Author Archives: Jon Robinson

Garmin introduces D2 Mach 1 aviator smartwatch

Garmin International in March 28 introduced the D2 Mach 1 GPS aviator smartwatch, describing it as holding classic pilot watch styling and a bright AMOLED touchscreen display that offers advanced tools for flying, as well as plus health and fitness features.

With a battery life of up to 11 days, the D2 Mach 1 provides weather data, automatic alerts for changing conditions, and helps navigate with the moving map and horizontal situation indicator (HSI), among other features.

“Whether you’re climbing into the cockpit for a fun weekend flight, practicing or shooting instrument approaches to minimums or flying professionally, the new D2 Mach 1 delivers the latest and most advanced aviation functionality and smartwatch capabilities right to your fingertips,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing, Garmin.

Garmin explains the D2 Mach 1 combines a durable design and premium materials like sapphire and titanium with a vibrant, sunlight-readable 1.3-inch AMOLED display. Button controls are matched with a new touchscreen interface for dual utility, improving daily smartwatch interaction and access to selections and map features.

The watch face includes a UTC pointer, which can also display and help pilots manage multiple time zones, including Zulu time, and a 24-hour clock around the bezel, along with seven customizable data fields. The D2 Mach 1 watch straps – available with oxford leather or vented titanium options – can be switched out with an included QuickFit black silicone band.

The D2 Mach 1 includes preflight, in-flight and postflight features and tools to assist pilots in navigation and enhance situational awareness, along with multi-band frequency and multi-GNSS support for better and more accurate GPS positioning. Direct-to navigation lets pilots navigate straight to an airport or waypoint in the preloaded worldwide aeronautical database directly from the watch, or choose the Nearest function to activate a direct course to a nearby airport. Pan across the moving map with a touch, and tap on waypoints for more information. Plus, see NEXRAD radar1 overlaid on the route.

Garmin explains the instrument-like horizontal situation indicator (HSI) course needle makes it easy for pilots to see if the aircraft is left or right of the desired flight path, and the barometric altimeter can alert when a desired altitude is reached. Aviation alerts like time, distance, altitude and a fuel timer are also available on the D2 Mach 1 during flight.

Information like runway orientation and wind components, runway lengths and airport frequencies are all preloaded and easily accessible from the watch. The D2 Mach 1 offers aviation weather reports, including METARs and TAFs that allow pilots to see winds, visibility and barometric pressure and more before takeoff. New graphical indications of MOS forecasts for specific airports, including projections for temperature trends, wind, dewpoint, sky cover, precipitation probability and more, are also available. Customizable notifications can be set for new METAR and TAF reports, so pilots will stay in-the-know when things like destination airport conditions change or when crosswind components exceed a threshold. And in case of emergency, the D2 Mach 1 can show the best glide speed, estimated glide distance and glide time during an engine-related issue, along with a bearing pointer to the nearest airport and a list of alternate airports.

The D2 Mach 1 automatically starts tracking flights on takeoff, then automatically transfers the date, duration, total flight time and route to the user’s logbook1. Pilots can also seamlessly transfer flight plans from the Garmin Pilot app to the D2 Mach 1 and view the list of waypoints included in their route.

The D2 Mach1 offers wrist-based heart rate (with user-configurable alerts for high or low readings3), advanced sleep monitoring with sleep score, breathwork activities, fitness age, respiration, Pulse Ox4, all-day stress tracking, hydration, and women’s health tracking. Body Battery energy monitoring shows users how “charged” their body is as well as the draining effects of stress and exercise. During a flying activity, pilots can quickly access the health stats menu to track their heart rate, Pulse Ox, respiration, Body Battery and more. A new Health Snapshot feature logs a two-minute window of key health stats and generates a report that users can share with a health care provider – a great tool for capturing physiological data anytime you’re feeling off your baseline.

The D2 Mach 1 features 30+ built-in indoor and GPS sports apps with favorites that include walking, running, cycling, pool swimming, hiking, advanced strength training and more. It’s preloaded with SkiView maps and more than 42,000 golf courses from around the world.

(Photo: Garmin)

Waterloo Warbirds markings changeover

Text and photos by Gustavo Corujo

In an effort to recognize the current turmoil enveloping Ukraine, Waterloo Warbirds changed the Soviet-era Russian markings on its classic Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin and MiG-15 UTI to Ukrainian Air Force (L-29) and Polish Air Force (MiG-15 UTI).

“I feel this is the right thing to do at this critical moment in time,” said Richard Cooper, the owner of both aircraft.

More photos of the markings changeover process can be view here.

uAvionix announces Trade-up to Certified avionics program for drones

uAvionix on March 23 introduced its “Trade-up to Certified” avionics upgrade program enabling users of uncertified Mode A/C/S and ADS-B transponders models to trade up to the uAvionix ping200X, which the company describes as the only TSO certified transponder for drones on the market today.

uAvionix explains the “Trade-up to Certified” program helps operators and manufacturers upgrade their operational capabilities and accelerate approvals by providing a credit of $800 towards uncertified Mode A/C/S and ADS-B transponders from Sagetech or older uAvionix ping200Si and ping200SR transponders when returned to uAvionix in working condition after purchasing a ping200X certified transponder. The program includes an option for higher rebates when combined with other TSO products such as the certified truFYX WAAS GPS or a pingRX-pro ADS-B receiver.

“We are excited to offer UAS operators and manufacturers the ability to up their game by helping them replace their obsolete transponders,” said Christian Ramsey, President, uAvionix. “It is our mission to connect everything that flies.”

uAvionix explains that with regulators increasingly focusing on transponder requirements when operating a UAS in transponder mandatory airspace, many older model transponders are being considered as non-compliant, putting operational approvals at risk. Higher complexity flights, including BVLOS operations, IFR operations, and flights operating in controlled airspace, continues uAvionix, require aviation-grade ADS-B transponders that are DO-260B compliant and meet TSO requirements that are applicable to traditional aircraft as well.

Operating a certified transponder, uAvionix explains, will simplify any type certification process that an operator or OEM might be pursuing, and it will significantly simplify obtaining regulatory approvals to operate in transponder airspace or beyond visual line of sight.

At a weight of 50-grams and a power draw of 1.5W Continuous On/Alt. 4W Peak (8ms maximum), uAvionix explains ping200X will integrate and operate with any unmanned airframe, regardless of its size and mission.

(Image: uAvionix)

DJI unveils Matrice 30 enterprise drone system with docking platform

DJI on March 21 introduced what it describes as an all-in-one solution for professional drone operators that “for the first time” puts a flying platform in the service of a fully remote fleet management system and an autonomous docking and recharging station.

This integrated solution, grouped under the Matrice 30 brand, provides new functionality for enterprise drone users such as public safety agencies, infrastructure inspectors and energy operators. The DJI Dock system is currently being tested and is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“With the outstanding performance, transportability and ease of use of the DJI Matrice 30 drone and its perfect integration with the DJI FlightHub 2 Fleet Management Cloud Software and DJI Dock, DJI is stepping into the future for our Enterprise customers who will be able to enter the autonomous solutions space, creating possibilities to fly beyond visual line of sight with the appropriate regulatory permissions in place,” said Christina Zhang, Senior Director, Corporate Strategy at DJI.

The new DJI Matrice 30 is DJI Enterprise’s flagship drone that fits in a backpack. It integrates multiple high-performance sensors into one single camera payload, is controlled with an ingenious redesigned remote control and runs on upgraded Pilot 2 software to improve flight experience. The M30 model, explains DJI, is designed to offer power, endurance and capability for rugged professional uses, while its size makes it ideal for easy transportation and fast setup.

The DJI integrates with the new DJI FlightHub 2 fleet management cloud-based software and the DJI Dock for collaboration with remote and unattended operations.

The M30 series comes in two versions, the M30 and the M30T. The M30 model integrates a 48 megapixel 1/2” CMOS sensor zoom camera with 5×~16× optical and 200× digital zoom, a 12 megapixel wide-angle camera, 8k photo 4K/30 fps video resolution, and a laser rangefinder which can give the precise coordinates of objects up to 1,200 meters away. The M30T features an additional 640×512 px radiometric thermal camera.

(Image: DJI)

Flight academy students hoping to take their work to the skies with construction of plane nearing completion

Students at the Dave Rozdeba South Alberta Flight Academy work on a plane they have been constructing since 2020, which they hope to get off the ground this summer. (Photo: Kendall King)

— By Kendall King, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

Students at the Dave Rozdeba South Alberta Flight Academy are hoping to take to the skies this summer as they near competition of a plane they began constructing in 2020.

The academy, which is offered in partnership with Super T Aviation, provides students at Prai-rie Rose Public School’s Eagle Butte High School the opportunity to partake in a three-year avi-ation program, with the goal of earning their private pilot’s license. Students of the academy learn flight theory and aviation, among other topics.

“When we tried to marry the two worlds of aviation and flight, we needed to be able to do it under the current curriculum framework that exists in Alberta, so, in an effort to offer credits for what (students) are doing, it was decided we would build this airplane,” Jimi Ricci, co-ordinating teacher with SAFA, told the News. “By building this airplane (students) are employ-ing sheet metal skills, mechanic skills, and blueprint reading skills (which) tie in a lot of the ex-isting career and technology studies courses.”

The plane – a Van’s RV-12iS – is a two-seat, 100 horsepower plus machine with a 1,000-kilometre range. It can fly at speeds of up to 120 or 130 m/h.

Ricci’s goal is to complete the plane by the end of the current school year.

“Once this plane is complete, the plan is to make it available to our current students who have their license and alumni of the program,” he said. “We actually have a few components of a second aircraft, so the new students will be able to build that aircraft… while, this plane is be-ing flown.

“Then, once the second airplane nears completion, we could start our sell-and-build cycle. The intention is to always sell these airplanes when they’re completed, buy a new kit and continue the process over and over again.”

Though there’s still a lot of work to do get the plane off the ground, Ricci is proud of his stu-dents and what they’ve accomplished so far within the program.

“They’re doing awesome. I’ve been looking at some of the work they’ve done recently and it really is incredible they have this opportunity (in) high school,” he said. “There’s a few schools which will build an airplane in their engineering classes; there’s a few schools which offer flight training, but there’s not a lot out there which will marry the two like the program we have here, so it really is unique.”

Students are also proud to see the airplane start to take shape.

“Every single day I look at it I remember all the hard work we put into it,” Reid Felesky, second-year flight academy student with no previous aviation experience, told the News.

“You see one thing on paper about how this works, but it’s a completely different world when you actually see a physical, mechanical piece of it. It’s a great opportunity and definitely knowledge I’ll take into an aviation career,” Felesky said.

Student Logan Neubauer has an avid interest in aviation and considerable experience with planes, having once been in the air cadets, but is also amazed watching the plane come to-gether.

“To see it kind of, actually, look like an airplane in this space here is pretty surreal to see,” Neubauer told the News. “It took a while to get to this stage because of COVID (but) to be able to do it all throughout high school has been an incredibly unique experience… It’s been a tre-mendous program to be a part of.”

Neubauer explained the assembly process is quite tedious, however it has helped him learn more about aircraft mechanics.

“You have to be really thorough as it’s not something you want to (accept as) just being good enough,” Neubauer said. “We all take it pretty seriously because any one of us could be flying this one day.

“My favourite part about the aircraft construction comes down to better understanding of the inner workings of an airplane. We do a lot of theory of flight when were are learning about them, but it’s all theoretical. Whereas, this is really hands-on and practical… I think it helps us develop a better understanding of the aircraft in general and flight characteristics”

Since the academy opened in 2019, it has already seen the graduation of four students, with several others set to graduate in the spring. The sky’s the limit for students of the academy, many of whom plan on going into careers within the field of aviation.

Anyone interested in the program is invited to attend an academy open house being held on March 24 at 7 p.m. at the Super T Aviation hanger at 11 Airport Drive.

“We’re just sharing the program,” said Ricci. “Letting people know what we’re doing and hope-fully capturing the interest of some prospective students for next year.”


Textron to acquire Pipistrel

Textron Inc. entered into an agreement to purchase Pipistrel, one of the aviation world’s pioneering airplane makers focused on electrically powered aircraft, based in Slovenia and Italy.

Textron, which owns the Cessna, Beechcraft, and Bell aviation brands, notes this acquisition will provide Pipistrel with access to greater resources, technical and regulatory expertise and a global aircraft sales and support network, enabling it to accelerate its development and certification of electric and hybrid electric aircraft.

Upon closing of the transaction, expected in the second quarter of 2022, Textron plans to form a new business segment, Textron eAviation, focused on the development of sustainable aircraft, which will include Pipistrel.

“Pipistrel puts Textron in a uniquely strong position to develop technologies for the sustainable aviation market and develop a variety of new aircraft to meet a wide range of customer missions,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly. “Today’s announcement supports Textron’s long-term strategy to offer a family of sustainable aircraft for urban air mobility, general aviation, cargo and special mission roles.

“Textron is committed to maintaining Pipistrel’s brand, headquarters, research and development, and manufacturing in Slovenia and Italy,” continued Donnelly, “while making additional investments in Pipistrel for the development and production of future products.”

Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol will remain a minority shareholder as well as Chairman Emeritus, consulting on future product plans and strategies for a two-year period.

(Photo: Pipistrel)


Levaero celebrates 25 years in business

Levaero Aviation on March 21 announced it is celebrating its 25-year anniversary. Headquartered in Thunder Bay, Ontario with a national sales centre in Toronto, Levaero specializes in aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul, as well as various other aviation solutions for its base of Canadian and international clientele – with an emphasis on business and private aviation.

Founded in 1997 as the V. Kelner Pilatus Centre, Levaero notes it was instrumental in establishing the Swiss manufactured Pilatus PC-12 aircraft as a stalwart of Canadian aviation.

In June 2019, the Pilatus PC-24 jet earned its Transport Canada certification with Levaero, which is the exclusive distributor of Pilatus aircraft in Canada, making its first delivery of the PC-24 approximately one month later in July.

Levaero explains when current company principals, Robert Arnone and Steve Davey joined the company, they were among the first employees, and worked in facilities barely able to accommodate one aircraft. The company points to the entrepreneurial teamwork or Arnone and Davey, as well as other team members, as helping to establish Levaero as one of the most successful business aviation companies in Canada.

“It has been incredible that Levaero has been fortunate enough to attract such a dedicated group of employees exhibiting the highest level of customer service,” said Davey, Levaero’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of Maintenance.

Levaero today employs more than 100 people serving customers across Canada and around the world.

“We are proud to be a part of the business aviation community, as it is a privilege to contribute to the industry,” said Robert Arnone, President and Chief Executive Officer, Levaero. “We are also excited for the future growth we have planned.”

(Photo: Pilatus)

Northern Lights aviation students celebrate Women of Aviation Week

Agatha Basisper, Hidee Fujishige, Laura Kohan, Maria Potyrala and Era Miguel. (Photo: Northern Lights College, Alaska Highway News)

— By Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News

Aircraft Maintenance Technician students gathered at the Dawson Creek, BC, aerospace hangar during the week of March 8-14 to mark Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, which celebrates female pilots and women in the industry.

The Northern Lights College (NLC) program is home to many international students, with a cohort of young women enjoying their first semester of the program.

In a March 11 press release, the college noted Phillipines-born students Agatha Basisper and Hidee Fujishige, who came to the college with backgrounds in the industry. Fujishige was an engineer who interned with Lufthansa, while Basisper worked on commercial aircraft.

“Northern Lights College, especially the hangar and the shop, is paradise for us aircraft technicians because everything, from the hand tools to the machinery is perfect,” said Basisper in the release.

“I was really inspired,” added Fujishige. “I got to meet all the inspectors, everyone seemed to love their job, so I thought why not try it?”

Fellow student Laura Kohan, noted her father was a pilot and her uncle was also a technician, sparking her interest in aviation.

“I actually got my automotive ticket first, and I decided it wasn’t for me,” she said. “Working on helicopters is pretty cool, and I love to do it.

Students Maria Potyrala and Era Miguel also expressed their satisfaction with the program.

“I love helicopters; they’re the coolest piece of machinery out there,” said Potyrala. “I would love to get on with a company that does heli-skiing or heli-fishing — just something adventurous.”

“After this, I want to join the Royal Canadian Air Force; I’m currently in the process [of applying] for it,” said Miguel.

Few willing to comment on the possible sale of South Shore Regional Airport

— By Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

“There are a thousand rumours and I can’t comment on any of them,” Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) Mayor Darlene Norman told LighthouseNOW regarding a possible sale of the South Shore Regional Airport in Greenfield, which RQM owns.

The question to the mayor from LighthouseNOW came in light of a social media post by the Nova Scotia Drag Racing Association (NSDRA), which uses the airport runway for several drag race events throughout the summer.

“The NSDRA has been informed by the Region of Queens Municipality that they have a potential buyer for the airport and surrounding property. The NSDRA has met with the potential new owner and we are hopeful a new contract can be negotiated. Please keep checking back for further updates,” the NSDRA reported on the Greenfield Dragway Facebook page March 3.

LighthouseNOW reached out to several members of the NSDRA’s board via social media messaging and email for further comment. NSDRA director Scott Sprague responded by email on March 11, stating, “At this stage of the discussion we are not able to make comment, unfortunately. We may be able to provide an update in the coming days.”

The South Shore Regional Airport was established in 1970 with the participation of the Town of Liverpool and the Municipality of Queens. It is now largely managed by the South Shore Flying Club, which was formed in 2015.

The club has two lease agreements with RQM, one for the use of the terminal building as a clubhouse and an additional land lease to enable the construction of hangars. The leases are set to expire in 2029.

When asked about the potential sale, the flying club’s president, Glenn Parlee, told LighthouseNOW, “We’ve heard about it, but anything would be hearsay at this point, which I don’t want to get involved with.”

Norman explained that when any municipal property goes up for sale, it would be first addressed in the discussion part of the council meeting agenda, and the following council meeting next steps would be up for recommendation.

Last year, RQM allocated $50,000 toward the installation of an aviation gas system to encourage more aircraft traffic to the airport.

(Photo: South Shore Regional Airport)

Valleyfield Airport, a quality alternative for pilots based in Cedars

— By Jocelyne Laberge, Valleyfield Airclub (Photo: François Audette)

The recent announcement of the closure of the Cedars airport (Les Cèdres – CSS3) next May has dismayed the entire pilot community. The general aviation community is in mourning, especially since this is the second airport to close in the Montreal area in just over five years, following the one in Mascouche in November 2016.

To offer a quality alternative to pilots in Cedars, the Valleyfield Airport Board of Directors (CSD3) has been proactive in adding new spaces to the development plan, allowing places for pilots seeking a new location for their aircraft.

Located 9 nautical miles from Cedars, the airport has a 2800 feet long and 50 feet wide runway (20 feet paved). The runway is lit with an ARCAL system allowing night flying. The maintenance of the runway 12 months a year allows winter flying. Outdoor parking is available at $400 per year. Monthly or weekly rentals are also offered. Domes and hangars are permitted with a surface agreement starting at $725 per year.

A pavilion was installed in 2021 (FBO and meeting room) and an ecological toilet will be added in the spring of 2022. The Flying Club has currently about 30 members and will soon become a COPA Flight.

Feel free to contact us and join our community!

Tel. : 450-802-0344
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