Author Archives: Jon Robinson

Town of Stettler council hear things are looking up at regional airport

— By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review

Town of Stettler council approved a flight plan into the future for the regional airport. The decision was made at the Feb. 21 regular meeting of council.

The 2022 to 2042 Stettler Airport Master Plan was presented by Director of Operations Melissa Robbins with comments from Coun. Wayne Smith, who was on the steering committee.

The introduction to the document spelled out how important the master plan was, as a clear flight plan is needed for the facility or its future plans may never get off the ground. “Building a master plan for the airport allows us to ensure we have a viable airport for emergency services, supporting aerodrome operations, and ensuring the economic viability of our community by identifying priorities and setting outcomes for the airport,” stated the master plan.

“Creating a master plan allows us opportunity to apply for provincial and federal funding for improvements and helps support decision making for the long term.”

The plan identified several important capital projects to keep the airport modern, safe and effective, including the primary project of a runway rehabilitation project priced at $1.6 million. The master plan noted the airport partners including the Town of Stettler and County of Stettler will apply every Nov. until successful at obtaining provincial funding of 75 per cent.

Also on the priority list is the establishment of a secondary safe landing area by re-establishing the north-south grass strip. Robbins stated during discussion that Stettler’s airport is orientated east to west which is not always ideal for certain winds and a secondary landing area would be a wise thing to have.

Robbins noted the master plan also includes several operational priorities, including terminal building repairs and renovations, security upgrades at the airport including a locking main gate and wifi availability for anyone visiting the airport. Robbins reported a new gate as already been installed and a locking pinpad system has been mentioned.

Robbins pointed out the airport is very well cared for by the Stettler Flying Club, which also did a lot of work on the master plan. The plan took several years to complete as the committee only met a few times a year.

Robbins reported an open house was recently held which attracted 25 participants who also contributed input into the master plan.

As well, the committee developing the master plan examined 25 other airports of similar size to Stettler’s and compared features and amenities.

Robbins noted the master plan’s focus was to have all stakeholders looking forward to common priorities instead of conflicting visions.

The master plan also included a detailed timeline of improvements and activities at the airport dating back to the 1950’s, adding that the Stettler Flying Club was instrumental in many of these improvements.

Coun. Smith noted the master plan was a three year project and he was happy to see it reach fruition.

Coun. Scott Pfeiffer asked how the fuel system at the airport is handled. Robbins responded that the Stettler Flying Club owns the fuel tank, that only aviation fuel is available and that she believed it was a self-pay system operated by credit card that’s been there for two years. She also added that there is a security camera at the airport but that more security features were being considered.

Councillors unanimously approved the Stettler Airport master plan as it was presented.

(Photo: Town of Stettler)

Air Canada, CAE name eight recipients of 2023 Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship

Air Canada and CAE joined forces to double the number of scholarship recipients to eight women from across Canada. (Image: CNW Group/Air Canada)

On International Women’s Day, March 8, Air Canada and CAE announced the recipients of the 2023 Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to Canadian women studying to become commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers. Judy Cameron became the first female pilot hired by Air Canada, Canada’s largest airline, in April 1978 at the age of 23. She was the first woman to graduate from Selkirk College’s Aviation Technology Program in 1975. Throughout her flying career of 40 years and over 23,000 hours, she has flown the DC-3, Twin Otter, Hawker Siddeley 748, DC-9, Lockheed 1011, Airbus 320, Boeing 767, and Boeing 777.

This year, the two Montreal-based global aviation companies doubled the number of recipients, awarding scholarships to eight young women from across Canada. In addition to the $5,000 scholarship, CAE’s four recipients will become CAE Women in Flight – Air Canada Ambassadors and help inspire more women to become commercial pilots. The Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship was established in honour of Air Canada’s first female pilot to help foster the next generation of women following in her trailblazing footsteps and is awarded annually in conjunction with the Northern Lights Aero Foundation.

“On International Women’s Day, being able to provide support to these incredibly talented and driven young women through the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship firmly demonstrates Air Canada and CAE’s work fostering the next generation of women in their pursuit of careers in this exciting industry,” said Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive VP, Chief Human Resources Officer and Public Affairs at Air Canada. “We know how crucial this support is to young women seeking non-traditional aviation careers, and we have seen results first-hand from the success of past winners.”

Air Canada winners of the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship include:

Amanda Tosto, Surrey, British Columbia
Hélène Trudeau, Beausejour, Manitoba
Charlotte Thorley, Grimsby, Ontario
Chanelle Wilson, Coldstream, British Columbia

CAE Women in Flight ambassadors include:

Meera Bissonauth, Mississauga, Ontario
Mia Cochran, North Bay, Ontario
Jaime Hanson, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
Kyra Jarvis, Kingston, Nova Scotia


Flight Academy students fundraising hard for Washington trip

Grade 10 students Malakai Kurpjuweit and Lelin Anderson, co-lead of the Flight Academy Katelyn Rozdeba, Grade 12 students Trigger Ellis and Nicholas LeFebvre, and co-lead Dana Marshall standing in front of the Eagle Butte Talons mascot at the school. (Photo: Samantha Johnson)

— By Samantha Johnson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

Students in the South Alberta Flight Academy at Eagle Butte High School have been busy fundraising for their trip to Washington, D.C. in late June. They’ve had a few bottle drives and are currently selling Epicure door to door. Next month they will be selling Co-op gift cards to try to raise more funds.

Their big fundraising event is coming up March 25 where they will host an evening at Super T Aviation called Wings Over Southern Alberta Benefit Gala.

There will be a silent auction with lots of donated items, included a Tigers jersey signed by the entire team, MacKenzie Porter tickets for her upcoming show this summer, a private catered dinner for four and three aerobatic flights with the Northern Stars Aerobatic Team.

Trevor Moore will be the MC and provide entertainment with his comedy and magic routines. Christie Kurpjuweit will also be performing during the evening. A prime rib dinner by JF Catering will be served to all attendees.

Students in the Flight Academy are gearing up to sell tickets for the gala.

“As many as possible,” said Grade 12 student Trigger Ellis. “That’s about as good a goal as we have.”

Ellis has been in the academy for three years and will obtain his private pilot’s licence in the next few months.

“I haven’t sold any tickets yet but I’ve sold lots of Epicure things,” said Grade 10 student Lelin Anderson.

Grade 10 student Malakai Kurpjuweit hasn’t done much fundraising yet for the upcoming trip but is hoping to sell lots of tickets for the gala in the next few weeks.

Wings Over Southern Alberta Benefit Gala is March 25 from 5-11 p.m. There is seating for 200 guests, and tickets are still available. Tickets cost $129.13 each and are available on Eventbrite.

Skyservice Breaks Ground in Seattle

Skyservice Business Aviation on March 2 broke ground on a 71,000-square-foot Fixed Base Operation at King County International Airport, Boeing Field (BFI), near Seattle.

Skyservice explains the new FBO will include a generously sized lounge and relaxation areas, a two-story open reception area, and a 1,600-square-foot second-floor terrace overlooking Mount Rainier. The FBO will offer guests complimentary access to executive conference rooms and break-out areas.

“Seattle is a very important location for Skyservice as we expand our FBO, MRO, and industry-leading Aircraft Management company in the Pacific Northwest,” said Benjamin Murray, President and CEO, Skyservice. “We are committed to working with the airport to upgrade and expand its infrastructure, focus on sustainable operations, and provide greater choice in the marketplace.”

Part of the construction development also includes plans to increase the ramp footprint. Skyservice Seattle will operate from a temporary facility while the new FBO is being built. On its same leasehold, the company will continue to provide comprehensive FBO services, including ground handling, aircraft refueling, lounge amenities, flight crew lounges and sleep rooms, and ground transportation.

(Image: Skyservice)

GAMA releases 2022 aircraft shipment and billing report

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association on February 22 released its 2022 General Aviation Aircraft Shipment and Billing Report, which shows that, when compared to 2021 numbers, all aircraft segments saw increases in shipments. Preliminary aircraft deliveries in 2022 were valued at US$26.8 billion, an increase of 6.0 per cent.

“The general aviation manufacturing industry continues to show increasing strength despite workforce and supply chain challenges across our industry,” said Pete Bunce, President and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “Our product development across the spectrum of fixed wing, rotorcraft and Advanced Air Mobility vehicles is spurred by the recognition that our industry is the safety and sustainability technology incubator for global civil aviation.”

Airplane shipments in 2022, when compared to 2021, saw piston airplane deliveries increase 8.2 per cent, with 1,524 units; turboprop airplane deliveries increase 10.4 per cent, with 582 units; and business jet deliveries increase to 712 units from 710. The value of airplane deliveries for 2022 was US$22.9 billion, an increase of approximately 5.8 per cent.

Piston helicopter deliveries for 2022, when compared to 2021, saw an increase of 7.2 per cent, with 194 units; and preliminary civil-commercial turbine helicopter increase 7.6 per cent, with 682 units. The preliminary value of helicopter deliveries for 2022 was US$4 billion, an increase of approximately 6.8 per cent.

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Skyservice expands to Vancouver

Benjamin Murray, President and CEO, Skyservice. (Photo: Skyservice Business Aviation)

Skyservice Business Aviation is expanding its operations to Vancouver International Airport with Fixed Base Operations (FBO), maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), charter, aircraft management, and aircraft sales and acquisition services.

This property is the eleventh full-service private jet centre for Skyservice, in addition to two locations specifically designated for avionics, aircraft upgrades and heavy maintenance in Muskoka, Ontario, and a recently acquired 80,000 square-foot hangar at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.

“We are thrilled to add Vancouver to our growing network of award-winning business aviation jet centres in Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest,” said Benjamin Murray, President and CEO, Skyservice. “Increasingly, business aviation clients are looking for providers who deliver full aircraft support, from aircraft consultation and management to maintenance and full ground and fuel support with impeccable fixed-base operation facilities. We are proud to now offer this level of service in Vancouver.”

Skyservice has agreed to a long-term lease with World Fuel Services at Canada’s second-busiest airport with plans to modernize the existing property and invest in the buildout of the location’s business aviation service capacity.

In February 2023, Skyservice will also open a new, previously announced facility in Napa, California, and begin work on a new private jet hangar in Seattle to replace its Boeing Field site. This past year, Skyservice also finished construction of a new FBO facility in Redmond, Oregon, and added hangar capacity in Bend, Oregon, to accommodate the region’s expanding business aviation traffic.

Garmin GFC 500 autopilot for Commander and Cessna aircraft

Garmin received Federal Aviation Administration Supplemental Type Certification for the GFC 500 autopilot in additional aircraft to include the Commander 112, 112A models, as well as Cessna 172A, 172B, 172C, 175A, 175B and 175C models.

Garmin explains the GFC 500 autopilot is intended for light piston aircraft while delivering in-flight characteristics, self-monitoring capabilities and minimal maintenance requirements when compared to older generation autopilot systems.

The GFC 500 autopilot integrates with Garmin’s GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instruments; a combination of either a standby GI 275 or G5 electronic flight instrument interfaced to a G500 TXi flight display; or a G3X Touch flight display. Garmin explains the autopilot mode controller contains large dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel that allows for adjustment to aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed, and a Level Mode (LVL) that returns the aircraft to straight-and-level flight with the push of a dedicated button.

In addition, GFC 500-equipped aircraft can take advantage of Smart Glide, a safety tool that helps pilots in an engine power loss event by automating certain tasks and helping to reduce pilot workload.

In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities, such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC 500 also includes altitude preselect, VNAV2, underspeed and overspeed protection and more. Pilots can also select, couple and fly various instrument approaches, including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC and back course approaches when paired with a compatible Garmin GPS navigator.\

(Image: Garmin)

Porter building passenger terminal at Saint-Hubert Airport

Porter Aviation Holdings is entering into a partnership with Montréal Saint-Hubert Airport (YHU) to develop a new terminal capable of serving more than four million passengers annually. Construction of the 21,000-square-metre facility (225,000 square feet), holding nine bridged aircraft gates. is scheduled to begin in mid-2023 with completion expected by late 2024.

Porter estimates its investment in YHU will result in more than 500 permanent jobs, including full-time positions within terminal and airline operations, and the establishment of a new pilot and flight attendant crew base.

The new YHU terminal, being designed by Scott Associates Architects as a net-zero facility, will provide Porter Airlines with a second airport to serve the Montréal market. Porter plans to continue expanding its existing operations at Montréal’s Trudeau Airport (YUL), while also introducing a Canada-wide network at YHU airport, located about a 40-minute drive away (38 km).

Porter notes more than 10 potential YHU routes have been initially identified, spanning from Vancouver, BC, in the west to St. John’s, NL, in the east. The airline also intends to connect YHU with both of its Toronto hubs at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). Routes will be served with a combination of 78-seat De Havilland Dash 8-400 and 132-seat Embraer E195-E2 aircraft.

Porter explains the YHU terminal development is modelled after the successful revitalization of Billy Bishop that the airline has been a part of for the last 17 years. Porter states its commitment to YTZ was the catalyst for route developments and infrastructure investments that led to the airport serving nearly three million passengers annually, across more than 20 routes and producing $3 billion of annual economic impact.

(Image: Porter Aviation Holdings)

TSB reports on 2022 collision with terrain at Qualicum Beach Airport

Accident site, approximately 1,880 feet east-southeast of the end of Runway 11 (Photo: Parksville Fire Department, TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on February 16 released its Class 4 investigation report (A22P0061) into the July 2022 collision with terrain of a privately registered Cessna 172P aircraft at the Qualicum Beach Airport, British Columbia.

On July 24, 2022, the privately registered Cessna 172P aircraft (registration C-GGSN, serial number 17274207) was conducting a recreational visual flight rules flight from Victoria International Airport (CYYJ) in BC to Qualicum Beach Airport (CAT4), BC. Before the flight, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) notes 18 U.S. gallons of 100LL aviation grade fuel were added to the aircraft at CYYJ, after which a total of 30 U.S. gallons of fuel was onboard.

At approximately 6:57 pm, after the pilot had conducted the walkaround inspection and run-up checks, TSB explains the aircraft departed CYYJ with only the pilot on board and flew at a cruising altitude between 2,300 and 2,500 feet above ground level (AGL) for approximately 27 minutes.

During the approach to CAT4 from the southeast, TSB explains the pilot conducted a reduced power descent, first to 2,000 feet AGL, then to 1,300 feet AGL. Shortly after the aircraft had levelled off at 1,300 feet AGL, TSB explains the pilot increased throttle and the engine began to sputter and its speed decreased from approximately 2,300 rpm to 1,200 rpm. The pilot further increased throttle, according to the report, but the engine did not respond. TSB notes the engine fuel mixture was set to full rich for the duration of the flight and carburetor heat was not applied at any time.

TSB in its report outlines how the pilot had been manoeuvring to join the downwind leg for Runway 29, but opted to conduct an emergency landing on Runway 11 and announced his intention on the airport’s mandatory frequency. TSB explains the pilot initiated a left turn, reduced throttle, added full flaps, and entered a forward slip in a steep descent. The aircraft briefly contacted the surface of Runway 11 beyond Taxiway C (at which point less than 1,850 feet of runway remained) and became airborne again, explains TSB, as the pilot initiated a go-around and increased the throttle to full power, raised the flaps, and the aircraft entered a climb.

Approximately 19 seconds after the initial touchdown, TSB in its report explains the pilot initiated a steep right turn immediately before reaching tree-covered, down-sloping terrain, and the aircraft began a rapid descent in a right bank and nose-down attitude. The pilot declared a MAYDAY on the airport’s mandatory frequency, explains TSB, and the aircraft impacted terrain in the trees along the edge of a farmer’s field. The pilot received serious injuries and was transported to hospital by air ambulance.

Airbus looking to fill more than 800 positions in Canada

To support the ramp-up of its A220 commercial aircraft production and to meet opportunities in the helicopters and defence, and space fields, Airbus plans to recruit more than 800 new employees in Canada in 2023, including approximately 500 for the creation of new positions.

“Airbus continues to have great ambitions for Canada,” said Benoît Schultz, President and CEO of Airbus Canada. “After recruiting more than 800 new employees and creating more than 400 positions for the A220 in Mirabel in 2022, we are pleased to announce that we will hire more than 800 additional employees across the country in 2023, including approximately 700 in Quebec.”

Airbus notes its recruitment needs in Canada are diverse, ranging from helicopters to defence, space to commercial aircraft – from sub-component assembly to flight operations – and include production and quality, engineering, IT and customer service. Two-thirds of the workforce will be in support functions, while one-third will be in production.

“In 2023, we aim to allocate one-third of our positions to young graduates and early career professionals and maintain our goal to have 33 per cent of new hires and promotions allocated to women, supporting our commitment to being an inclusive employer and contributing to diversity within our industry,” said Schultz, President and CEO of Airbus Canada.

(Photo: Airbus)