Author Archives: Jon Robinson

Longview consolidates companies under De Havilland, appoints Chafe as CEO

Longview Aviation Capital on Feb. 2 announced De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited will become the operating brand for the companies currently operating as Longview Aviation, Viking Air, Pacific Sky Training and De Havilland Canada. Which combined currently support more than 1,000 aerospace jobs across Canada.

“Our acquisition of the De Havilland Dash-8 program from Bombardier in 2019 united the entire De Havilland product line for the first time in decades, and we are proud to consolidate our aviation assets under the iconic De Havilland banner,” said Sherry Brydson, owner, Longview Aviation Capital.

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada has been manufacturing aircraft since 1928 and supports a current fleet of more than 3,000 aircraft in service around the globe, from the Chipmunk and Beaver to Twin Otter and Dash 8 series.

In addition to announcing the new organizational structure, De Havilland Canada has also named Brian Chafe as Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Chafe most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of the PAL Group, a diversified global aerospace company active across a range of sectors including aircraft engineering, maintenance and modification, in-service support, special missions, and search and rescue.

“De Havilland Canada’s products are unrivalled in the regional and utility turboprop segment of the industry and that is the product of its talented team of aviation professionals,” said Chafe.

Longview Aviation Capital Corp. was established in 2016 to manage a portfolio of long-term investments in the Canadian aerospace industry, including De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited; Viking Air Ltd.; Pacific Sky Aviation Ltd; Longview Aviation Asset Management Inc; and Longview Aviation Services.

(Image: De Havilland Aircraft)

Pincher Creek Airport development one step closer to takeoff with arrival of master plan

By Gillian Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin’ the Breeze

A long-term vision for site development and economic growth is beginning to emerge for the Pincher Creek Airport.

Last week, MD council approved the preliminary draft of the long-awaited airport master plan, a document that will serve as a guide for airport development going forward.

“We should all be excited about it. It’s a great asset for the whole region,” says Troy MacCulloch, chief executive officer for the MD of Pincher Creek.

Crowsnest Pass council approved the AMP on Jan. 11, while Pincher Creek town council has yet to do so.

Located northwest of Pincher Creek, just off Highway 3, the airport currently consists of one asphalt runway over 6,000 feet long, four taxiways, two aprons for public traffic, nine aircraft hangars and a fuel facility.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is the primary user of the space at present, having its own independent air terminal building that it uses for wildfire response in the summer. Additionally, there are a few private plane owners with personal hangars.

The AMP suggests the airport be transformed into a hub where locals, tourists and travellers can access regular flights to a variety of locations, including possible northern destinations like Fort McMurray and Alaska.

The facility, it says, has the potential to become a stopover point for Americans looking to vacation up north and Canadians heading south to Montana.

It also lists a few business opportunities that could be capitalized on, including a flight training school with an on-site campus, an air cadet base and a wildfire training certification program.

Planning is still in its infancy and the document serves more as an economic and developmental guide than a solid strategy.

The Regional Airport Committee, the group that commissioned the document, still has to agree on the plan and it has to choose a governance structure for itself.

Once this falls into place, the RAC will start working on developing a business plan and a mission statement. The business plan, alone, could take up to three years to complete.

The RAC, consisting of representatives from Crowsnest Pass council, MD council, Cowley council and Pincher Creek town council, will meet to discuss matters further on Feb. 14.

The project does not come without its challenges. The AMP cites a study conducted by Transport Canada in 2004, which found that most airports located in catchment areas with populations under 15,000 were facing deficits and that regional population decline occurred in 82 per cent of cases where airports were having financial difficulties.

Additionally, it noted that 85 per cent of financially struggling airports were located within 250 kilometres of a national airspace system.

The Pincher Creek Airport and area fit the same characteristics.

“I know the challenges that they’re facing. I know how hard it’s going to be to bring this around and to make it a viable resource for our area,” said Coun. Dave Filipuzzi at a Crowsnest Pass council meeting.

To circumvent this, the AMP suggests the airport should market itself to audiences that larger centres wouldn’t cater to.

(Image: Wikipedia)

Bell performs detect and avoid test with APT drone, 429 helicopter

Bell Textron Inc.’s Autonomous Pod Transport drone successfully completed a demonstration of a ground-based Detect and Avoid flight, fulfilling an extension for its NASA Systems Integration and Operationalization program. Bell was selected for NASA’s Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) program back in 2018, aiming to help develop future airspace requirements for future Advanced Air Mobility vehicles, such as commercial drones and potentially autonomous eVTOL aircraft like so-called air taxis.

Bell in Sept. 2020 completed its first SIO demonstration flight with the Autonomous Pod Transport (70) aircraft, running a Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) mission with NASA in an urban environment, transitioning into and out of Class B airspace representing future commercial flights.

This newest 2022 Detect and Avoid (DAA) demonstration, explains Bell, showcased the APT’s ground radar system integration and its capabilities when navigating airspace traffic and requirements. Again, the SIO objective was to execute a BVLOS mission in complex airspace, but in the instance while utilizing DAA technology to monitor the airspace for ‘natural intruders’ using Bell’s 429 commercial helicopter and APT drone.

Bell’s QuantiFLYTM system, a new aircraft communication unit (ACU) powered by Truth Data, offering a true low-cost, lightweight, and fully automatic flight data monitoring (FDM) solution, was used on the Bell 429 to record aircraft telemetry data.

Bell utilized radar systems to monitor the complex airspace within the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) and to track manned and unmanned aircraft systems. (Photo: Bell Textron)

“We are excited to demonstrate the effectiveness of ground-based monitoring solutions as part of UAS infrastructure,” said Matt Holvey, director, Intelligent Systems, Bell. “Radar monitoring, whether airborne or ground-based, may become an important part of drone delivery, air taxi services and other aspects of the ever-expanding AAM ecosystem.”

In addition, Microsoft provided AirSim, a simulation tool for training Autonomous systems, which gave Bell a Digital Twin environment to model the NASA SIO Extension flight in the virtual world before flying through the corridor. This allowed the team to conduct simulated real-world tests of the APT aircraft across a broad range of scenarios without any safety risks and at a fraction of the cost and time needed.

(Photo: Bell Textron)

Diamond to use Pratt & Whitney engine for DART trainer program

Diamond Aircraft, after a strategic evaluation, is applying a major modification to its DART aerobatic training aircraft program by moving to a new turbine manufacturer. Basic EASA certification of the aerobatic trainer is expected by the end of 2023.

“After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that an adjustment of the DART program was necessary in order to move forward with the aircraft certification process,” said Liqun (Frank) Zhang, CEO, Diamond Aircraft Austria. “In order to meet our target timeline and as the window of opportunity on the market as well as with interested customers is limited, we decided – in close consultation with our R&D department – to pursue our DART program with the proven and certified 750 SHP PT6A-25C turboprop engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada.”

The aerobatic trainer powered by the PT6A-25C turboprop engine will be named DART-750 and will come with the Garmin G3000 avionics suite and optional ejection seats.

“With bringing the DART-750 to the market, Diamond Aircraft will be the only manufacturer that is covering the complete range of basic flight training,” said Zhang. “The aircraft is already considered for many programs all over the world. We are seeing a huge potential for the aircraft in the government training market.”

Diamond notes the PT6A turboprop has been selected to power more than 130 different aircraft applications, noting the engine’s dependability and performance, even in the most challenging of conditions. It operates reliably in extremes temperature and can land and take off from undeveloped runways.

“We worked closely with Diamond Aircraft on determining the best powerplant for the new DART-750 acrobatic trainer program and believe Diamond Aircraft have made an excellent choice in selecting the PT6A-25C engine,” said Anthony Rossi, Vice President, Business Development, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Diamond has been a mainstay of the General Aviation sector for 40 years and we are happy to welcome them aboard as our newest airframe OEM.”

With more than 50,000 engines produced, Diamond explains the PT6A has defined General Aviation for more than 50 years. Its global engine fleet, in terms of both single- and twin-engine aircraft, has flown more than 425 million hours, while the entire Pratt & Whitney Canada fleet has flown in excess of 900 million hours.

“We are pleased that Diamond Aircraft has selected the iconic PT6A engine to pursue its DART program,” said Nicholas Kanellias, Vice President, General Aviation, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Single engine turboprop safety demands a proven engine and the selection of the PT6A-25C for the DART-750 is yet another endorsement of an engine that already powers hundreds of military trainers in operation around the world. The PT6A-25C is an ideal engine for trainer applications due to its unique power and response profile.”

(Images: Diamond Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney)

First flight for Air Race E specified electric plane

Competition organizer Air Race E on Jan. 28 oversaw what it describes as the first-ever flight of a piloted all-electric racing airplane. The test-flight achievement of an Air Race E specified plane was carried out by the Nordic Air Racing team in Norway.

The Norwegian team’s electric aircraft is a converted Cassutt IIIM, which will be used to help launch the world’s first electric air race series, organized by Air Race E, scheduled to get underway in 2023.

The ten-minute test flight by the Norwegians took place at Tønsberg Airport under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway. Nordic Air Racing Team pilot Rein Inge Hoff became the first aviator to get behind the controls of an Air Race E-specification aircraft when he completed four circuits of the airfield at 2,000 feet.

“The first-ever flight of our all-electric racing plane is a milestone achievement, both in the development of Air Race E as an international championship and in the progression of wider aviation technology,” said Jeff Zaltman, CEO, Air Race E.

Air Race E explains Hoff carried out some slow flight and control tests to ensure the aircraft behaved as predicted, testing with 90 kW of power and working up to 140 kts as planned, around 50 to 60 per cent of the plane’s eventual potential in full race trim.

Air Race E aims to bring together some of the world’s top pilots to compete at a number events where aircraft will race at speeds of more than 400km/h (250 mph). The Nordic Air Racing Team is one of 17 teams that took up the challenge to join the series. As well as the Open class, Air Race E is also set to run two other categories, including a partly-standardized Performance class and an eVTOL class.

Air Race E explains its founding partner, Airbus, provides competing teams in the series with research data and industry insight as part of the collective drive to develop cleaner, faster, and more technically advanced electric aircraft – both in the sporting and commercial sector. Air Race E’s simulation software partner, Ansys, has also helped to advance the process of aircraft electrification by making simulation software, training and consultation available to the competing teams.

(Photo: Air Race E)

Hays named CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority

Nick Hays has been appointed as the President and CEO of the Winnipeg Airports Authority, effective February 21, 2022, succeeding long-time leader Barry Rempel, who is retiring. Rempel spent 20 years of his career with the Winnipeg Airports Authority, which oversees the operations of Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, CYWG.

“Nick is a values and purpose-driven leader with an impressive combination of airline, logistics, and international experience that will be instrumental in building on our reputation as a Canadian air cargo hub and developing the airport campus for the future benefit of the region,” said Brita Chell, Chair of the Board of Directors, Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA). “Our industry has seen incredible challenges since the start of the pandemic, and we need the next leader to position us for success in both the short and long-term. The board is confident Nick is that leader.”

Hays joins WAA from his most recent role as Vice President Canada at Vanderlande Industries, a global leader in logistic process automation at airports. Prior to that, he held a senior advisory role with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ transportation and logistics practice. Hays also spent 11 years with Cathay Pacific Airways and its parent company the Swire Group, working in Hong Kong, Auckland, Tokyo, and finally Vancouver where he was Cathay Pacific’s Vice President, Canada.

“I look forward to leading the talented team at WAA and joining a company that has been named one of Manitoba’s Top Employers for the last 10 years,” said Hays. “There is no doubt our industry is facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, but I am excited for the opportunities ahead and know WAA has the right vision and values to move the organization forward in support of our community, customers and stakeholders.”

(Photo: CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)

Ottawa provides CYLW with $18M in funding

Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, on Jan. 26 announced more than $18 million in funding to help Kelowna International Airport, CYLW, recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support continued air services and important transportation infrastructure projects at the airport. Alghabra was joined by Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan, who is also the Minister for Pacific Economic Development Canada, in making the funding announcement.

Ottawa explains, to help ensure safe airport operations for aircraft, passengers and crew, CYLW will receive more than $15.2 million from Transport Canada’s Airport Critical Infrastructure Program to support: the expansion of the airport’s combined operations building; the replacement of sections of the terminal building roof; upgrades to airfield lighting infrastructure; the construction of runway end safety areas (RESA); and the establishment of facilities and modified airport infrastructure to facilitate improved flow and management of air travellers and airport employees related to COVID-19 testing and screening.

In addition to the funding for these infrastructure projects, the Government of Canada also provided the Kelowna International Airport with just over $3 million from Transport Canada’s Airport Relief Fund to help it maintain continued airport operations and essential air services for residents and workers in Kelowna and surrounding communities.

“These critical investments will allow the Kelowna International Airport to invest in the infrastructure and tools needed to help re-invigorate the aviation industry and allow Canadians to feel safe and secure when they travel,” said Alghabra.

The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program, launched in May 2021, will distribute $571.2 million in funding over five years to airports for eligible infrastructure projects related to safety, security, and connectivity to mass transit systems.

The Airport Relief Fund, launched in May 2021, provided $64.8 million in funding in 2021-2022 for targeted airports whose 2019 revenues were less than $250 million.

(Photo: Kelowna International Airport)

KADEX adds STC approved HYPERION II LED for King Air 350

KADEX Aero Supply has made available, through a newly approved Supplement Type Certificate, the HYPERION II LED Wing Tip Light Assembly for Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft. Developed by KAD Aerospace, the manufacturing arm of KADEX Aero Supply, this STC approval was granted after extensive prototyping and DO-160 EMI, and Photometric testing was completed.

KADEX explains the wing tip light assembly is produced from proven TSO Approved components and a robust bracketry system, allowing the HYPERION II to meet the needs of 350 operators worldwide. Following on the heels of the HYPERION I series LED for the King Air C90/200/300 and 1900s, KADEX explains the HYPERION II LED allows for a plug-and-play Installation into the 350 Wing Tip, as well as removal of the high voltage power supplies.

“KADEX is very excited to bring this long-awaited upgrade to the King Air 350,” said Ken Blow, Vice President, KADEX. “Months of development and careful component selection, have culminated in something we are really proud of. This LED makes for trouble-free operation with safety enhancements that can only come from the latest LED Technology.”

Combined with the previously approved ORION 500 Tail Nav/Strobe, the King Air HYPERION II 350 LED Lights are available through KADEX at both company locations in Peterborough, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta.

(Photo: Kadex)

COPA signs MOU with Aerial Evolution Association of Canada

— Text provided by COPA

COPA signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Aerial Evolution Association of Canada (AEAC) to conduct joint activities for fostering the development and safe integration of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), commonly known as drones, in Canadian airspace.

With over 15,000 members, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) represents Canada’s largest aviation association. In spring 2021, COPA expanded its mandate to include RPAS operators and has since launched new programs, scholarship opportunities, and training dedicated to supporting RPAS pilots to enhance their skills and to operate safely.

Aerial Evolution Association of Canada (AEAC) is a Canadian-registered not-for-profit association, founded in 2003 as the national industry association representing entrepreneurs, businesses, students, academia, industry, and government organizations working in the aerial and RPAS sector.

The MOU will facilitate efforts by both COPA and AEAC to achieve mutual goals and leverage resources for sharing information and for planning, developing, and implementing RPAS services that positively impact the aviation sector.

“We are excited to take this important step with AEAC which provides an opportunity to leverage the resources, strengths and talent of both associations,” said Christine Gervais, President and CEO of COPA. “The scope of RPAS operations in Canada continues to evolve at a rapid rate, and this partnership reinforces our two association’s shared commitment to safety and protecting all pilots’ freedom to fly.”

“This new national agreement is expected to unlock strategic opportunities for collaboration between our two associations,” says Michael Cohen, Chair of the Board of Directors, Aerial Evolution Association of Canada. “Under the terms of the MOU, COPA and AEAC will work together to share best practices and introduce new and important resources to the growing remotely piloted aircraft community.”

(Photo: Ben Burger, Adobe Stock)

Spirit of Innovation officially breaks all-electric speed record

Rolls-Royce on Jan. 20 announced its all-electric Spirit of Innovation aircraft is officially the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, having set two new world records which have now been independently confirmed through the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation, which controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records.

The all-electric aircraft world speed record was set back on November 16, 2021, at 15:45 (GMT), when the Spirit of Innovation aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over three kilometres, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph) set by the Siemens eAircraft powered Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft in 2017.

In further runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the Rolls-Royce aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres – 292.8km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record. Both records have now been officially verified by FIA.

Rolls-Royce explains the Spirit of Innovation, which is part of the UK Government-backed ACCEL or ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’ project, also clocked up a maximum top speed of 623 km/h (387.4mph) making it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.

The aircraft was propelled on its record breaking runs by 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain and what Rolls-Royce describes as the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace. The company is working with aviation energy storage start-up Electroflight and automotive powertrain supplier YASA on this part of the project.

“Achieving the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce,” said Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce. “I would like to thank our partners and especially aviation start-up Electroflight, for their collaboration in achieving this pioneering breakthrough.

“The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this program has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility market,” continued East. “This is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

Half of the ACCEL project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

(Photo: Rolls-Royce)