Applications open for new round of Community Airport Partnership grants in Saskatchewan

A drone shot of the construction of a new runway at Moosomin airport in fall 2021. Through the provincial Community Airport Partnership (CAP) program, Moosomin has received the maximum grant of $275,000 for three consecutive years for the expansion of its airport and will be applying again this year. (Photo: Sierra D’Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator)

— By Sierra D’Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator

The Government of Saskatchewan is now accepting applications for the Community Airport Partnership (CAP) program, which funds airport improvements across the province, and which has provided $825,000 in funding for Moosomin’s airport expansion over the last three years.

The program is administered through the Ministry of Highways and transportation and is open to all communities in the province to apply for up to $275,000 in grants, for rehabilitation and improvements.

Through the CAP program, Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw said the provincial government has given a total of $18 million of funding to 42 communities.

He said it’s important to fund a program that supports community airports across Saskatchewan.

“It’s important for the safety aspect because you have air ambulance, you’ve STARS. You also have businesses that use them, recreation of course, our tourism industry is another big user of the airports and of course, the aerial applicators are big users of our airports,” said Bradshaw.

“It’s very important for the province to have all these airports. I’m from Carrot River myself and of course we have the Nipawin airport that the air ambulance comes into, Tisdale airport, and Melfort airport where we have got the air ambulance coming, too.”

Bradshaw said there’s a high demand for programs like CAP, as communities across the province continue to seek government assistance, for help on improving local airports.

“There is a good demand for it, we always want to see improvements on airports because of the very many different aspects, and the different people who use them.”

“Some of them require some upgrades because the infrastructure may be getting to the end of their life cycle, they need some patching on their pavement, and things like maybe they need their aprons fixed up. When you have a King Air which is used for the air ambulance, you need to have a solid apron.”

Bradshaw said it’s important the government support rural airports.

“They’re very important especially because of the air ambulance. Saskatchewan has a lot of growth going into it right now, when you take the different canola crushing plants, you have forestry, so you’ve got people using them. We have the firefighting aspect of it, there’s obviously all sorts of uses for the airports surrounding small towns.”

Moosomin’s airport has received the maximum grant of $275,000 from CAP for three consecutive years. The airport is undergoing a major expansion.

Because Moosomin’s project is on a larger scale than many of the airport maintanance projects funded through CAPP and received the maximum allowable CAP grant three years in a row, with mor funding needed, Bradshaw was asked if there is a separate program with a higher limit for larger projects like Moosomin’s.

“We don’t have another grant system in place to be able to support it more. We have the CAP program and the CAP program supports all airports across Saskatchewan,” said Bradshaw.

“That’s how come we have limited grants to $275,000 because we have to share this amongst all sorts of different communities that require money.”

“We have budget constraints every year, this program was administered through highways and of course we have a lot of highways. We have to allocate our money accordingly and actually, we increased the municipal revenue sharing with the towns and the RMs, so there’s a pool of money in there too.”

The minister said the department tries to approve as many applicants as they can for funding.

Last year, 19 communities were approved for funding out of the 23 applicants.

The Government of Saskatchewan contributed a record $1.5 million to improvements of community airports in the 2021-22 Budget. The additional funds came from government’s two-year $7.5 billion stimulus program.

Bradshaw said he encourages as many communities to apply for the grant before its deadline.

“The main thing is to make sure you get your application in and be sure to get it in before March 13.”

Applications are now open for Community Airport Partnership grants available in 2022-23. Interested communities can apply at the Province’s website.

The deadline for applications is 5 pm on March 13, 2022

TSB reports on June 2021 helicopter crash near Nipigon

The occurrence aircraft during recovery preparations. (Source: TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on Feb. 8 released its investigation report (A21C0052) into the non-fatal loss of control and collision with terrain that occurred on June 7, 2021, near Nipigon, Ontario.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) conducted a limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation into this occurrence involving a Helicopter Transport Services Canada Inc. (HTSC) Bell 214ST helicopter (registration C-GDYZ) with only the pilot on board. In releasing its report and concluding safety message, TSB notes, “As seen in this occurrence, the consequences of an incompletely seated retainer ring entering service can lead to a failure of the tail rotor drivetrain and consequent loss of tail rotor thrust.” The full TSB report detailing its look into the maintenance of the aircraft can found on its investigation page.

In describing the accident, TSB explains the experienced pilot, with approximately 8,400 hours total flying time, and around 1,940 hours on the Bell 214ST, suffered serious injuries but survived the crash, which took place at around 7.30 pm EST as he was returning to base from an aerial firefighting mission about 50 km nearest of Nipigon.

TSB explains the aircraft was equipped with a 550-gallon collapsible water bucket on a 150-foot long line and the pilot had conducted approximately 45 drops before informing the fire boss on board the bird dog/spotter aircraft that the helicopter was low on fuel and that the end of his duty day was nearing.

During the return trip to the Nipigon fire base, at about 1,600 feet above ground level (3000 feet above sea level), TSB explains the helicopter was travelling at 70 to 74 knots in a nose-down attitude of roughly 7 degrees due to the empty water bucket when the pilot was alerted by a vibration in the tail rotor pedals and a grinding noise. In its report, TSB explains, moments later, the 42 degree BOX OIL PRESS and 90 degree BOX OIL PRESS annunciators for the two tail rotor gearboxes illuminated, and there was an audible engine overspeed noise. The helicopter yawed to the right, according to TSB’s report, and the nose began to pitch down.

TSB continues to explain in its report that the pilot lowered the collective control and moved the cyclic control aft to counteract the nose-down tendency, increase the main rotor rpm, and enter autorotative flight. As the helicopter began to spin, TSB notes the pilot released the long line and water bucket by kicking the manual cargo release pedal.

The pilot transmitted a Mayday call on the enroute frequency (126.7 MHz) and informed other aircraft working on the same fire that he had lost tail rotor control, according to the TSB report. While the helicopter was descending at approximately 1,000 to 1,500 fpm, TSB explains in its report that the pilot made three attempts to use some engine power to fly the helicopter to a suitable landing area near a small lake.

TSB explains the pilot was able to regain some control over the adverse yaw via airflow acting on the vertical stabilizer and, as the helicopter descended below treetop height, he raised the collective control to cushion the landing, at which point the low rotor rpm horn activated. The helicopter then landed on its left skid gear with almost no forward speed, explains TSB in its report, and the emergency locator transmitter activated automatically and there was no fire. The helicopter was substantially damaged.

TSB explains the pilot shut down the engines and electrical systems, climbed out of the right-side cockpit door, and within a few minutes was rescued by another helicopter with fire fighters on board responded to the Mayday call. He was then transported directly to a hospital in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

First flight for Tecnam H3PS hybrid aircraft

Tecnam Aircraft, in collaboration with teams from Rolls-Royce and Rotax, flew its P2010 H3PS hybrid aircraft for the first time on December 21, 2021, at precisely 3:54 pm CET. The Permit to Fly was issued by ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority.

The P2010 H3PS is described by Tecnam as the first General Aviation aircraft with a parallel hybrid configuration to take flight, representing a major milestone on the aviation industry’s pursuit of de-carbonization and powertrains of alternative energy.

The flight was performed by Tecnam’s Chief Experimental Test Pilot Lorenzo De Stefano, with Tecnam, Rolls-Royce and Rotax Teams on the ground.

The P2010 H3PS is powered by a 104kW Rotax 915 IS engine coupled with a 30kW Rolls-Royce electric motor, totaling 134kW (180hp) powertrain in a fully integrated parallel hybrid configuration. As such, this four-seat aircraft is first of its kind.

“Though H3PS is not intended for market purposes, our successful flight tests demonstrate that hybrid powertrain, with combustion engine coupled with an electric motor, can bear the same useful load of the traditional 180hp combustion engine,” said Fabio Russo, R&D Director, Tecnam Aircraft.

H3PS, which stands for High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain, is a project funded under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Launched in 2018, the project has reached its objectives. Tecnam explains H3PS’ success has validated the aircraft’s scalability potential, lower emissions, state of the art power management technology, building a viable launchpad for future green aircraft models.

(Photos: Tecnam Aircraft)

Bell 505 fleet achieves 100,000 flight hours

Bell Textron Inc. on Feb. 9 announced the Bell 505 helicopter, which was first delivered to a customer in 2017, reached 100,000 global fleet hours. Bell has now completed more than 360 Bell 505 global deliveries, with the short light single helicopter’s program primarily based out of its facility in Mirabel, Quebec.

“Since its entry into service, the Bell 505 continues to impress global operators for its unparalleled performance and capabilities,” said Lane Evans, director, Bell 505 Sales and Support. “This significant achievement further demonstrates our customers’ admiration for the platform and its versatility as it enhances private, utility, training and public safety flights.”

Belle explains the 505 helicopter platform combines the latest avionics and engine control technology with a large open cabin that provides panoramic views for all passengers. It featured an integrated Garmin G1000H NXi avionics suite and a dual channel FADEC controlled Safran Arrius 2R engine. Bell explains the 505’s cabin versatility and performance make it well suited for missions ranging from private owners to public safety and training entities around the globe.

“We are very proud to see the Bell 505 with our Arrius 2R engine now widely established in the light helicopter landscape,” said Fabrice Condamine, Vice President, Arriel & Arrius Programs, Safran Helicopter Engines. “Delivering a best-in-class engine solution, on time, continues to be a top priority for us. We are delighted with the progress of our relationship with Bell.”

Recently, the Bell 505 team celebrated the 60th European delivery to Montenegro Air Force, the first Bell 505NXi sale to Slovakia and delivery to the Indonesia Navy.

(Photo: Bell Textron)

Remembering Bill Long

— Text and photos by Gustavo Corujo

William (Bill) Long passed away at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ontario, on Feb. 2, 2022, at the age of 85.

Long started his aviation career at the early age of 17 and built a successful career as a pilot for the next 60 years, beginning with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and then as a commercial pilot, including time with Wardair, Air Vietnam and then sharing his flight knowledge as a teacher for Air Canada.

After retirement, Long kept his passion alive by flying the Harvard aircraft at the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association and Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. He also continued to train pilots part time in simulators until the year of 2015.

Long took his very first flight on the Harvard Aircraft 242 back in 1954 while training to be a pilot with the RCAF in Claresholm, Alberta, and 60 years later his final flight as a pilot was on the same aircraft at the Tillsonburg Airport on August 5, 2017.

Blue skies and tailwinds, Bill… You will be missed. More photos can be found here.

County of Renfrew expresses support for Pembroke and Arnprior airports

By Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

The County of Renfrew is expressing support for both the Pembroke and Arnprior airports, but just what this support will lead to in terms of other levels of government providing funding remains to be seen.

“I think it is very important we support these two airports,” North Algona Wilberforce Mayor James Brose said during Renfrew County council last Wednesday. “The Pembroke and Area Airport in particular has an extra long runway so it can handle much bigger aircraft.”

The plight of the Pembroke and Area Airport in particular is nothing new to county council, and Allen Wren, a member of Laurentian Valley council known for his advocacy for the airport, wrote council asking for more support. He pointed out having a letter of support showing the importance of the airport to the county at large is crucial. He highlighted the fact the airport is the county’s only certified airport with a 5,000-foot runway which supports commercial and military aircraft. As well, he pointed out the airport is part of the emergency plans for local hospitals and supports the County of Renfrew and City of Pembroke emergency services and several provincial services that are important to our region — forest firefighting, wildlife management, search and rescue, police surveillance, etc. — use the Pembroke & Area Airport to the benefit of all residents of the county.

Mr. Wren suggested a letter of support should also note, “the County of Renfrew encourages provincial and federal financial support to ensure the airport improvements necessary to sustain this important asset in the region.”

As well, he encouraged lobbying efforts from the county.

“Although we have hired a lobbying firm to help raise awareness of the airport, we would like the County of Renfrew to bring the airport up at meetings that representatives have with various levels of government and related agencies,” he stated in his letter to the county. “They can refer the people they speak with directly to myself and we will follow up on those referrals. This isn’t asking for financial support, but we are asking to use their professional resources to support what we have already invested in and have in motion with grassroots.”

His appeal was not only endorsed through the Development and Property Committee but also by many of the assembled mayors and reeves who highlighted the importance of not only the Pembroke & Area Airport but the Arnprior Airport as well.

“Both the airports are crucial to the economic development of Renfrew County,” Warden Debbie Robinson said. “I do understand they are rather expensive to operate, and they are looking for additional funding from the federal and provincial governments.”

The warden said the airports could ask to be a delegation at the upcoming Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) meeting.

Mayor Jennifer Murphy of Bonnechere Valley said Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski has also highlighted the importance of the airports, pointing out when he was Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, he was able to travel various places using smaller airports.

“He said in our region that is something that is really lacking,” she added.

Having the Pembroke and Area Airport is important, and it should be utilized, she said.

“If we go back to ROMA (Association of Rural Municipalities of Ontario) or AMO in person, would it be cheaper for us to charter a little plane to take all of us?” she asked.

Mayor Murphy later pointed out she would not want this to be a taxpayer expense.

Laurentian Hills Mayor Jed Reinwald has been a strong proponent of the airport. He said he knows a resident living in Round Lake who was on the board of the Gore Bay/Manitoulin Airport. He said in that case the county offered to do a study on the airport to show the importance of the airport.

“The federal government gave almost $4 million,” he said.

“In order to be successful, we must ensure the County of Renfrew are supportive of our initiatives,” he said.

Mr. Yakabuski pointed out without the support of the county it is very difficult to ask for federal or provincial support, he added.

Arnprior County Councillor Dan Lynch said it is important to note the Arnprior Airport is a registered airport and the Pembroke & Area Airport is a certified airport.

“We don’t have scheduled flights, where Pembroke can,” he said.

Whitewater Region Reeve Cathy Regier said it is important to back this initiative and support the airports. She said she would be glad to take the ask to her municipality for assistance.

“The fear is if it is gone it is gone and will never come back,” she said.

Renfrew Reeve Peter Emon said any letter of support should have an emphasis on employment numbers and economic impact.

“I think they are both valuable to our community and we may not know how valuable,” he said.

(Photos: Pembroke and Area Airport)

Longview consolidates companies under De Havilland, appoints Chafe as CEO

Longview Aviation Capital on Feb. 2 announced De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited will become the operating brand for the companies currently operating as Longview Aviation, Viking Air, Pacific Sky Training and De Havilland Canada. Which combined currently support more than 1,000 aerospace jobs across Canada.

“Our acquisition of the De Havilland Dash-8 program from Bombardier in 2019 united the entire De Havilland product line for the first time in decades, and we are proud to consolidate our aviation assets under the iconic De Havilland banner,” said Sherry Brydson, owner, Longview Aviation Capital.

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada has been manufacturing aircraft since 1928 and supports a current fleet of more than 3,000 aircraft in service around the globe, from the Chipmunk and Beaver to Twin Otter and Dash 8 series.

In addition to announcing the new organizational structure, De Havilland Canada has also named Brian Chafe as Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Chafe most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of the PAL Group, a diversified global aerospace company active across a range of sectors including aircraft engineering, maintenance and modification, in-service support, special missions, and search and rescue.

“De Havilland Canada’s products are unrivalled in the regional and utility turboprop segment of the industry and that is the product of its talented team of aviation professionals,” said Chafe.

Longview Aviation Capital Corp. was established in 2016 to manage a portfolio of long-term investments in the Canadian aerospace industry, including De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited; Viking Air Ltd.; Pacific Sky Aviation Ltd; Longview Aviation Asset Management Inc; and Longview Aviation Services.

(Image: De Havilland Aircraft)

Pincher Creek Airport development one step closer to takeoff with arrival of master plan

By Gillian Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin’ the Breeze

A long-term vision for site development and economic growth is beginning to emerge for the Pincher Creek Airport.

Last week, MD council approved the preliminary draft of the long-awaited airport master plan, a document that will serve as a guide for airport development going forward.

“We should all be excited about it. It’s a great asset for the whole region,” says Troy MacCulloch, chief executive officer for the MD of Pincher Creek.

Crowsnest Pass council approved the AMP on Jan. 11, while Pincher Creek town council has yet to do so.

Located northwest of Pincher Creek, just off Highway 3, the airport currently consists of one asphalt runway over 6,000 feet long, four taxiways, two aprons for public traffic, nine aircraft hangars and a fuel facility.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is the primary user of the space at present, having its own independent air terminal building that it uses for wildfire response in the summer. Additionally, there are a few private plane owners with personal hangars.

The AMP suggests the airport be transformed into a hub where locals, tourists and travellers can access regular flights to a variety of locations, including possible northern destinations like Fort McMurray and Alaska.

The facility, it says, has the potential to become a stopover point for Americans looking to vacation up north and Canadians heading south to Montana.

It also lists a few business opportunities that could be capitalized on, including a flight training school with an on-site campus, an air cadet base and a wildfire training certification program.

Planning is still in its infancy and the document serves more as an economic and developmental guide than a solid strategy.

The Regional Airport Committee, the group that commissioned the document, still has to agree on the plan and it has to choose a governance structure for itself.

Once this falls into place, the RAC will start working on developing a business plan and a mission statement. The business plan, alone, could take up to three years to complete.

The RAC, consisting of representatives from Crowsnest Pass council, MD council, Cowley council and Pincher Creek town council, will meet to discuss matters further on Feb. 14.

The project does not come without its challenges. The AMP cites a study conducted by Transport Canada in 2004, which found that most airports located in catchment areas with populations under 15,000 were facing deficits and that regional population decline occurred in 82 per cent of cases where airports were having financial difficulties.

Additionally, it noted that 85 per cent of financially struggling airports were located within 250 kilometres of a national airspace system.

The Pincher Creek Airport and area fit the same characteristics.

“I know the challenges that they’re facing. I know how hard it’s going to be to bring this around and to make it a viable resource for our area,” said Coun. Dave Filipuzzi at a Crowsnest Pass council meeting.

To circumvent this, the AMP suggests the airport should market itself to audiences that larger centres wouldn’t cater to.

(Image: Wikipedia)

Bell performs detect and avoid test with APT drone, 429 helicopter

Bell Textron Inc.’s Autonomous Pod Transport drone successfully completed a demonstration of a ground-based Detect and Avoid flight, fulfilling an extension for its NASA Systems Integration and Operationalization program. Bell was selected for NASA’s Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) program back in 2018, aiming to help develop future airspace requirements for future Advanced Air Mobility vehicles, such as commercial drones and potentially autonomous eVTOL aircraft like so-called air taxis.

Bell in Sept. 2020 completed its first SIO demonstration flight with the Autonomous Pod Transport (70) aircraft, running a Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) mission with NASA in an urban environment, transitioning into and out of Class B airspace representing future commercial flights.

This newest 2022 Detect and Avoid (DAA) demonstration, explains Bell, showcased the APT’s ground radar system integration and its capabilities when navigating airspace traffic and requirements. Again, the SIO objective was to execute a BVLOS mission in complex airspace, but in the instance while utilizing DAA technology to monitor the airspace for ‘natural intruders’ using Bell’s 429 commercial helicopter and APT drone.

Bell’s QuantiFLYTM system, a new aircraft communication unit (ACU) powered by Truth Data, offering a true low-cost, lightweight, and fully automatic flight data monitoring (FDM) solution, was used on the Bell 429 to record aircraft telemetry data.

Bell utilized radar systems to monitor the complex airspace within the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) and to track manned and unmanned aircraft systems. (Photo: Bell Textron)

“We are excited to demonstrate the effectiveness of ground-based monitoring solutions as part of UAS infrastructure,” said Matt Holvey, director, Intelligent Systems, Bell. “Radar monitoring, whether airborne or ground-based, may become an important part of drone delivery, air taxi services and other aspects of the ever-expanding AAM ecosystem.”

In addition, Microsoft provided AirSim, a simulation tool for training Autonomous systems, which gave Bell a Digital Twin environment to model the NASA SIO Extension flight in the virtual world before flying through the corridor. This allowed the team to conduct simulated real-world tests of the APT aircraft across a broad range of scenarios without any safety risks and at a fraction of the cost and time needed.

(Photo: Bell Textron)

Diamond to use Pratt & Whitney engine for DART trainer program

Diamond Aircraft, after a strategic evaluation, is applying a major modification to its DART aerobatic training aircraft program by moving to a new turbine manufacturer. Basic EASA certification of the aerobatic trainer is expected by the end of 2023.

“After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that an adjustment of the DART program was necessary in order to move forward with the aircraft certification process,” said Liqun (Frank) Zhang, CEO, Diamond Aircraft Austria. “In order to meet our target timeline and as the window of opportunity on the market as well as with interested customers is limited, we decided – in close consultation with our R&D department – to pursue our DART program with the proven and certified 750 SHP PT6A-25C turboprop engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada.”

The aerobatic trainer powered by the PT6A-25C turboprop engine will be named DART-750 and will come with the Garmin G3000 avionics suite and optional ejection seats.

“With bringing the DART-750 to the market, Diamond Aircraft will be the only manufacturer that is covering the complete range of basic flight training,” said Zhang. “The aircraft is already considered for many programs all over the world. We are seeing a huge potential for the aircraft in the government training market.”

Diamond notes the PT6A turboprop has been selected to power more than 130 different aircraft applications, noting the engine’s dependability and performance, even in the most challenging of conditions. It operates reliably in extremes temperature and can land and take off from undeveloped runways.

“We worked closely with Diamond Aircraft on determining the best powerplant for the new DART-750 acrobatic trainer program and believe Diamond Aircraft have made an excellent choice in selecting the PT6A-25C engine,” said Anthony Rossi, Vice President, Business Development, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Diamond has been a mainstay of the General Aviation sector for 40 years and we are happy to welcome them aboard as our newest airframe OEM.”

With more than 50,000 engines produced, Diamond explains the PT6A has defined General Aviation for more than 50 years. Its global engine fleet, in terms of both single- and twin-engine aircraft, has flown more than 425 million hours, while the entire Pratt & Whitney Canada fleet has flown in excess of 900 million hours.

“We are pleased that Diamond Aircraft has selected the iconic PT6A engine to pursue its DART program,” said Nicholas Kanellias, Vice President, General Aviation, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Single engine turboprop safety demands a proven engine and the selection of the PT6A-25C for the DART-750 is yet another endorsement of an engine that already powers hundreds of military trainers in operation around the world. The PT6A-25C is an ideal engine for trainer applications due to its unique power and response profile.”

(Images: Diamond Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney)