Author Archives: Laura McLean

High River Airport implements free in-cockpit weather and traffic

By Lionel St.Hilaire

The High River Regional Airport in Cayley, Alberta, is proud to advise the approval and implementation of the Canadian In-Flight Information Broadcasting Association (CIFIB) free in-cockpit weather and some traffic services (NemoScout & Gliders) to pilots operating within range of the High River Airport UAT 978 MHz broadcasting ground station. High River is the first station, outside of Ontario, to champion in-flight services and should be operational in early 2022.

Canadian In-Flight Information Broadcasting Association is a not-for-profit corporation that is creating and managing the ground station network that provides in-flight weather and some traffic services to GA pilots operating within coverage areas in Canadian domestic airspace. Their mission is to improve General Aviation safety by transmitting available weather and some traffic information to pilots in the cockpit to improve decision-making and to raise awareness by promoting the use of this source of information.

Receiving CIFIB broadcasts requires an ADS-B In receiver capable of decoding UAT on 978 MHz, which are readily available and quite economical. The onboard ADS-B receiver will display other ADS-B/1090S traffic, along with NemoScout units (popular with flight schools) – 1090 Mode C not available for tracking at this time.

For more information on this project visit the CIFIB website.

Owen Sound Council approves sale of CYOS

Owen Sound Council on November 1, 2021, voted to authorize the City’s Mayor and Staff to complete the sale of Billy Bishop Regional Airport to Clayton Smith, an aviation enthusiast with a proven track record in the operation of small airports.

After much research and public consultation, the sale price of Billy Bishop Regional Airport, CYOS, is $1.5 million and the transaction is scheduled to close on December 10, 2021. Owen Sound Council also notes, as a result of the sale, its savings in operating costs per year are $250,000.

Under the leadership of Smith, Owen Sound Council explains the airport’s operations will continue, including the use of the facility by patient transfer services such as ORNGE.

Owen Sound Council explains the airport requires some capital improvements that will be undertaken by the new owner.

Groupe Aviatech reaches new heights with a new $1.8M investment

Groupe Aviatech was founded in 2002 by Carl Duguay, who is still its president. (Photo: Julien Gauthier)

— By Julien B. Gauthier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Le Lac St-Jean

Groupe Aviatech recently announced a $1.8M investment for the construction of a second hangar. The new building will allow the company to service larger aircraft.

Based at Alma Airport, Groupe Aviatech is a company specializing in machining, maintenance and painting services for the aviation industry. This third expansion project will see Aviatech’s total surface area expand from 10,800 to 19,800 square feet. Construction is scheduled to be completed around March 2022.

This new hangar will be added to the current building, which already houses administrative offices, a machining workshop, and another hangar.

Groupe Aviatech currently rents a hangar from the City of Alma, located approximately 100 metres from the company’s location.

“This will save us the trouble of constantly transporting materials between locations. Furthermore, we will be able to work on larger aircraft, including those of Panorama Aviation, one of our major clients. This also allows us to improve cost-effectiveness and performance,” explained Carl Duguay, Groupe Aviatech’s president and founder.

Founded in 2002, Groupe Aviatech specializes in four areas, the first of which is aircraft maintenance. The company repairs, rebuilds, and restores helicopters and airplanes.

“We started off by working on private ultralight aircraft, but eventually we went and got our mechanic certifications.”

The company regularly performs maintenance and repairs for various aircraft types such as Beechcraft 1900D, Pilatus PC-12, Cessna, and Piper, as well as Astar 350 and Bell 206 helicopters.

Groupe Aviatech also specializes in aircraft painting, including stripping and priming, machining, as well as plans and designs.

The company’s client list spans the entire province. Besides Panorama Aviation, which is also based in Alma, its clients include Cargair (Saint-Honoré), Max Aviation (Saint-Hubert), Groupe Gilbert (Chicoutimi), Propair (Rouyn-Noranda), and Kudlik Aviation (L’Ancienne-Lorette).

According to Carl Duguay, the pandemic had a positive impact on the company’s business. “During the first two to three months, everything stopped. But afterwards, aviation companies took advantage of this forced period of inactivity to do maintenance, repairs and restorations.”

Groupe Aviatech currently has 26 employees.

How pilots can improve medical certificate process


Many pilots are experiencing delays in the processing of either new or renewal medical certificates. While it can be frustrating to wait for your certificate, it’s important to realize how and where these delays stem from, and what steps you, as the pilot, can do to ensure your initial medical certificate or medical certificate renewal, is completed as efficiently as possible.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Medical team has continued to function. In anticipation of the pandemic, exemptions were drafted in advance of the shutdown in March 2020, to allow pilots to continue to fly. All pilots were granted a three-month extension. In addition, renewals by Attestations and by Telemedicine were introduced. However, the pandemic did create delays, as staff lost due to usual attrition were not able to immediately be replaced.

If you are a prospective student, looking to start flight training, the standard time for processing of a standard file is 40 business days from the time the file is received by Transport Canada. The sooner you can start the process, the sooner you’ll be able to receive your certificate. Additionally, there are exemptions to start training using at Category 4 medical, as you await your certificate. See exemption NCR-014-2021 here.

If you are looking to renew a current medical certificate, consider a Telemedicine appointment, if applicable to you.  If the Civil Aviation Medical Examiner determines that you are fit, you may be eligible for immediate renewal with a Telemedicine or in-person renewal appointment. Further information can be found at the following link.

Prior to the pandemic, approximately 5% of Civil Aviation Medical Examiners (CAME) were submitting files via Electronic Medical Examination Report, (eMER). Paper files sent to regional offices are subject to delays by Canada Post and require a lot of extra handling and processing within the Transport Canada offices. With the encouragement from Transport Canada, uptake for digital submissions has risen to an average of 80%. To avoid excessive delays, ensure your CAME is using eMER. By submitting electronically, a number of steps will be eliminated, such as mail wait times and the processing of the paper file by Transport Canada. In addition, the eMER won’t allow a submission with incomplete or missing information, meaning when the file is ready for review, all required information will be available. As Transport Canada works towards more digital submissions, it’s also important that pilots provide a current email address on their applications. Transport Canada will use that email to contact the pilot if any further documentation is required.

Something to remember is that if you have a complicated medical case, or your CAME has decided not to renew based on new medical information, it will take a longer period to work through the system. These files can take time and may require requests for further testing or documentation.

New exhibition explores Canada’s history of keeping its busy skies safe

Visitors to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum can now discover if they have what it takes to manage air traffic in our skies in a new exhibit Eyes on the Skies: Managing Air Traffic in Canada. Developed in collaboration with NAV CANADA, the exhibit delves into the evolution of air traffic management, exploring the systems, people, and technologies that keep Canada’s skies safe.

“Eyes on the Skies highlights this complex aspect of aviation with engaging and fun interactives,” said Chris Kitzan, Director General of Canada Aviation and Space Museum. “It’s a snapshot into the vital contributions that Canadians have made to air navigation, including managing Canada’s 18 million square kilometres of airspace to ensure the safety of our skies.”

Through a variety of highly interactive experiences that test visitors’ skills, and a mix of historical and contemporary content, Eyes on the Skies will expose visitors to Canada’s air navigation system and how air traffic is managed safely and efficiently – a critical role of the aviation industry.

Eyes on the Skies demystifies complex ideas – from the impacts of gender and language to how radar works. It highlights people central to managing air traffic in Canada and explores how navigation systems, procedures and technologies have evolved over the decades. Drawing links to their own experiences as passengers, visitors will learn through play, strong visual and audiovisual experiences.

In addition, an Eyes on the Skies travelling exhibit has hit the road to visit museums from coast to coast to coast to allow Canadians across the country to discover the important contributions we have made – and continue to make – to managing air traffic.

“While honouring the men and women who make Canada’s air navigation service among the safest in the world, Eyes on the Skies offers a window into a part of the aviation industry not seen by most Canadians,” said Raymond Bohn, President and CEO of NAV CANADA. Our industry is evolving rapidly, and we hope this new exhibit inspires some to consider new career paths to help shape Canada’s future aviation story.”

(Photo: Pierre Martin, Ingenium)

TSB report on fatal 2017 Fond-du-Lac crash highlights de-icing risks

Aerial view of occurrence site (Photo: Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with TSB annotations)

Transportation Safety Board of Canada on October 28 released its investigation report (A17C0146) and determined that the lack of adequate de-icing equipment and the practice of taking off without de-icing led to the fatal December 2017 accident involving a West Wind Aviation ATR-42 aircraft on the territory of the Fond Du Lac Denesųłiné First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Transportation Safety Board (TSB) explains that on December 13, 2017, an ATR 42-320 aircraft, operated by West Wind Aviation as flight WEW282, departed Fond-du-Lac Airport, Saskatchewan, for Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan. Shortly after takeoff, TSB explains the aircraft collided with trees and terrain about 450 m west of the departure end of Runway 28. The aircraft was destroyed and all 22 passengers and three crew members on board were injured, 10 of them seriously. One passenger died days later.

TSB determined early in the investigation that the aircraft took off from Fond-du-Lac Airport with ice contamination on the aircraft’s critical surfaces. The operator had some de-icing equipment available in the terminal building, explains TSB, but it was not adequate for de-icing an ATR 42.

In 2018, the TSB issued two recommendations following the occurrence. The first was aimed at making sure adequate de-icing and anti-icing equipment is available for those operators who need it (A18-02). The second urged Transport Canada (TC) to take action to improve compliance with the regulations to reduce the likelihood that crews take off with snow or ice contamination (A18-03).

“Although Transport Canada has said it agrees with the recommendations, and some steps have been taken, more action is required,” said Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB. “Companies need to make more and better de-icing and anti-icing equipment available. TC must also increase the frequency of its targeted inspections. Until the TSB’s recommendations are fully implemented, what happened to this flight could still happen to other flights operating in Canada’s remote and northern airports.”

Tickets now on sale for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022

(Photo: Rogers Holmes)

Weekly and daily admission tickets for the 69th edition of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in convention, are now available online for the event at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 25-31, 2022.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is the world’s largest fly-in event, welcoming more than 10,000 aircraft each year, along with an attendance of more than 600,000. The seven-day gathering features the latest innovations and aircraft from around the world, as well as a full spectrum of airplanes from more than a century of aviation history that is on display in the air and on the ground.

Canadians attend EAA AirVenture 2021

“While we are still creating the schedule of programs, features, and attractions that will be at Oshkosh in 2022, aviation enthusiasts are already setting their plans to join us on the flightline,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programming, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. “We hear from numerous families who make AirVenture tickets part of their holiday gift planning.”

Again in 2022, all attendees ages 18 and under are admitted free, supported in part by The Boeing Company. In addition, EAA members who purchase admissions prior to June 15, 2022, are eligible to receive their admission wristbands in advance via the Express Arrival program. Early purchase discounts are also available on both daily and weekly admissions.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh annually features nine air shows over seven days, as well as 1,500 forums, workshops, and seminars plus in excess of 800 aviation exhibitors. Pre-purchase options also include camping credentials and early-bird merchandise, with additional special offers available as they are finalized.

Saugeen Municipal Airport to fly the flags of Brockton, Hanover and West Grey

Municipal representatives from Brockton, Hanover and West Grey presented the three flags that will be flown at the airport. From the left are Hanover Coun. Dave Hocking, Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson, SMA member and pilot Dave Schmidt, Brockton Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak, West Grey Mayor Christine Robinson and West Grey Deputy Mayor Tom Hutchinson. (Photo: Pauline Kerr)

— By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Saugeen Municipal Airport

Representatives of the three municipalities that operate Saugeen Municipal Airport gathered at the airport’s office and restaurant on Saturday, Oct. 16 to present the flags of Brockton, Hanover and West Grey.

The Saugeen Municipal Airport had asked the three municipalities to each contribute $1,000 to cover the cost of flag poles and landscaping; an anonymous donor offered to cover the cost for Brockton.

The three councils heard a presentation by airport manager Filomena McDonald earlier in the year on the plan to fly the flags and all voted in favour of the plan.

Domestic, international travel restrictions update

— Information provided by COPA

With many countries reducing or removing travel restrictions, it’s important to be up-to-date on the changes and the current guidance. On September 7, 2021, new measures for fully vaccinated international travellers coming to Canada came into effect. Canada Border Services Agency has updated its travel tool kit to ensure travellers have the information they need to enter Canada efficiently. You can also find a number of helpful, travel-related resources on the Canadian Border Services Agency website

According to the regulations, the Government of Canada will allow fully vaccinated international travellers meeting the conditions to enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) purposes. These individuals must:

  • Be fully vaccinated: a traveller must have received, and show proof of, the full series of a vaccine—or combination of vaccines—accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada.
  • Have a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or their arrival at the land border crossing, or a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days before departure to Canada.
  • Submit their mandatory information via ArriveCAN (app or website), including proof of vaccination in English or French and a quarantine plan.
  • Take a test on arrival, if selected.

Additionally, unvaccinated children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption are exempt from quarantine but must follow enhanced public health measures. On the other hand, unvaccinated youth aged 12 through 17 are subject to the 14-day quarantine, and all testing requirements for pre-entry, arrival and Day 8 tests, whether or not they are accompanied by travellers who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption.

More details can be found on

As more borders open and more travel is allowed, these guidelines may change. Make sure you check the to ensure you are complying with the current advice.

Tucker’s GB1 GameBird field approved for Talon Prop

Well-known aviator Sean Tucker, working closely with Hartzell Propeller, has received FAA Field Approval for the Hartzell composite three-blade Talon performance prop on one of his certified aerobatic GB1 GameBird airplanes. The GB1 GameBirds are powered by 303 horsepower Lycoming AEIO-580 engines and are manufactured in the U.S. by Game Composites.

This aircraft is the first of four tandem-seat GB1 GameBirds that Tucker’s new formation aerobatic team will be flying on aerial demonstrations, all featuring Hartzell Talon propellers in place of factory standard equipped propellers. The all composite GB1 GameBird is an unlimited aerobatic competitor, and with a 1,200-mile range it is also capable for weekend trips.

“The Talon’s aerodynamic design utilizes Hartzell’s ASC-II resin transfer carbon fibre process manufacturing process,” said Hartzell Propeller President JJ Frigge. “The Field Approval for Hartzell’s composite 78-inch diameter Talon on the GB1 could pave the way for a future GB1 Talon STC when there’s enough interest in the marketplace.”

Tucker has flown his GameBird equipped with Hartzell’s three-blade Talon performance prop in direct competition with a GB1 factory standard four-blade wood-core prop. The two aircraft had the same engine configuration, same weight, same fuel load. The aircraft with the standard prop had a pilot that was 16 pounds lighter.

“I did a head-to-head race with the Talon prop on my GameBird against the standard four-bladed prop. We went full RPM and full throttle, and I just ran away, at least 12-15 miles an hour faster,” Tucker said.

“I mean, ran away. It was stunning. It was like I had another 30 horsepower on the engine compared to the other one, and both engines were the same and everything else was equal,” Tucker added. “In my business, quality is everything. Safety is everything. The Hartzell propeller is much more robust in terms of performance and reliability.”

Tucker continued to explain the propeller gives an incredible amount more thrust, which is what a pilot needs to get over the top when you’re flying in formation with another airplane. “I can’t believe a propeller could make that much difference when they’re basically the same diameter,” he said. “The three-bladed prop is only a little bit bigger. The other good news is that during the testing, we stayed within the noise decibel limits. So, the Talon is not louder. There’s nothing but good that’s coming out of this field approval,”

The factory standard GB1 Gamebird is powered by Lycoming AEIO-580 B1A (303 horsepower), and unimproved by the Hartzell Talon Prop has an empty weight of 1,080 lb and a useful load of 900 lb fuel capacity is 83 gallons. Takeoff distance ground roll is 981 feet, with a max level speed of 205 kts, rate of climb 2,600 fpm, and a landing distance of 981 feet. Its service ceiling is 15,500 feet, with a landing distance ground roll of 1,486 feet.

(Photo: Hartzell Propeller)