Category Archives: COPA at Work

COPA Virtual Town Hall Feedback

Still more news, more details, more of a bunch of things, all coming up at a speed that makes it hard to keep up.

Because of that, we thought it would be worthwhile to go directly to the members through a Facebook Live session, which we did on April 1 in English and April 2 in French.

Prior to the sessions, we invited members to send us their questions. I went over about 20 questions ranging from ADS-B, what COPA is looking for in my successor and, obviously, issues relating to COVID-19. One such query was if there will be an exemption or delay introduced for instrument proficiency checks, as there are for medical certificates. The simple answer is no for the following reasons:

  • An Instrument Rating (IR) does not expire.
  • There are a number of ways to meet recency as specified in section 401.05(3) of the CARs, including the conduct of an instrument proficiency check, pilot proficiency check, etc.
  • Given that instrument proficiency is a perishable skill and acknowledged by the Transportation Safety Board to be an issue, Transport Canada (TC) is not considering removing the requirement for recency from CAR 401.05(3) at this time.

Another member asked if there will be an exemption for the 12-month annual inspection of our aircraft and, again, the answer is no – because AMOs and AMEs are considered essential services. You can read the list of essential services sent to COPA by TC here.

The Facebook Live sessions were recorded and are available on our Facebook page; the English session is available here or on YouTube.

To keep this article readable, I would invite you to read the minutes of these meetings between TC and industry (they are unclassified and don’t contain any sensitive information). The meetings started out for Northern Communities but have now morphed to a broader scope: Industry Conference Call from Civil Aviation and COVID-19. Notes are here for March 23, March 25, March 27, March 30 and April 1.

Last but not least, be responsible and do your part to avoid spreading the virus. We strongly encourage you to follow the guidelines from Canada Border Services Agency and, obviously, your local health officials’ recommendations as well.

Best of all, you should stay at home and catch up on all your COPA Flight magazines or TC’s Aviation Safety Letters.

COPA’s Response to Pandemic

It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the news and the pace at which things are moving.

Ontario and Quebec have ordered all non-essential businesses and places closed, which some people are tempted to extend to airports and aerodromes. They should not! Both provinces have clearly spelled out that all airports, aviation repair and fuel distribution installations as essential. See here for Ontario and here for Quebec. It would be wise for us to travel responsibly and do our part not to spread the virus, which is why we encourage you to follow the guidelines from Canada Border Services Agency we found on Twitter. As you will see in one of the eFlight articles, we know of one airport (Trail, B.C.) whose operator has decided to essentially close it for the time being, requiring a 24-hour notice for permission to land (PPR), while some others are now asking for similar or shorter PPRs to minimize interactions.

COPA is participating, along with other associations, in discussions with Transport Canada (TC) who are doing their best to alleviate the impacts on industry. We applaud their understanding and collaboration while trying to navigate through the different jurisdictions. Some exemptions were put in place, others are to follow. You can read these changes by going to the page dedicated to TC initiatives regarding COVID-19.

As we get more news, we will keep informed through email blast or eFlight. Though COPA staff is working remotely (and everyone is fine), you can still reach all of us as you did before through email or phone.

Minister Responds to COPA Tax Letter

We reported last month that COPA’s president and CEO Bernard Gervais had written to Finance Minister Bill Morneau to express COPA’s objection to a proposed 10 percent tax on aircraft purchased for personal use with a value of more than $100,000.

This proposal was announced during the 2019 federal election campaign by the Liberal Party of Canada. After the Liberals won the election and formed government, the tax proposal was included in the prime minister’s mandate letter to the re-appointed finance minister, Bill Morneau. The specific instruction is: “Introduce a new 10 percent tax on luxury boats, cars and personal aircraft over $100,000.”

COPA has now received a reply to its letter from the minister.

“We see from the tone of the minister’s letter that he is open to further consideration regarding the applicability of the proposed tax, which is probably not such a low-hanging fruit after all,” Gervais told eFlight. “We remain optimistic that the government will withdraw this proposal.”

Gervais added, “We wish to sincerely thank the hundreds of members who responded to our invitation to write to their MP and the minister, this has certainly not gone unnoticed.”

Both the letter to the minister from COPA, and the minister’s reply, are appended below.

10% Tax COPA Letter
Hon. Morneau reply

Aviation Groups Request TC Compliance Delays

In view of the havoc that the current COVID-19 pandemic is causing in Canada’s aviation industry, COPA has joined other industry associations in requesting Transport Minister Marc Garneau to delay “all current regulatory and legislative consultation processes as well as an indefinite delay in the implementation of new operating requirements derived from existing regulations, that are not directly related to the pandemic.” The group is requesting that the delay last until the government deems the pandemic to be over.

The letter was signed by the Air Transport Association of Canada, l’Association québécoise du transport aérien, the Canadian Airports Council, the Canadian Business Aviation Association, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, the Helicopter Association of Canada and the National Airlines Council of Canada.

The entire letter is pasted below:

March 18, 2020

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N5

Dear Minister Garneau: 

On behalf of the industry Associations noted above representing the breadth of the Canadian aviation sector, we are writing concerning the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We want to begin by recognizing the ongoing commitment and engagement of your Department, as all stakeholders work daily to implement new measures and adjust to new policy directives, in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians.  

We are committed to continuing all efforts necessary to meet the challenges ahead.  As you can appreciate, the operational and resource demands placed on our respective members are increasing daily.  As of course are the demands placed on Transport Canada staff.

In this environment, we are requesting an indefinite delay of all current regulatory and legislative consultation processes as well as an indefinite delay in the implementation of new operating requirements derived from existing regulations, that are not directly related to the pandemic.  We are requesting that this delay be in effect until such time as the Federal Government deems the pandemic crisis to be over.    

For the foreseeable future our members must remain focused on the immediate and widespread challenges created by COVID-19, both in terms of implementing new procedures in response to this health crisis, but also in terms of adjusting operations to meet the very real economic uncertainties that lie ahead.  The standard regulatory consultation procedures and implementation timelines established prior to COVID-19, are simply not practical. 

We thank you for your consideration and understanding of this important matter and will follow-up with your officials shortly.

Yours truly 

Air Transport Association of Canada, Association québécoise du transport aérien, Canadian Airports Council, Canadian Business Aviation Association, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, Helicopter Association of Canada, and National Airlines Council of Canada

Cell Tower Proposal Nixed

by Jim Bell, COPA Director for Manitoba

COPA members, representatives of the Manitoba Aviation Council, St. Andrews airport (CYAV) and local aviation companies fended off a potential threat to aviation safety in southern Manitoba on Tuesday, March 10.

Bell MTS, as represented by Evolve Surface Strategies, applied to the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews to install a 350-foot-high cell tower in a farmer’s field near Oak Hammock Marsh. The site chosen was only three-quarters of a mile from the end of Runway 18 at Oak Hammock Air Park, a popular grass airfield, and underneath an instrument approach for St. Andrews airport (Manitoba’s second busiest) and a major pilot training airport.

Over thirty people filled the small council chamber, and several had to stand in the hallway, listening to the impassioned presentations of the hazard the tower represented to both VFR and IFR pilots. In defence, the applicant could only offer the potential of improved cellular phone service. Council members listened attentively, and very quickly and decisively rejected the application.

Working together, members of the aviation community showed their determination to preserve our freedom to fly.

22 Planes Fly In To Montebello 2020

COPA’s annual fly-in at Montebello, Quebec saw 22 aircraft making the journey. With a landing strip designated in the snow on the frozen Ottawa River, those travelling by plane were able to land right in front of the Chateau Montebello, the event venue.

The ice was sufficiently thick to support the aircraft, but rain earlier in the day meant that only ski-equipped aircraft were able to land.

Many others travelled by more conventional means, with a total attendance estimated at between 60 and 70 people.

Among the booths set up were those of COPA, the Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada (UPAC), Aviateurs Québec and Smart Pilot. Representatives of Transport Canada made a presentation on transitioning between aircraft types. Samantha Wilson-Clark, Director of Civil Aviation Medicine at Transport Canada, discussed various medical themes, especially the use of cannabis.

“We were pleased to be joined by many new, younger members on the weekend and at the banquet, including Cameron Boekhoff, Captain of the rejuvenated COPA Flight 8 in Ottawa,” said COPA president and CEO Bernard Gervais.

Thirty-five people attended the banquet where the guest speaker was Steve Thorne of Flight Chops, a website featuring tips and videos aimed at increasing pilot skills.

Photo by Jean-Pierre Bonin

Places to Fly: Montebello 2020 Winter Fly-In

“Canada’s Best Winter Fly-In”, organized by COPA and held annually for Challenger ultralights (with other aircraft welcome) on the ice and shores of the Ottawa River in Quebec, is on again this year. We have received the following ice and snow condition report from the local volunteers:

Ice Thickness

Four measurements were taken in the marina, two near the docks, which came in at 40.5 centimetres (16 inches), and the other two at the exit to the river which, where the ice thickness was measured at 35.5 cm (14 in). Five measurements were taken on the river about 45 metres apart (150 feet) and 30.5 m (100 ft) from the edge. These came in at between 28 and 33 cm (11 to 13 in). Two other measurements were taken 45 m from the edge and show the thickness to be 30.5 cm.

Snow conditions in general

The snow on the surface of the river is powdery, 7.5 cm to 20 cm thick (3 to 8 in). Only five cm (two in) of snow are under the tracks of the snowmobile. No presence of water or slush on the frozen river or at the marina were observed.

If the conditions do not deteriorate much by the weekend, pilots can expect perfect snow conditions for soft landings and takeoffs for ski-equipped planes and maybe even for those with Tundra tires.

Stay tuned to eFlight next week for a report on how the event played out.

Neil J. Armstrong Scholarships

Applications are now open for COPA’s Neil J. Armstrong Flight Training Scholarship.

The COPA Neil J. Armstrong Scholarship Fund promotes Canadian pilot development by providing annual scholarships to student pilots in both ab-initio and advanced flight training programs.

Created to honour one of Canada’s foremost aviators, the scholarship has helped many Canadian pilots get their start. The main award is the Ab Initio Award which provides up to $10,000 to defray eligible training costs associated with the Private Pilot Licence (PPL).

The second award, the Advanced Training Award, is intended for applicants who already hold a PPL and are seeking higher licences or ratings. Both scholarship awards can be applied for by clicking on the link to the application form below. Since the Scholarship started in 1996, 61 students have received over $200,000 in scholarship funding.

“I have a part time job to help contribute to my own expenses, but flight training has been out of reach for me. This scholarship makes all the difference in me obtaining my private, and eventually commercial pilot’s licences.”

– Erik Yaremkewich, Squamish, B.C. 2018 Winner

“Thank you so very much for the honour of second runner up $2000 scholarship for flight training. It is so exciting to find out that my hard work and my lifestyle choices have paid off. I find it to be a huge honour to have been chosen amongst such a strong field of applications. These funds will definitely be put to good use in my flight training. Thank you again for both the scholarship and your assistance. You guys rock!”

– Natalie Cloutier, Lac La Biche, Alta. 2006 Second Runner Winner

Apply by clicking here. Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2020.