Electric Beaver Soon to Take Flight

Vancouver’s Harbour Air has installed an electric motor into one of their de Havilland Beavers, taking them one step closer to realizing a test flight promised before the end of this year.

The airplane, a 1956 Mk 1 model, is painted in company colours with the added logo of ‘ePlane’. magniX personnel are now on site at Harbour Air’s Richmond, British Columbia base to oversee the motor’s installation. Pending still is the installation of batteries and the battery management unit.

The test flight will serve as a proof-of-concept as the weight of the batteries will result in such a reduced payload that it wouldn’t be commercially viable. However, continued battery development is expected to bring down the power-to-weight ratio to a commercially sustainable level.

The electric motor was developed by Seattle, Washington-based magniX. The company has its roots in Australia. magniX is also partnering with another Seattle-based company, AeroTec, in the development of an electric-powered Cessna Caravan.

The magniX electric motor installed on Harbour Air’s Beaver

Other than the positive environmental impact the elimination of gas-guzzling radial engines or turbines would bring, Harbour Air also sees both safety and financial benefits electric airplanes would bring.

“Electric motors are extremely reliable,” said founder and CEO of Harbour Air Greg McDougall. “They don’t have the same number of moving parts as a turbine or piston engine and they have much better durability.”

Photo credits: Harbour Air

Annual Members Choice Awards

It’s that time of year again, time to nominate your favourite aviation businesses and individuals who support the industry. A Members Choice Award honours those who go above and beyond the requirements of their role and offer exceptional quality and service. Consider nominating your local businesses for one of the following awards:

  • Best Airport Management
  • Best Pilot Supply Store
  • Best Aircraft Maintenance
  • Best Aviation Event
  • Best FBO or Fuel Retailer
  • Best Flight Training Unit
  • Best Civil Aviation Medical Examiner

The deadline for nominations is November 8, 2019. Members can submit a nomination by emailing Lauren Nagel or by filling out the nomination form available here.

Unused Seatbelts, Unsecured External Loads Cited in TSB Report on Fatal Helicopter Crash

The Transportation Safety Board released its investigative report earlier this week on the accident that claimed the lives of four Hydro One employees near Tweed, Ontario on December 14, 2017.

The lengthy, 46-page report reveals that the cause of the accident was the separation of a piece of equipment that was not properly secured to the helicopter’s external platform that struck the helicopter’s tail rotor, causing it and the tail rotor’s transmission and tail fin to separate from the aircraft. The TSB investigation also revealed that the three power line technicians (PLTs) were wearing neither the lap belts not the shoulder belts which the helicopter was equipped with.

The TSB reports that the shoulder harness straps were found rolled up and taped. This was admitted by the operator to be standard practice as there had previously been complaints of the shoulder straps interfering with the PLT’s safety harnesses. The operator interpreted the CARs to mean that only the use of lap belts was mandatory, with the use of shoulder harnesses being optional.

This has led the TSB to release this recommendation: “[that] the Department of Transport amend the Canadian Aviation Regulations to remove any ambiguity associated with the definition of ‘safety belt.’

The occurrence aircraft, an Airbus Helicopters AS 350 B2, was being used to carry personnel to and from job sites. It was equipped with an external platform, known as an Air Stair, that permits PLTs to conduct work outside of the helicopter on powerline transmission towers and to facilitate the transfer of PLTs to the towers themselves. However, due to the low temperature on the day of the accident, the Air Stair was not being used and the PLTs were transferred to and from the base of the tower where they needed to intervene. It was on the return flight and during the descent to the staging area the accident occurred.

The external platform, or Air Stair, is pictured above.

See below for the complete TSB report.

Photos by the TSB


CF-100 Canuck to be Restored

Now that Calgary’s Historic Flight Museum has completed the restoration of their Hawker Hurricane* at their Wetaskiwin facility some 200 kilometres to the north, there is space for their next project: the restoration of an Avro CF-100 Canuck. Disassembly of the aircraft is currently underway in Calgary, ahead of its shipment to Wetaskiwin where the restoration project is expected to last four years.

According to museum executive director Brian Desjardins, the aircraft will be displayed to full static display status, meaning it will not be restored to flying status.

The model that is being restored is the Mk 3D, the ‘D’ representing the word ‘dual’, meaning it was equipped with dual controls for use as a training aircraft. Originally built as a standard Mk 3, it was converted to a dual-control configuration, initially named the Mk 3CT but later renamed the Mk 3D. It is the only such model in existence. The restoration budget is set at $400,000, with the city of Calgary contributing $300,000 of that amount.

The Canuck is a subsonic all-weather twin-jet interceptor/fighter designed and built by A.V. Roe Canada, the precursor of Avro. Conceived in 1946, the Canuck began service in the RCAF in 1952, forming part of Canada’s NORAD commitment as well as its NATO commitment, with some of the Canucks based in Europe.

In total, 692 Canucks were built, with 53 Mk 5 models being sold to the Belgium air force. With such a high production run, and its visually aesthetic appearance, over 30 Canucks form static displays, and can be found inside or outside of museums and military bases across Canada as well as in the United States, England and Belgium.

* The Historic Flight Museum is holding an unveiling event for its newly restored Hawker Hurricane on November 8, 9 and 10. A number of speakers are lined up over the three-day event. Admission is free. Check their website for more details.

Photo credit: RCAF

Air Canada to Hire 350 pilots in 2020

With the impending return to the skies of Boeing’s troubled 737 Max airliner, Air Canada plans to hire 350 pilots next year. The airline currently has 24 737 Max airplanes, with 12 more that were slated for delivery by the middle of 2019. Those aircraft have been manufactured but remain undelivered. The 36 aircraft represent about 24 percent of Air Canada’s narrow-body fleet.

Fourteen more 737 Maxes were planned to be delivered by mid-2020, but the delivery of those may be delayed.

“This is a process that will indeed be gradual. This is not an overnight process,” Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu told industry analysts and investment analysts in a conference call earlier this week. Rovinescu added that, once the 737 Max airspace ban is lifted, it could take up to a year to get all 50 of the affected aircraft in operation.

Air Canada’s 737 Maxes have been removed from Air Canada’s schedule until at least February 14, 2020.

Photo credit: Air Canada

Dutch Theatre Group Brings WWII Nostalgia to Canada

Sgt. Wilson’s Army Show is a group of performers from Almelo in the Netherlands that specializes in vintage music from the 1940s and 50s. The have been performing around the world since 1983, putting on about 120 shows each year. Tunes made popular by Glenn Miller, the Andrew Sisters, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney and others are included in their show.

This year they are touring Canada as Sgt. Wilson’s Airforce Show, and are putting on their ‘Music at the Hangar’ event at venues across the country, from Saint John to Kelowna, British Columbia, and multiple stops in between.

The set includes scenery depicting an old hangar with an airplane which, together with special lighting and sound equipment, is shipped from the Netherlands and is used at each of their stops across the country.

Sgt. Wilson’s Army Show works together with Tourplanners Foundation, a not-for-profit that promotes Dutch culture around the world.

Shows are already taking place, but there are many more dates coming up before their Canadian tour ends on December 9.

More information can be found, including show venues, dates and times, on their website

New ELT Maintenance Standard Applies

Transport Canada has recently made a change in Standard 625 Appendix C (para. 12) that took effect earlier this year. It addresses the Maintenance of the Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT). The important change is that there is now a distinction between a 121.5 and a 406/121.5 MHz ELT, whereas before both were under the same guidelines. Now, the Performance Test for a 406 ELT is required every 24 months as opposed to 12 months for a 121.5MHz-only ELT. Both must still have an operational test done (by the operator) every 12 months.

This revised approach offers a significant financial benefit to the owner/pilot, given the cost of this maintenance task, and COPA is proud to share this news with our members, having been part of the working group that made this happen.

Note that an upcoming Advisory Circular (AC 571-025) will provide a lot of valid and useful information on the topic of ELT maintenance and COPA recommends that owners/pilots dedicate a few minutes to reading it when it comes out.

COPA reminds our members that your 406 ELT must be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry and it is up to you to test it regularly with the help of your manufacturer’s instructions. This link will provide details on this and help confirm if your 406 is in fact properly registered.

Wing Spar vs Wing Strut

Last week I wrote a synthesis of a report released by the Transportation Safety Board on the crash of a Piper Cub onto the frozen surface of Ontario’s Snowshoe Lake. The title of the article was initially ‘Failed Wing Spar Led to Snowshoe Lake Fatal Crash’. Problem was, it wasn’t the wing spar that failed, but rather the wing strut. Throughout the article all references to the failed component used ‘spar’ instead of ‘strut’. Those who continued on to the full TSB report, which was appended below the article, would have seen that all references were to the failed wing strut, not wing spar.

Both my email account, and that of COPA’s head office, were inundated with emails from readers eager to point out the error. My telephone started to ring too.

I of course know the difference between a wing spar and a wing strut.

So, what went wrong? The only explanation I can think of is that my own airplane, a Piper PA-28, was in for its annual inspection last week. Like all PA-28 owners, never far from our minds is the FAA’s proposed Airworthiness Directive that may require us to have our wings detached and inspected for the presence of corrosion, a procedure many experts say could be more detrimental than leaving it alone and looking for other methods to determine corrosion in the otherwise impossible-to-easily-inspect voids at the wing root. The proposed AD is in response to the detachment of a wing from an Embry-Riddle PA-28 during a flight in Florida last year.

I humbly apologize for the mix-up and shall endeavour to take yet more care in writing and editing eFlight. And feel free to contact me about any inaccuracies, perceived or otherwise.

And to those owners and pilots of PA-28s, rest assured that I am monitoring the situation very closely and will continue to report any new wing spar AD developments.

Remote Weather Stations Not Being Maintained

A British Columbia floatplane operator is frustrated with the delays in getting out-of-order weather stations repaired so he can safely fly in his operational area. Joel Eilertsen, president of C.B.E. Construction Ltd (dba Cab Air) of Coal Harbour on northern Vancouver Island, wonders when repairs will get done.

His company, which operates mostly de Havilland Beavers on floats, relies on the wind speed and direction that the station should be reporting in order to confidently predict the weather conditions that his pilots are likely to encounter.

Most of Cab Air’s customers are loggers, fishermen and surveyors who need to get to remote sites in the region on a timely basis, rather than tourists who likely wouldn’t want to fly in inclement weather anyway.

“It’s very much a safety problem,” Eilertsen told CBC News recently. The weather station is located on Sartine Island, about 33 kilometres northwest of Vancouver Island.

“It tells us how much time we have to complete a trip and if we don’t have the necessary time maybe the pilots are going to get pressured into doing the trip and then maybe flying back in real bad weather,” he said.

Eilertsen contacted station operator Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) about the issue and was advised that since it would need to be serviced by helicopter, winter’s approach means it won’t be happening soon. The station data has been offline for five months.

When contacted by CBC News for a comment, a spokesperson for ECCC replied that “the station will be serviced on the next maintenance trip.” When pressed to provide a timeline, the reply was “the next maintenance trip is not yet scheduled.”

Eilertsen has also notified Transport Canada of the problem.

Over a year ago Eilertsen advised EEEC of other facilities that were offline, including weathercams that local commercial operators and pilots rely on as well. Those, he said, have since been repaired.

Photo by Cab Air

ADS-B OUT Implementation Delayed

Nav Canada will be delaying the implementation dates for Phases 1 and 2 of the ADS-B OUT Performance Requirements Mandate. Previously set for implementation on February 25, 2021 (Phase 1-Class A airspace and Class E airspace above FL600) and January 27, 2022 (Phase 2-Class B airspace), numerous industry operators have stated they will not be ready by then.

Top management of Transport Canada-Civil Aviation (TCCA) and Nav Canada met earlier this month and this was the topic of discussion. TCCA has also stated that there are still regulatory matters that must be attended to before implementation can take place.

New Phase 1 and 2 implementation dates have not yet been set.

There is no word yet on how this might affect the implementation of remaining phases (e.g. classes C, D and E). However, Nav Canada’s performance requirements mandate document states that implementation of the different phases will be a minimum of one year apart.