Author Archives: Phil Lightstone

COFLYT Unveils New Aircraft Insights APP

― By: Phil Lightstone

COFLYT ( of Pensacola FL provides a cloud delivered aircraft maintenance and billing application designed specifically for General Aviation.  COFLYT combines inspections and maintenance tracking, scheduling, and billing into a simple, mobile app to provide peace of mind for aircraft owners.

A pilot simply inputs their last flight details into the COFLYT App and COFLYT updates the flight logs and can generate billing for aircraft held in a partnership or block timers.  Bill payment is automatically generated when the pilot enters the times and a credit card transaction is created through Stripe.

COFLYT is designed to track aircraft inspections and generate alerts based upon time limited components, e.g. Magnetos and ELT battery replacement. AD’s can be imported from the FAA’s database, ensuring that the mechanics are up to date with the FAA’s requirements.  COFLYT provides aircraft scheduling (Calendar) as well as advanced squawk reporting.  Pre-existing paper logbooks can be uploaded into COFLYT, safeguarding the future resale of the aircraft, by creating a digital backup of the aircraft’s logs.

COFLY has three pricing categories:  One Plane One User – Free for a single aircraft and single pilot but with limited capabilities; Premium Individual Pilot – USD $14 per month or USD $140 per year; and Premium Aircraft Partnership – USD $36 per month or USD $360 per year and is designed for partnerships with an unlimited number of users (each additional aircraft is USD $15 per month or USD $150 per year).

(Photo: COFLYT)

PRPS and Super T partner with HALO

Over the past three years, students in the Prairie Rose Public Schools’ South Alberta Flight Academy built this Vans RV-12 aircraft.

― By: SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Medicine Hat News: Prairie Rose Public Schools’ South Alberta Flight Academy held a fundraising gala Saturday evening, where it was announced the academy and Super T Aviation will be partnering with HALO Air Ambulance in a unique agreement.

Along with their studies, over the past three years students of the academy have built a Vans RV-12 aircraft ready to hit the skies. Not only will the plane be used for flight-school training by academy students, it might soon be added to the HALO fleet for fire spotting and search and rescue missions.  A small two-seater, single-engine plane, the Vans RV-12 is ideal for flight-school training. It is economical to operate, easy to manoeuvre, and often has low maintenance costs.

HALO not only responds to emergency calls but is also actively involved in fire spotting along with search and rescue.  “The BK-117 is a multi-purpose helicopter that is a key tool for the work HALO does,” says HALO CEO Paul Carolan. “There are instances however, such as search and rescue and fire spotting, that we benefit from the use of other aerial aircraft. The Vans RV-12 is a good fit for this type of work and HALO is eager to explore the potential of developing a program in partnership with the South Alberta Flight Academy.”

The partnership would benefit all the organizations involved. In exchange for using the plane, HALO could provide students in the flight academy and those in the recently announced South Alberta Fire Rescue Academy with training and mentorship.  The full release is available at

(Photo: Prairie Rose Public Schools)

Huronia Airport Land Sale ‘best thing for North Simcoe’

― By: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


Three North Simcoe municipalities hope the public pilots its way to an incoming Huronia Airport Commission meeting about a potential land sale.  Next Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Midland municipal chambers, a virtual meeting will be held with partnering municipalities Penetanguishene and Tiny Township regarding the potential land sale of roughly 20 acres of airport CYEE located in Tiny for the purposes of supporting the airport’s capital needs.

Penetanguishene Mayor Doug Rawson told Midland Today that although the discussion was no surprise to mayors, deputy mayors and CAOs of the municipalities, “due course” would need to be followed through a public information session as all municipalities would have to give authorization to the Huronia Airport Commission (HAC).  “I think this is a really good thing; I think it’s very positive for North Simcoe,” said Rawson. “Last term of council for Midland, Penetanguishene and Tiny were working hard on how to bring the airport to the next level, and that started with the (‘Strategic Development Plan for the Huronia Airport, July 2019’) Loomex Group report.”  Rawson added: “The recommendation was that up to 20 acres would be parceled off for appropriate commercial activities at the airport.”

An example of value for the property can be found in a 2021 review from the HAC regarding development opportunities and constraints; one currently-existing parcel of land for commercial aviation at CYEE – not for sale – measured roughly 5.4 acres and could accommodate up to 35 hangars. Additionally in 2021, the HAC task force recommended multi-plot development of a 10-acre parcel of non-aviation commercial phase 1 for lease or sale, with another multi-plot development of 7 to 10 acres as aviation commercial phase 3 for lease or sale to aviation-based companies.

For the upcoming meeting about the potential land sale, a presentation by the HAC will be provided to the three councils along with discussion. Once concluded, each municipality will leave the joint meeting and separate to their own respective committee of the whole meetings for further discussion as it pertains to their own municipality.

“The public can join the meeting to watch either in person or on Zoom,” explained Midland acting CAO Andy Campbell. “The (HAC) meeting will not have a ‘public meeting’ agenda item, so there will not be an opportunity for the public to ask questions of (Midland) council. In summary, the meeting is the same as most council meetings where the public can only observe the debate by their elected officials.”  The framework for the Tiny Township portion will be similar, according to director of legislative services/clerk Sue Walton.

“This a joint presentation to the ownership municipalities and although open to the public, no municipal business will be advanced and no deputations will be received during this (HAC) presentation,” said Walton. “Township of Tiny council will be attending the presentation virtually. The presentation will not be available for viewing in the Township of Tiny council chambers as a result.”

Once Tiny council parts into their special committee of the whole meeting, Walton said: “It is at this meeting that council will consider the presentation and associated request from the (HAC) and make a recommendation in this regard… (and) that deputations would be received as per our deputation policy.”

For Penetanguishene, Mayor Rawson confirmed that council would also break off into a committee of the whole meeting for discussion, but any public input regarding the presentation should be provided to him prior to the event.  “Anything that I have for the public meeting, I will ask the question and have them before our experts that will be at the (HAC) presentation,” said Rawson. Rawson shared excitement over the potential for the airport as well as his anticipation for the joint meeting. “There were a lot of recommendations about upgrades and enhancements that the owners of the airport should be thinking about, that the HAC should be considering; and they’ve been operationalizing some of those recommendations. Lots of positive things have been worked on.”

However, Rawson pointed out that patience was key for the benefit of all North Simcoe residents. “This isn’t about racing to make a decision; it’s about making an informed decision and doing the right thing,” added Rawson. “I wholeheartedly believe this is the best thing for the town of Penetanguishene and North Simcoe, our member municipalities. There’s not a lot of downside; I see an upside to this. Let’s take our time and do it right.”

Details regarding the 2019 Loomex Group final report and Huronia Airport Commission review can be found in the January 2022 committee of the whole agenda on the Town of Penetanguishene website.  The presentation is open to the public and will be held in the Town of Midland council chambers located at 575 Dominion Avenue in Midland. In the event a member of the public wishes to attend the presentation virtually, please contact Sarah Cathcart, Deputy Clerk, via town email to receive the Zoom meeting link.  In the event a member of the public wishes to attend one of the council meetings virtually, the public is asked to contact the clerk of the respective municipality as noted below.

For more information, please contact:

Town of Midland: Sherri Edgar, Clerk | 705-526-4275, Ext. 2210

Town of Penetanguishene: Stacey Cooper, Clerk | 705-549-7453, Ext. 211

Township of Tiny: Sue Walton, Director of Legislative Services/Clerk | 705-526-4204, Ext. 225

(Photo credit: Gus & Clara Carujo)

Pilot Recruitment at SUN ‘n FUN

― By: Phil Lightstone

The pilot shortage is a widely discussed topic by the airlines, flight schools, flight instructors and most pilots.  Fueled by the COVID pandemic, many airlines offered their line pilots and aircrew early retirement, to mitigate monthly salary costs as passenger revenue declined.  United Airlines will see 5,000 of their pilots retiring in the next 10 years.   United’s CEO Scott Kirby comments: “Over the next decade, United will train 5,000 pilots who will be guaranteed a job with United after they complete the requirements of the Aviate program – and our plan is for half of them to be women or people of color.”

In an effort to backfill the worsening pilot shortage, some airlines have created flight training organizations.  United has created the United Aviate Academy (, located in Phoenix AZ.  UAA’s goal is to graduate 500 new pilots per year.  Their 2023 class has 320 students, with an expected dropout rate of 32.  The program is designed to immerse student pilots into aviation with an outcome of obtaining their PPL, Commercial, Instrument, Multi and CFI ratings within 12 months, at a cost of USD $71,250.

In year two, they begin acquiring hours with the goal of 1,500 hours (an ATP requirement).  While they acquire hours, they can work for UAA as a flight instructor with a guarantee of a minimum of 70 flight hours per month at USD $40 per hour.  While USD $2,800 per month does not sound like a lot, the cost of living in Phoenix can be reduced through finding a roommate.  UAA has created partnerships with a variety of regional air carriers to bolster employment opportunities while the students gain hours.  United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase contributes USD $2.4 Million in annual scholarships to help students finance the financial realities of the cost of entry into the cockpit.

Anyone can apply, regardless of race or gender identity. The scholarship funds are distributed through UAA’s partner organizations:  Latino Pilots AssociationNational Gay Pilots Association, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals,  Professional Asian Pilots Association ,Sisters of the Skies and Women in Aviation International. Each organization may have their own requirements.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

Aircraft Bidder Auctions AOPA Extra 300

Who’s Going to Be a New Extra Owner?

― By:  Phil Lightstone


Aircraft Bidder (.com) was founded in 2020 with the goal of creating an ‘eBay” style of on-line auctions focusing on aircraft.  To date, Aircraft Bidder has sold 84 aircraft using their website.  Currently there are 20 aircraft up for auction on their website.

Buyers must register for each aircraft and provide a deposit, which varies depending upon the value of the aircraft.  For example, a USD $2.5 Million aircraft would require a bidder’s deposit of USD $20,000.  This helps Aircraft Bidder ensure that the bidder will close the transaction if they are the winning bid.  Bidders are able to view the aircraft, logbooks and other documentation, typically up to 30 to 45 days before the auction.  Successful bidders are required to close the transaction within 72 hours.

At the AOPA booth at SUN ‘n FUN, an Extra 300L was on display, which is in the auction.  The Extra 300L is a two-seat, low-wing, aerobatic airplane powered by a fuel-injected Lycoming AEIO-540 engine, producing 300 horsepower.  The auction closes Friday March 31, 2023, at 1:00 pm EST. The current bid is at USD $241,000 (as of this March 28th in the evening).  A 5.00 % Buyer’s Premium will be applied to the final price.  Bidders are required to wire a USD $5,000 deposit to Aircraft Bidder before registration will be finalized.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

National Association of Flight Instructors Plans Educational Sessions at SUN ‘n FUN

― By: NAFI 


Hundreds of members and guests of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) are planning to visit the association’s activities here March 28 to April 2 at Lakeland Linder International Airport for the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo, Florida’s largest convention.

NAFI’s formidable presence will highlight its planned flight instruction safety and business summit scheduled from Oct. 24 to 26. NAFI’s inaugural summit in the fall will also be held on the SUN ‘n FUN campus. Attendees at the SUN ‘n FUN this month can also register for the fall summit online below and at NAFI’s booth at the fly-in and airshow. NAFI’s exhibit will be in Hangar A, Booth 077.

The booth is staffed by NAFI volunteer board members, including Chair Karen Kalishek, Secretary JD Debosky, Chair Emeritus Robert Meder and Board Member Victor Vogel. They will be in Lakeland throughout the event to showcase NAFI’s programs, benefits, and networking opportunities. In addition, existing members and new members can renew or join NAFI at a discounted rate during the show.

Register at NAFI Summit 2023 | Become a Better CFI  for NAFI Summit: Flight Instruction Excellence, to be held October 24-26 at the SUN ’n FUN Museum at Lakeland Linder International Airport (KLAL). The summit will host current and prospective certificated flight instructors, leaders in aviation, industry advocates, government representatives, and media. Early bird rates are in effect until July 1: $250 for NAFI members, $310 for non-members. NAFI and SAFE Master Instructor rates are $199.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

Method Seven Announces New Sunglasses and Discounts

Method Seven Eye Wear Comes to Canada

― By: Phil Lightstone

Method Seven of Santa Cruz CA, manufacturers of aviation grade sunglasses introduced their new FLT (Flight) sunglasses.  With the same frames as their popular Ascent SKY, FLT18 sports new polycarbonate lenses, making the sunglasses 10 grams lighter.  For open cockpit and aerobatics pilots, the reduction in weight provides clear benefits allowing the movement of the pilot’s head to be unencumbered, especially during high G manoeuvres.

Jamie Mitchell, Brand Manager, reports “a common question at the aviation events, was about additional discount.  New to SUN ‘n FUN, we’re offering in the booth only, a 20 percent discount for each sunglass, 25 percent if you buy two and 30 percent if you buy two or more.  This is perfect for pilots who come into the booth with their flying buddies or significant other.”  Their sunglasses cost USD $235 with the clip on sunglasses at USD $55. Recently, Aircraft Spruce was added as a distributor, allowing Canadians to order Method Seven sunglasses directly from Aircraft Spruce Canada.

(Photo: Method Seven)

Day One at SUN ’n FUN

New Innovations Announced at SUN ‘n FUN

 By Phil Lightstone
SUN ’n FUN 2023 opened to severe clear weather with outside air temps in the 30C’s.  While the aviation event, coined “Spring Break for Aviators” was cancelled during 2020 due to the pandemic, aviators and aviation enthusiasts flocked to Lakeland FL to take part in the aviation Expo.  With over 250,000 attendees, 2,500 volunteers, approaching 600 exhibitors, 389 educational forms, 32 presentations and 6,000 aircraft operations, it seems like the pandemic is thankfully in the rear-view mirror.

 Air Venture and SUN ‘n FUN are great venues to see the latest in aviation technologies but a perfect opportunity to purchase that must have aviator gadget, aircraft component, event souvenirs or a new aircraft.  Some cool new aviation tech announcements made at SUN ‘n FUN include: Bose A30 headset replacing the A20 (now 13 years old), featuring improved ANR, new digital electronics with three modes of noise cancellation, a new centre of gravity yielding a more stable fit, slightly better battery life (than the A2) and a five year warranty; CubCrafter’s new Carbon Cub equipped with Rotax’s newest 916 IS/C 160 HP engine with expected deliveries of orders placed today in  Q1 2025; and AeroPup’s new kit plane starting at USD $15,000 with an expected completion cost of USD $50,000 featuring a 1,600 lb gross weight and 130 kt cruise speed.

The Guest Experience is SUN ‘n FUN’s number one objective for 2023.  Eric Washburn, a SUN ‘n FUN Board of Director reports that the organization invested over USD $300,000 in IT infrastructure improvements, including the installation of over 30,000 feet of new fiber optic cable.  Powered by 10 Gbps internet pipes, the infrastructure was built to support in excess of 25,000 concurrent users, per sector (the site was divided into many sectors – think ATC sectors to provide optimization of Internet resources).

Mark your calendars for SUN ‘n FUN’s 50th event being held from April 9 to 14 2024.

(Photo: Phil Lightstone)

Pre Order uAvionix External Magnetometer

To improve heading accuracy and consistency for your uAvionix AV-30-C add an AV-Mag. AV-Mag external magnetometer is a 3-axis electronic compass. AV-Mag precisely measures the earth’s magnetic field and aids the AV-30 directional heading measurement, improving long-term accuracy and consistency.  The AV-MAG-STC for certified aircraft is currently on pre order with orders expected to ship in the spring of 2023.  Current pre order pricing is USD $299 for the AV-MAG (certified).

(Photo: uAvionix)

Repair Parts Running Out for GNS 430/530

― By Phil Lightstone

On March 14, 2023, Garmin released Service Advisory 23018 Rev A (service advisory) advising that repair services for Garmin GNC 420/400/500/530/430 both WAAS and Non-WAAS will be limited due to component availability limitations starting in 2024.

Garmin reports: “Due to multiple component availability limitations, comprehensive repair service for the Garmin GNS 430(W)/530(W) series is expected to become limited in the years ahead.  Initially, these limitations are estimated to impact a small percentage of repairs beginning in 2024. First introduced in 1998, Garmin has offered repair service for the GNS 430/530 series for 25 years. Garmin plans to continue offering repair service when the components required for a specific repair remain available. Database updates and technical support will also remain available.”

Garmin advises that customers should begin thinking about an upgrade. Garmin reports: “We encourage GNS 430(W)/530(W) series owners to begin considering their transition strategy to newer generation products.”  Consider contacting a Garmin Authorized Dealer for pricing inclusive of installation labour costs.

(Photo:  Phil Lightstone)