Northern Lights Elsie MacGill Awards Gala

— By Gus and Clara Corujo

The 13th annual Elsie MacGill Award Gala was held at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel on Saturday, October 22, 2022. The Elsie MacGill Awards program was established in 2009 by the Northern Lights Aero Foundation.

Named after aviation pioneer and human rights advocate Elsie Gregory MacGill, the awards program recognizes eight women across seven categories, including: Business, education, engineering, flight operations, government, trailblazer and two rising stars.

The Northern Lights Aero Foundation goal is to bring more recognition to women doing incredible work in aviation and aerospace in Canada. Below are this year’s Elsie Recipients:

Business Award – Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Air Canada Executive Vice President

Education Award – Stéphanie Angrand, instructor, Canadian Forces leadership school

Engineering Award – Damineh Akhavan, CEO of Global Women in STEM

Flight Operations Award – Kim Winsor, Air Canada training Captain

Government Award – Gisele Garceau, professional engineer and commercial pilot

Trailblazer Award – Marlene Shillingford, Chief Warrant Officer, 2 Canadian Air Division

Rising Star Award – Donya Naz Divsalar, CEO Caidin Biotechnologies

Rising Star Award – Zainab Azim,future astronaut Virgin Atlantic

For more images from this event, visit



Ottawa makes safety investments at Red Lake Municipal

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra on October 21 announced that the Government of Canada is making important safety investments at Red Lake Municipal Airport in Ontario.

Through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), the government will provide the airport with more than $900,000 for safety-related projects and equipment.

These safety investments include purchasing a loader and grader for use in the removal of ice and snow from airside surfaces; replacing wind direction indicators; installing apron lighting for the aircraft de-icing facility; and rehabilitating the constant current regulators on the taxiways and apron.

” This investment in the Red Lake Municipal Airport will ensure residents in Red Lake continue to have access to safe and reliable air transportation options,” said Alghabra. “Through investments like these, we are building healthier, stronger communities for the residents of Red Lake and across the country.”

Since the Airports Capital Assistance Program started in 1995, the Government of Canada has invested over $1.2 billion for 1,215 projects at 199 local, regional and National Airports System airports across the country.

(Photo: Red Lake Municipal Airport, Facebook)

InDro supports Montreal Marathon from above

Drones flown by InDro Robotics pilots as part of a medical research project at the Montréal Marathon held in late September 2022 assisted in identifying a runner in distress near the end of the course. Data is now being analysed to determine if drones may be a useful tool for detecting athletes in need of assistance during mass athletic events such as a marathon. InDro Robotics explains often medical teams are alerted to an athlete in distress by an emergency phone call. But precisely locating an individual at a crowded event can take precious time. Using drones provides may assist a more timely response. 

The research project and “Medi-Drone” team was organized by Dr. Valérie Homier, an emergency physician with the McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Homier has previously collaborated with InDro Robotics to conduct research on drones detecting swimmers in distress at an IRONMAN competition at Mont-Tremblant. She has also researched the effectiveness of drones in delivering simulated blood products to Montreal General Hospital, comparing the speed with traditional ground transport (the drone was much faster). 

For the Montreal Marathon research, InDro Robotics had two drones in the air. The drones were sub-250 grams, meaning they could be safely flown over people. Dr. Homier identified two adjacent marathon segments – one downhill, one uphill – near the finish line where it could be anticipated athletes might be more likely to encounter difficulties such as heatstroke, cardiac event or other injury. 

InDro Robotics explains the drones maintained positions where they could offer a live video feed being monitored by research observers. For this research project, those observers were analysing the quality of the video feed on large monitors and whether it could prove useful in detecting runners in distress. Because runners tend to move en masse in a smooth flow, someone needing help generally stands out as an anomaly.

But it was built into the research protocol that the drone pilots could be directed to change positions if observers felt someone appeared to need help, explains InDro Robotics, noting this happened with a runner leaning onto a race guardrail, then falling over and collapsing on grass. An InDro pilot was directed to obtain a closer look as help was dispatched. The runner received medical assistance and recovered.

 “There’s a lot to learn from this project, and there’s a way forward for multiple surveillance methods,” said Dr. Homier. “And the drones are way up there. The view from above when monitoring moving crowds is just incomparable. 

 “The research project was made possible through the financial support of ‘Marathon Beneva de Montréal,” Homier continued. “My team is always looking for partner organisations to support research involving the use of new technology in the delivery of emergency care.”

(Photos: InDro Robotics)

Fort Frances Airport reports increasing fuel sales compared to last year’s fire season

— By Elisa Nguyen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Francis Times (Image: Wikipedia)

Fort Frances Airport reports increasing fuel sales for air travel in northern Ontario, comparing this year’s fuel sales to both pre-pandemic times and during the pandemic, when border restrictions limited travel but forest fires that needed to be serviced resulted in one of the busiest fire seasons the airport had ever seen.

“2019 was normal. 2020 was absolutely dead. And then 2021 hit, and we had a fire season here. And it was absolutely crazy. Like beyond crazy, but it was only fire people giving us all the movements and helicopters and tons of fuel, but there was still no international traffic. And Bearskin [airlines], I don’t even know if they’re even up and running the majority of the time,” said Scott Gosman, one employee at the Fort Frances Airport. “If it wasn’t for the fire, there wouldn’t have been any sales.”

This year, between January and September, Fort Frances Airport has sold 149,529 liters of fuel, majority to private jets and planes from the U.S. or eastern Canadian cities such as Toronto and Montreal — an 11 per cent increase compared to 2019, according to Fort Frances Airport.

Year to date, 223 international flights have arrived to Fort Frances Airport — a 6.7 per cent increase from 2019. There have been 286 arriving flights for private movements — a 72 per cent increase from 2019.

Gosman noted that emergency border measures had only eased up in April allowing for fully vaccinated travellers to no longer be required to provide a quarantine plan upon entry, meaning that the increase in travel is even greater, considering that most of the travel was likely in the short five month period between April and September.

He speculates that this year’s increased fuel sales is a result of border restrictions being lifted and people going on trips that were postponed because of the pandemic.

During last year’s forest fires, the airport was pumping over 8,000 litres of fuel a day to cater to fire crews, helicopters, and other vehicles servicing the fire. Not including the fuel used to service the fire, a total of 103,000 liters was sold in 2021 — making a 45 per cent increase compared to this year, according to Fort Frances Airport.

“But this year was pretty good, there’s no fire and we’re still up. We sold more fuel now then we did all of last year with the fire. And that’s just from regular movements,” Gosman said.

“It’s weird too that it was so dry [last year]. And then this year, it was just a flood. Fires endemic, then fires to flood. Let’s see what next year brings.”

As of October 1, 2022, the government of Canada announced that all emergency border measures have ended.

Travelers entering the country by air, land or marine no longer require proof of vaccination, COVID-19 pre-entry and arrival tests, nor quarantine or isolation. Masks on planes and trains are no longer mandatory, although travellers are still strongly recommended to wear them.

To save time, an optional Advance Declaration feature in ArriveCAN allows travellers to submit their customs and immigration declaration before arriving in Canada, however travellers are no longer required to submit public health information such as proof of vaccination and arrival tests. This feature is available at Toronto Pearson, Vancouver, or Montreal-Trudeau international airports, but will soon be available at more airports within the coming months.

Individuals are still recommended to keep up with recommended vaccinations and personal protective habits such as hand washing and staying home if COVID-19 symptoms are present.

“There is still the possibility of a future resurgence in cases this fall or of a new variant of concern. These protective health measures help to reduce the risk of becoming sick and spreading illness to others,” the government of Canada said.

Multiple factors have contributed to the reduced impacts of COVID-19 in Canada, such as increasing immunity within the population, lower hospitalization and death rates, high vaccination rates, and rapid tests and treatments.

CHAA banquet held in Tillsonburg

— By Gustavo and Clara Corujo

The annual Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association banquet was held at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 153 in Tillsonburg, Ontario, on Saturday, October 15. One of the most anticipated events for the association finally returned since the pandemic and came back stronger than ever.

This year’s event included the introduction of the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association’s (CHAA) 2022 Board of directors, slideshow, awards presentation, ticket sales, fundraising auction, and silent auction. A special slideshow tribute was presented for the members who lost their lives over the past couple of years.

This year guest speaker was Ted Barris, who is the author of the books Behind the Glory, Battle of the North Atlantic and The Great Escape, among others.

A special thank you to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly and made the event a success and Tillsonburg Legion Ladies Auxiliary for providing a wonderful dinner service that we all enjoyed.

The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association is a non-profit organization, founded in 1985, to acquire, preserve, restore, maintain, display and demonstrate the Harvard aircraft and other aircraft associated with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).

For more photos of the event, visit

Buildup of ice likely cause of fatal crash near Calgary

Accident site looking northwest (Image: TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on October 17 released its investigation report (A22W0027) into the April 22, 2022, in-flight icing and fatal collision with terrain involving a Mooney M20K aircraft near Springbank Airport, Calgary, Alberta.

The pilot of the aircraft, Michael James Wilton, was killed and a passenger was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Wilton was president of FlightSimple, an aircraft sales company.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) in its report explains the Mooney M20K departed Runway 35 at Calgary/Springbank Airport (CYBW) for a local round-robin flight on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan with the two pilots on board. The aircraft had recently been purchased, and the purpose of this flight was for the right-seat pilot to become familiar with operating the Mooney 231 and learn from the pilot-in-command, who was occupying the left seat and had experience on the aircraft type.

After takeoff, TSB explains the aircraft turned left toward the TURNY waypoint, climbing to a cruising altitude of 9000 feet above sea level (ASL). It flew over High River Aerodrome (CEN4), Alberta, and headed northeast toward the EBGAL waypoint. The aircraft, explains TSB, then turned left and proceeded back toward the TURNY waypoint. When the aircraft was flying just northwest of Okotoks (CFX2), Alberta, at an altitude of approximately 8000 feet ASL, it turned slightly to the right to cross the initial approach waypoint (SEKEM) and return to CYBW for an instrument approach and landing on Runway 35. 

Before crossing SEKEM, TSB explains the pilot-in-command contacted air traffic services (ATS) and requested a lower altitude because the aircraft was “picking up a little ice.” ATS cleared the aircraft to descend, with a restriction of not below 6200 feet ASL. 

The aircraft crossed SEKEM at an altitude of 6100 feet ASL, according to TSB, travelling at a ground speed of 97 knots. TSB explains the aircraft then crossed the step-down waypoint (XUBUM) at an altitude of 5900 feet ASL, travelling at a ground speed of 114 knots, and crossed the final approach waypoint (TARTI) at an altitude of 5800 feet ASL, approximately 500 feet above the vertical path angle and still travelling at a ground speed of 114 knots.

 The aircraft, according to TSB, continued to descend and passed below the vertical path and ultimately below the decision altitude of 4190 feet ASL. It then struck the bank of a ditch on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway, 0.6 nautical miles (NM) south of the threshold of the runway, according to the TSB report, and slid to a halt in a pasture. The pilot-in-command was fatally injured from the impact forces.

Local man finds innovative way to recycle old planes

Gerald Allin holds an airplane actuator, which he says will eventually be wall lampstands with an LED spotlight which could be used for reading. (Photo: Cory Bilyea)

— By Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

 WINGHAM – An old airplane, some spare time, and a great imagination are some of the reasons Gerald Allin, owner of Allin Aircraft Maintenance, has created some unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture and outdoor items.

Allin does aircraft maintenance for a living. He recently purchased a house beside the Wingham Airport that has enough room for a permanent shop where he can work, which has given him more time to concentrate on this exciting hobby.

“I do aircraft maintenance, modifications, repairs, restorations, anything based with aircraft. So, engine propeller hydraulics pneumatics, electrical navigation interior sheet metal, you name it,” Allin said.

He said that the interest in recycling an old airplane into usable items for resale wasn’t something he planned to do; it just happened.

“That kind of just fell into my lap,” Allin said. “I got asked if I was interested in scrapping a big plane that was at the end of its life and sell it for parts. Unfortunately, COVID happened and no one was buying these old airplanes anymore, because they were old everyone was looking for more environmentally friendly, more efficient airframes. Since there’s no market for any of these components, or parts, I ended up repurposing them for furniture or anything else, but it’s more of a hobby, doing that, than a full-time job.”

While the market for such unique items is small, it is there, according to Allin.

“It’s a very niché market, a very limited market. People are interested but they always like looking at them,” he said.

“But you know, there’s a lot of time that goes into polishing and all fabricating and stuff like that. So, there’s not too many it’s a very small market small world of people that actually truly enjoy these things.”

Older planes, like the one Allin is using, are made of aluminum which can be reused, but newer planes are made out of a lighter material that ends up in the garbage at the end of its life cycle, Allin said.

“The aircraft now are made of composites, it’s not a thermoplastic, but a thermoset. There’s two different types of composites, ones that can be reshaped and reformed, which is a thermal plastic… or a thermoset once it once it’s cured and hardens, you can’t change the shape,” said Allin.

“With carbon fibers, all the new ones like the Boeing 787, it’s all carbon fiber fuselage. And none of that’s recyclable, the entire fuselage is garbage. And with these older planes, every single piece of those planes is aluminum, the ones that I’ve recycled. So, if I don’t feel like I can make something out of it, I can bring it down and get it melted, or bring it to the scrapyard.

“But simply the reason that you want a carbon fiber is because this was way less than a pound. If you compare that to the previous generation aircraft that was made 10 years prior, they save about a ton and a half of fuel an hour, just with the new engines,” Allin explained.

The newer planes, like the Max, are still made with aluminum, “because if you change too much, then it becomes a different aircraft that needs to reapply for certification…so, they decided to change the engines and the wingtips and a couple of places where they made it more aerodynamic.

“But that airplane saves – and those same engines are on the Airbus – but they average between one and a half to 1.7 tons of savings in fuel an hour.”

Standing among hundreds of dials, gadgets, and disassembled airplane parts, Allin talked about his future projects with the remaining pieces that include some pretty interesting ideas, including a conference table made of part of the wing.

“What I plan on doing is taking the flight control, which is a part of the wing. There’s big panels on the bottom, I’m going to remove the panels so you can see all the internal workings and structure of the of the wing. And then I’m going to put a glass top on top of that and make some legs. I also have some doors that I’m making into coffee tables or desks and stuff like that. I have a couple actuators I’m going to make into lampstands.”

Allin has ideas for almost every part of the plane he is working on, including the tires, which will become unique, one-of-a-kind coffee and end tables.

The possibilities are endless if imagination and innovation come together. Allin Aircraft Maintenance is using both to combat waste and provide alternatives for reusing old airplanes in a productive and unique niche that will last for years.

Care by Air Project launches in Halton

— By Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter

“Care by Air” is now in Halton. Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) launched the six-month initiative which will see them help develop a process to transport medical supplies using a drone delivery system.

“Being at the forefront of an innovative drone system is the ideal way to contribute to the advancement of healthcare so we can be more responsive to the care needs of our patients, families, and communities,” HHS Senior Vice President, Corporate Services, Performance & Chief Financial Officer Hilary Rodrigues said.  The project is being developed in partnership with Drone Delivery Canada, McMaster University, Air Canada Cargo, and DSV Air & Sea Inc.

The idea behind the project is to compare the benefits, and values of a drone delivery system in healthcare with more traditional transportation methods.  “The post-pandemic era has highlighted the need to find innovations in healthcare, enabling safe, secure and reliable ways to deliver vital or urgent medical supplies to facilitate patient care” Managing Director of DSV Martin Roos said.  If successful, the project would expand to include healthcare supplies such as human tissue, medical isotopes, or blood.

Care By Air will initially use DDC drones, and proprietary software, as well as flightpaths between DSV And Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital at Dundas and Third Line.   “This partnership with Halton Halton Healthcare is highly innovative and ground-breaking,” Roos added.  The flights will be monitored by DDC from their Operations centre in Vaughn Ontario.  The project will be expanded to connect hospitals in Georgetown, and Milton based on the pilot project’s success.

 McMaster University is known for the commercialization of medical technologies. “We are excited to be collaborating with the Care by Air team to create an innovative transportation solution that will improve access to medical diagnostics and therapies for patients not only in Canada, but around the world,” McMaster University Adjunct Professor Andrea Armstrong said.  The transportation of real samples and medications will begin following successful early flights with supplies and “dummy samples.”  

(Photo: Drone Delivery Canada)

Papple Aviation expands with new hangars

Tyler Papple stands next to the new construction happening at the Wingham Airport on Sept. 25. Papple Aviation purchased the airport in 2022, expanding their existing business to Wingham. (Photo: Cory Bilyea)

— By Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

Tyler Papple, owner/operator of Papple Aviation, is building new hangars at the Wingham Airport, complete with a new cement taxiway on one side and a grass taxiway on the other side that will allow planes to taxi right out to the runway from the hangars.

“There was a project planned here a few years ago for six hangars,” said Papple. “They had them all filled, but they couldn’t come to an agreement on who would pay for the taxiway.”

The new tee hangars will provide much-needed space for storing aircraft, and the expanded taxiways will make it easier for local plane owners to utilize the airport.

In between the existing hangars and the new ones, Papple left room for future use.

“A few people have talked about putting in maintenance hangars, or if people have larger aircraft, we’ve left room for expansion there,” he said.

Wherever possible, Papple does his own work, but he hires local contractors for work he can’t complete on his own. For example, Hardrock Concrete is helping them with the cement work for the new taxiways and floors in the new hangars.

Papple said that one of the new spaces is rented, and several people have expressed interest in leasing.

The cement taxiway is the most expensive option. Still, Papple said that partnering with Hardrock Concrete and using his experience with cement work will help alleviate the cost. In addition, the cement will last much longer than pavement, saving money in the long run.