Toronto Pearson celebrates reopening of second busiest runway following eight-month rehabilitation

Deborah Flint (left to right), President and CEO, GTAA; Pat Neville, Vice President, Airport Development and Technical Services, GTAA; and Craig Bradbrook, Chief Operations Officer, GTAA stand on the newly re-opened Runway 06L/24R, Toronto Pearson’s second-busiest runway. (Photo: GTAA, Kevin Prentice)

Greater Toronto Airports Authority, operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport, reopened Runway 06L/24R, the airport’s second-busiest runway, after an eight-month rehabilitation. The project is one of the largest in Pearson’s history with planning for the project beginning more than a year-and-a-half ago.

“This runway is more than a marvel of modern engineering, as amazing as it is,” said Deborah Flint, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) President and CEO. “It paves the way for the next 30 years of YYZ stimulating Canada’s economy by facilitating trade, foreign direct investment, tourism and business.

(Photo: GTAA, Kevin Prentice)

Omar Alghabra, Federal Transport Minister, joined Flint for the runway’s reopening ribbon-cutting celebration with GTAA teams responsible for the rehabilitation, and representatives from Dufferin Construction and Avia NG.

“As the busiest airport in Canada and one of the busiest in North America, the return of this runway at Pearson Airport will keep air passengers moving safely and smoothly in and out of the GTA,” said Alghabra. The federal government’s Airport Critical Infrastructure Program funding awarded to Pearson earlier this year helped to partially funded the project.

First built in the 1960s, the 3-km 06L/24R runway needed to be fully reconstructed due to the wearing down of its concrete sub-structure, as a result of weather, use and time. GTAA notes this project extends the life of the runway by 30 years and enhances the safety of Pearson’s operations.

Pointing to some of its environmentally progressive efforts the project, GTAA explains concrete from the original runway was crushed and re-used for the new runway, while an on-site batch plant reduced the need to truck concrete to the rehabilitation site. Also, 1,800 incandescent lights are being upgraded to LED lights. Two of only three 12-foot pavers in existence in Canada were used for the rehabilitation.

GAMA releases third quarter aircraft shipment report

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association published its Third Quarter 2022 General Aviation Aircraft Shipment and Billing Report. The aircraft manufacturing industry’s results for the first nine months of 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021, point to increasing aircraft deliveries across all segments along with an increase in the overall value of the aircraft shipments.

“Demand for general aviation aircraft remains hardy as our industry continues to strategically navigate ongoing challenges, which include issues with supply chain and workforce shortages within our industry and within global regulatory authorities,” said Pete Bunce, President and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “Deliveries are converging on, and in some cases surpassing, the levels we were experiencing prior to the pandemic, which is a testament to the strength of our industry and the importance and utility of general and business aviation.

“As we look to the future, we must focus attention on the need for training of the regulator workforce and leveraging of bi-lateral safety agreements between regulatory bodies to improve both certification and validation processes,” continued Bunce. “At the same time our industry will continue to foster the momentum we have created on addressing environmental issues, which includes advancing technology that improves efficiencies of aircraft and operations; supporting the production, distribution and uptake of SAF.”

Aircraft shipments through the third quarter of 2022, when compared to the same period in 2021, saw piston airplane increase 8.8 per cent with 1,012 units, turboprops increase 7.3 per cent with 383 units, and business jet shipments increase 1.8 per cent with 446 units. The value of airplane deliveries through the third quarter of 2022 was US$14.1 billion, an increase of approximately 4.8 per cent.

Helicopter shipments through the third quarter of 2022 were up when compared to the same period in 2021; piston helicopter deliveries increased 3.8 per cent with 137 units, and turbine helicopter deliveries increased 7.1 per cent with 439 units.

Looking at helicopter manufacturers, GAMA reports the following year to date aircraft deliveries (listed alphabetically): Airbus 177, including 71 in the most recent third quarter; Bell 108, 49 in third quarter; Enstrom 0; Guimbal 18, 9 in third quarter; KAMAN 1, 0 in third quarter; Leonardo 77, 34 in third quarter; Robinson 188, 66 in third quarter; Schweizer RSG 5, 2 in third quarter; Sikorsky 2 civil aircraft, 0 in third quarter. Sikorsky had 62 year to date military deliveries, all Black Hawks, with 20 in third quarter. Bell also had 19 total military aircraft – H-1 and V-22 – deliveries year to date.

(Image: GAMA)

Super Petrel to release new XP Series

Super Petrel USA Inc., which is the largest distributor of the Scoda Aeronautica produced Super Petrel LS Aircraft worldwide, announced it will soon make available a new Super Petrel XP model for 2023.

The light sport amphibian Super Petrel was born in Brazil in 2002 with close to 400 variations of the original model sold since. The Super Petrel XP will be available with either the 912is Rotax or the Turbo 915is Rotax engine.

Super Petrel USA explains the new XP series is the product of seven years of design and development.

(Photo: Super Petrel USA)

Ottawa adds $10 million in funding for Jean Lesage Airport

The government of Canada on November 18 announced new funding to help the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to support infrastructure projects at the airport.

The airport, CYQB, is receiving over $10 million from Transport Canada’s Airport Critical Infrastructure Program for the reconstruction of Runway 29 and the rehabilitation of taxiways, as well as modifications to the airport’s access and control zones for passenger movements.

“The Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport is a key transportation hub not just for Québec City but for much of northern and eastern Quebec,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Québec.

In addition to the funding for these infrastructure projects, the Government of Canada also provided the airport with over $4.2 million from Transport Canada’s Airport Relief Fund in 2021 to help continue airport operations.

“As Canadians are ready to travel again, and with an increasing number of them flying out of YQB, it is essential that we provide travellers with quality infrastructure and services that are efficient and safe,” said Stéphane Poirier, CEO of CYQB. “[The funding] will enable us to invest in key infrastructure projects to respond to the increase in air traffic and to effectively fulfill our role as a hub and driving force of socio-economic development for the greater Québec City area and all eastern Quebec.”

(Photo: Harfang)

Aviation pioneer Frank Robinson passes away

Frank Robinson, founder of the Robinson Helicopter Company, passed away on November 12, 2022, at his home in Rolling Hills, California. Recognized as one of the pioneers of the global helicopter industry, Robinson was described by the company bearing his name as “a man not driven by reward or accolades but by a vision that redefined the industry and forever changed general aviation.”

Robinson is best known for the design and manufacture of the R22, R44, and R66 model helicopters, which continue to be some of the world’s most popular helicopters based on their simplicity and reliability.

The company explains Frank Robinson’s fascination with helicopters began in 1939, at age nine, when he saw a picture in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of Igor Sikorsky hovering his VS-300 helicopter, an image that captivated Robinson and set the course for his life’s work.

He earned a BSME degree from the University of Washington, later attending Wichita State University’s graduate aeronautical engineering school. His aviation career began in the late 1950s with Cessna and continued through the 1960s working for many leading aerospace companies, including Bell and Hughes.

In 1973, at age 43, Robinson resigned from his job at Hughes and founded Robinson Helicopter Company in Palos Verdes, California, aiming to develop and build a simple, personal helicopter. Six years later, after overcoming enormous obstacles, Robinson was granted FAA certification for his two-seat, piston powered R22 helicopter. The helicopter company delivered its first production R22 in October 1979. By 1989, the R22 had gained a foothold in general aviation, with the company opening a previously untapped market for private helicopter ownership.

In the early 1990s, Robinson introduced the four-place, piston-powered R44 light mid-size helicopter. The company explains orders for the R44 quickly piled-up and Robinson Helicopter became a recognized player in the aviation industry. In 2010, Robinson once again expanded his line with the five-place, turbine powered R66.

Frank Robinson retired in 2010 at age 80. Today, the company continues under the leadership of Frank’s son, Kurt Robinson, and, to date, it has delivered over 13,000 helicopters worldwide.

(Photo: Robinson Helicopter)

Ottawa outlines investments at four Northwest Territories airports

Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra on November 15 announced that the Federal government is making a series of safety investments at local and regional airports in the Northwest Territories.

Through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program, four airports in the Northwest Territories will receive over $1.5 million for the purchase of safety equipment that will assist in the removal and control of ice and snow from airside surfaces such as runways, taxiways, and the apron.

The airports receiving funding include: Fort Simpson for the purchase of a 4×4 snowplow truck costing $420,000; Hay River to purchase a grader costing $410,000; Inuvik to purchase a loader for $381,425; and Yellowknife to purchase a sweeper ($314,500), 4×4 snowplow truck ($357,000) and a de-icing trailer ($89,250).

These investments are in addition to the more than $19.8 million in funding provided through the program in May 2021 for safety-related projects at the Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, and Yellowknife airports.

“The airports in Fort Simpson, Inuvik, Hay River, and Yellowknife are all critically important for residents and businesses in their regions,” said Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories. “These investments in safety equipment will help ensure continued safe and reliable airport operations for Northerners.”

(Photo: Gordon Leggett)

ÉNA in the race for the development of electric aircraft

— By Sylvain Daignault, Local Journalism Initiative, Le Courrier du Sud

Electric planes soon in the skies? It is on this ambitious project that the Aerospace Technology Center (CTA) and the National Aerotechnical School (ÉNA) of Cégep Édouard-Montpetit in Longueuil, Quebec, are collaborating.

The project to convert aircraft into electric aircraft is carried out in collaboration with the high-tech company and world leader in pilot training, CAE, and the Florida aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft.

This initiative aims to develop, for the Piper Archers already in service, a conversion kit that will be approved by Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as to market an electric version of this aircraft. A training aircraft already exists and can fly for just over an hour.

Several issues

Francis Archambault, Director General of the CTA, was kind enough to answer questions from Courrier du Sud about this applied research project which brings together a wide variety of researchers, whether in the field of artificial intelligence, mechanics or ‘electricity.

“In addition to the weight and size of the batteries, we have to work on resistance to cold. In flight, you lose two degrees per 1000 feet of altitude. At 20,000 feet, we are down to -40 degrees!” said Francis Archambault, Director General of the Aerospace Technology Center (CTA).

“The integration of our electric motor with the other systems of the device constitutes another major challenge, adds the one for whom Quebec is well positioned for this type of project. We can go from ore to battery in Quebec.”

CTA and ÉNA at the heart of the transformation

The CTA, together with the ÉNA, will contribute strategically to the change of the electric propulsion system of the test aircraft.

“Teachers from the École Nationale d’Aérotechnique, in particular propellant experts, will assist the CTA research team. They will thus develop a better knowledge of electric motorization and the issues related to the replacement of thermal piston engines by electric motors. Teachers will be able to integrate this knowledge into their teaching, thus training a succession of technicians capable of working on the most ecological engines,” notes Pascal Désilets, director of the ÉNA.

Marc St-Hilaire, Vice-President, Technology and Innovation at CAE is delighted with this association, explaining, “We are pleased to collaborate with CTA and ÉNA, two world-class institutions that will support CAE’s electric aircraft modification program and help shape the future of sustainable aviation.”

CTA will take the opportunity to enrich knowledge on electric propulsion systems and will continue research and development in this crucial area. In addition, ÉNA will be able to train technicians capable of working on these new engines and offer refresher training to technicians already on the job market.

Could we one day see fully electric 50 or 60 passenger planes flying in the sky? “We can think of electric hybrid models that would work with ecological fuels,” explains the director general of the CTA.

If the functional kit were presented tomorrow to the competent authorities, Archambault believes that Transport Canada and the FAA would take one or two years to approve it. “The reason is simple: expertise is being built in this area,” he says.

(Photo: Piper Aircraft)

Drumheller Municipal Airport attracts over 1,000 aircraft per year

Aviation events at Drumheller Municipal Airport in 2021 attracted upwards of 200 aircraft and hundreds of spectators. (Photo: Lacie Nairn)

— By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

Drumheller Municipal Airport has undergone several improvements since 2021, and both local and visiting pilots are recognizing these efforts with positive feedback and reviews.

In April 2021, the Mail reported new airport managers Patrick and Catherine Bonneville were hoping to revive the facility, increase awareness, and make the airport known as a gateway to the community.

During the regular Monday, November 7 Drumheller council meeting, Ms. Bonneville shared the airport draws “over 1,000 visiting aircraft per year.”

Of these visits, over 70 per cent are returning visitors, and about half are for overnight stays. Additionally, about three in five aircraft purchase fuel and about one in six will visit the Town of Drumheller.

There have also been some aviation events, which have attracted not only members of the aviation community, but also members of the Drumheller and surrounding communities.

Alberta Aerobatics Club practiced over the municipal airport in July 2021 and Elevate Aviation, an Edmonton-based non-profit supporting awareness of and introducing women and youth to aviation career opportunities, held a fly-in event at the end of August 2021.

These events attracted upwards of 200 visiting aircraft, along with hundreds of spectators.

This increased awareness has also attracted some potential commercial business.

In May 2022, the Mail reported Jack Paquette with Air Pocket Adventures had considered using the Drumheller Municipal Airport as a flight training sub-base. Although this has not yet been realized, this is something which could become a reality-especially with recent paving and lighting improvements.

The airport was closed for a six-week period between June and July to allow for the runway and adjacent strips to be repaved. Drumheller council awarded the project in April 2022 to Border Paving Ltd. for a total of $1,314,442.38; the Alberta government is supporting 75 per cent of the project through the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program – Community Airport Program (STIP-CAP), with the Town responsible for the remaining 25 per cent portion.

At the time, the Town postponed awarding the lighting portion of the project due to costs over $200,000 over the approved budget. In May, Drumheller Mayor Heather Colberg and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski lobbied the provincial government for additional funding for multiple projects, including the airport lighting.

Shortly afterwards, a letter was received from Alberta Minister of Transportation Prasad Panda informing the Town it had been successful and additional funding was provided for the project.

The lighting project was awarded to Border Paving in October 2022 in the amount of $336,650.

Work to replace the aging lighting system with a modern LED system is currently underway and is expected to be finished by mid-January 2023. This will allow the airport to resume nighttime operations, which it has been unable to do for about four years.

Along with necessary rehabilitation of the runway and lighting, there have also been renovations to the airport terminal building. These renovations have included improving internet connectivity and providing meeting room spaces

Drumheller council approved a new schedule of fees for the airport at the November 7 meeting to help ensure the facility becomes self-sustaining in the future.

Cessna flight around CN Tower to raise money for Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse Awareness

Business and private jet pilot Mike Bremner, Flight Lead of the Elder Abuse Air Force. (Photo: E.A.A.F.)

Elder Abuse Awareness Flight, now known as Elder Abuse Air Force, plans to set a World Record by orbiting the CN Tower 83 times this Saturday morning, November 12. The group’s goal is to raise money for the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Backed by corporate sponsorship from Home Instead and Stay At Home Nursing Niagara, the flight will begin at 9:00 am on Saturday. It will be streamed live from the cockpit through the Elder Abuse Awareness Flight Facebook page.

Mike Bremner, Flight Lead of the Elder Abuse Air Force (E.A.A.F) plans to orbit the CN Tower 83 times in a Cessna 172 aircraft. This will establish a new World Record for most orbits around a free-standing structure. A native of Toronto, Bremner is a corporate jet captain and media entrepreneur.

At 1:00 pm a 3-aircraft formation from The Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association will join Mike for two final orbits of the CN Tower. “Harvard aircraft used to train pilots in WWII are representative of the greatest generation. The generation we need to protect,” said Mike Bremner.

Donations tied to the flight can be made through the Alzheimer Society of Canada.