Instrument Failure Led to King Air Crash

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) this week released its investigation report into the January 30, 2019 Air Tindi crash of a Beechcraft King Air near Whatì, Northwest Territories that claimed the lives of both pilots.

The flight, with only a two-man crew on board, departed Yellowknife airport (CYZF) in the morning bound for Whatì airport (CEM3), normally a 36-minute flight at a planned altitude of 12,000 feet ASL. Shortly after initiating descent, the pilot’s attitude indicator failed, and the autopilot automatically disengaged. The left seat pilot, the captain, took manual control using partial (instrument) panel piloting techniques as they were at that moment in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The captain began a climb but was unsuccessful as the twin-turboprop aircraft began to descend again. Seconds later the aircraft began first a right turn, then a left turn, all the while descending at progressively greater airspeeds. The aircraft then continued into a spiral dive and impacted terrain at an estimated airspeed of 404 knots. The 406 ELT was activated.

The flight had departed with the co-pilot’s vacuum-driven attitude indicator inoperative. Although the aircraft’s minimum equipment list (MEL) permitted the aircraft to depart with only one attitude indicator, certain conditions for doing so had to have been met. The following is an excerpt from Air Tindi’s MEL for the occurrence aircraft that specifies exceptions to the MEL:

[The gyroscopic pitch and bank indicator] may be inoperative on right side provided:
(a)  A second in command is not required for the flight.
(b)  Aircraft is not equipped with EFIS or Survoed Electric Gyroscopic Pitch and Bank Indicator
NOTE: Where a served electric altimeter is installed, a functioning pneumatic indicator is required.

The King Air involved in the crash was equipped on the left (pilot) side with an electrical attitude indicator, in non-conformance with the MEL.

The aircraft was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), which allowed the TSB investigators more insight into how and why the flight proceeded.

According to a press release issued on April 27 by the TSB, “The investigation determined that the crew did not effectively manage and mitigate the risk associated with the unserviceable right-side attitude indicator. Crew resource management was also not effective and resulted in a breakdown in verbal communication, loss of situation awareness, and the aircraft entering an unsafe condition.”

The complete TSB report is appended below.

Image credit: TSB


Notable Pandemic-Related Flights

In these unusual times, air transportation has generated substantial interest, notably the disastrous effect the pandemic has had on passenger airlines, large and small, and their many now-unemployed personnel. However, cargo flights are still proving to be not only essential, but especially noteworthy in some cases.

As of this writing, the world’s largest airplane, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya, was en route from Tianjin, China (ZBTJ) to Montreal/Mirabel airport (CYMX) via Anchorage, Alaska (PANC). Inside its cavernous fuselage is Personal Protective Equipment purchased by the Government of Quebec.

The AN-225, which first flew in 1985, was initially designed to carry the Soviet version of a space shuttle, called the Buran, on its back similar to how NASA used to carry its shuttles on the back of a specially modified Boeing 747. It holds the world record payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb).

Another notable flight this week is the record-setting flight by one of Air Canada’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which flew non-stop between Sydney, Australia (YSSY) and Toronto/Pearson airport (CYYZ) on Monday, April 27. The flight, which is not part of Air Canada’s regular schedule, flew the 8,537 nm distance in 16 hr 19 min. The carrier then bested its record by flying the same route on Wednesday, April 29, logging the 8,560 nm distance in 16 hr 08 min.

Top photo credit: Wikimedia Commons-Larske; bottom photo credit: Air Canada

Jazz Converts Dash 8s to Freighters

Nova Scotia’s Chorus Aviation, owner of Jazz Aviation, announced recently that they will be converting up to 13 of their Dash 8-400s from passenger airliners to aerial freighters. The aircraft will then be designated as Dash 8-400 SPFs (Simplified Package Freighters). The conversion will allow up to 18,000 pounds (8,165 kilograms) in the main cabin and the belly of the plane.

A conversion kit was developed by De Havilland Canada, which now owns the type certificates for the Dash-8 line of aircraft, and which will be the exclusive kit supplier to Jazz throughout the conversion program.

“De Havilland Canada’s Dash 8-400 Simplified Package Freighter will allow us to redeploy aircraft, while contributing to the collective fight against COVID-19 by supporting our customer, Air Canada, in the delivery of essential cargo,” said Jazz president Randolph deGooyer.

The cessation of most of Jazz’s passenger flights has resulted in greatly reduced the cargo-carrying capacity that smaller communities depend on.

“This aircraft will allow us to provide critical cargo lift on short and medium-haul routes that have been impacted by the reduction of passenger flights,” said Air Canada Cargo vice-president Tim Strauss. “The converted cabin, which can accommodate a cargo volume of 1,150 cubic feet, is perfectly suited to loose-load cargo like medical supplies, PPE and other goods needed to support the ongoing fight against COVID-19.”

Image credit: De Havilland Aircraft of Canada

RCAF Cyclone Helicopter Missing

An RCAF CH-148 Cyclone helicopter has gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece Thursday (April 30). As of this writing, one crew member, has been confirmed dead, and five others are still missing. There is no word yet on the cause of the downing of the Sikorsky helicopter.

This news comes at a time that Nova Scotians are reeling under the double tragedies the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent murder rampage perpetuated by a man impersonating a police officer; not only was the helicopter paired with the Halifax-based frigate HMSC Fredericton, half of its six-person crew were natives of Nova Scotia.

The Cyclone entered service with the RCAF, beginning in 2015, when it replaced the CH-124 Sea King fleet of ship-borne maritime helicopters. Not all of the 28 aircraft ordered have been delivered. Half of the CH-148s are stationed at 12 Wing Shearwater in Nova Scotia and the other half at 12 Wing Patricia Bay in British Columbia.

The Cyclone is a militarized version of the U.S.-made Sikorsky S-92, which also produces the H-92 Superhawk used by the U.S. Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Coincidentally, Saanich, British Columbia-based VIH Aviation Group and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, announced this week the signing of a contract for the supply of S-92A upgrade kits for four of the 11 S-92A twin turboshaft helicopters operated by VIH’s subsidiary Cougar Helicopters.

Cougar, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and Goffs, Nova Scotia, will become the launch customer for the upgrade, which is designed to improve the flow of lubricating oil in the main gearbox in case of a failure of the primary lubrication system.

Top photo credit: Leading Seaman Dan Bard, Formation Imaging Services, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bottom photo credit: Cougar Helicopters

From the COPA CEO’s Office….

COPA has been meeting regularly with Transport Canada during those meetings with all of industry. A lot of the work understandably revolves around money-generating operations and operators, who have suffered major losses in the past weeks. You can see the COVID-19 related action items here.

A question that has come up during some of the live sessions I’ve been holding is “when can we go back up again?” The answer is to follow your provincial guidelines of confinement and moving about, same as you would with your car. And ask yourself, is it really essential (other than your need to fly)?

Relief flights

We have clearly heard our members wanting to do something with their aircraft about helping out. A few weeks ago we offered the federal government our COPA resources by way of our COPA Flights with our GA aircraft and pilots. They have gotten back to us to explore the possibilities, mainly the federal Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Right now, it is at a discussion level and there is nothing official nor any specific need. There will be coordination with Public Safety Canada and other departments and most likely provinces. If anything comes out, we will reach out to COPA Flights directly.

Vote in the 2020 Board of Directors Election


Every two years half of the positions on the COPA Board of Directors are up for election. In this election, a total of six positions representing the following regions will need to be elected:

· Two (2) Directors representing New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
· One (1) Director representing Northern Ontario (the area of Ontario where Postal Codes start with “P”)
· One (1) Director representing Saskatchewan
· Two (2) Directors representing Alberta and the Northwest Territories

Two positions on the board have already been acclaimed. Bill Mahoney (Incumbent) has been acclaimed and will represent Newfoundland and Labrador. Jim Bell (Incumbent) has been acclaimed and will represent Manitoba and Nunavut.


This year’s voting period will take place from April 13th – May 10th, 2020. Only active COPA members are eligible to vote. If your regional director is not up for election, you will not be able to participate in this election. To see if you are eligible, please review the following steps:

1. Visit COPA’s website (
2. Login by moving your cursor over “Member” (top-centre above the COPA logo) and click on Login.
3. Log in using your Membership ID or Email Address, followed by your Password. If you have lost your Password, click on Lost your Password? and follow the instructions.
4. Then go to the Members Only Section by moving your cursor over Member and click on Members Only
5. Under MEMBERSHIP AND VOTING you will see the link to vote (as of April 13, 2020) and to see the candidates in your region, “Board of Directors Election 2020”. If you do not see an option vote, it means there is no election in your area at this time.

Click on your region to see the candidates in your area.







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COPA Member ‘Hearts’ Nova Scotia Victims

Halifax businessman Dimitri Neonakis gained international recognition recently when he flew a heart-shaped pattern centred on the Nova-Scotia community of Portapique, ground zero of the horrifying massacre earlier this week of at least 22 people.

Image credit: FlightAware

Neonakis, owner of a Cirrus SR-22 and a COPA member, felt an urge to do something to express his condolences to the people of Nova Scotia as soon as he heard about the killings. On Sunday afternoon, just hours after the killing stopped, he took his plane to the sky to pay tribute to those affected by the tragedy. He had no idea he was being observed by others.

Halifax air traffic controllers with whom Neonakis was in contact with after returning to Halifax airport (CYHZ) noted the pattern he traced with his ADS-B OUT-equipped Cirrus, calling it “A beautiful flight path.” The flight path was also recorded by air traffic tracking app FlightAware and the video clip has since gone viral around the world.

Showing empathy for those less fortunate among us is nothing new for Neonakis, who emigrated to Nova Scotia from Greece as a young man. For six months every year since 2017, Neonakis has been giving free one-hour flights for developmentally challenged or ill children around the skies above Nova Scotia. In the three years he has been running the program he calls Dream Wings, he has given 420 disadvantaged children the thrill of flight, with many of them enjoying a hands-on-the-controls experience.

“It’s my way of giving back,” Neonakis told eFlight in an interview.

Canadian Drones Track American COVID Infections

Draganfly, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan designer and manufacturer of specialized commercial drones, has deployed a fleet of specially equipped unmanned aerial vehicles near New York City in a pilot project to detect the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As reported in eFlight on March 27, Draganfly has been working with the University of Southern Australia to equip Draganfly drones with specialized sensors that can measure not only social distancing compliance, but also detect the presence of fevers by sensing body temperature from a distance. The sensors can also detect heart and respiratory rates, as well as people sneezing and coughing in crowds. All this from a distance of about 58 metres (190 feet).

Participating in the project is Vital Intelligence, Inc., which provides data analysis for the pilot project, directed by the Westport, Connecticut police department. Fairfield County, adjacent to New York City and within which Westport is located, is a local epicentre of coronavirus infections.

“One of the major problems for cities and towns like Westport in managing and responding to a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus, is finding out who could be infected and how widespread the disease has spread,” said local government official Jim Marpe.

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

Diamond and Centennial College Sign MOU

Diamond Aircraft, the Chinese-owned Austrian company with a manufacturing plant in London, Ontario, has sign a memorandum of understanding with Ontario’s Centennial College calling for collaboration in the training of technical personnel for the aviation industry.

“Diamond Aircraft is excited about our collaboration with Centennial College,” said Diamond’s CEO Scott McFadzean. “We look forward to working with Centennial on several initiatives and offering co-op and employment opportunities to Centennial students and graduates.”

Centennial College’s School of Transportation offers four aviation and aerospace programs: two 2-year programs specializing in either aircraft or avionics maintenance that lead to an Ontario College Diploma, and two 3-year programs that add either aircraft or avionics maintenance management training and lead to an Ontario College Advanced Diploma. All four programs are based at Centennial’s Downsview airport facility (CYZD).

“As a start, work is underway in creating work co-op, placement and capstone opportunities with Diamond Aircraft for students in select Centennial programs,” said Dr. Rahim Karim of Centennial College. “As well, we are reviewing programming and graduate needs for Diamond to build their talent pipeline.”

Founded in 1981, Diamond currently employs more than 1,000 people worldwide, including at its Austrian headquarters and its manufacturing facilities in China and Ontario. The manufacturer produces motor gliders, 2-place and 4-place single-engine aircraft models, 4 to 7-seat twin-engine models as well as unmanned aerial vehicles. Diamond also manufactures flight simulators for the pilot training market.

Inside the cockpit of a Diamond flight simulator. Photo: Diamond Aircraft

Upper photo credit: WIA-Canada