Author Archives: Jon Robinson

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)

Local businessman part of group interested in buying Saugeen Municipal Airport

After almost 70 years of municipal ownership, the Saugeen Municipal Airport has a prospective buyer. A group of local business people has expressed interest in purchasing the airport. (Photo: Pauline Kerr)

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

A group of people has expressed interest in buying Saugeen Municipal Airport (SMA), for the purpose of operating it as an airport on a financially viable basis.

The group, consisting of Walkerton businessman Darren Holm, his brother Todd Holm and his landlord Sam Bacher, recently made a presentation to Hanover council about purchasing the airport. In stating their case for private ownership of the airport, they promised to run SMA as an airport for 10 years. They have yet to make presentations to West Grey and Brockton councils.

When asked about the short length of time (10 years), Holm referred to Canada’s intention to reduce carbon emissions and get rid of internal combustion engines in vehicles — this could have an impact on airplanes.

“We can make it profitable,” Holm said in an interview about the group’s plans for the airport. “We can make it stand on its own two feet.” He spoke of a combination of investing in the kind of infrastructure at the airport — things like automated grounds maintenance — that would drastically reduce operating costs, and some new airport-related development.

Holm also spoke of problems with the way the airport is presently being operated, as a partnership of three municipalities — Hanover, West Grey and Brockton. “It’s being run on a shoestring,” Holm said. “The taxpayers will not support additional investment in it.”

He went on to say that he thinks the airport “is in trouble, but it can be fixed” by having private owners with the resources to make necessary investments.

In his presentation to Hanover council, Holm referred to a $171,000 deficit — a number that the mayor and council took issue with, saying $150,000 of that was the “municipal contribution.”

This year, Hanover Coun. Dave Hocking, who represents that municipality on the airport commission, predicted a $35,000 surplus. Holm said he takes issue with this figure. By his calculations, “it looks like a deficit again.” Holm has copies of financial documents presented at airport commission meetings.

Holm said his group questions a number of things in the airport’s financials. One is the amount pilots pay for hangars. A few own the land and building, and pay taxes and access fees; most either lease the land or rent hangars. Holm said he’d like to see a more equitable rental fee structure, for starters.

He also takes issue with the fuel pricing and the airport’s management contract.

He said that if his group ends up negotiating a good price for the airport and purchases it, the priorities will be “creating efficiencies and getting spending under control — and keeping the pilots happy.”

Holm is the owner and operator of Holm Graphics in Walkerton. He has a diverse background in aviation and health care as a paramedic and respiratory therapist who operated his own air ambulance service in California.

Helijet, Blade partnership to develop Electric Vertical Aircraft network in BC

Helijet International entered into an agreement with Blade Urban Air Mobility Inc. for the sale of exclusive rights for the booking of flights on Helijet’s scheduled service routes. These routes will continue to be operated by Helijet, headquartered in Richmond, BC, as North America’s largest scheduled helicopter airline. Blade is based in New York City.

Helijet explains the exclusive rights sale is part of a new operating partnership aimed at introducing additional routes and delivering the first commercially available and sustainable Electric Vertical Aircraft (EVA) service to the British Columbia market. The partnership will focus developing new route networks in BC and the Pacific Northwest, as well as future services to be provided by Blade.

“Helijet and Blade are partnering to ensure our combined leadership in the early adoption of EVA on existing routes in British Columbia, as well as the new services Blade may launch in the future,” said Danny Sitnam, President of Helijet. “EVA technologies are going to change aviation in the same way that the jet engine revolutionized air travel 60 years ago. EVA will make urban air mobility more efficient, more sustainable, and more affordable. In Blade, we have found a unique partner that shares our commitment to customer service and experience, safety and innovation. Together, we are looking forward to a future that is literally just around the corner.”

Helijet explains, that while Blade is not acquiring any shares or ownership in Helijet, it will have the right to acquire up to 49 per cent of Helijet‘s wholly subsidiary, Pacific Heliport Services (PHS), which manages and operates heliport waterfront terminals in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.

Blade’s investment in existing and future vertiport infrastructure provides Blade access to heliport passenger terminals controlled by PHS for future route expansion.

“This partnership is a perfect fit with Blade’s mission to eliminate travel friction around the world,” said Melissa Tomkiel, President of Blade. “Like Danny and the team at Helijet, we recognize EVA’s incredible potential. Together we are committed to making aviation more accessible, and our transition to lower-cost, quiet and emission-free EVA should only serve to increase the number of passengers that travel by air between Helijet and Blade locations and the value proposition to our fliers.”

Helijet explains it will continue to operate its current routes as usual, with Blade integrating its booking and sales technologies to achieve greater reach into Helijet’s existing and future route network. Together, Helijet and Blade are currently reviewing new routes to serve Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and other locations along the Pacific Northwest’s Cascadia corridor. The two companies are also looking at how to advance their aircraft fleet, booking and sales systems, and flier experiences.

“For our customers, Helijet’s integration with Blade’s platform will be seamless over the coming months and will provide new booking technology features as part of Blade’s dynamic offerings,” said Sitnam.

(Photo: Helijet)

SNC-Lavalin to support EAG on hydrogen technologies

Project management company SNC-Lavalin Inc. of Montreal entered into a strategic agreement with the UK’s Electric Aviation Group around H2ERA, a planned zero emission, regional aircraft to be fueled by hybrid hydrogen-electric technology. The collaboration involves Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin.

“The increasing international demand for air transport means the development of clean aircraft technologies is critical to driving down global carbon emissions.” said Ian Edwards, President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin.

The partnership offers Electric Aviation Group (EAG) access to SNC-Lavalin’s aerospace capabilities and resources as it progresses its proprietary hybrid electric and hydrogen technologies. EAG expects to launch its H2ERA aircraft in 2030 as the world’s first true zero 90-seater regional aircraft.

“EAG aims to be the market leader in developing disruptive sustainable technologies for the transportation industry with an acute focus on hydrogen powered aviation,” said Kamran Iqbal, Founder and CEO of Electric Aviation Group. “Central to achieving this is teaming up with best-in-class industrial and academic partners to codevelop the key building blocks to realize our goals.”

Atkins’ Aerospace team will provide EAG with strategic business and technical support for commercialization, including advisory services, safety assessments, specification, integration and certification.

(Image: Electric Aviation Group)

Aeronyx: Developing Regional Commercial Drone Delivery

― By Julien B. Gauthier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Le Lac-Saint-Jean

Montreal-based Aeronyx wants to develop the drone delivery market in the Saguenay―Lac-Saint-Jean area. Choosing to establish itself in Alma, the company plans to run tests and start building relationships with local businesses.

Its vision is to offer businesses a new segment in the supply chain that can be called upon when transport issues risk disrupting the transit of goods. “We noticed that interruptions in the production line can cost companies thousands of dollars per hour. We have to come up with an alternative solution to restart production – it’s a vital issue,” declared Jérémy Laplante, Aeronyx’s president and cofounder.

Aeronyx got its start through the SUITE entrepreneuriale Desjardins business incubator program and is a member of Alma’s UAS Centre of Excellence. It currently has three employees.

For the moment, however, the company must overcome obstacles posed by Transport Canada’s regulations. Currently, drones cannot transport cargo exceeding 25 kg and deliveries must be within the pilot’s line of sight.

This is why Aeronyx is currently networking to find companies willing to participate financially.

Parallel to these efforts, the company is also lobbying Transport Canada to change its regulations. With more and more actors asking for change, Aeronyx believes the law will have to adapt. “We have to demonstrate that companies are interested in this new market to convince Transport Canada to broaden the scope. Within a year or two, I believe they will be ready to take that step. We’re starting to see it in the United States, with out of sight flights,” reasoned Jérémy Laplante.

Aeronyx believes that it will soon be possible for drones to transport heavy cargo, most notably for companies and hospitals. “There are examples around the world, but we’re still talking about pilot projects focused on a single region. For example, there is a company called Zipline already making medical deliveries in Africa. We want to take it even further.”

Demystifying Drone Delivery
“Many companies associate drones with military applications or small drones that can only carry small loads. We tell them to imagine how things will be a few years from now. If today drones can carry 25 kg, tomorrow it will be 100 kg,” he concluded, pointing out that high capacity cargo drones already exist.

Next summer, Aeronyx will be working on a drone delivery project to connect two strategic points over the Saguenay Fjord. Talks are currently ongoing with a partner based in La Baie.

(Image : Aeronyx)