COPA 2020 Convention and IAOPA 2020 Postponed

As with many other events affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, COPA has decided to postpone the convention that was to be held in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (CYJN) on June 25-27, 2020. We are looking to reschedule it in late August, hoping things will be back to a semi-normal state by then and we can start gathering again.

The Annual General Meeting that is usually held sometime during the convention still needs to be held before the end of June, so it will take place through live-streaming. More details to come.

On a similar note, COPA and the IAOPA have also decided to postpone the IAOPA World Assembly that was to be held in Montreal from June 29 to July 3. As this event has more far-reaching implications, with a majority of international travellers, we considered it safest to postpone until sometime next year when all borders are open and airline disruptions are no more of a threat.

First Canadian AeroVolga Borey Dealer Announced

Calgary-based aircraft brokerage firm FlightSimple Inc. announced this week that they have been named as the Canadian authorized dealer of the Russian-designed and manufactured AeroVolga Borey amphibious aircraft.

The Alberta company, which operates as FlightSimple Aircraft Sales, becomes the first Borey dealer in North America.

“The Borey is appealing in so many ways,” said FlightSimple’s president Michael Wilton. “With the amazing versatility of an amphibian, roomy cabin, latest avionics and comfortable yet solid flying feel, it is a great all-around aircraft.” With a gross weight limit of 1,232 pounds, the Rotax 912UL-powered aircraft can be registered in Canada in the advanced ultralight (AULA) category.

In 2018, a Borey was flown over 10,800 nm on a northern route around the world, including in the Arctic, in an effort to display the aircraft’s suitability for a variety of climates and conditions.

“With AeroVolga having proven its reliability by flying the Borey in harsh conditions, around the Polar Circle, this plane is clearly well built and rugged. I am very impressed and happy to support such a wonderful aircraft and help bring it to the Canadian market,” added Wilton.

The Borey made an appearance at the COPA Montebello Winter Fly-in in January, and a photograph of its appearance there was featured on the cover of the March issue of COPA Flight.

Both AeroVolga and FlightSimple have committed to appear at the Sun ‘n Fun expo, should it take place this spring.

The word ‘borey’ translates to ‘borea’, which in turn is derived from the ancient Greek word for a northern wind.

Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Bonin

Pilot Reunited with his first Plane – 48 Years Later

Albertan Richard Reid has taken possession of a 1946 Aeronca Champ – that he first purchased in 1970 when he was 19 years old. Reid, who obtained his pilot licence when he was 17, put on around 350 hours of flight time before selling it two years later in order to purchase another airplane that could go faster than the 83-mph top speed of the Aeronca.

“I have nothing but fond memories of flying this wonderful little bird,” said the 69-year-old Reid in an interview with the Canadian Press.

Reid’s son David recently tracked down the airplane to its then-current owner in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. It had been sitting in a barn unused by its 90-year-old owner who hadn’t flown it in the last 20 years. He agreed to sell it.

The younger Reid then dismantled it and hauled it back to Cremona, Alberta, where it was located when the elder Reid first owned it. Although it now requires extensive work to get it airworthy again, Reid isn’t discouraged. “I wouldn’t be the least bit afraid to climb in and fly it again,” he said.

Photo credit: Richard Reid

All Female Dreamliner Crew

Air Canada marked International Women’s Day and the annual Women in Aviation Worldwide Week recently by sending a Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Toronto to Edmonton that was crewed entirely by women, both on the flight deck and in the cabin. The coordinated event also saw the flight handled by female Nav Canada air traffic controllers along the way.

“I think a lot of women are becoming interested in aviation and I think it is a great message to young girls in school so they understand that if you stay with math, if you stay with science, stay with English, anything is possible,” said Flight AC167’s Captain Jean Nash.

“This was to honour women in aviation for their outstanding contributions and to inspire and encourage more young women to consider aviation careers,” said the Edmonton International Airport in a statement.

An all-female crewed @AirCanada 787 Dreamliner was directed from @TorontoPearson to EIA by all women @navcanada air traffic controllers. This was to honour women in aviation for their outstanding contributions & to inspire & encourage more young women to consider aviation careers — EIA (@FlyEIA) March 5, 2020

“I often say its generational,” said First Officer Stacie Kamin. “This wasn’t a career that was available to my mom. My mom was an amazing nurse and she taught me that I could do anything that I wanted to do.”

Over 200 female pilots now fly with Air Canada.

Photo credit: Air Canada

Cell Tower Proposal Nixed

by Jim Bell, COPA Director for Manitoba

COPA members, representatives of the Manitoba Aviation Council, St. Andrews airport (CYAV) and local aviation companies fended off a potential threat to aviation safety in southern Manitoba on Tuesday, March 10.

Bell MTS, as represented by Evolve Surface Strategies, applied to the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews to install a 350-foot-high cell tower in a farmer’s field near Oak Hammock Marsh. The site chosen was only three-quarters of a mile from the end of Runway 18 at Oak Hammock Air Park, a popular grass airfield, and underneath an instrument approach for St. Andrews airport (Manitoba’s second busiest) and a major pilot training airport.

Over thirty people filled the small council chamber, and several had to stand in the hallway, listening to the impassioned presentations of the hazard the tower represented to both VFR and IFR pilots. In defence, the applicant could only offer the potential of improved cellular phone service. Council members listened attentively, and very quickly and decisively rejected the application.

Working together, members of the aviation community showed their determination to preserve our freedom to fly.

Aircraft Insurance Rates Rising

COPA members may already have noticed higher costs the last time they renewed their aircraft insurance policy. They are forecast to rise yet higher.

“The last decade and a half, which was mostly characterized by decreasing aviation insurance costs, has ceased and now we are seeing rates rise,” said Michael McEwen, who heads up the Canadian office of HDI Global SE, an international insurance company based in Germany. Although McEwen was referring more specifically to commercial operators, the same situation applies to insurers of privately owned aircraft.

“Poor underwriting results due to low rates, higher repair costs and an increased frequency of attritional losses have markets reconsidering how much exposure they want to take on and re-evaluating what is acceptable rating,” added McEwen. “In some cases, we have even seen markets that underwrite aviation risks, including in Canada, exit the class altogether.”

McEwen also cites the current pilot shortage, and the resulting placement of less-experienced pilots on some airline flight decks, as a factor. “…airlines are hiring experienced pilots from other operators, and in turn those smaller companies are having to bring in a higher than usual number of new pilots to train and fill those positions. This has reduced overall pilot experience levels.”

According to Bernard Gervais, COPA’s president and CEO, COPA members will continue to enjoy the lowest aircraft insurance rates in Canada.

Look for an article by Belinda Bryce of Magnes, COPA’s aircraft insurance brokerage partner, in the May issue of COPA Flight. Bryce will be elaborating further on what to expect at renewal time.

Photo credit: Gustavo Corujo

Pickering Airport Report Released

A KPMG study of the need for a new airport in southern Ontario, commissioned by Transport Canada, was finally released this week despite being dated, and presumably submitted, in December of 2016.

The Supply and Demand Report – Pickering Lands Aviation Sector Analysis, released only after an Access to Information request, took a 20-year look forward of the need for a new airport to relieve the growing congestion at Toronto’s Pearson airport (CYYZ).

As reported in an earlier eFlight article, land in Pickering, Ontario was purchased by the federal government in 1972 in order to have it available for a major new southern Ontario airport when the need arose. That land is currently leased back to farmers.

The report states that “…a new airport is not expected to be required in southern Ontario prior to 2036 to meet the forecast demand.” However, this statement is qualified with the following: “…circumstances and industry trends [upon which the study was made] can change.”

The report also states that “The most appropriate options, based on the evaluation criteria, for a new airport on the Pickering Lands are an Industrial Airport (providing Aviation Commercial Development Lots) and a Specialty Passenger Airport (facilitating point-to-point scheduled and charter passenger air services, including those by ULCCs).” [Ed. note: ULCC means Ultra-Low-Cost Carriers.]

Mark Brooks, a member of the Friends of Pickering Airport organization (and a COPA member), released this statement: “While existing passenger capacity could be enough to handle projected growth to 2036, it was found to be desirable to start the development of a smaller industrial/specialty passenger airport now instead of waiting to build a larger airport later.”

Contacted for a statement, COPA’s president and CEO Bernard Gervais told eFlight, “COPA continues to be fully supportive of the proposed construction of a new airport in Pickering.”

The complete 491-page KPMG Supply and Demand report is appended below. Unfortunately, Transport Canada released it only in a scanned version and is not searchable. However, further information, including executive summaries, is available on Transport Canada’s website.

Photo credit: KPMG

Final Release package A-2019-00483

Pitts Crash TSB Report Out

Over-gross aircraft weight, lack of sufficient aerobatic training and incorrect control inputs were all cited in the Transportation Safety Board investigative report on the crash at the Saint-Jean-Port-Joli airport in Quebec on June 16 of last year. The impact claimed the life of the passenger and seriously injured the pilot.

The Pitts S2E, a two-place amateur-built version of the original Pitts biplane, had been performing aerobatic manoeuvres all day at the ‘Open Skies’ event organized at a private and unregistered aerodrome by the Aéro Port-Joli pilots association.

The pilot of the aircraft, holder of an ATPL and a Class 1 instructor rating, had already performed seven acrobatic flights that day without incident. On the final flight, which was meant to terminate at the aircraft’s home base at the Montreal/Aéroparc Île Perrot airport (CSP6), the aircraft pitched over sharply shortly after takeoff and entered an unrecoverable stall before striking the ground.

The TSB managed to reconstruct the short flight with the help of two video recordings made by spectators on the ground. Investigators were able to determine aircraft speeds as well as rudder and elevator positions.

Weather conditions were not a factor, and a post-crash analysis of the aircraft by the TSB found no evidence of a mechanical failure that could have led to the accident.

The complete TSB report is appended below.

Top image by the TSB. Video captures from spectators with TSB annotations