GA Traffic Increasing

In an article released late last week in their newsletter The Daily, Statistics Canada reported that, overall, air traffic movements at airports not manned by Nav Canada personnel (either as ATC or Flight Services) increased in September of 2019 by 3.1 percent compared to 2018.

An aircraft movement is defined as a takeoff, a landing or a simulated approach by an aircraft.

StatsCan also reported that 10 airports accounted for 39.5 percent of that month’s activities: Peterborough, Ont. (CYPG) with 4,401; Drummondville, Que. (CSC3) with 3,324; and Trois-Rivières, Que. (CYRQ) with 3,038 movements were the top three.

Airports with the largest increases were Drummondville, (+ 1.179 movements), Collingwood, Ont. (CNY3, + 886) and Tillsonburg, Ont. (CYTB, + 401). The airport reporting the largest decline was Peterborough, Ont. (CYPQ, – 929).

StatsCan obtains data for these airport statistics from airport and carrier personnel, members of flying clubs and employees of various levels of government at airports without control towers or flight service stations across Canada.

Other aircraft movement statistics can be found at this StatsCan website.

Reports on Fatal CFIT Accidents Just Released

Piper Malibu

On May 1, 2019, a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu departed Goose Bay airport (CYYR) in Labrador bound for Narsarsuaq airport (BGBW) in Greenland. The flight departed on a VFR flight plan, planning to fly below adverse weather and wind conditions at an altitude of 2,000 feet asl before climbing to higher altitudes and air-filing an IFR flight plan for the remainder of the journey. However, the experienced and professional ferry pilot flew the Malibu into a 2,250-foot hill just before reaching the Atlantic Ocean, striking the hillside at about 200 feet below its summit. The pilot survived, but his passenger was killed.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) classifies this as a Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accident. Read the full report and its recommendations in the first PDF appended below.

Route of occurrence aircraft. Image credit: Google Earth with TSB annotations.

Coyote Ultralight

Another CFIT fatal accident occurred on July 1, 2019 when a Rans S-6ES Coyote advanced ultralight aircraft collided with terrain in Rougemont, Quebec. The aircraft had been circling at an altitude less than 200 feet agl, just above the treetops, then veered off in the opposite direction before colliding with trees.

Read the full report and its recommendations in the second PDF appended below.

Colibri Helicopter

A student pilot taking lessons from a free-lance instructor took off from Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec for Mirabel in his Eurocopter EC120 Colibri for his first solo cross-country flight. The pilot lost his life when he crashed near Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts in another CFIT accident. In the TSB investigation report, poor weather and inadequate supervision are cited as factors contributing to the accident.

Read the full report and its recommendations in the third PDF appended below.

Ottawa Flight School Abruptly Closes

Ottawa Aviation Services (OAS) closed suddenly last month, leaving many students and staff members in a lurch. Flight instructors have gone unpaid and students have not received training they already paid for. About 125 students were enrolled in the school, with about 40 percent being foreign.

Transport Canada-Civil Aviation cancelled OAS’s operating certificate on December 17, citing its failure to appoint required senior safety personnel within its organization. This came only days after Ontario’s superintendent of Private Career Colleges pulled their accreditation on December 12 after an investigation.

One of OAS’s flight instructors, John Richardson, told the Ottawa Sun that he is owed between $25,000 and $30,000 in wages and expenses. He said he began to suspect something was wrong. “Not getting paid was a key indicator. The reason we stayed without being paid was to see how far we could advance the students and minimize the damage they had already incurred.” Many of the other instructors had already left the company.

Students had been promised they would be receiving five training flights a week, but some were receiving one or two lessons a week, despite being charged $5,300 per month.  Others only got to fly two or three times a month. Many foreign students, most of them Chinese, had prepaid U$120,000 for the training program that they ended up not receiving.

OAS is owned and operated by Cedric Paillard, who formerly worked in the tech sector in Ottawa. According to his LinkedIn profile, Paillard also worked for the Air Transport Association of Canada for a period of time in 2010 as their Vice-President for Communications and Marketing.

Paillard states that the closure is only temporary, and that he is restructuring the company. The OAS website and Facebook page are still up with no mention of any troubles.

Photo credit: Facebook

Garmin GI 275 Replaces ‘Steam Gauges’

By Phil Lightstone

The move to an all-glass cockpit for aircraft with legacy ‘steam gauges’ is one step closer thanks to Garmin’s recent announcement of their newest product, the GI 275. The GI 275 is a 3.125-inch instrument designed to replace many instruments in the six-pack. The GI 275 is a STC’d and TSO’d multifunction computer delivering edge-to-edge glass, a touch screen, a push-button interface and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity.

As a platform for aircraft instrumentation, there is a tremendous amount of functionality embedded into the instrument lineup. The GI 275 has five models, delivering various capabilities driven by technologies in the aircraft including GNC/GNS/GTN navigators, Sirius XM weather receiver, autopilots, radar altimeter, a variety of engine probes, fuel transceivers and selected ADS-B IN receivers.

With dual GI 275 displays as the primary flight instrumentation, reversionary backup capability retains attitude and heading data on the remaining HSI or MFD if an instrument failure occurs. Wireless capability allows data from the GI 275 to be streamed to a smart device. The attitude indicator supports an optional on-board battery, designed to provide flight information during an electrical system failure. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The GI 275 is purchased for either Class 1 & 2 aircraft (piston aircraft below 6,000 lbs) or Class 3 aircraft (piston or turbine aircraft weighing between 6,000 lbs and 12,500 lbs). Available versions and their prices for Class 1 & 2 aircraft are: an attitude indicator (U$3,995), an HSI (U$4,295), a CDI (U$3,195), an MFD (U$3,195) and an EIS (U$5,295). Pricing does not include labour or any additional components, such as cabling, interface modules, etc.

The pilot may control the GI 275 either through the touch screen or a traditional knob, making it very pilot-friendly. Database updating is performed using Garmin Pilot or other technologies supporting GSB 15. As compared to ‘full glass’, such as a G500 TXi, retrofitting a ‘steam gauge’ aircraft should be simpler and more cost effective, allowing for a gradual retrofit rather than a big-bang approach. Check out Garmin’s website for more detailed information.

NWT Students Begin Aviation Course

A two-year Aviation Management diploma program has begun at the Terry Harrold School of Aviation in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. First reported on in the April 26, 2019 edition of eFlight, six students have now signed up and begun their academic training. The school, in operation since May 2019, has been offering flight training only since then to individuals completing their private pilot licence (PPL), which was done outside of the diploma program that is now underway.

Students entering the program have no prior aviation experience. The program is designed so that successful graduates will leave with a commercial pilot licence (CPL) with multi-engine and float ratings in addition to their management diploma.

All six students are from the North, and it is hoped that they will stay and build their careers there, allowing for local knowledge, which is lost when southern-based pilots return south after building time in the North, to stay and help improve aviation safety in the northern territories.

Northwest Air Lease (NAL), which is providing the flight training and is a general aviation operator based in Fort Smith, currently sees a revolving door of pilots. “We have nobody [pilots] from the North that flies with us, they’re all from the South,” said Jim Heidema, NAL’s chief operating officer. “They come up, they stay with us two to five years and then they’re gone.”

“Flying up here is different than to fly down South where there’s lots of resources,” chief flight instructor Raphaël Jeansonne-Gélinas told CBC News. “Here, we’re more [by] ourselves, so we need to have better specific skills.”

Loyal Letcher is one of the students in the program and aspires to one day opening his own flying business in Fort Simpson. “I hope to be able to fly a plane after this, but the business management skills that they give me will be useful in the future,” he said.

Added NAL’s Heidema, “I guarantee it — they will get jobs, either with us or with others. There’s a huge thirst in the North for pilots.”

French Village Remembers Canadians

It was on July 26 in 1944 that an RCAF Halifax bomber, returning from a bombing run over Stuttgart, Germany, crashed in the woods near Thorey-en-Plaine, a small French village in the countryside about 13 kilometres southwest of Dijon. Of the six Canadians and one Brit on board, all perished but for one of the Canadians.

Fast forward 75 years and the village council has approached the City of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, wishing to be twinned with it, citing the fact that one of the victims, Gunner James Reginald Giles, was from Prince Albert.

“This sad event, therefore, links both our villages together,” the Village wrote in an email that was sent to the Prince Albert’s city council. “We, the people of Thorey-en-Plaine, will always remember the soldiers who died that day.”

The Village has already honoured the memory of the six victims, holding a ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the crash in 2014. Four years later, another ceremony was held to unveil a monument at the scene of the crash. The lone survivor of the incident, Flight Officer G.R. Ellis, survived by bailing out and parachuting to the ground. He was taken prisoner by the German occupiers of France at the time and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.

The citizens of Thorey-en-Plaine recovered the bodies of the victims and they were buried in the cemetery of a nearby village. “The graves of your Canadian heroes are also well looked after,” the Villagers said in their email.

Photo credits: LBP/Chantal Malatesta, Le Village de Thorey-en-Plaine

Runway Overrun Areas Lacking

As a second airplane slides off the end of a runway at Halifax airport (CYHZ) in the span of 14 months, questions are being asked why Transport Canada-Civil Aviation has not been heeding the call by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) to comply with its recommendation to provide a longer overrun area for Code 4 runways (greater than 1800 metres (5905 feet) in length.

At around noon on January 5, a WestJet Boeing 737-800 with 172 passengers on board slid 50 metres (164 feet) off the end of a runway after what the airlines said appeared to be a normal landing in snowy conditions. This follows a similar incident in November of 2018 when a Sky Lease Cargo Boeing 747-400F cargo jet overran Runway 14 by 210 metres (689 feet) at the same airport. That incident resulted with the aircraft being written off due to extensive damage.

It was the crash-landing of an Air France Airbus A340-313 at Toronto’s Pearson airport in 2005 that led to the TSB recommendation. In the Air France incident, the aircraft overran the runway while landing in a storm and ended up in a ravine and catching fire. All passengers and crew survived, some with minor injuries. The TSB recommendation, A07-06, reads, “[The Board recommended that] the Department of Transport require all Code 4 runways to have a 300 m runway end safety area (RESA) or a means of stopping aircraft that provides an equivalent level of safety.”

According to the TSB, Canada is lagging other nations in implementing suitable RESAs. Current TCCA regulations call for overrun areas of 60 metres (197 feet) and recommends there be an additional 90 metres (295 feet) for a total of 150 metres (492 feet). At the Halifax airport, all overrun areas are only 150 metres in length.

Canadian airports that have voluntarily implemented the TSB-recommended RESA of 300 metres include Ottawa International (CYOW), Montreal-Trudeau International (CYUL) and Vancouver International (CYVR).

Photo by Ryan Taplin/The Chronicle Herald

Aviation Safety Letter

Aviation Safety Letters (ASL) are produced and distributed by Transport Canada four times a year. The most recent issue (2019-4) includes, among other things, a safety poster on the subject of weather. We encourage you to print a copy of it and post it in your hangar, flying club building or wherever pilots gather.

Click here to be taken to the most recent issue of the ASL, and click here to download a copy of the poster.

Image courtesy of Transport Canada

Will There Ever Be a Pickering Airport?

Once again, the topic of building a second major airport for the GTA is under discussion. Prodded by the closing of the region’s General Motors plant, John Henry, chairman of Durham Region, wants to see such an airport built on the land the Trudeau government purchased – back in 1972, when Trudeau père was PM. He sees this as a means to return job growth to the region.

Almost 19 thousand acres of farmland were purchased back then for the express purpose of building a large airport to relieve forecast congestion at Toronto’s Pearson airport. The forecast congestion didn’t materialize as quickly as originally envisioned, but is now a more pressing issue, with a 2011 federal study predicting the need for a reliever airport sometime between 2027 and 2037.

In 2011, the Harper government dusted off the proposal with an announcement by then-finance minister Jim Flaherty that construction of a new airport on the Pickering lands would begin in 2013. That did not come to pass, and the current Trudeau government has been mum on the issue.

From the beginning, opposition to the development of the airport was strong, with opponents citing the high quality of the land for agricultural use. That opposition continues today, with a number of volunteers forming a group called Land Not Landings.

“The threat of an airport on these lands has to be lifted and the lands have to be protected in perpetuity,” says Mary Delaney, group chairwoman. “The overwhelming push, and it’s aggressive, has been from our local municipal and regional government.”

More opposition is coming from environmentalists, questioning the wisdom of building an airport when air transportation is a significant contributor of greenhouse gases.

Countering the opposition, Durham County’s Henry told CBC Toronto, “We have a tremendous opportunity here to do something that really has never been done before. It’s time that we get on with this and the government finally makes a decision.”

Perhaps Henry needs a primer on the results of the last time the federal government built a major airport.

Image credit: Google Earth with annotations by Friends of Pickering Airport

Arctic-Based SAR Cormorants?

A Vancouver-based university professor is advocating for Search and Rescue assets to be based in the Arctic. University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers, considered an expert on Arctic matters, says that northern residents deserve the same level of SAR services as those living in the south of the country.

“People in the North deserve services on par with their southern counterparts when there’s an emergency,” says Byers.

Byers argues in a recently published paper co-authored by Nicole Covey and published in the International Journal that RCAF CH-149 Cormorant helicopters, which are equipped for SAR rather than military operations, should be based in the North, not only to provide SAR services, but to police the shipping channels. The pair also argue that the Arctic sea lanes can be policed by unarmed Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers, keeping naval ships out of the region as they could provoke competing nations, such as Russia and China, into an arms buildup to counter a perceived military threat.

Countering this argument is retired Colonel Pierre Leblanc, one-time commander of the Canadian Forces in the Arctic and currently head of Arctic Security Consultants. Leblanc thinks that the government should continue with its current plan of building up military assets for northern patrols. He says military assets could provide SAR services as required. As for the possibility that such action may provoke the Russians, Leblanc dismisses the notion. “It’s minute compared to the Russian inventory of military capabilities,” Leblanc said.

Photo credit: Photo: Master Corporal Johanie Maheu, 14 Wing Imaging, Greenwood