Trail Airport Status Update

Last week we reported that the Trail airport (CAD4) in southern British Columbia was to close effective March 30, and that those wishing to access the airport would need to request permission 24 hours in advance (PPR). Updated information from the City of Trail indicates that the prior notice requirement is in fact one hour, as per the Nav Canada NOTAM.

(I1377/20 NOTAMR I1374/20
A) CXXX B) 2003302009 C) 2005011804EST
AD CLSD AVBL 1HR PN CTC 250-921-5478)

COPA’s Response to Pandemic

It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the news and the pace at which things are moving.

Ontario and Quebec have ordered all non-essential businesses and places closed, which some people are tempted to extend to airports and aerodromes. They should not! Both provinces have clearly spelled out that all airports, aviation repair and fuel distribution installations as essential. See here for Ontario and here for Quebec. It would be wise for us to travel responsibly and do our part not to spread the virus, which is why we encourage you to follow the guidelines from Canada Border Services Agency we found on Twitter. As you will see in one of the eFlight articles, we know of one airport (Trail, B.C.) whose operator has decided to essentially close it for the time being, requiring a 24-hour notice for permission to land (PPR), while some others are now asking for similar or shorter PPRs to minimize interactions.

COPA is participating, along with other associations, in discussions with Transport Canada (TC) who are doing their best to alleviate the impacts on industry. We applaud their understanding and collaboration while trying to navigate through the different jurisdictions. Some exemptions were put in place, others are to follow. You can read these changes by going to the page dedicated to TC initiatives regarding COVID-19.

As we get more news, we will keep informed through email blast or eFlight. Though COPA staff is working remotely (and everyone is fine), you can still reach all of us as you did before through email or phone.

Helicopter Pilot Shortage?

According to industry sources, there is a shortage of helicopter pilots in Canada. Industry insiders point out that it is difficult for new helicopter pilots to apprentice with more experienced pilots, citing helicopter operations where the operation or task being performed doesn’t allow for a co-pilot, despite the willingness of many of them to work for very low wages just for the experience.

Commercial helicopter pilot Mark Sribney of Edmonton, Alberta says there is a shortage of pilots with 1,000 to 2,000 hours of flight time. Exacerbating this is that the number of helicopter pilots retiring is greater than the number of new pilots entering the rotary workforce.

Aggravating the situation, according to Sribney, is that the fixed-wing industry is offering incentives for rotary-wing pilots to cross over into their segment of the industry.

Photo credit: Canadian Helicopters

BC Airport to Close During Pandemic

At least one Canadian city has chosen to shut their airport down, including its single runway, during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Monday, March 30, anyone wishing to land at the non-towered Trail airport (CAD4) in the Kootenay-Boundary region in the southern interior of British Columbia will need to obtain prior permission (PPR) 24 hours in advance to land.

According to airport manager Robert Baker, staffing levels at the city-owned and operated airport “…will be significantly reduced and gates will be locked or de-energized during this time.” The terminal building will be closed. Both JA-1 and 100LL self-serve fuel systems will, however, remain active.

When contacted by eFlight, Baker said that “…aircraft that need to land in an emergency can land, but it would be at their own risk.” Baker also stated that violators would be reported to Transport Canada. It is not yet clear whether permission would automatically be given if requested 24 hours in advance.

Pacific Coastal Airlines, which normally provides service from Vancouver to Trail (pop. 7,700), suspended service to that city on Tuesday, March 24 until at least May 3.

Photo credit: City of Trail

Advice to GA Pilots Regarding COVID-19

By Phil Lightstone

COVID-19 has been in the public’s attention for the past three months. During the past three weeks, the virus has gained more ground in North America, impacting general aviation, business aviation, air taxis, charters and, of course, the airlines. Key messages from our government leaders focus on “flattening the curve” in an effort to contain the virus.

From a GA perspective, there are a number of proactive and reactive steps which we can take to keep us safe. These are especially applicable if your aircraft sees multiple users.

Medical professionals have identified that the virus can live on surfaces for an extended period of time, from two hours to nine days, depending upon the type of surface and the temperature. What we don’t want is the aircraft environment to become a petri dish incubating the virus.

From Health Canada’s website, the virus is most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • Respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze;
  • Close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

As pilots, we need to be cognizant of the impact of our actions (or non-actions) toward others. The following pre- and post-flight actions should be added to your checklist. Health Canada’s list of recommended disinfecting products can be found here.

Before planning your next flight, contact your avionics manufacturers to determine which cleaning products will not harm the screens, glass and instruments. For example, Garmin recommends using a cleaner with at least 70 percent, but no more than 91 percent, of isopropyl alcohol and advises that cleaners containing ammonia will damage the Garmin display screens. Soap and water can be used to clean the buttons and knobs; however, care should be taken as the avionics are not waterproof.

Also, contact the airframe manufacturer to determine which cleaning products will not harm the panel, switches, circuit breakers, heating controls knobs, compass, seat fabric and leather upholstery.


  • Wipe down the yoke or control stick, engine controls, seat belts and door handles with an alcohol-based wipe, or a suitable hand cleaner/disinfectant which is small and easy to carry;
  • Wipe down the avionics items that might have been touched with the appropriate cleaner;
  • Wipe down other surfaces with cleaning products as recommended by the manufacturer;
  • Wipe down any portable devices and cables that you have brought into the aircraft;
  • Wipe down shared resources like charts, maps and the Canadian Flight Supplement that are left in the aircraft.

Post Flight:

  • Ensure you keep two metres away from flight-line and FBO staff during fueling;
  • When using self-serve fuel facilities, use disposable gloves with gloves appropriate for fuel handling over top. Discard the disposable gloves afterward;
  • For fuel payments, consider using a ‘card on file’ option with your FBO if available;
  • If paying at the aircraft, wear gloves when handling the credit/debit card PIN pad. Use the ‘tap’ option if available. Some payment processors have a $100 tap limit. Wipe down the PIN pad or use disposable gloves before entering your PIN onto the machine. Consider wiping down your card before putting it back into your wallet;
  • After putting away or tying down your aircraft, wipe it down as outlined above;
  • Wipe down any portable devices and cables you may have brought into the aircraft.

These simple steps should add only a few more minutes to your walkaround and post-flight activities.

Image credit: U.S. Centres for Disease Control

COVID-19 and Canadian Drones

Draganfly, a Canadian company based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and a pioneer in commercial drones, has partnered with the University of South Australia for the development of a drone that will carry sensors designed for health monitoring and the detection of infectious and respiratory conditions, including monitoring temperatures, heart and respiratory rates among crowds, workforces, airlines, cruise ships and potential at-risk groups.

The sensor technology was developed in collaboration with the Science and Technology Group within the Australian Department of Defence.

“Our talented team of hardware, software, and electrical engineers have been tasked with development of a prototype drone that will collect the data the analytics require,” Draganfly’s COO Patrick Imbasciani told eFlight.

“Draganfly has been selected because of its proven leadership in an industry so important to public safety at such a critical time,” said Draganfly’s CEO Cameron Chell. “We look forward to working with global agencies and industry to rapidly deploy this important technology.”

Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card, who serves as a Draganfly director, added “Draganfly is honoured to work on such an important project given the current pandemic facing the world with COVID-19. As we move forward, drones and autonomous technology doing detection will be an important part of ensuring public safety.”

Photo credit: Draganfly

Minister Responds to COPA Tax Letter

We reported last month that COPA’s president and CEO Bernard Gervais had written to Finance Minister Bill Morneau to express COPA’s objection to a proposed 10 percent tax on aircraft purchased for personal use with a value of more than $100,000.

This proposal was announced during the 2019 federal election campaign by the Liberal Party of Canada. After the Liberals won the election and formed government, the tax proposal was included in the prime minister’s mandate letter to the re-appointed finance minister, Bill Morneau. The specific instruction is: “Introduce a new 10 percent tax on luxury boats, cars and personal aircraft over $100,000.”

COPA has now received a reply to its letter from the minister.

“We see from the tone of the minister’s letter that he is open to further consideration regarding the applicability of the proposed tax, which is probably not such a low-hanging fruit after all,” Gervais told eFlight. “We remain optimistic that the government will withdraw this proposal.”

Gervais added, “We wish to sincerely thank the hundreds of members who responded to our invitation to write to their MP and the minister, this has certainly not gone unnoticed.”

Both the letter to the minister from COPA, and the minister’s reply, are appended below.

10% Tax COPA Letter
Hon. Morneau reply

Medical Renewals Suspended

The following message to Canada’s aviation community has been issued by Transport Canada:

COVID-19 poses a significant challenge to Canada’s healthcare system. Regulatory bodies at all levels of government are working to limit the strain on the system.

To that end, all persons who currently hold a valid Transport Canada aviation Medical Certificate (MC) expiring on or before June 1st, 2020 may continue to exercise the privileges of their permits, licenses, or ratings until August 1st, 2020 subject to the conditions listed in the Exemption notice dated 17 March 2020.

Furthermore, no medical examinations for new aviation MCs will be conducted until at least May 1st, 2020.

All aviation MC holders shall continue to comply with the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) in all respects, and the CARs continue to apply in all respects other than the Exemption noted. Aviation MC holders are reminded that they shall not exercise their privileges if they cease to hold a valid MC by meeting any of the circumstances set out in section 404.06 of the CARs.

A copy of the official Transport Canada communications is appended below, including Section 404.06 of the CARs.

NCR-021-2020 - Eng

Aviation Groups Request TC Compliance Delays

In view of the havoc that the current COVID-19 pandemic is causing in Canada’s aviation industry, COPA has joined other industry associations in requesting Transport Minister Marc Garneau to delay “all current regulatory and legislative consultation processes as well as an indefinite delay in the implementation of new operating requirements derived from existing regulations, that are not directly related to the pandemic.” The group is requesting that the delay last until the government deems the pandemic to be over.

The letter was signed by the Air Transport Association of Canada, l’Association québécoise du transport aérien, the Canadian Airports Council, the Canadian Business Aviation Association, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, the Helicopter Association of Canada and the National Airlines Council of Canada.

The entire letter is pasted below:

March 18, 2020

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N5

Dear Minister Garneau: 

On behalf of the industry Associations noted above representing the breadth of the Canadian aviation sector, we are writing concerning the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We want to begin by recognizing the ongoing commitment and engagement of your Department, as all stakeholders work daily to implement new measures and adjust to new policy directives, in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians.  

We are committed to continuing all efforts necessary to meet the challenges ahead.  As you can appreciate, the operational and resource demands placed on our respective members are increasing daily.  As of course are the demands placed on Transport Canada staff.

In this environment, we are requesting an indefinite delay of all current regulatory and legislative consultation processes as well as an indefinite delay in the implementation of new operating requirements derived from existing regulations, that are not directly related to the pandemic.  We are requesting that this delay be in effect until such time as the Federal Government deems the pandemic crisis to be over.    

For the foreseeable future our members must remain focused on the immediate and widespread challenges created by COVID-19, both in terms of implementing new procedures in response to this health crisis, but also in terms of adjusting operations to meet the very real economic uncertainties that lie ahead.  The standard regulatory consultation procedures and implementation timelines established prior to COVID-19, are simply not practical. 

We thank you for your consideration and understanding of this important matter and will follow-up with your officials shortly.

Yours truly 

Air Transport Association of Canada, Association québécoise du transport aérien, Canadian Airports Council, Canadian Business Aviation Association, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, Helicopter Association of Canada, and National Airlines Council of Canada