Stolen Float Plane Disrupts Flight Operations

Vancouver-based commercial float plane operations were disrupted last Friday morning when a de Havilland Beaver belonging to Seair was stolen and smashed into two de Havilland Otters belonging to competitor Harbour Air. The stolen Beaver never made it into the air, shearing off its right-side wing as it struck the Otters, causing extensive damage to both of them in the process.

The sheared-off wing was nowhere in sight, presumably lying on the seabed.

The bizarre incident occurred at approximately 03:30 on Friday (February 21). Security cameras revealed that the suspected thief, who is still at large, is a white male, approximately 1.78 metres tall (five feet, 10 inches) with a receding hairline and appearing to be in his forties.

By late morning both operators’ flight schedules were back on track. Police say the suspect probably had a working knowledge of airplanes.

Top photos by Jordan Jiang/CTV News

Bottom photo by Ben Nelms/CBC

Alberta Fly-in Breaks Attendance Record

A record 108 aircraft showed up at the Lac La Biche Flying Club’s 2020 Ice Fly-in, smashing the previous attendance record of 84 set a few years ago. This surely should qualify it as Canada’s ‘Other Best Winter Fly-In’.

Bright orange pylons delimited the runway and taxiways, making it easily visible for fly-in traffic.

The two-day event was co-hosted by COPA Flight 165-Lac La Biche and the Lakeland Classic Wheels Club, the latter referring to the event as the ‘Winter Festival of Speed’. The inaugural fly-in was held in 2010 and was meant to run annually, but two years saw marginal weather conditions that led to cancellations.

“Saturday was clear but windy, yet 39 aircraft arrived,” founding flying club member and fly-in volunteer Dr. Ken Zachewich told eFlight. “But on Sunday, which was sunny and calm, 69 aircraft flew in. This makes us one of the biggest, if not the biggest, winter ice fly-in in North America.”

Look for a more complete report in the April issue of COPA Flight.

Photo and video credits: Rick and Stacey Skyrpan

TSB Reporting Requirements for Drones

An often-overlooked responsibility for operators of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Canada is the mandatory reporting to the Transportation Safety Board of what it defines as ‘reportable occurrences’.

The proliferation of drone operations, especially for private use, have lawyers specializing in drone operations concerned that incidents falling within the definition of reportable occurrences may be occurring but not reported.

Under existing legislation and regulations, RPAS are considered aircraft, and as such they must report to the TSB any incident defined below (thanks to law firm Dentons for this list):

Who must report?     

  • A pilot with a drone weighing more than 25kgs that is involved in an “accident” as defined by paragraph 2(1)(a) of the TSB Regulations must report. *
  • A pilot with a drone that has come in direct contact with a person, where that person is killed or sustains a serious injury as a result must report.
  • A pilot with a drone that collides with another drone or manned aircraft must report.

 What should be reported?     

  • Information relating to the drone (such as the type, model and registration number), the responsible people (such as the name of the owner, operator, pilot-in-command), and details about what happened are included in what must be reported, according to s. 2(2) of the TSB Regulations.


  • Reports should be made “as soon as possible by the quickest means available,” according to s. 2(3) of the TSB Regulations. Any remaining information that was not provided initially should be provided “as soon as it becomes available within 30 days after the occurrence.”


  • Occurrences in or over Canada, or any place under Canadian air traffic control or where Canada has been asked to investigate, must be reported to the TSB.


  • The purpose of the TSB’s powers is to ensure aviation safety. Reporting assists the regulator and the industry ensure continued safety. If an investigation is launched as a result of a report relating to a drone, the TSB is required to prepare and make available a public report on its findings. Any safety deficiencies must be identified, along with recommendations that promote the interests of transportation safety.


  • Operators should call the TSB with their initial report as soon as possible after an occurrence.
  • TSB investigators are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 day a week and can be reached at:

Direct or collect: 819-994-3741    Toll-free: 1-800-387-3557

  • A full report must be submitted within 30 days of the occurrence by submitting a completed online reporting form.

* An “accident” includes a circumstance in which an individual dies or suffers severe injury relating to the aircraft, or the aircraft sustains structural failure or damage that adversely impacts the aircraft’s structural strength.

More information can be found on the Dentons-operated Drone Law Canada website.

Although model aircraft are included in the recently implemented Part 9 of the CARs, their operators have a long history of working within the aviation regulations as well as being knowledgeable of applicable rules.

AD Proposed for Some 360 Series Engines

The FAA has issued a notice of a proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) that is applicable to all IO-360 and O-360 series of engines manufactured by Superior Air Parts (SAP) and some Lycoming AEIO-, IO- and O-360 engines that incorporate certain crankshaft assemblies supplied by SAP under PMA (Parts Manufacturer Approval) rules.

Crankshaft assembly failures in three separate incidents that led to emergency landings is what prompted the FAA to step in.

“Unfortunately, we were only informed of the proposed rule two weeks ago. Since then, we have been in contact with the FAA regarding their findings to fully understand the issue and identify the most likely cause of the failures,” SAP V-P of marketing Scott Hayes said. “Our engineering team is currently reviewing all of the available information, and once we have determined the actual cause, we can work with the FAA to determine the most logical course of action.”

According to SAP, the affected crankshafts carry part numbers SL36500-A20 or SL36500-A31, with serial numbers 82976-01, 82976-02, SP12-0003 through AP12-0089 inclusive; SP13-0034 through SP13-0150 inclusive; or SP14-0151 through SP14-0202 inclusive.

“All I can say for certain is that it is still just too early to form any type of conclusion about what caused these three crankshafts to fail the way they did,” added Bill Ross, SAP’s VP of product support.

View the proposed AD here.

Photo credit: SAP

New AD Proposed for Cessna 206s

Transport Canada is proposing a new AD that addresses an outstanding recommendation from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) concerning emergency egress by occupants of the aft-most seats in Cessna 206s.

The TSB made the recommendation after fatalities occurred when Cessna 206s became submerged as a result of an accident on water; when a 206’s flaps are deployed 20° or more, they impeded the opening of the aircraft’s cargo doors, which serve as an emergency exit for any passengers located in the last (third) row of seats in the normally six-seat aircraft. Access to an alternative point of egress, the pilot’s door, is also impeded by the second row of seats. In an emergency egress while submerged, it can be extremely difficult to find one’s way to the pilot’s door given the disorientation that any passengers would likely be experiencing.

The proposed AD calls for the removal of one of the centre-row seats. The latest iteration of the 206, the 206H (which came to market in 1998), is already limited by TC to five seats, requiring one of the centre seats to be removed before issuing the aircraft a Certificate of Airworthiness.

The proposed AD also calls for the installation of Cessna’s Cargo Door Latch Improvement Kit (p/n: SK206-40), which was created in conjunction with Cessna’s Service Bulletin SEB91-4 back in 1991.

Appended below are PDF versions of the proposed AD, the cover letter from TC that was sent to current Cessna 206 owners and of SEB91-4.

COPA members who are affected by this proposed AD are encouraged to contact COPA’s operations manager Jean-Claude Audet. Based on member feedback, COPA may decide to intervene.

Top photo: Right side of C-FNEQ [an occurrence aircraft] showing the flap position (20°) relative to the rear double cargo door (flaps partially deployed). The rear half of the cargo door and the pilot door opened during aircraft recovery. Photo courtesy of the TSB

Cover Letter
Service Bulletin SEB91-4



Places to Fly: Hawkesbury, Ontario

The folks at COPA Flight 131 – Hawkesbury Flying Club invite pilots with their ski-equipped planes to attend their Ski-In this coming Saturday (February 22) at the Hawkesbury (east) airport (CPG5). Emphasis is on ski-equipped planes only, but those coming by car are welcome too.

Sloppy Joes will be served during the bilingual event, which runs from 11:00 to 13:00.

In warm and dry conditions, the turf runway (10/28) is 2,000 feet by 60 feet. According to the CFS, no fuel is available.

Contact the Hawkesbury Flying Club for more information.

Photo courtesy of J-P Bonin

Transport Canada To Scrutinize New U.S. Aircraft Designs

Transport Canada (TC) has announced that they will be changing the way aircraft manufactured in the U.S. are certified for operations in Canada. Previously, TC would trust U.S. certifications by their regulator (the FAA) with cursory validation as FAA certification was traditionally held in high esteem by the industry. However, since the crashes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Maxes last year, hearings held by the U.S. Congress have revealed that the FAA delegated much of their oversight responsibilities to Boeing staff, leading to the loss of trust in the U.S. certification process.

“We are making changes to improve the rigour of our validation system,” Amy Butcher, a spokesperson for Transport Minister Marc Garneau, told The Globe and Mail newspaper last weekend. “Transport Canada will conduct its own flight testing after the FAA completes their own.”

Families of the 18 Canadian victims of the Ethiopian crash were pressing the federal government last year to hold public hearings so that the public can follow any corrective action taken. Parliament’s Select Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (TRAN) was presented with a motion last summer that would have allowed the families to testify publicly but it was voted down at the time by the then-Liberal-dominated committee.

On Tuesday of this week Todd Doherty, the Opposition’s Transport critic and vice-chair of TRAN, proposed a motion in the House of Commons that would require TRAN to study “Transport Canada’s aircraft certification process, including, but not limited to, the nature of Transport Canada’s relationship to the Federal Aviation Administration and other certifying bodies, as well as the role of airplane manufacturers in the airplane certification process.” The motion received the support of Liberal committee member Chris Bittle, who is also the parliamentary secretary to transport minister Marc Garneau.

It remains unclear to what extent foreign-certified aircraft would require more rigorous review before being allowed to operate in Canada, such as which countries would be considered less trustworthy than others, and what aircraft categories would be included, e.g. Part 525 (transport-category aircraft, such as airliners) and Part 523 (normal-category aircraft, such as privately operated smaller aircraft).

Broken ELT Switch Delayed Search

When a Robinson R44 helicopter went missing last July on a VFR flight from De La Bidière Lake in Quebec to Sainte-Sophie, also in Quebec, it was the next day that Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities were notified of the missing aircraft. No ELT signal was received.

An extensive search was launched, employing RCAF Griffon and Cormorant helicopters and Hercules and Aurora airplanes. The Sûreté du Quebec and the Canadian Coast Guard joined in, as did volunteer SAR organizations and volunteer pilots with their planes. The search went on for fourteen days before the wreckage of the helicopter was found near Valtrie Lake, Quebec, its two occupants dead.

The 406 MHz ELT, which was turned off but was still connected to its antennae, was removed from the wreckage and sent to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) laboratory in Ottawa. Technicians there found the ELT to be serviceable, recently certified, the battery charged and in good working order. However, the ELT’s switch was found to be defective, allowing it to alternate between the OFF and ARM positions. Wear on a broken piece of the switch indicated that the failure had occurred sometime before, an indication that recent inspection and recertification of the ELT had not detected the broken switch.

The TSB inspected two other ELTs of the same model (Kannad) and found another defective switch (this one freely moving between the ON and OFF position).

As a result, the TSB has issued an Air Safety Advisory (A 19Q0109-D1-A1) to Transport Canada, with a copy to Orolia (the manufacturer of the Kannad ELTs), advising them of the issue and suggesting that periodic inspections of the switches be implemented.

The accident investigation by the TSB continues.

Photo courtesy of the TSB