Author Archives: Jon Robinson

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)

TSB publishes report of July 2022 fatal Citabria accident in Shawinigan

Photo of the damage to the left windshield post caused by the collision with the cable (Photo: TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on February 21 released its investigation report (A22Q0084) into a July 2022 fatal collision with a power line cable of a privately registered, float-equipped, Bellanca 7GCBC (Citabria) aircraft in Shawinigan, Quebec.

At approximately 2:30 pm on July 17, 2022, the privately registered, float-equipped, single-engine Bellanca 7GCBC aircraft (registration C-GOQZ, serial number 74174) took off for a local visual flight rules (VFR) flight from Trois-Rivières Airport (CYRQ), Quebec, to Shawinigan, Quebec.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) explains the purpose of the flight was for the pilot, who was alone on board, to position his aircraft on the Saint-Maurice River, near downtown Shawinigan, for the summer season. Given that the aircraft was not equipped with amphibious floats, TSB explains the departure from CYRQ was conducted by towing the aircraft on a trailer behind a pickup truck.

Less than an hour after departure, the aircraft was seen flying over the Saint-Maurice River, from west to east, in Shawinigan. Approximately 10 minutes later, the aircraft was seen flying over the river once again, near the same location, explains TSB, but this time it was flying from east to west at low altitude, until it collided with the lower cable of a power line, which was at a height of about 20 metres. After the impact, TSB explains the aircraft fell into the river in an inverted position. The pilot was fatally injured.

Investigation report: 2022 ultralight fatal collision with terrain near Westport

Map showing the site of the precautionary landing and the accident site (inset). (Image: Google Earth Pro, with TSB annotations)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada on February 15 released its Class 4 investigation report (A22O0140) into the September 2022, fatal collision with terrain of a privately registered Quad City Challenger II advanced ultralight aircraft near Westport, Ontario.

At 12:48 pm on September 24, 2022, the privately registered Quad City Ultralight Aircraft Corporation (Quad City) Challenger II (registration C-IYDD, serial number CH2-0604-2481) departed from a private grass runway near Yarker, Ontario, for a daytime visual flight rules (VFR) flight to Westport/Rideau Lakes Aerodrome (CRL2), Ontario. The pilot was the sole occupant on board.

As the aircraft was en route, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) explains a door opened and the pilot conducted a precautionary landing in a farmer’s field near Bobs Lake, east of Parham, Ontario. After landing, TSB explains the pilot called the aircraft owner, who was waiting at CRL2, and requested that he come to the field to assist with the repair of the door.

After the repairs, at 13:13 pm, TSB explains the aircraft departed from the field to resume the flight to CRL2. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft was observed flying at a low altitude in a southerly direction. TSB reports the engine was heard producing a sputtering sound and then stopping. The aircraft was then observed descending rapidly and rolling inverted, explains TSB, before colliding with terrain in a wooded area. The pilot was fatally injured.

Huronia Airport annual ski fly-in lands public interest

ABOVE: Huronia Airport manager Zachery Premate said that the annual Winter Ski/Wheel Fly-In was a success, with plans to make next year’s event “a little bigger and better”. (Photo: Derek Howard,

— By Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

None of the aircraft landing at the Huronia Airport over the weekend had pilots flying by the seat of their snowpants, but skis on the plane’s wheels sure helped.

Located at 20 Ed Connelly Dr. in Tiny Township, Huronia Airport (CYEE) played host to their annual Winter Ski/Wheel Fly-In with food and beverage for the aviators, public and volunteers attending the event.

Parallel to the normal 4,000-foot runway, a secondary snow-laden landing was created along the west side to accommodate any aviators who had skis on the wheels on their planes, specific for taking off and landing on snowy terrain.

Bill Snelgrove, president of Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) local Flight #73, anticipated roughly 25 aircraft would have used the airport within the few hours of the event, a small portion of those being equipped with skis.

“We want to showcase the airport,” said Snelgrove. “A lot of people in the area don’t know we’re here, and they’re more than welcome to come out and talk to all the folks out here about aviation and the passion that that inspires.”

Past-president Rob MacDonald also shared some of the joy that comes with flying throughout North Simcoe and along Georgian Bay.

“I find that there’s a lot of freedom, and your mind goes completely somewhere else when you’re flying an airplane. Work doesn’t matter, things at home don’t matter, and schedules don’t matter other than what you’re doing in the aircraft. It’s a very focused way of having fun,” MacDonald shared.

Huronia Airport is jointly owned by the three municipalities of the towns of Penetanguishene and Midland, as well as Tiny Township where the airport is situated. Tiny Township Councillor Dave Brunelle stopped in to enjoy the sights and people, as well as indulge in the food and refreshments offered.

“The residents need to know more about these events,” said Brunelle who admitted he was surprised about the ski fly-in. “I want to come here and start beating the drums on these kinds of events.

“My dad was on the commission in 1970-1980, and when I came in here I was just blown away – from this building in particular, how far it’s come, and how it’s developed so much. I just want to promote this event and promote the whole airport.”

Brunelle added that “we’re in good hands” with Tiny Mayor Dave Evans and Penetanguishene Deputy Mayor Dan La Rose on the Huronia Airport Commission, stating there would be greater activity in store for the airport.

While the ski-in was created to draw attention to the airport during the winter months, other activities and events also take place throughout the year.

In May, the airport is planning to host a motorcycle show and swap meet; and although dates haven’t been confirmed, plans for a Discover Aviation (formerly COPA for Kids) event is in discussion for the summer. Also, a traditional aerobatics competition takes place in September.

“We’re looking at doing ‘Women in Aviation’,” said Snelgrove, “which is a very popular event down in the greater Toronto-Hamilton area and southwestern Ontario; that’s in the early planning stages. We’d like to bring them up north because we have women up here that are interested in aviation.”

Airport manager Zachery Premate was on hand, and shared what the potential could hold for the airport over the next five years.

“(To make this) a general aviation airport for North Simcoe,” said Premate, “we’ve got big plans with our hangar development and other different infrastructure improvements at the airport. We’re going to keep growing that general aviation base and also dabble in commercial development as well.”

As for the winter ski fly-in, plans for improvement were already in the works.

“We try to have this on an annual basis; next year we hope to have it a little bigger and better,” said Premate.