Scenes from Saint-Jean

Hundreds of pilots, aircraft owners and other aviation enthusiasts from across Canada gathered in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, from June 23-25, for the return of the COPA National Fly-In and Aviation Exhibition.

The three-day event focused on community and the advancement of General Aviation in Canada with a range of seminars, exhibitors and social activities. Sponsors of the fly-in included The Magnes Group, McMillan, Airbly, McLarens Aviation, uAvionix, JetPro, Aviation Rou-Air, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Flight Club, CAE, Aero-Formatech, NAV CANADA, RE/MAX and The Personal.

In addition to the COPA team, the 2022 national fly-in was organized in large part by COPA Flight 160, also named Association des pilotes et propriétaires de hangar de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (APPH), which kicked off the festivities with a barbeque. Below are some of the scenes from this year’s event, photographed by Phil Lightstone.




Navigational performance solution has Castlegar airport poised for air travel return

— By Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily (Photo: Ken Eckert)

Call it Cancel-gar no more.

The region’s main airport has found a partial solution to erasing the moniker that has dogged the airport for years — and cancelled countless flights — since it was established.

In a bid the City of Castlegar-owned facility is applying to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) Strategic Priorities Fund, hoping to implement a navigational performance solution expected to reduce the number of cancellations — due to river and valley fog — and expand the terminal for the arrival of larger aircraft.

The main part of that is purchasing a Required Navigational Performance (RNP), wrote Kirk Duff, the mayor of Castlegar.

“(This) will improve customer confidence in the airport, increase bookings and reduce carbon emissions by minimizing flight times and the need for circling,” he said in his letter to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) board of directors.

“The city invested $1 million in an RNP solution and anticipate it will be in place in 2023.”

The instrument approaches to Castlegar are considered among the most challenging of any in use at a commercial airport in North America.

As well, the upgrades would include the expansion of the terminal building, vehicle entrance and parking.

The airport is looking to position itself for an expected jump in air travel as the post-pandemic travel restrictions begin to ease.

The city has predicted a return to 85,000 annual passengers next year and, as a result, is on track to institute some critical upgrades to the facility and to enhance the experience of the people who choose to fly.

Overall, the city will be applying for $6 million in grants, with both projects — the RNP and the expansion of the building, vehicle entrance and parking — totalling $10 million.

In recognition of the importance of the West Kootenay Regional Airport, the RDCK board is providing a letter of support to the City of Castlegar’s application to the UBCM fund.

The West Kootenay Regional Airport serves passengers from the entire region. It is a major commercial hub and is supporting the economic recovery of the region, post-pandemic.

It also serves as the air tanker base for the Southeast Fire Centre and services air ambulance flights which support public safety.

CWHM celebrates with Skyfest50

— By Gustavo and Clara Corujo

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary from June 24 to 26, drawing large crowds to the unique historical organization.

Many of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s (CWHM) aircraft were on static display. There were also some flybys by CWHM’s North American B-25 Mitchell, Noorduyn Norseman, Consolidated Canso, Fairey Firefly, North American Harvard, de Havilland Canada Chipmunk and Tiger Moth.

Attendees of the celebration also had the opportunity to see some unique visiting aircraft including Waterloo Warbirds T-33, RCAF CT-156 Harvard II, Spitfire, P51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, Fw 190 (replica), P-39 Airacobra and a beautiful restored Beech 18. The 2022 CF-18 Demo along with another CF-18 were on display, as well.

View more photos of the event.

SiriusXM Aviation enhances Pilot Express Weather Package

SiriusXM Canada has enhanced its SiriusXM Aviation Pilot Express weather plan with key features and features for pilots and a new lower cost structure for the base package. Starting at $29.99 per month, Canadian pilots can now receive satellite-delivered weather radar, METARs, TAFs, AIRMETs and SIGMETs, plus other key features like lightning, winds aloft, and icing.

“Whether pilots fly low and slow or high and fast, we want pilots to have the weather and related information they need at a back country airstrip, at 500-feet or at their destination 500 miles ahead,” said Paul Cunningham, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing at SiriusXM Canada. “With these enhancements, pilots across Canada will be able to monitor their destination airport and know when to divert or when to climb to get optimized winds resulting in fuel savings, plus avoid challenging weather along their route of flight.”

The Pilot Express weather plan is available with select Garmin avionics and the applicable SiriusXM weather receiver. Pilots can also fly with the Garmin Pilot app (Android and iPad) with the portable Garmin GDL 51 or 52 receiver. SiriusXM Aviation weather and audio services are available in Canada, the coastal waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the 48 contiguous United States.

SiriusXM explains key benefits of its aviation satellite-delivered weather services include no line-of-sight restrictions, no altitude limitations, and continuous coverage coast-to-coast.

Pilots that want to try the enhanced Pilot Express weather can now receive a free three-month subscription to the service plus SiriusXM’s audio entertainment. Pilots that subscribe to the Pilot Express weather plan are eligible for a free one-year membership to the Canadian Owners and Pilot Association.

Hartzell receives STC for Diamond DA40 NG prop

Hartzell Propeller earned a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the FAA to replace Diamond DA40 NG MT wood/composite propellers with new, higher performance 3-bladed lightweight Polaris composite props.

The 74-inch diameter three-blade ASCII carbon fiber prop for the Austro Engine E4-A features a lightweight Bantam aluminum hub and 2,4000-hour/six-year TBO, with Hartzell’s warranty through first overhaul.

“Hartzell’s Top Prop performance conversion kit includes the propeller, a white or metallic silver composite spinner, and STC documentation,” said Hartzell Propeller President JJ Frigge. “It delivers light, smooth and state-of-the-art improved climb performance, two to three KTAS faster cruise and is more durable, with an eco-friendly 74.1 dB(a) noise level,” he added.

The kit for the advanced blended airfoil design prop sells for $24,613. The STC is limited to DA40 NGs equipped with MÄM 40-434 (Cowling Redesign) or OÄM 40-310 (Exhaust System with Muffler).

(Photo: Hartzell Propeller)

TSB releases 2021 transportation occurrence statistics

The chart illustrates a partial recovery of activity in the commercial sectors responsible for air travel, air cargo, aerial work, and flight training. These numbers also include recreational aviation activity at major airports. (Source: TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on June 17 released its 2021 final annual statistical summaries on transportation occurrences in the air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation sectors. The report builds upon a preliminary release published in February 2022.

The TSB notes how the air transportation in Canada continued to be affected by the pandemic during the first half of 2021. During the second half of the year, as vaccination rates increased and travel restrictions began to ease in both Canada and abroad, TSB explains total aircraft movements resumed to 73.2 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, aircraft movements at the 90 airports serviced by NAV CANADA reached 4.29 million in 2021, up 11.8 per cent from 3.84 million in 2020.

In 2021, a total of 190 air transportation accidents were reported to the TSB. This number is 12 per cent higher than the previous year’s total of 170 accidents but 21 per cent below the yearly average of 239 accidents reported in the prior 10 years, 2011 to 2020. TSB notes most of the accidents in 2021, 183 of them, took place in Canada and involved Canadian-registered aircraft.

The TSB recorded 22 fatal air transportation accidents resulting in 32 fatalities in 2021. TSB states this is a considerable increase over the 12 fatal accidents and 16 fatalities in 2020, but is still 21 per cent below the annual average of 27.7 fatal accidents and 31 per cent below the annual average of 47 fatalities over the 10 years from 2011 to 2020.

In 2021, 220 marine accidents (accidents resulting directly from the operation of a ship other than a pleasure craft) were reported to the TSB, a decrease from the 2020 total of 264 and below the 10-year average of 284. In 2021, 11 marine fatalities were reported, down from the 18 fatalities reported in 2020, and below the annual average of 15.6 in the 2011 to 2020 time period.

In 2021, 1,038 rail accidents were reported to the TSB, an increase from the 2020 total of 988, but a three per cent decrease from the previous 10-year average of 1,071. Freight trains accounted for 38 per cent of all trains involved in rail accidents in 2021, according to the TSB, with four percent (42 in total) were passenger trains, with the remaining 58 per cent comprising mainly single cars/cuts of cars, locomotives, and track units. Rail fatalities totaled 60 in 2021, unchanged from 2020 but below the previous 10-year average of 71.

Educational drone survey of canopy targets sick trees

— By Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press

Drones could help save Winnipeg’s elm trees from being tagged with a fatal orange mark, owing to the work of experienced pilots and their student assistants.

Throughout the 2021-22 school year, Volatus Aerospace Corp., a so-called “drone solution company,” has recruited high school students to take part in a research project that aims to streamline canopy surveillance in Winnipeg.

City employees typically survey trees for Dutch elm disease either on foot or by driving past them. It’s a laborious process — and by the time a human eye can spot wilting, curling or yellowing leaves, it may be too late to reverse the damage caused by the fungal infection.

In partnership with the City of Winnipeg, University of Winnipeg and Seven Oaks School Division, Volatus is using drone technology to try and speed up the diagnosis process.

A remote aircraft equipped with a parachute and sensors, a set-up valued at nearly $40,000, can measure how much near-infrared light bounces off leaves to determine whether or not a plant is infected with illness.

Volatus education director Matthew Johnson likened a healthy tree to a mirror.

“If the tree is healthy, then it’s going to reflect most of the near-infrared light from the sun and back up to the sensor,” he said.

Since leaves on a sick tree have less chlorophyll in them and absorb light as a result, Johnson’s team can pinpoint their exact location (they appear as dark pixels on a map as opposed to the light spots denoting healthy trees) after a drone collects data from any particular forest.

The company can then share that data with the city so it can narrow its search for sick trees and have employees double-check worrying dots.

The firm’s local hub is educating students on its methods and the issue of Dutch elm disease during seminars hosted by industry professionals and public school teachers. Students have also had the chance to fly microdrones this year.

The three-year pilot with Seven Oaks aims to pique student interest in programming and equip teenagers with knowledge to obtain a drone licence from Transport Canada.

The extracurricular interested Grade 11 student Samm Mohan because she is both an aspiring pilot and environmentalist. “Making the city better is something I’m looking forward to doing,” she said.

Dutch elm disease, which kills trees by blocking water-conducting tissue, was first identified in Winnipeg in 1975. Over the last six years alone, the city has lost upwards of 33,000 trees to the disease.

(Image: Adobe Stock)


North American T-28 Trojan Fly-In

— By Gustavo Corujo

The St. Catharines/Niagara District Airport from June 15 to 18 hosted a T-28 Trojan formation training event. The airport, CYSN, is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, with a 5,000-foot runway, 24-hour Customs clearance, NAV CANADA on site, and Avgas and Jet Fuel refueling available. Approximately 75 aircraft are based at CYSN.

Five North American T-28 Trojan aircraft took part at the formation clinic, three from Ontario and two from United States, with primary pilots Dr. Dave Martin, Alf Beam, Danny Richer, Andrew Swart, Jim Kelly and Brent Mahoney.

The North American Aviation T-28 Trojan is a radial-engine aircraft used by the United States military beginning in the 1950s. For more photos the event visit Gusair’s website.

TSB investigation: Fatal September 2021 collision with water and capsizing

Satellite image illustrating the occurrence aircraft’s estimated take-off run and flight path, as well as the winds and the site of the collision with the water (Source: Google Earth, with TSB annotations)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) in mid-May 2022 released its investigation report (A21Q0090) into the collision with water and capsizing that occurred in September 2021 in Ferme-Neuve, Quebec.

The TSB conducted a limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation into this occurrence to advance transportation safety through greater awareness of potential safety issues.

The occurrence took place shortly after, at approximately 1:55 pm EST, a privately registered Piper PA-18S-150 floatplane (registration C-FVPZ, serial number 18-8540) took off from Rivière du Lièvre in the municipality of Ferme-Neuve, Quebec, with the pilot and a passenger on board, to conduct a visual flight rules (VFR) flight to a body of water located 13 nautical miles (NM) west of Parent, Quebec.

TSB explains a person on the south bank of the river observed the aircraft near the surface of the water, in a steep right bank, shortly after takeoff. After briefly losing sight of the aircraft, TSB notes this witness then saw the airplane inverted in the river. The two occupants were found drowned, explains the TSB report, and the passenger was partially out of the door. The aircraft sustained major damage to the left wing.

For more information on the report and its findings, visit TSB’s website.

First helicopter flight powered solely by sustainable aviation fuel

Airbus completed what it describes as the first ever helicopter flight with 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) powering both Safran’s Makila 2 engines of an H225.

This flight, which follows the flight of an H225 with one SAF-powered Makila 2 engine in November 2021, is part of the flight campaign aimed at understanding the impact of SAF use on the helicopter’s systems. Tests are expected to continue on other types of helicopters with different fuel and engine architectures with a view to certify the use of 100 per cent SAF by 2030.

“This flight with SAF powering the twin engines of the H225 is an important milestone for the helicopter industry,” said Stefan Thome, Executive Vice President, Engineering and Chief Technical Officer, Airbus Helicopters. “It marks a new stage in our journey to certify the use of 100% SAF in our helicopters, a fact that would mean a reduction of up to 90% in CO2 emissions alone.”

Airbus explains the use of SAF is one of the key levers to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions from its helicopters by 50 per cent by 2030.

According to the Waypoint 2050 report, the use of SAF in aviation could account for 50-75 per cent of the CO2 reduction needed to reach net carbon emissions by 2050 in the air transport industry.

(Photo: Airbus)