are really cognizant of needing to work together, needing to be collaborative, and the proposal that was being considered really wasn’t that,” said mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton.

The provincial share of the project was to be around $8.5 million.

photo courtesy of Cabot Links

Peter Lythall

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I have been active in aviation for most of my adult life. As a youngster I was introduced to GA flying with the grandfather of one of my childhood friends. Grandpa was a backcountry outfitter and my first experience flying with him was memorable, sitting on freshly oiled yet well-worn saddles and salt blocks in the rear of a rough Cessna 172 without any seatbelt, and when the baggage door opened in flight, he shouted at me to not fall out. And so it began, I started flying lessons when I was able to drive myself to the local airport.

I have been involved in both the homebuilt and certified areas of aviation, having built a Vans RV-7 kit plane several years ago. I have had the opportunity to own several certified aircraft and to use these aircraft as tools for business as well as recreation. Whether it was used to attend to client meetings in remote areas or to enjoy the Canadian backcountry on a weekend camping trip, I have embraced aviation as part of a successful business and rewarding personal lifestyle. I have logged over 2,500 hours of flight time in a variety of different aircraft as I pursued and completed my various ratings, which have culminated in a Single/Multi Engine Land and Sea with a Group 1 IFR rating.

As a member of COPA Flight 180, I assisted with bringing a successful COPA for Kids event to Fort St. John in 2017, and I previously volunteered as a pilot with COPA for Kids in Alberta. I believe I can bring a fresh voice and a well-rounded GA perspective to issues facing the membership in western Canada, and I am committed to ensuring that our rights and freedoms as a community are maintained for the current and future generations of aviators.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Kate Klassen

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Born and raised on the east coast of Canada, I got my start in the aviation industry in 2007, when I began flight training as part of a program at the University of New Brunswick. There, I achieved my CPL with night, multi and IFR ratings and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Upon graduating, I moved to B.C. “for 6 months” to become a flight instructor. Nine years later, I’m still living in the Lower Mainland, teaching people to fly both manned and unmanned aircraft. I’ve maintained my Class 2 flight instructor rating and enjoy flying a friend’s Cessna 172 whenever I can, though the dream is to own a 140 with piano key switches!

In the fall of 2014 I began working in the unmanned side of the aviation industry. I have since become the director of operations at Coastal Drone, which focuses on education and consulting in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) industry. In the fall of 2018, I completed a Management of Technology MBA from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and was also elected to the board of Unmanned Systems Canada, where I chair the training committee. In this role I had the opportunity to work closely with Transport Canada on several initiatives, including the creation of technical publications for knowledge requirements for RPAS pilots, exam questions and the revision of the AIM.

RPASes present a unique challenge in Canadian aviation, but also an immense opportunity. With the implementation of RPAS-specific regulations this year, Transport Canada has formalized the operators as pilots and the technology as aircraft. My goal, if elected, will be to round out the board with RPAS representation, providing a ‘drone perspective’ as valid use cases and public acceptance grow. My experience and understanding of the role of both directly and remotely piloted aircraft in Canadian aviation will help maintain COPA’s progressive mission of advancing, promoting and preserving the freedom to fly for all versions of Canadian aircraft owners and pilots.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

ADS-B Dominates Discussion at AirVenture

With the FAA’s mandate for ADS-B equipage right around the corner, the technology’s eventual migration north of the border was top of mind for many Oshkosh attendees trying to figure out how they should spend their avionics budgets. As of January 1, 2020, all aircraft operating in transponder-required airspace within the United States will be required to be equipped with 978UAT which is ground-based ADS-B. As both COPA and AOPA have written about many times previously, the United States is the outlier on this front, being the only country in the world mandating the ground-based version. Canada and every other country will be going with space-based 1090ES ADS-B.

What is not well understood, based on the conversations at AirVenture, is the timeline around its implementation, and just what the future will actually look like. Canada’s ADS-B mandate will be implemented in a phased approach, with Phase 1 including all Class A airspace and Class E above FL600 in 2021. Canada’s Class B (12,500 feet to 18,000 feet) will make up Phase 2, in 2022. Phase 3 will be Classes C, D, and E and will not begin sooner than 2023. Implementation of the third phase will also be on an ‘as-needed’ basis and not without consultation from local airspace users in the affected areas.

While there is certainty that space-based 1090ES will be the standard in Canada, there is no answer as of yet to the question of antenna diversity requirements – meaning one antenna on the top and one antenna on the bottom. There are very few transponder units currently on the market that are capable of diversity, and only one, the Lynx NGT9000 from L3, that also includes the necessary WAAS GPS position source built in. A check of some of the show specials during AirVenture had diversity-capable transponders retailing in the $4,500-$7,000 USD range, plus antennas and installation.

Owners need to be cautious when shopping – many available transponders are 1090ES capable, and more still that are dual-band (1090ES and 978UAT) capable, with a built-in WAAS such as the Garmin GTX335. However, in the case of the Garmin, the WAAS-equipped version does not accommodate diversity, and the diversity-capable version does not include the built-in WAAS. Thus, owners of aircraft not currently equipped with WAAS would face a very expensive bill from the avionics shop were they to go out and equip for diversity today.

The prototype of the skyBeacon X, uAvionix’s latest product announcement and entry into the 1090ES market.

At the show, COPA was presented with the prototype of uAvionix’s latest announcement – the skyBeacon X, a 1090ES version of their popular skyBeacon wingtip light with built-in WAAS. While not a true diversity unit, uAvionix claims early testing is showing promising results towards meeting performance-based requirements for a 1090ES mandate. Though it will not be ready for the market in time to meet the 2020 FAA mandate, uAvionix is confident this will provide a cost-effective method for Canadian owners to meet future ADS-B requirements.

Many were not aware that while 1090ES units will work in the US, single-band 978UAT units would not be compliant in Canada once the mandate comes into effect. The FAA recently announced a waiver mechanism for non-compliant aircraft to be able to operate in transponder airspace with prior coordination through ATC, and on flight-by-flight basis. To date, there have not been any proposals in Canada on what means might be available to aircraft in similar situations once ADS-B becomes a reality north of the border.

Thus, COPA’s message to owners looking to equip is two-fold – pilots not needing to fly in transponder airspace in the US before the Canadian mandate is finalized should hold off on equipping with 1090ES until the question of antenna diversity is answered fully. Doing so will also give the market time to unveil new technology and allow prices to stabilize. Pilots who do need to operate in US transponder airspace before then are recommended to find the cheapest path to equipage to meet the American mandate, knowing that they will likely have to re-equip once Canada’s mandate becomes a reality. In the meantime COPA continues to work with our partners in industry, government and Nav Canada to ensure that any ADS-B requirements will not unduly burden owners from a cost perspective, and that GA pilots will benefit from the full potential of this new and emerging technology.