Pasher named interim president of Canadian Airports Council

The Canadian Airports Council, a division of Airports Council International, North America, appointed Monette Pasher as its interim president, effective January 24, 2022.

Pasher has 20 years of executive leadership and tourism marketing experience, explains Canadian Airports Council (CAC), and possesses extensive knowledge of Canada’s airports and policy landscape. She previously served as executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association.

“We are delighted to welcome Monette,” said RJ Steenstra, chair of the CAC and president and CEO of Fort McMurray International Airport. “She is coming in at a critical time, as we deal with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Thanks to her knowledge of airport issues and proven track record as an industry advocate, she will be able to hit the ground running and maintain our high level of engagement with government.”

In December 2021, CAC announced its current president Daniel-Robert Gooch was leaving to pursue other opportunities. After serving with CAC for 16 years, his last day with the organization is January 31, 2022.

“With so many cross border and common issues, our offices in Ottawa and Washington are always in close communication,” said Kevin Burke, president and CEO, Airports Council International, North America. “I personally know Monette from our work in Canada, and know that she will make a great addition to our team in Ottawa as the search for a permanent president gets underway.”

CAC explains its leadership team has engaged an executive recruitment firm to help with the selection of a new president, which is expected to take between three to six months.

“I am pleased to join CAC to help move the national airport agenda forward and ensure we have the tools to both survive the pandemic and build a stronger and more resilient sector for the future,” said Pasher.

Moore Brothers to build Regent seaglider

Regent selected Moore Brothers Company, a Rhode Island-based composite manufacturing, research, and development firm, to help build its seaglider technology demonstrator vehicle.

Regent is developing what it describes as all-electric seagliders to provide harbour-to-harbour, overwater transportation. It plans to test this technology demonstrator in the coming months ahead of the vehicle entering commercial service by 2025.

“As we continue to grow and move towards our 2025 commercial service goal, we look forward to partnering with even more incredible firms. We couldn’t image a better partner to kick off our technology demonstrator composite work than Moore Brothers,” said Billy Thalheimer, CEO, Regent. “Our technology demonstrator is built to fully perform end to end capabilities of float, foil, and fly.”

The Regent seaglider will aim to transport commercial passengers and critical cargo up to 180 miles at nearly 180 mph with existing battery technology. From the dock and while in the no wake zone, Regent explains the vehicle will float on its hull. Upon reaching 20 mph, it will rise up on its retractable hydrofoil as the vehicle leaves the city harbor at speeds of up to 40 mph.

Regent explains the vehicle in open water will then transition onto its wing, retract the foil, and accelerate to a 180-mph cruise speed, while staying within a wingspan of the water’s surface.

Similar to a hovercraft, Regent explains seagliders fly on an air cushion created by the pressurized air between the wings and the water, creating a “ground effect,” with operational efficiencies, increased payload capability, and greater range.

Smart Glide available for G3X Touch display, G5 flight instrument

Garmin International Inc. on Jan. 12 announced that its Smart Glide technology, a safety tool that helps pilots in loss of engine power emergencies by automating tasks to reduce pilot workload, is now available as a free software update for the G3X Touch and G5 electronic flight instrument in certified aircraft equipped with a GTN Xi series navigator.

Smart Glide compatibility can be added to a G3X Touch or G5 through the Garmin Authorized Dealer network (installation fees may apply).

Smart Glide joins Collier Trophy winning Garmin Autoland as a part of the company’s family of autonomous flight technologies. Through compatible avionics, such as GTN Xi series navigators paired with a compatible Garmin flight display, Smart Glide provides assistance to the pilot – in the event of the loss of engine power in a single-engine aircraft – by recommending a suitable airport estimated to be within glide range, as well as providing information to the pilot and optimizing select avionics settings.

When paired with a compatible Garmin autopilot, Smart Glide can automatically engage the autopilot and pitch for the aircraft’s best glide speed, explains Garmin, while simultaneously navigating the aircraft within the vicinity of the selected airport so the pilot can execute an approach and landing.

Cirrus unveils 2022 G6 SR Series

Cirrus Aircraft on January 11 revealed the 2022 G6 SR Series featuring what the company describes as a refined aircraft design with reduced drag for increased fuel efficiency, as well as Cirrus IQ mobile app updates and the ability to pair premium Xi aesthetic options.

“This latest update to the G6 embodies our passion for continued innovation and commitment to design,” said Ivy McIver, Director of the SR Series Product Line.

The single-engine piston SR Series was introduced more than 20 years ago and is now on its sixth generation with more than 8,000 aircraft delivered.

“The new G6 SR Series is a testament to our devotion to constantly enhance both comfort and safety features across our product lines,” said Zean Nielsen, CEO of Cirrus Aircraft. “In 2022, we are poised to continue as the market leader in personal aviation and streamline the flying experience with the G6 SR Series aircraft.”

Cirrus explains the 2022 G6 SR is the fastest model to date featuring sleeker wing and tail surfaces and redesigned wheel pants, resulting in true airspeeds of up to nine knots faster. The new model’s ice panel transition seams are smoothed, explains Cirrus, and wheel pant tolerances are tightened to reduce drag. Cirrus notes these aerodynamic refinements contribute to both reduced fuel consumption and faster flight segments.

Cirrus explains luggage compartment access on the 2022 model becomes easier with a new remote unlock capability and keyless entry. As well, the door opens past 90 degrees, stays open during loading, and has been redesigned to feature a deeper pocket that can accommodate two quarts of oil.

The G6 SR features Cirrus Aircraft Spectra illuminated steps offering better step and ground visibility, with a Cirrus ‘puddle light’ logo projected onto the ramp adds an extra touch of style. A new, multi-functional USB panel features both USB-A and USB-C ports.

New for 2022, Cirrus IQ enhances aircraft connectivity with a status screen redesigned to include aircraft model designation along with a new navigation bar featuring aircraft status, inspection intervals and warranty expiration. The Maintenance Minder tracks approaching inspections and sends notifications. A flight hour meter automatically updates the inspection cards by providing a progress bar and countdown to the upcoming inspection event. A My Trips module, scheduled for release in February 2022, automatically logs every flight and curates key trip statistics and achievements earned while flying.

(Photo: Cirrus Aircraft)

Sonex LLC purchased by its General Manager

Members of the Sonex team celebrate the company’s new beginnings with new owner Mark Schaible (far right). (Photo: Sonex LLC)

Mark Schaible has purchased the assets of Sonex Aircraft LLC and Sonex Aerospace LLC. He has been with the company for more than 18 years, most recently as general manager, and now take on the roles of owner and president of the newly formed Sonex LLC.

The Oshkosh, Wisconsin, company focuses on the manufacture of kit aircraft, including accessories and RPAS technologies. It plans to retain all current staff and continue the primary operations established in 1998 by founder John Monnett, who will stay-on as a lifetime emeritus advisor as-part of a new Sonex Advisory Board.

“John Monnett is a legendary name in the aviation industry, so I am very humbled and excited to have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of his achievements and continue to shape the Sonex legacy into the next generation,” said Schaible.

Long-time Sonex employee and controller/customer service manager/HR manager Heather Zahner will move up to the general manager position for the organization.

In addition to Monnett, the new Sonex Advisory Board includes original Sonex design partner and Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow Pete Buck; Sonex alumnus and Sonerai builder Joe Norris; Chilton, WI machine shop owner, Sonex supplier and AirVenture aircraft judging chairman Dave Juckem; and Chad Feucht, a retired Air Force F-16, F-22 and operational test pilot, former Lockheed-Martin and Boeing employee who currently owns and operates a wealth management practice in Fond du Lac, WI.

Sonex plans to continue serving both the piston and turbine experimental aircraft markets with its current products. In addition, new products and development priorities include:

• The JSX-2T two-seat SubSonex Personal Jet, scheduled to debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022;
• The Sonex High Wing being unveiled at AirVenture 2023;
• Additional support for the installation of Rotax 912-series engines, including the Rotax 912iS with a factory installation in-progress that will be the basis for the installation in the EAA AirVenture 2022 One Week Wonder;
• Expanded support for UL Power’s line of 4-cylinder engines and Jabiru engines;
• Advancements in Sonex’s line of AeroConversions products, while closely monitoring the engine market for other new products that may become good candidates to power Sonex aircraft as they develop and prove reliability.

“Future strength for Sonex will come from innovation and diversity within our product line, as we see great things on the horizon,” Schaible said.

TSB issues recommendation on airport construction surveillance

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, based on its safety issue investigation (A18Q0140) into 18 occurrences on runways under construction at airports in Quebec and Nunavut, on December 15 issued a recommendation to NAV CANADA to publish graphic depictions of runway closures.

The goal of the recommendation, explains the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), is to help the information communicated on these hazards be more easily understood, giving a concern with the adequacy of regulatory surveillance of airports undergoing construction activities.

TSB initiated the investigation shortly after it began looking at an occurrence in June 2018 when runway rehabilitation work was being carried out at the Baie-Comeau Airport, Quebec. The safety watchdog then discovered 14 similar occurrences had taken place at 14 other airports in Quebec and Nunavut between 2013 and 2018.

One occurrence at an airport within the A18Q0140 investigation, for example, took place when the width of the runway was reduced, rather than the length, to allow for construction work without closing the runway. The investigation found that issues such as the construction method chosen, the visual aids used during construction, and the way that airport construction information is communicated to pilots can lead to pilots not being able to identify the open portion of the runway.

Some of these hazards, according to TSB, result from the complexity of the regulations and the absence of clear standards for airport construction and for preparing and approving construction plans. The investigation also found, that if the airport construction planning process places too much emphasis on external economic pressures to avoid closing the runway, there is an increased risk that not enough emphasis will be placed on safety.

TSB notes, that in the absence of both information on which method should be used for runway rehabilitation and standards and recommended practices, decisions in regards to operations during airport construction lie entirely with the airport operator. From its A18Q0140 report, TSB determined that construction operations plans were approved by Transport Canada (TC) using informal procedures, without assessing the risk that pilots might not be able to recognize or distinguish the closed portions of the runways, and without including control measures to mitigate this risk.

“Our investigation revealed an important systemic issue: The lack of Canadian standards or official recommended practices to be followed during airport construction,” said Kathy Fox, Chair, TSB. “This lack of operational safety standards can leave pilots without sufficient visual aids to clearly distinguish the closed parts on the runways.”

The investigation also found issues with the safety management systems (SMS) in place at the airports under review, in that SMS at the airports were not effective at proactively managing the risks associated with the reduction in the runway width. TBS also notes that TC’s surveillance policies and procedures were not being followed consistently, and that some of the key oversight procedures were not fully understood by TC’s inspectors.

Based on this investigation, TSB concluded it is concerned that if TC does not provide adequate surveillance of airports in Canada, the risk of an accident related to flight operations at airports increases, particularly when the airports are undergoing construction.

TSB also concluded that when an operator plans to carry out construction activities at their airport, they must communicate the necessary information to pilots by having a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by NAV CANADA. Currently, NOTAMs in Canada are only published in text format and cannot include graphics, which can hinder the effective communication of information. As a result, TSB explains, even though the pilots had all read the available NOTAMs related to the partial runway closures, their mental models were inaccurate and they were not able to recognize or distinguish which portions were closed.

Based on these conclusions, as noted above, TSB on December 15, 2021, recommended that NAV CANADA make available, in a timely manner, graphic depictions of closures and other significant changes related to aerodrome or runway operations to accompany the associated NOTAMs, so that the information communicated on these hazards is more easily understood (Recommendation A21-01).

(Photo: Adobestock)

Sarnia airport master plan survey

The City of Sarnia is working with the consulting team of HM Aero Aviation Consulting and IDEA Inc. to develop a new master plan for the Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport, CYZR. This plan, explains the City of Sarnia, will help guide future development of the airport over the next 20 years.

Public consultations on the master plan were initiated back on December 17, 2021, with the launch of the project page at speakupsarnia.ca and two surveys, one for businesses and one for residents, to better understand the community’s air travel needs and priorities.

The survey is open until January 21, 2022.

HM Aero on January 11, 2022, also hosted a webinar to provide an overview of the Airport Master Plan process and answer questions. The Airport Master Plan is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.

(Photo: City of Sarnia, Facebook)

Minor changes at the Whitecourt Airport

— By Serena Lapointe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press

At the end of 2021, the Airport Advisory Committee heard about the next steps in a planned re-designation of specific areas at the Whitecourt Airport. Manager of Environmental Services and Airport Manager Steve Hollett presented at the meeting. “Back in 2021, there were three sections of road allowance that were an issue inside the airport. We finally got them closed and added into the area of the airport. We had a study done from HMA Aero with recommendations of what to do with those three pieces of former road allowance.”

The report and findings shared in the meeting broke down what HMA Aero Aviation Consulting recommended for the area, including reclassifying the existing apron three and the three recently closed sections of land into taxiways. “It’s been put in our budget for this upcoming year to get an engineering report and study done on what’s going to be required to make those a proper taxiway. The three pieces that were former road allowances are recommended to be a private taxiway. The cost to make them brought up to standard is considerably less than if we actually make them controlled area,” explained Hollett.

“What they were before was public access properties that people could have access to if they wanted to. This gives us control of them, and we can keep people (off) and for safety purposes. There’s a little bit of work that will need to get done and will be identified when we get the report done. For Apron 3, the initial part, which is kind of an extension of taxiway Alpha, there will be some lights and signages that will be required to bring it up to proper standards, and there may be some surface conditions that need to be brought up as well,” he continued.

Councillor Bruce Prestidge asked the difference between a private taxiway and a public taxiway. He wondered why they wouldn’t just stick with a public one. Hollett explained that the work needed to make the area up to the standards of a public taxiway would be expensive. “Whereas for the use that they are right now, a private taxiway would suffice to what they need it to be,” responded Hollett.

Councillor Prestidge brought forward a concern. “If we are trying to promote growth at the airport, by not building them properly, it would hamper what kind of facility goes in. If someone has a hanger for bigger planes and we don’t have the taxiways to handle it, they probably wouldn’t invest here.”

Director of Infrastructure Andre Bachand said that one of the parcels they closed is not wide enough to meet the guidelines for a public taxiway. “But if we make it a private taxiway, it will meet those guidelines. I believe it is essentially within an area that is leased by one company, so the amount of air traffic on that taxiway would be pretty minimal and only one user. That’s why the one is only a private taxiway. One of the second ones is questionable. When they come out, they will have to survey it to determine if it will meet the requirements of a public taxiway. And the third one will be a public taxiway,” explained Bachand.

Whitecourt Councillor Braden Lanctot asked for clarification on public versus controlled. “(When) deemed as (a) private taxiway, they don’t have to get access through flight services to operate on them whereas a normal taxiway they would need to get access through flight services,” clarified Hollett. Councillor Lanctot then asked for clarification on what it would mean for the future, depending on which classification they designated the taxiways as. “Is it a big difference on what we can bring in through there, or is it pretty similar?”

Hollett said it wouldn’t have much of an impact. “When it comes to taxiways, they are all done off of pavement load rating. Two of the areas would need some significant work to get up to what our designed aircraft is. The third one should pretty much meet our designed aircraft right now,” he explained.

County Councillor Alan Deane asked if the $50,000 cited for costs was for the engineering needed to do a site survey, to which Bachand said yes. HM Aero recommended a centreline being added to taxiway F. They also suggested adding standalone unlit location information signs at the entrances of taxiways E and F. The funding needed for the surveying is within the 2022 budget. The work is expected to start in 2023, pending budget approval at that time.

(Photo: Fireweedfour)

Joby increases flight test capacity in support of certification goal

Joby’s second pre-production prototype at the company’s hangar in Marina, California. (Photo: Joby Aviation)

Joby Aviation Inc., a California-based company developing all-electric aircraft for commercial passenger service, confirmed it received FAA Special Airworthiness Certification and US Air Force Airworthiness Approval for a second pre-production prototype aircraft in December 2021, as expected.

The first pre-production prototype generated 65 terabytes of test data in 2021, flying more than 5,300 miles, including what is believed to be the longest flight of an eVTOL aircraft to date, at 154.6 miles on a single charge.

Joby states the second aircraft will significantly accelerate its capacity for flight testing in 2022, supporting the company’s ambition to certify its aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in time to launch commercial operations in 2024. The aircraft is expected to begin flying later this month and will be put into service as part of Joby’s Agility Prime contract with the US Air Force.

“Our 2021 flight test program delivered a wealth of information and experience to support our program,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby. “With two aircraft flying at the same time, we’ll be able to increase the speed of our learnings as planned, while continuing to fulfill the requirements of our Agility Prime contract.

US Air Force airworthiness was received just six days after the FAA special airworthiness certification was granted.

With a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200 mph, Joby’s all-electric aircraft is designed to carry four passengers and a pilot with zero operating emissions. The company began flying full-scale prototypes in 2017 and has completed more than 1,000 flight tests to date.

In 2020, Joby became the first and only eVTOL company to sign a G-1 (stage 4) certification basis with the FAA, having received an initial (stage 2) signed G-1 from the FAA in 2019.

Is Mirabel Airport seeking to oust flight schools from its facilities

By Marc-André Théorêt (Photo: Yvan Leduc)

We all know the tumultuous history of the Montreal Mirabel Airport. Planned in the 1960s to be one of the world’s biggest airports, its initial phase was finally completed in 1975 and remained operational until 2004, ultimately becoming infamous as one of the greatest misfires in the history of airport planning.

Since its closure to commercial traffic, it has been primarily been used by freight carriers and a number of aviation companies such as Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney and Nolinor, among others. Managed jointly by the Montréal-Trudeau Airport and a non-profit named Aéroports de Montréal (ADM) since 1992, it had been left in a state of stagnation compared to Montréal-Trudeau, which is constantly being upgraded.

Since its inauguration, the Mirabel airport has always remained receptive to general trends in the aviation sector, notably by allowing touch-and-go landings of piston engine aircrafts and the use of its airstrips for practice instrument approaches.

In 2007, a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) was even installing infrastructure in order to attract business jets and other private aircraft looking for an alternative to Montréal-Trudeau’s own FBOs.

In 2011, ADM showed interest in an air park project aimed at General Aviation. This project led to the installation of 20 hangars built by Mirajet. These new infrastructures, representing private investments of over $10 million, convinced two flight schools to move there in 2016.

Thus, Cargair and Académie aéronautique established themselves in this ideal location for training future airline pilots. Indeed, there is no better place for training than an underused airport equipped with huge airstrips and located just far enough away from urban sectors, where engine noise would not bother anyone. Students soon came in droves and aircraft movements increased considerably, going from 24,000 in 2008 to more than 80,000 in 2019.

Consequently, in January 2020, NAV CANADA decided to put its control tower, which had been closed since 2008, back into operation. This goes to show to what extent General Aviation brought new life to the airport.

Mirabel-based flight schools offer the best training programs, with high-quality installations, little time spent waiting on the ground due to traffic, the presence of a control tower to help learn radio communications and, of course, a safer learning environment due to the airport’s large airstrip space.

Until just recently, ADM charged $10.55 per 1,000 kg at take-off for planes other than piston engine aircrafts, with a minimum fee of $63.21 per landing, and $20.32 for piston aircrafts, with the possibility of purchasing an annual subscription for $524.96 per plane. While these fees were relatively high compared to other installations in Canada and the United States, they were considered acceptable by the airport’s clients.

But all of this changed this past January when, pretexting loss of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ADM increased its fees significantly, to $12.40 per 1,000 kg for jets and turboprops and to $64.79 for piston aircrafts (equivalent to the price charged for a 5,000 kilogram jet aircraft).

Furthermore, annual subscriptions for piston aircrafts were abolished. As a result of these price increases, flight schools have seen their expenses increase by approximately $40,000 per plane annually. A price increase of this magnitude cannot be simply absorbed and passed on to student pilots.

Asked about the role of the Covid-19 pandemic in this major increase, ADM argues that without subsidies for Transport Canada, the organization was forced to turn to its users – a decision purely motivated by accounting concerns. Interviewed again this past spring, the organization cited airstrip wear caused by piston aircrafts, while a recent comment instead pointed to small aircraft movements creating risks of accidents around the airport.

Both of these arguments are completely undocumented and simply don’t hold water, which leads us to believe that ADM is actually trying to drive General Aviation out of its installations. ADM considers Montreal Mirabel an industrial airport, a term that has no meaning in the aviation industry.

Of course, Mirabel does manage a large quantity of freight traffic, but it should not be limited to this function. The business generated by general aviation should not be undervalued, but instead used to promote its installations and attract developers and start-ups.

It would take vision to do this, but it seems vision is not the ADM’s priority for Mirabel.