MAAC issues No Fly to members

— By Phil Lightstone (Photos: Phil Lightstone)

On December 17, 2022, the Model Aeronautics Association (MAAC) sent an email to their members advising them that within the next few days, a letter will be sent to its members advising them that MAAC’s board of directors had made a difficult decision mandating the temporary suspend all outdoor model aircraft flying effective immediately.

MAAC has over 9,500 members, operating radio controlled, free flight and control line model aircraft, in most provinces and territories in Canada and operating from 420 approved model aircraft flying fields.  On May 17, 2019, MAAC working collaboratively with Transport Canada (TC) and Nav Canada (NC) were successful in obtaining a TC exemption (NCR-011-2019) from Part IX of the CARs governing the use of small remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).  This exemption applies to MAAC and its members who are in good standing who operate RPAS weighing between 250 grams and 35 kgs and are operating in accordance with MAAC’s safety guidelines.  Essentially, a MAAC member is not required to have an RPAS license nor register their RPAS with TC.  Any MAAC member who continues to fly their R/C models outdoors during the mandatory no fly period, does so outside of MAAC, acting as non-members and would be operating under the CARs Part IX.  In this case, that individual would be subject to any TC enforcement actions and associated penalties through breaching the CARs.  Operating as a non MAAC member may have insurance implications.  MAAC provides its members a CAD $7.5 Million liability insurance policy.

The exemption (available here) has 15 conditions attached, which are well thought out and are able to be practically implemented and monitored by MAAC.  Two of the conditions include: prior to sanctioning a flying field located in Class C, D, E, F or other type of restricted airspace, MAAC shall obtain a written authorization from the controlling agency (e.g. NC); and prior to sanctioning a field which is within three NM of an aerodrome, MAAC shall establish procedures to ensure that RPAS do not conflict or pose a hazard to other aircraft.

With the distractions of the Covid pandemic over the past three years in the rear-view mirror, MAAC’s board of directors in the spring of 2022, began a self-assessment process reviewing the compliance of club flying fields, and determined that 15 sites were not compliant to TC’s exemption.  Michael Anderson, President MAAC reports: “once we determined that 15 fields had not obtained the required approvals, we suspended their MAAC field approval and began a consultative information sharing process with Nav Canada, Transport Canada and COPA to ensure that MAAC had both the processes and procedures in place to meet the conditions of the TC exemption. We are expecting to have a re-write of MAACs safety code and field approval procedures in place by mid-April of 2023.  In the spirit of safety and compliance, we have advised our members to stop their flying activities until further notice, however, we hope to be back to flying as soon as possible.”

MAAC’s direction to its members to stop their flying activities comes at a time when Canadian weather dictates the amount of flying which the average R/C pilot can experience.  Hopefully their internal reviews and their proactive approach to TC exemption compliance will allow MAAC to self-regulate in an environment where NC and TC are trying to do more with less.


Raytheon, Pratty & Whitney complete first engine run for Dash 8 hybrid-electric demonstrator

Raytheon Technologies on December 20 completed the successful first engine run of its regional hybrid-electric flight demonstrator, marking a key milestone moving toward flight testing scheduled to begin in 2024. The propulsion system’s initial run took place at Pratt & Whitney’s facility in Longueuil, Quebec, and performed as expected.

The hybrid-electric engine system integrates a 1 MW electric motor developed by Collins Aerospace with a Pratt & Whitney fuel-burning engine that has been adapted for hybrid-electric operation. Both Collins and Pratt are operating companies of Raytheon. The engine will eventually be integrated on a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 demonstrator.

This powerplant technology, explains Pratt & Whitney, will enable more efficient engine performance during different phases of flight, such as take-off, climb and cruise. The engine maker notes its hybrid-electric approach will reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by up to 30 per cent when compared to today’s most advanced regional turboprop aircraft.

“Hybrid-electric propulsion technology offers significant potential to optimize efficiency across a range of different aircraft applications, helping our industry meet its ambitious goal for achieving net zero CO2 emissions,” said Jean Thomassin, executive director new products and services, Pratt & Whitney Canada.

The Flight Test Centre of Excellence (Cert Center Canada – 3C) based in Ottawa, ON, will modify and operate an De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 aircraft, serving as the platform for future flight demonstrations.

“We are honoured that Raytheon Technologies has chosen our Design Approval Organization to lead the flight test program for this historic demonstrator project,” said John Maris, 3C president and chief test pilot for the project. “3C has assembled a trusted Quebec team that includes Chrono Aviation, WAAS Aerospace, and Elisen & associés to integrate the hybrid-electric powertrain, battery system, and high voltage electrical harness into 3C’s Dash 8 research aircraft.”

Since Raytheon Technologies launched the demonstrator project via its Pratt & Whitney Canada and Collins Aerospace businesses in July 2021, supported by the Governments of Canada and Quebec, a number of organizations in Canada and around the world have joined the initiative.

H55 S.A., recently the subject of a minority investment by Raytheon’s venture capital arm, RTX Ventures, will supply battery systems. The development of battery component designs and associated electrical control systems will also be supported by the National Research Council of Canada and the Innovative Vehicle Institute.

Ricardo PLC is also supporting the project with component design, system integration, and testing. De Havilland Canada is supporting integration of the propulsion system on the experimental aircraft.

(Photo: De Havilland Canada)

Canadian Forces Snowbirds unveil initial 2023 schedule

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds perform over 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, in April 2017. (Photo: Master Seaman Roxanne Wood)

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds on December 13 released its initial 2023 schedule, subject to change. The 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, with its modified CT-114 Tutor, next year aims to reach 10 Canadian provinces and the United States.

June 3-4, Thunder Bay, ON
June 8, RBC Canadian Open, North York, ON*
June 10-11, Barrie, ON
June 17-18, Dieppe-Moncton, NB
June 21, Gander, NL
June 24, Conception Bay South, NL

July 1, Canada Day, Location TBA
July 3, Peggy’s Cove, NS*
July 7-8, Cavendish, PEI*
July 9, Charlottetown, PEI
July 10 Cavendish, PEI*
July 15-16, Craven, SK
July 27, Saskatoon, SK*
July 29-30, Red Deer, AB

August 5-6, Edmonton, AN
August 11-13, Abbotsford, BC
August 19, Winnipeg, MB*
August 26-27, Leamington Beach, ON

September 1-4, Toronto, ON
September 8-10, London, ON
September 16-17, Gatineau, QC
September 30 – October 1, Huntington Beach, CA

October 7-8, Salinas, CA

*Denotes a non-aerobatic display

Hefty fine issued for drone operation during wildfire

— By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh (Photo: Parks Canada)

The penalty was steep for one person caught operating a drone during the Chetamon wildfire.

Rajwinder Singh must pay a fine of $10,000 before June 8, 2023. It is the largest fine ever issued for illegal drone operation in any place operated by Parks Canada.

During his court date on Dec. 8, Singh pleaded guilty to the charge of operating an aircraft without a permit under section 2(3) of the Aircraft Access Regulations of the Canada National Parks Act.

All national parks across Canada are no drone zones. Flying drones in any national park is a risk to visitors and staff, a disturbance to wildlife and can lead to negative experiences for others.

Flying a drone in this instance could have had much more dire consequences.

On Sept. 6, eight helicopters were fighting the then out-of-control Chetamon wildfire. They were forced to ground, putting their operations to a halt for more than one hour after themillegal drone was sighted in the area.

“This is a deadly serious matter,” said Dave Argument, resource conservation officer with Parks Canada.

Flying a drone near a wildfire not only endangers firefighters and everyone else working in the area, but it also worsens the threat that the fire already poses to nearby communities.

Drones are considered uncontrolled aircraft in the sky that prevent pilots and aircrews from being in flight. Helicopters are forced to ground, which also leaves frontline fire crews without an escape route.

It also gives the wildfire another chance to grow.

“It also runs the risk of losing control of the fire unnecessarily where we could be fighting it,” Argument said.

“Suddenly, we’re grounded and we lose our ability to action the fire while those machines are on the ground.”

Operating the illegal drone also breaches Transport Canada Canadian Aviation regulations that state no aircraft may fly within a five-nautical-mile radius of a wildfire for the safety of helicopters and aircraft involved in the fighting of forest fires.

Argument said that drones are still being seen more frequently despite this.

“It is really on the user to understand what the regulations are, what they can’t do and what they can do with these new tools that are becoming so widely available, and the consequences of their actions.”

He added that this case wasn’t even the most serious of the four instances of illegal drone users charged during the Chetamon wildfire. One individual decided to fly a drone right over the wildfire zone. The others were flying in proximity to the wildfire zone.

People charged with violating the Canada National Parks Act and its regulations are subject to a court appearance in Jasper and may be fined up to $25,000.

To learn more about drone regulations and flying in national parks, people should visit Parks Canada’s webpage on drones or unmanned air vehicles.

“Across the board, drone operation in national parks in Canada is illegal,” Argument said.

Permits are never issued for recreational drone use because of the disturbance they cause to wildlife. They also infringe on the reasonable expectation of privacy that other parks visitors enjoy.

Leggat Aviation delivers 5 Cessna 172S Skyhawks to Confederation College

Leggat Aviation on November 18, 2022, delivered five new Cessna 172S Skyhawks to Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The Skyhawks feature state-of-the-art G1000 avionics suites with ADSB, synthetic vision and autopilots. The new airplanes replace five older Cessna 172N Skyhawks within the college’s fleet of 13 aircraft.

“Anna Pangrazzi and Leggat Aviation Ltd. were wonderful to deal with from the start. They helped us define our needs at the front end, supported us through the contract process with the manufacturer, and were instrumental during inspection and importation,” said Colin Kelly, Dean of the Confederation College’s aviation school.

Confederation College offers an Aviation – Flight Management program under a consecutive 21-month advanced diploma. Training in the program takes place at its Aviation Centre of Excellence (ACE) located at the Thunder Bay International Airport. Flight training for the students begins in the first semester.

TSB report on fatal collision with terrain near Wawa

Map showing the planned route, the actual flight track, and the accident site, with an inset showing the aircraft’s heading changes and last known position. (Source of main image and inset: Google Earth, with TSB annotations)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on November 30 released its investigation report (A22O0046) into the April 14, 2022, fatal collision with terrain involving a Piper PA24-250 aircraft near Wawa, Ontario.

The privately registered Piper PA24-250 Comanche (registration C-GEWK) was conducting a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight in Ontario from Delhi Aerodrome (CDH6) to Marathon Aerodrome (CYSP), with the pilot and one passenger on board.

About one hour after take-off, when the aircraft was in the vicinity of Wiarton, Ontario, TSB explains a video of onboard instrumentation shows the aircraft was at an altitude of 4,900 feet and that there were dense clouds to the west of its track. The aircraft changed its heading slightly towards the west, explains TSB, in the direction of CYSP, just before flying over Manitoulin Island.

ADS-B data obtained after the occurrence, shows that the aircraft was flying toward CYSP was starting to show more frequent heading changes. ADS-B position information was lost at approximately 18:03 pm, reports the TSB, at which time the aircraft was approximately 14 nautical miles (NM) south of Wawa Aerodrome (CYXZ), Ontario, and the weather was deteriorating to instrument meteorological conditions.

On May 21, 2022, TSB explains a helicopter operator involved in a private search identified what looked like aircraft parts in an open swampy area. The parts were identified by the OPP as those belonging to the occurrence aircraft, reports the TSB, which established the crash site around six NM northwest of the aircraft’s last known position. The two occupants were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

TSB reports on mid-2022 fatal collision at Canton Aerodrome

Map showing the accident sequence at Canton Aerodrome on August 13, 2022. (Source: Google Earth, with TSB annotations)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on December 6 released its investigation report (A22O0118) into the August 13, 2022, fatal collision with an obstacle on takeoff of a privately registered Piper PA-28-180 aircraft at the Canton Aerodrome in Ontario.

With the pilot and one passenger on board, the PA-28-180 was taking off on Runway 14 at Canton Aerodrome (CTN7) during daylight hours for a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight to Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport (CYRO), also in Ontario.

TSB explains, that shortly after becoming airborne, when the aircraft had travelled approximately 1,400 feet down the runway and was at a height of approximately 26 feet above ground level, the left wing struck a tree located approximately 40 feet to the left of the runway centreline. The aircraft was then seen to veer to the left before disappearing from view.

TSB reports the aircraft then struck multiple additional trees before colliding with terrain and came to rest approximately 220 feet to the left of the runway centreline. Both occupants of the aircraft were fatally injured despite wearing safety belts with shoulder harnesses.

Emergency response practiced at airport mock disaster

— By Darlene Wroe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker (Photo: Jamie Mountain,  Temiskaming Speaker)

ARMSTRONG TOWNSHIP – The Earlton airport was the scene of a mock emergency event November 17, with three stations set up where personnel from a number of different units practiced their emergency response skills.

Emergency Medical Service paramedics, Earlton Fire Department firefighters, Ontario Provincial Police officers, and medical staff from Blanche River Health responded to a mock disaster at the airport.

In the scenario, an airplane struck a loader on the airport field. The “airplane,” which was a fuselage provided by The Loomex Group (which contracts to the airport), had 20 health care students from Timiskaming District Secondary School (TDSS) who played the roles of injured patients requiring rescue, transportation and care from the teams of responders. One student also had the role of the injured loader operator.

Airport manager James Smith said a full-scale exercise is required every four years by the airport to test its emergency response plan and to meet Transport Canada regulations because it’s a federally certified airport. A tabletop emergency exercise is also required every two years, he said.

“Loomex has been doing this for probably seven years now,” he said, and has fuselages it provides to airports across Canada for their mock disaster exercises.

Smith commended the TDSS students for their creative enactments as crash victims.

“One of the passengers decided she was going to give birth,” he said, and as it turned out twins were “delivered” during the scenario. The twist scenario had not been expected, he said.

TDSS science teacher Thomas McLean was present at the scene while his health care students carried out their roles.

He explained that part of the exercise was to triage the victims. A black tag indicated deceased; a red tag indicated needing to be transferred to hospital as quickly as possible with life-threatening problems; yellow was for those who probably could last a couple of hours before they needed to be transported to hospital; and green was for those with minor injuries.

He said simulations also assist his students in practicing their skills.

Blanche River Health vice-president of clinical services and chief nursing officer Martha Cope was also present with manager of patient care services Mel Szluga and manager of in-patient services Sherry L’Heureux.

Cope said they were there observing what the steps are for emergency response. She said the exercise with large numbers of people provided an insight into handling a disaster with multiple casualties, people, families and potential decontamination policy procedures.

“It’s important that we’re part of exercises like this.”

She said it also helps to create relationships across multiple organizations and mock scenarios help to maintain skills and processes and make sure that they’re staying current.

“It’s a benefit for all organizations in the region and the communities that people know that we’re working together and we do run through scenarios to keep up and practice, and make sure we are as coordinated as we can be.”

Ottawa safety investments for two Saskatchewan airports

Ottawa is making a series of safety investments at two Saskatchewan airports through the Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program. Airports in La Ronge and Prince Albert will receive more than $1.7 million from the Government of Canada for projects and equipment used in maintaining aircraft movement surfaces and the removal and control of ice and snow from airside surfaces.

La Ronge Airport will receive funds to purchase a loader ($424,990), a sweeper ($391,600), and a 4×4 snowplow ($444,600). Prince Albert Airport will receive funds to purchase a 4×4 snowplow ($420,000) and a material spreader, wet/dry combination ($105,000).

This funding is in addition to the May 2021 announcement under the program to provide the La Ronge Airport with $110,000 for a material spreader and more than $3.2 million to the Prince Albert Airport for the rehabilitation of airfield electrical systems and for airfield drainage improvements.

“Today’s investment of over $1.7 million in the La Ronge and Prince Albert airports is great news for the region’s air sector and for all the communities these airports serve,” said Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport. “Investments like these will ensure that our air sector comes out strong as we enter post-pandemic recovery, and help us keep our commitment to building safer, stronger communities.”

(Photo: Sasata)

COPA National meets with leader of Prime Minister’s youth council

Neil Bennett (left to right) of COPA, David He and Sharon Cheung of COPA. (Photo: COPA)

— By Neil Bennett, COPA Director, External Relations

Recently, COPA had the privilege to meet with David He, leader of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council. David is an aspiring pilot with interests in advancing aviation in Canada.

We spent time discussing key aviation issues, such as the Luxury Tax and the growing costs for flying. David was able to share and advocate the COPA position regarding the Luxury Tax during one of his events with senior government leaders and Members of Parliament. COPA continues our efforts to advocate for the removal of small general aviation aircraft from the Luxury Tax legislation through a variety of strategies.