Category Archives: COPA News

Honda Aircraft unveils HondaJet Elite S

The HondaJet Elite S introduces new styling with exclusive paint schemes. (Photo: Honda Aircraft Company)

The HondaJet Elite S introduces new styling with exclusive paint schemes available in Gunmetal, Luxe Gold, and Deep Sea Blue. (Photo: Honda Aircraft Company)

Honda Aircraft Company on May 26 unveiled the HondaJet Elite S as an upgraded model to expand the operational capabilities of the HondaJet series family of aircraft.

The Elite S holds an increased maximum takeoff weight of 200 lbs, allowing operators to fly up to 120 nm (138 mi) further at a higher payload or to carry an additional passenger. Honda explains the additional range benefit begins to phase in above 650 lbs of payload; additional passenger/payload benefit ranges from 170 to 200 lbs, depending on range of mission.

“Since its introduction in 2018, the HondaJet Elite has achieved the best performance in its class while also being the most efficient, and with the new Elite S, we take another step forward in expanding the aircraft’s capability,” said Honda Aircraft Company’s President and CEO Michimasa Fujino.

Building off of the platform’s customized Garmin G3000 avionics suite, new FAA DataComm and ACARS avionics features on the Elite S replace traditional voice commands with text-based messaging.

FAA Data Comm is intended for text-based messaging for departure clearance and enroute services where available in the United States, while ACARS enables text based messaging with both air traffic services (terminal information, terminal weather, and departure clearance from supported airports) and operation centres (flight plan upload, messaging, weather, and automatic transmission of position reporting and Out/Off/On/In status.)

New COM3 functionality available for the Elite S allows the operator to disable the Datalink Mode of the radio and use it as a 3rd VHF, to increase dispatch reliability. This function will come with the optional selection of FAA Data Comm and ACARS.

The upgraded jet also holds a newly introduced Advanced Steering Augmentation System (ASAS) to reduces pilot workload.

The Elite S leverages HondaJet’s Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM) configuration, Natural Laminar Flow (NLF) fuselage nose and wing and composite fuselage, as well as GE Honda Aero Engines HF120.

(Photo: Honda Aircraft)

Canada awards $36M RPAS contract to Elbit

The Government of Canada has awarded a $36.16 million contract to Elbit Systems Ltd. for the acquisition of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS). The contract, announced by Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, includes communications links, ground control stations, sensor packages, one remotely piloted aircraft, training, and the optional purchase of spare parts.

The contract fits into Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program, as part of the government’s efforts to verify the use drone technology and its safe integration into Canadian airspace. “This investment will help to enhance the security and surveillance capacity under the program, leading to a cleaner and safer environment,” said Anand.

Under the agreement, Elbit Systems of Israel will provide its Hermes 900 StarLiner RPAS as an addition to the existing Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Program fleet. The drone is expected to be delivered by December 2022.

The aircraft system is controlled from a remote location and also includes autopilot capabilities, such as automatic takeoff and landing. The Hermes 900 StarLiner is rated for a range of more than 1,400 nautical miles, as a medium-altitude, long-endurance RPAS capable of operations to 72 degrees north latitude. Transport Canada plans to use the aircraft to detect oil spills, survey ice and marine habitats, and monitor activity on the ocean in Canada’s Arctic.

“Canada is committed to protecting our endangered species and our marine environment,” said Garneau. “Integrating remotely piloted aircraft into our fleet will make our surveillance operations more robust than ever. The National Aerial Surveillance Program also helps with search and rescue, humanitarian efforts, illegal fishing enforcement, and the development and regulation of Canada’s drone industry.”

Transport Canada is scheduled to add Elbit’s Hermes 900 StarLiner RPAS to its National Aerial Surveillance Program fleet by December 2022. (Photo: Elbit Systems)

Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 milestone

Pratt & Whitney on December 2 announced that the 50,000th PT6 turboprop engine has rolled off the production line, achieving what the company describes as an exceptional milestone in General Aviation.

The company notes, that with the new PT6 E-Series engine now in full production, powering the Pilatus PC-12 NGX, the numbers of PT6 in the field continue to grow.

“From the first application more than 50 years ago, the now iconic PT6 engine turns possibilities into realities for our customers around the world on more than 130 different applications today,” said Irene Makris, VP, sales and marketing at Pratt & Whitney.

Pratt & Whitney describes the PT6 turboprop engine as a proven choice for demanding, high-cycle/high-power applications in single- and twin-engine aircraft for all kinds of missions and applications. The engine fleet’s current flying population is more than 25,000 units and it has accumulated more than 410 million flight hours – more flying time than anyone else in this segment.

The most recent evolution of the PT6 engine is found in the 2019 launch of the PT6 E-Series, described by Pratt & Whitney as the first turbine engine in the general aviation market to offer a dual-channel integrated electronic propeller and engine control.

“With the PT6 E-Series engine now at the forefront, we remain committed to pushing innovation as we’ve been doing since the very beginning,” said Makris.

Garmin adds safety features for GTN Xi Series

Garmin International on December 8 introduced new features for its GTN Xi Series of navigators, to be made available later this month, including a Glide Range Ring that helps pilots visualize the estimated area an aircraft can reach in the case engine power is lost. New features also include the ability to remotely control the radios of another GTN Xi when dual GTN Xi units are installed in an aircraft; and quicker page navigation with the addition of customizable dual concentric knob functions, among others.

Glide Range Ring
The new Glide Range Ring helps pilots enhance their situational awareness by depicting the estimated area that the aircraft can reach when it’s configured for best glide range in the case of an engine failure. The Glide Range Ring considers terrain data, as well as wind data when provided by a GDL 69 or FIS-B Source, or calculated winds from a compatible Garmin fight display, in order to help pilots continuously plan while flying. Further, G500 TXi or G600 TXi flight displays can also show the Glide Range Ring when paired with the GTN Xi while using the GTN Xi GPS guidance as the horizontal situational indicator (HSI) source.

Best Glide Airport Indicator
Depicted as cyan chevrons pointing to the recommended airport for the aircraft to glide to from its current position, the Best Glide Airport Indicator is selected based upon distance from present location, runway length at the airport, wind data, and airport weather through FIS-B or Sirius XM if available on the aircraft. If desired, the Best Glide Airport Indicator can be displayed by itself or with the Glide Range Ring also shown.

Nearest Airport list updated to show Glide Check
The Nearest Airport list now indicates which airports are estimated to be reachable on glide by displaying a green check mark indication next to the airport identifier. If the pilot’s criteria for nearest airports would have excluded an airport that is estimated to be within glide range, the system will automatically add these airports back to the Nearest Airport list and display the Glide Check, while also highlighting the runway length and surface type with a white box if these figures do not meet the previous nearest airport criteria set by the pilot.

Remote radio control allows pilots to tune and radio frequencies from a single GTN Xi navigator when dual GTN Xi units are installed. (Photo: Garmin)

Remote radio control and new radios page
When dual GTN Xi navigators are installed, pilots can now remotely control and tune the radio frequencies on both units from a single GTN Xi navigator. Pilots can control both the Comm and Nav radio tuning, in addition to volume level, which Garmin explains is an especially useful function for quick radio tuning in a busy flight environment.

Additionally, pilots can cycle through radios of both GTN Xi navigators by pressing the dual concentric knob on just one GTN Xi. A new radios page displays all Comm and Nav frequencies (active and standby) of both units, as well as volume levels. The radios page can be quickly accessed from the frequency keypad page or as a preset user field button. From this page, pilots can easily flip the respective active and standby frequencies. Also new, pilots can load a frequency to the active or standby position of either GTN Xi from applicable airport or waypoint information pages.

Quicker page navigation with dual concentric knob
Similar to other Garmin navigators, the dual concentric knob can now enable quicker access to select pages. The outer knob now allows the pilot to intuitively cycle between pages on their GTN Xi, while the inner knob can now support functionality related to the current page being displayed, such as scrolling through lists or zooming in on maps. A new locator bar works in conjunction with the outer knob and indicates the current page while also displaying which page is next. Pilots can allocate and customize up to nine pages to be controlled by the outer knob including Map, Nav, Flight Plan, Traffic, Weather and Fuel Planning, among others.

Garmin points to additional features of the latest GTN Xi update as including:

• New user fields such as the ability to display Flight ID, a radios page shortcut, the current time (including seconds), distance and bearing from a selected waypoint, and current position formatted in latitude and longitude;
• Database sync with Garmin GPS 175, GNC 355, and GNX 375;
• Ability to select a default page to display on startup;
• Shortcut to view charts after tapping on airport, departure, arrival or approach from the Flight Plan page; and
• An option to inhibit terrain alert pop-ups and mute traffic alert pop-ups.

Bell EDAT named Best of What’s New

Popular Science recognized Bell’s Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque (EDAT) innovation as the winner of its Best of What’s New Award in the Aerospace category for 2020.

This marks the third consecutive year Bell has won Popular Science’s Best of What’s New Award in the Aerospace category, which included its Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 in 2019 and the Bell V-280 Valor Joint Multi Role technology demonstrator in 2018.

“The Best of What’s New Award showcases the year’s greatest feats of human ingenuity,” said Popular Science Editor-in-Chief Corinne Iozzio. “Even in a year like 2020, innovation has helped us glimpse a future that’s safer, smarter, and more enjoyable than we might have thought possible. This collection, which includes everything from a new generation of Mars explorers to ultra-hygienic print-to-order eyeshadows, is full of items we’re proud to call the Best of What’s New.”

Unveiled in February 2020, Bell’s Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque (EDAT) system is composed of four small fans within a tail rotor shroud in an offset two-by-two pattern. Each of the rotors contains four blades that are powered by four separate motors with the electrical energy provided through generators driven by the turbine engines.

Bells states its innovation provides enhancements to reduction in noise pollution compared to an aircraft with a conventional tail rotor, as well as lower operational and maintenance costs.

“The team continues to design, build and fly new innovative solutions by applying a unique approach to meet the needs of current and future customers,” said Eric Sinusas, director, Bell’s Commercial Development Programs. “Bell is honoured by the continuous recognition from a leading technology industry voice like Popular Science, celebrating our team’s hard work and commitment to furthering technology in the aerospace industry.”

Textron introduces King Air 260 to turboprop lineup

Textron Aviation introduced the King Air 260 turboprop into its Beechcraft King Air 200 series aircraft family. The company explains assembly production for the King Air 260 is already underway, and certification and deliveries are expected in early 2021.

The introduction of the aircraft comes on the heels of the recently introduced Beechcraft King Air 360, which achieved FAA type certification in October 2019, with customer deliveries now underway.

Textron notes key enhancements to the King Air 260 include the addition of the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle, along with a new digital pressurization controller. The cockpit also offers the Collins Aerospace Multi-Scan weather radar system as a standard feature on every King Air 260.

“These investments reflect our commitment to providing superior upgrades and engineering innovation that create the best flying experience for Beechcraft King Air 260 owners and operators around the world,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO.

The King Air 260 cockpit offers the Collins Aerospace Multi-Scan weather radar system as a standard feature. (Photo: Textron)

Textron explains the ThrustSense Autothrottle supports pilots by automatically managing engine power from the takeoff roll through the climb, cruise, descent, go-around and landing phases of flight. This enhancement reduces pilot workload and is designed to prevent over-speed or under-speed, over-temp and over-torque conditions. The IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle is also available as an aftermarket upgrade through Textron Aviation Service facilities on all Pro Line Fusion-equipped Beechcraft King Air 200 series aircraft.

The new digital pressurization controller automatically schedules cabin pressurization during both climb and descent, again reducing pilot workload and increasing overall passenger comfort. The pressurization gauges have been integrated with the powerful Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion flight deck.

The Collins Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar, explains Textron, provides pilots with a fully automatic system that it optimized to detect short-, mid- and long-range weather. The system is designed to present an accurate picture of the weather around the aircraft, further reducing pilot workload.

The Beechcraft King Air 200 is rated for an occupancy of up to nine, a maximum range of 1,720 nautical miles and a top cruise speed of 310 ktas.

Nearly 7,600 Beechcraft King Air turboprops have been delivered to customers around the world since 1964. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 62 million flight hours in its 56 years.

(Photos: Textron)

Canada’s Most Powerful Women in Aviation and Aerospace

Six women from the aviation, aerospace and defence sectors are among Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women of 2020. Initiated in 2003, the program organized by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) has honoured the achievements of 1,320 women, including 163 hall of fame inductees, over its history.

This year’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada includes Sonya Branco of CAE and Nancy Barber of Bombardier who are recognized for their achievements in the C-Suite Executives category. Commander Kelly Williamson of the Canadian Armed Forces was recognized in the Emerging Leaders category (ages 30 to 45) and Dr. Shawna Pandya, a physician and scientist-astronaut candidate, was recognized in the Science and Technology category.

The Women of Courage category included, in memoriam, both Captain Jenn Casey of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Sonya Branco was appointed executive vice president, finance and CEO of CAE in 2016. She oversees the financial operations of CAE in more than 35 countries, as well as the financial reporting, treasury, global taxation, mergers & acquisitions and structured financing functions. Branco, explains WXN, is an accomplished finance executive whose success can be measured not only by the phenomenal growth and innovation she has been instrumental in achieving as CAE’s CFO.

After joining Bombardier in 1998, Nancy Barber, while serving as Vice President of the Montreal company, was recently responsible for the Global 7500 aircraft program. Now as Chief Operating Officer, WXN explains she is responsible for planning, assembly, delivery of business aircraft, and industrialization of Bombardier’s operational footprint.

Commander Kelly Williamson, serves as Director of Navy Public Affairs for the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Armed Forces, and Department of National Defence. She has previously served Canada as a Naval Warfare Officer, Public Affairs Officer, and member of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team. WXN explains Williamson has demonstrated leadership, strength and resilience while protecting the high seas, supporting Expeditionary and Special Forces, and on highly visible humanitarian assistance and global engagement missions.

Dr. Shawna Pandya is a scientist-astronaut candidate, physician, aquanaut, researcher, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver and pilot-in-training. WXN explains she is a professional speaker, presenting globally on leadership, resilience, and pushing the limits. For her work, WXN notes, Pandya has been named to Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40, Global Woman of Vision and Elevate Aviation Woman Who Inspires.

In memoriam, Captain Jenn Casey from Halifax, Nova Scotia, joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2014 as a direct entry officer. Her first assignment as a Public Affairs Officer was at 8 Wing Trenton, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s home of air mobility. She spent the 2018 season with the CF-18 Demo Team, travelling North America and the United Kingdom with the NORAD 60 jet. Captain Casey joined the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in November 2018. Casey lost her life in the crash of a Snowbirds aircraft in B.C. last spring.

In memoriam, Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough was a Marine Systems Engineering Officer. Her last posting was on Her Majesty Canadian Ship Fredericton. She died in the line of duty during a retrieval exercise with CH-148 Cyclone Stalker 822. WXN explains, that from a very young age, Cowbrough fought for not only her own rights but the rights of others, ultimately serving her family and country following the path of her maternal grandfathers into the armed services.

Feds support regional aviation, airports with new funding

The Federal Government on November 30 outlined its plans to provide new funding for a range of sectors, such as tourism and regional aviation, with an emphasis on smaller companies. Direct support for large airlines was not included in this Fall Economic Statement, issued by Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, after the government in early November hinted at aid packages for this group.

Financial analysts predict future funding or arrangements for larger airlines could come in the Federal government’s full Spring 2021 budget. Yesterday’s funding announcement was introduced during what some analysts describe as a mini-budget, given the amount of money being used to fight the economic impact of the pandemic, ahead of the next full budget introduction scheduled for early 2021.

The new funding provided by the government was met by swift statements from a range of aviation industry groups.

Aéro Montréal welcomed Freeland’s announcement that the budget update includes a $1 billion Federal investment over two years to assist regional air transportation and airports, as well as an increase in the maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) offered to employers from 65 to 75 per cent from December 20, 2020 to March 13, 2021.

“Quebec’s aerospace cluster welcomes the first signals sent but regrets the lack of engagement with actors throughout the industrial supply chain,” stated Aéro Montréal on Nov. 30. The group notes manufacturing business of the aviation industry must not be forgotten, which includes about 250 companies in the Quebec region.

“While more than 4,000 jobs have already been lost in the Québec aerospace industry since the beginning of the pandemic, we are very concerned about the erosion of our ecosystem and the exodus of our qualified workforce,” said Suzanne Benoît, President of Aéro Montréal. “Every day counts, we need the federal government as a strategic partner to ensure the survival of this sector, which is vital to Canada.”

As detailed by Canadian Press, rent relief and nearly $700 million in capital investments are en route to airports over the next six years, with $206 million in support earmarked for regional airlines.

The National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), representing Canada’s largest air carriers (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet), began its statement in response to Freeland’s Fall Economic Statement, noting, “While other countries around the world moved forward months ago to provide sectoral support for airlines, Canada remains a global outlier and is ostensibly stuck at Stage Zero on the government planning process.”

NACC continues to explain this lack of action does not reflect the economic importance of the sector to Canada’s overall recovery – “Canada has lost an astounding 85 per cent of its air connectivity, with flights significantly reduced or eliminated in every region of the country…  While we note the government has affixed a $206 million budget to its support for regional air transportation, the government has yet to provide details of the new Regional Air Transportation Initiative and how such an initiative will, in practice, support the continued existence of regional air services.”

NACC continues to note that governments around the world have provided their domestic aviation sectors approximately US$173 billion in support, understanding why a healthy aviation industry is critical to overall economic recovery.

“As other countries continue to provide a clear path forward, now that the Fall Economic Statement has been issued it is time for the federal government to follow the global approach and move urgently to finalize Canada’s path to supporting financial assistance for airlines, and in turn ensure aviation can support Canada’s overall recovery,” stated NACC. “Hundreds of thousands of jobs in communities large and small across the country, will be impacted by how the government proceeds.”

Francois Laporte, national president of Teamsters Canada, stated: “We welcome news of support for the air travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, which have been hit hard by border closures. It will be crucial that funding be tied to preserving jobs, and that businesses which supply airlines and airports also be eligible for support. These include companies that refuel airplanes, provide in-flight catering, manage baggage and staff airport security lines, to name a few.”

(Photo: Jag Cz, Adobe Stock)

Garmin Pilot adds graphical airspace, obstacle NOTAMs

Garmin International introduced new features to the Garmin Pilot application for Apple mobile devices, offering the ability to reference graphical airspace and obstacle NOTAMs during pre-flight planning and for increased situational awareness inflight.

Additional features include an enhanced user interface for Profile View, explains Garmin, providing pilots with faster access to information like weather and PIREPs. The company has also introduced Pinch-to-Zoom capabilities.

The newest release of Garmin Pilot, version 10.3 for Apple mobile devices is available in the Apple App Store as a free download for the first 30 days, with an annual subscription starting at US$79.99.

Graphical Airspace NOTAMs
Airspace NOTAMS are now available as a graphical overlay on the map and can be depicted as a circle or other shape with the type and associated altitude of the NOTAM labeled for even more clarity depending on the selected zoom level.

NOTAMs that are scheduled to become active in the next 24 hours are displayed in yellow to help alert pilots in advance and aid with flight planning, with a brighter contrast for areas showing upcoming restricted airspace. Active airspace NOTAMs are colour-coded depending on the following classifications:

• Red – Restricted and Danger NOTAMs, such as Prohibited Areas;
• Orange – Alert and Warning NOTAMs, including Military Operation Areas (MOA);
• Gray – Flight Data Center (FDC) NOTAMS such as Instrument Approach Procedure changes; and
• Purple – Other NOTAMs such as Parachute Jumping areas.

For convenience, Garmin explains airspace NOTAMs can be viewed from either the map or flight plan page by selecting the NOTAMs layer from the map overlays menu. Pilots can view NOTAMs in both decoded and raw text by selecting the NOTAM segment in the radial menu. Further, NOTAMs may also be viewed by selecting the NOTAMs widget in spilt-screen mode.

Garmin has added a quick-access bar and Pinch-to-Zoom capability in Flight Profile View for Garmin Pilot v10.3. (Photo: Garmin)

Graphical Obstacle NOTAMs
Obstacle NOTAMs use pink obstacle figures on the map in order to differentiate obstacle NOTAMs from permanent obstacles and are displayed anytime the NOTAM or obstacle layer is enabled.

Those obstacles that have since been removed are displayed for reference as a pink “X.” Obstacle NOTAMs are available from the map or flight plan page by selecting overlays from the map layer icon with the ability to be viewed in both decoded and raw text by selecting the obstacle segment in the radial menu. Also, Garmin explains for convenience pilots have the ability to view an Obstacle NOTAM list from the airport page and by tapping the map icon for a selected NOTAM, jump to that NOTAM right on the map.

Enhancements to the Flight Profile View
Garmin explains the new quick access bar in the Flight Profile View allows pilots to display critical flight information such as weather, PIREPs, and traffic from compatible Garmin ADS-B traffic sources with just a single touch. Using the new and simple Pinch-to-Zoom capability, pilots now have the ability to more seamlessly review parts of the flight by focusing on a particular segment in the Profile View while still being able to reference the basic flight profile above.

(Main Photo: Garmin: New features to the Garmin Pilot v10.3 include Graphical Airspace and Obstacle NOTAMs for pre-flight planning and situational awareness.)