Author Archives: Jon Robinson

von Hoensbroech named CEO of WestJet Group

The WestJet Group on Dec. 17 announced Alexis von Hoensbroech will be appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the WestJet Group, with Harry Taylor expected to remain in the role of interim CEO through the company’s first quarter of 2022. The official start date for von Hoensbroech is subject to the timing of a successful immigration process, at which time Taylor will resume his position as Executive Vice-President Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

von Hoensbroech has served as CEO of Austrian Airlines since in 2018. Austrian Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group and Austria’s largest airline, operating a network in central and eastern Europe, among what WestJet notes as being one of the world’s most competitive and lowest cost airline markets.

“Alexis understands WestJet’s low-cost roots and the importance of cost competitiveness in our vision for the future,” said Chris Burley, Chairman of WestJet’s board of directors, in a statement welcoming von Hoensbroech to WestJet’s team. “While at Austrian Airlines, Alexis refocused the airline on its core business, lowering its cost base to address rising competition from ultra-low-cost carriers. Alexis’ direct aviation operating experience builds on a career of airline consulting and research work.”

After obtaining a doctorate in physics, von Hoensbroech spent his early career at the management consultancy company, The Boston Consulting Group, in Munich and Tokyo, with clients primarily from the aviation industry. He joined the Lufthansa Group in 2005, responsible for the strategy and subsidiaries of Lufthansa airline. WestJet explains, from there he worked on various integration projects; becoming head of commercial at the airline’s biggest hub, before moving to Lufthansa Cargo AG. Most recently, as CEO and CFO of Austrian Airlines, he held management responsibilities for human resources, business development corporate communications, political and legal affairs and the CFO functions controlling, financing, accounting and sourcing.

“I am really excited to be joining the WestJet team,” said von Hoensbroech. “WestJet is a remarkable success story, bringing affordable air travel to millions of Canadians. I am very much looking forward to working with the management team, the Board and all WestJetters and Swoopsters to write the next chapter of this success story, as the airline emerges from the pandemic.”

Ombudsman releases report on Saugeen Municipal Airport

— By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé has posted findings involving the Saugeen Municipal Airport Commission (SMAC) regarding public meetings.

In essence, the ombudsman determined that the COVID-19 pandemic may have resulted in different ways of holding meetings, but that did not free SMAC from responsibilities under the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001 regarding providing consistent public notice of meetings, including electronic meetings, providing a means for the public to observe meetings except in regard to certain matters set out in the legislation, and re-admitting the public following completion of in-camera portions of such meetings.

The ombudsman stated in the report, “I recognize that municipalities and local boards have faced unprecedented challenges in adopting their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, including many cases pivoting to conducting meetings electronically using new technologies. However, as my office has noted in previous closed meeting investigation reports, the requirement to hold meetings that are open to the public is not suspended in an emergency.”

Dubé recommended that SMAC adopt a procedural bylaw governing its meetings and providing for public notice of all meetings, and further, that the commission ensure the public is able to observe all open portions of meetings.

The complaint to the ombudsman alleged that SMAC contravened open meeting rules by “not providing consistent public notice of its electronic meetings including instructions on how to access the meetings … and that members of the public were unable to rejoin meetings after the commission rose from closed session.”

The ombudsman found that the commission is a “local board” and contravened the Municipal Act when it “held meetings without providing adequate public notice, and by failing to pass a procedural bylaw governing its meetings. The commission also contravened the Municipal Act when it failed to adequately notify members of the public about how to request readmission to the portion of an open meeting following a closed session.”

In the course of the investigation, the ombudsman’s office determined that the commission held a number of Zoom meetings for which no notice was provided to the public, and no instructions for the public to log in to access the meeting. The commission held a meeting on Jan. 13, 2021 that had been scheduled for Jan. 20, 2021, without providing notice of the change. Prior to COVID, SMAC had held in-person meetings the third Wednesday of each month; the public was able to attend and notices of the meetings were posted ahead of time.

The report stated “the chair (of the airport commission) explained that although the commission endeavoured to post notice of meetings on its website or on Facebook, this may not always have occurred as the commission lacked full-time staff support and commissioners were dealing with a number of urgent matters.”

The report further stated that the chair was unable to confirm if notice was provided for six meetings including two special meetings.

The ombudsman recognized that SMAC “did not intend to exclude the public” and commended it for its efforts to “increase transparency” through changes to its public notice process and adoption of a means to ensure members of the public can observe the open portions of a meeting that follow a closed session.

The ombudsman’s report indicated the office had received full co-operation during its investigation.

(Photo: Pauline Kerr)

De Havilland, ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen-electric engine program for Dash 8-400

Powertrain innovator ZeroAvia and aircraft maker De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a line-fit and retrofit program for De Havilland’s aircraft models, using hydrogen-electric propulsion in both new and in-service aircraft.

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), De Havilland will be issued options to purchase 50 ZeroAvia hydrogen-electric engines. These options will be confirmed once a definitive agreement has been completed between the two companies.

They intend to work together on a service bulletin for the Dash 8-400 type certificate offering ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric engine as a line-fit option for new aircraft, as well as developing an OEM-approved retrofit program for in-service aircraft.

The new program will target the use of ZeroAvia’s 2MW+ powertrain (ZA2000) for Dash 8-400 aircraft, which is one of the world’s most popular turboprops with more than 625 delivered to customers. The global fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft has logged more than 11 million flight hours and transported more than 550 million passengers.

As part of the program, ZeroAvia will develop a flight demonstrator, with De Havilland’s support, using a Dash 8-400 aircraft to aid certification and showcase the operational and commercial potential of the engine. De Havilland explains the intention is to identify a suitable existing route utilizing the aircraft with a goal for entry into service within the next five years.

ZeroAvia and De Havilland Canada intend to jointly market aircraft powered by the hydrogen-electric engines to operators with power-by-the-hour (PBH) support.

“De Havilland Canada has a strong belief in hydrogen-electric technology as a viable solution for de-carbonizing aviation,” said Dave Riggs, Chief Transformation Officer, De Havilland Canada. “We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with ZeroAvia in developing climate-friendly propulsion as an option for our customers around the globe.”

In October 2021, ZeroAvia announced a development collaboration with Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, for a hydrogen-electric powertrain capable of flying 76-seat regional aircraft in excess of 500 nautical miles, starting with initial deployment into a full-size Dash 8-400 aircraft.

ZeroAvia expects to fly a 19-seat aircraft using its ZA600 powertrain in the coming weeks in a hybrid configuration (one conventional engine, one hydrogen-electric) before flying the same aircraft using only hydrogen-electric engines in 2022 and building to certification by 2024.

On its ZA2000 program, ZeroAvia aims to have full thrust ground demonstrations of its 1.8MW engine variant by the end of 2022. From there, the company plans certification of its ZA2000 powertrain to support 40-80 seat aircraft with a potential range in excess of 700 nautical miles – about the distance from Toronto to Atlanta – by 2026, and eventually extending into aircraft up to 90 seats by 2027.

“De Havilland Canada have made significant strides on emission reductions and shown a big commitment to greener aviation, and the next step is to go to true zero-emission using hydrogen-electric engines,” said Val Miftakhov, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, ZeroAvia. “Partnering with De Havilland Canada puts ZeroAvia on a defined pathway to line-fitting into new airframes and signals OEM appetite to make the switch to certified, zero-emission propulsion as soon as possible.”

(Photo: De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

Gooch to depart Canadian Airports Council

Daniel-Robert Gooch is leaving his position as President of the Canadian Airports Council, where he has served for the past 16 years, to join another Ottawa-based, non-aviation-related trade association. His last day with the organization will be January 31, 2022.

Canadian Airports Council (CAC) is the domestic arm of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), a trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada.

“For the last 16 years, Daniel has been a valued and respected member of the ACI-NA team,” said Kevin Burke, President and CEO, ACI-NA. “I have relied on his counsel during my time as President and CEO of ACI-NA as we have worked collaboratively to further enhance the value ACI-NA provides our Canadian members. Daniel has played an essential role in strengthening the Canadian airport industry and amplifying the industry’s voice in Ottawa as a proven and effective advocate.”

As CAC President, Gooch oversaw operations of ACI-NA’s Canadian division, led Canadian government affairs and communications, and coordinated policy, legislative, and regulatory efforts to effectively advance the airport industry within Canada.

Before being named President of the CAC, Mr. Gooch previously served as the CAC’s director of communications and policy.

(Photo: Canadian Airports Council)

AOPA, aviation groups call on FAA to mitigate 100LL ban in Santa Clara

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and several other industry groups urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take action regarding Santa Clara County’s rushed decision to ban the sale of 100LL as of January 1, 2022.

In a joint letter to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, the organizations called on the FAA to use its “aviation safety mandate to prohibit individual airports from interrupting the availability of 100LL and stifling the cooperative industry-government effort to safely transition the entire general aviation fleet to unleaded fuels. It is vital to public safety to mitigate [misfuelling] risks for pilots and passengers, and for the people and property on the ground during this transition.”

AOPA explains the FAA was reminded that engine failures from misfuellings often occur at critical phases of flight, such as on takeoff and climb out, and NTSB accident reports document the grim outcomes.

The letter pointed out, explains AOPA, that there are already misfuelling risks where visually similar airframes require different types of fuel (e.g. Cessna 421 and Cessna 441), and some popular piston aircraft models (e.g. Beechcraft Bonanzas) are fleets in which some aircraft have engines that can use unleaded fuel and other aircraft do not.

AOPA also notes piston aircraft with high-compression engines consume 75 per cent of the 100LL sold in the U.S.; many of these engines are not approved to use unleaded fuels currently available in the marketplace. Those that are approved to use a lower-octane unleaded formulation must still obtain a supplemental type certificate to legally use the fuel, explains AOPA, which can create a dilemma and risk to pilots who land at an airport at which only a lower-octane fuel is available than what they require to safely fly.

“Yes, we all want leaded fuel out of general aviation, but the answer needs to be as safe as it is fast, not with willful disregard for safety,” said Mark Baker, President, AOPA. “Charging toward an arbitrary date with little to no consideration for safety poses a great and unnecessary risk to general aviation pilots and local communities. Let’s get this done together—but smartly.”

The letter was signed by leaders of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, National Business Aviation Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Transportation Association, and Helicopter Association International.

(Photo: Adobestock)

Flight Design F2 certified by EASA

Flight Design general aviation GmbH’s F2 aircraft was EASA CS-23 certified as of December 8. The F2-CS23 is described by the company, based in Germany, as a modern 2-seat aircraft featuring many completely new design concepts. It is designed to bring familiar automotive feel and simplified operation to private owners and flight schools.

“We couldn’t be happier to see this important step for the F2 program which ultimately will lead to the F4 four-seat version and the all-electric F2e”, said Matthias Betsch, who leads Flight Design’s overall design organization. He is the creator of the F Series.

The F2-CS23 is the next step in Flight Design’s Vision Zero concept which is said to incorporate all commercially available safety features appropriate for this type of aircraft. These features include a passive stall and spin resistant airframe design, airframe emergency parachute system, AMSAFE airbags and inertial reel harnesses, Garmin ESP (electronic stability and envelope protection), a strong occupant-protective enclosure for the pilot and passengers, automatic fuel management, simplified controls, such as a combined throttle and brake lever, and a more modern, car-like atmosphere and operation.

“The EASA CS-23 category is an internationally recognized certification standard which will allow the new F2-CS23 to be easily accepted in all markets worldwide,” said Dieter Koehler, Head of Design for F2 and F4 projects with Flight Design. “The international design team of the F2-CS23 brought a tremendous amount of talent into this program and the EASA Type Certificate is well deserved.”

The F2-CS23 comes with standard features like an all Garmin G3X avionics suite, 2 axis autopilot, Rotax 912iS fuel-injected 100HP engine with a DUC certified propeller, Beringer wheels and brakes, perforated leather seats, heat exchanger heating system and Whelen lighting.

(Photos: Flight Design)

Unmanned Systems Canada changes association name

Unmanned Systems Canada / Systèmes Télécommandés Canada, a national association focused on the drone and remotely piloted aerial systems industry, has changed its name to the Aerial Evolution Association of Canada / Association pour L’Évolution Aérienne du Canada.

The Canadian-registered, not-for-profit association was founded in 2003 by a group of entrepreneurs and visionaries aiming to protect and represent the interests of Canada’s drone community. The Aerial Evolution Association of Canada (AEAC) grew to represent the interests of students, academia, industry, and government organizations working in the sector.

More information about the association can be found at

Pascan Aviation bringing passenger service to Kingston

Pascan plans to start service out of Kingston in March 2022. (Photo: Pascan Aviation, Owen Fullerton)

— By Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News

Kingston will become the first Ontario location for Quebec based airline Pascan Aviation early next year.

Three flights per day during the week and two on the weekend will come in and out of Norman Rogers Airport, providing service 365 days a year out of Kingston.

In a news release, Mayor Bryan Paterson said he’s thrilled to welcome Pascan to the city.

“Air service has been impacted across the globe as a result of the pandemic and Kingston was no exception,” Mayor Paterson said.

“I applaud the outstanding efforts of airport staff and community partners in helping to bring air service safely back to the community.”

Pascan has to this point served 11 different destinations in Saint-Hubert, Dorval, Quebec City, Bagotville, Mont-Joli, Bonaventure, Magdalen Island, Baie-Comeau, Sept-Iles, Gaspe and Wabush in Labrador.

The airline operates six 33-seat SAAB340B+ aircraft and six 19-seat Jetstream32 aircraft, that co-owner and Executive Vice President Yani Gagnon says are “well designed for Canadian winters”.

Gagnon says the airline focuses on servicing regions, but also links to major hubs like Montreal and benefits from interline agreements with Air Canada and newly with Air Transat, allowing passengers from regional airports to link within the network of larger carriers.

He says the service is similar to what Kingston would have been used to with Air Canada’s prior services which were cut amid the pandemic.

“Somewhat close to what Air Canada was doing at one point in time but instead of linking Kingston to Pearson we’re linking Kingston to Trudeau or Dorval,” Gagnon said.

“Mind you the access in Montreal is somewhat easier than Pearson.”

He added that the fares should be slightly lower than what was seen under Air Canada, and the more these flights are utilized the better fares can be expected to be.

Kingston airport manager Aron Winterstein says the airport is excited to welcome Pascan Aviation, and added that he too thinks the fees for travelling by air could be less prohibitive for Kingstonians.

“The fees are just being finalized now but I think they’re going to be more competitive than they were before,” Winterstein said.

“Montreal is a less expensive airport to operate and I think that’s going to reflect in the fares as well.”

Winterstein added that the schedule as set, with a morning, midday and evening flight, could adapt based on demand as time goes on.

Pascan Aviation will start service out of Kingston in March 2022.

Who Can Use RCAP Procedures?

— Text provided by COPA

If you have ever considered flying an instrument approach procedure published in the Restricted Canada Air Pilot, there are a few things you should know. Only operators with specific authority from Transport Canada (Ops Spec 099 or 410), operating under CAR 604, 702, 703, 704 and 705, can legally fly these procedures because they have been designed with certain deviations from the regulations.

These deviations are permitted because special crew training, operational procedures and/or aircraft capability permit. As a general aviation pilot, it’s important to understand why these procedures are not available for you use.

Who is considered a 604 operator? A 604 Operator is considered a Private Operator, and applies to anyone, for the purpose of transporting passengers or goods, flying the following aircraft:

• large aeroplanes (MCTOW of more than 5,700kg or 12,566 pounds);
• turbine-powered aircraft;
• pressurized aircraft; and
• multi-engined aircraft.

CAR 702-705 operators fall under the Commercial Air Services. It should be clear that neither of these designations will apply to general aviation.

Even though you may look at an airport with a procedure in the RCAP, and feel tempted to use that approach, it is not something you are authorized to fly. In order to receive permission to use RCAP procedures, operators must prove to Transport Canada an acceptable level of training, procedures and aircraft performance. The procedures listed in the RCAP are simply not designed to be flown by pilots and aircraft without authorization. Limit yourself to regular Canada Air Pilot procedures, and be safe.

(Photo: Adobestock)

RAF completes world first flight with synthetic fuel

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) recently completed what is being described as the world’s first flight using 100 per cent synthetic fuel. The flight took place on November 2, 2021, in Great Britain with a Rotax-powered Comco Ikarus C42 microlight aircraft.

Prior to the flight, Zero Petroleum’s synthetic fuel was extensively texted by CFS Aeroproducts Ltd, the UK Distributor and Authorized Service Centre for Rotax Aircraft engines. From this testing, Rotax explains the engine performed as though running on fossil fuels, but ran at lower temperatures, suggesting that the synthetic fuel could increase engine lifespans while reducing carbon emissions.

Officials from both CFS Aeroproducts and Zero Petroleum stated that power and torque curves closely match between what is now being called ZERO SynAvGas and UL91 fossil fuel. The synthetic fuel could also save up to 90 per cent carbon per flight, explains Rotax.

The innovation behind the synthetic-fuel powered flight comes from the RAF’s Project MARTIN, which was initiated by the Rapid Capabilities Office in June 2021. Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement said that the flight was “a world first innovation and that it shows the determination of UK Armed Forces to drive forward creative ideas on net zero alongside meeting operational commitments.”

“We are proud to be part of this world record flight,” said Peter Oelsinger, General Manager BRP-Rotax / Member of the Management Board, Vice President Sales, Marketing RPS-Business & Communications. “The multi-fuel capability of our aircraft engines, that are able to fly with unleaded, leaded MOGAS or AVGAS fuel provides the perfect match for such an innovative project like this.”

The gasoline was manufactured in Orkney by extracting hydrogen from water and carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide, and combining these ingredients using locally generated wind, and tide and wave energy. Rotax explains this process can also be used to create a range of “drop-in” fuels, which are a substitute for fossil-based aviation fuels and require no engine modification. Paddy Lowe, the chief operating officer of Zero Petroleum, explains that the synthetic gasoline had been developed “in just five months” and yet it ran successfully in the aircraft without any modification to the plane or the engine.

Leveraging this innovation and working towards the government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the RAF has set an internal goal of becoming a net zero force by 2040 with its first net zero airbase by 2025.

(Photo: Rotax)