Category Archives: Important notice

COPA Drives IFR Testing Changes

By JC Audet

COPA has successfully lobbied Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) to remove an arbitrary, bureaucratic hurdle that required aircraft used for IFR check rides (IPC) to be equipped with approved GNSS capability (IFR Flight Test Guide 02/2017). TCCA has revised this requirement to be applicable on the initial IFR test ride only – recognizing that numerous IFR-rated private pilots own aircraft not equipped with GNSS who would not be able to maintain their IFR ratings without undertaking significant avionics upgrades or renting aircraft from flight schools solely for the purpose of their IPC.  With this announcement now formalized by Transport Canada, these pilots will continue to be able to renew their IFR rating on their own aircraft, in its current configuration.

Several important aspects have changed with respect to our IFR rating in the last year or so. The first major change is that the IFR rating does not expire anymore. Once it is on our license, it is there for life, like the license itself, and we will not have to rewrite the INRAT if our rating has lapsed beyond a certain date. We still have to do an Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC) every two years, on or before the anniversary of our rating. Does this sound like anything major or significant for the GA pilot in Canada? Probably not. On the other hand, we must recognize that these changes are legitimate in that they do address numerous issues in other areas of our licensing system.

Along with these changes, we also have the IFR currency requirement: 6 hours and 6 approaches to published minima in the last 6 months, or 6-6-6. This means that on the day we plan to fly IFR in IMC, we must have met this currency requirement. The onus is on us, as pilots, to keep track in our logbook of all our flights that qualify toward that currency requirement. When a flight addresses the 6-6-6, simply make a note to that effect with the logbook entry. It is also much wiser and safer to have this currency flying spread over time instead of cramming the day before the intended flight.

The recency requirement provides pilots flying in IMC (IFR of course) a means to ensure they are not rusty to the point of being unsafe. It does not invalidate your IFR rating if the 6-6-6 is not satisfied. The 6-6-6 is effective on the 1st day of the 13th month following your instrument rating flight test or your IPC. If your 6-6-6 has expired, you do not meet the recency requirement to fly IFR in IMC, but you still hold a valid IFR rating and you can file and fly IFR in VMC, similar to a typical training flight. In this case, you have two easy options to revive your IFR recency:

VMC – You get in your IFR equipped and approved aircraft and you go fly off the 6-6-6 requirement in VMC. The regulation does not mandate that a qualified person must be with you. It is however a wise and safe practice to have a knowledgeable and reliable person in the right hand seat to act as a security lookout. You will be flying with your head down in the cockpit, in VFR conditions. You are always responsible for your own traffic avoidance and aircraft separation; or

IMC – You get in your IFR equipped and approved aircraft and you go renew your 6-6-6 by flying IFR in IMC. In this case, you most definitely must have a qualified person in the right hand seat. That qualified person can be a Flight Instructor with valid IFR and 6-6-6, a CPL with valid IFR and 6-6-6, an ATPL with valid IFR and 6-6-6, or you can go all the way to a TCCA authorized and qualified examiner.

Forced Landing Inspires Song

An off-airport landing can be a life-changing experience and his injury-free night landing in a corn field near Sarnia inspired southern Ontario pilot John Cundle to write a song about the experience.

As we reported last week, the engine in Cundle’s Cessna 150 quit while on a night flight in late October. He couldn’t make the airport and didn’t want to risk others with a highway landing so he headed for the darkest patch of ground he could see.

As luck would have it, that turned out to be a nice, flat cornfield that brought him to a quick but safe stop.

The song pays homage to both the good luck and good training that combined for the good outcome.

The airplane is repairable but the cause of the power interruption is still being investigated.

Hear the song here.


Minister Must Consult on Airports Bill

COPA President and CEO Bernard Gervais has called on Yukon Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn to hold meaningful consultations with industry stakeholders and the community on Bill 6, the Private Airports Act, a bill that gives the government broad, sweeping powers to create new regulations and impose fees on airport users and the traveling public:

“Aviation is a way of life in Canada’s north and many communities depend on their airports to provide vital links to commerce and public services,” said Gervais. “For the government to ram through this Bill, giving themselves carte blanche on raising fees without meaningful consultation is a disrespectful to the people who depend on the territory’s airport infrastructure each and every day. The Minister must withdraw this legislation until a robust consultation process can be undertaken and the concerns of Yukon’s aviation industry addressed. We will continue to support our local chapter, COPA Flight 106 (Yukon), with all the resources necessary to ensure that the concerns of the general aviation community are heard and respected by this Minister and his government.”

COPA’s call is the latest in a series of public statements by northern aviation stakeholders who were caught with little time to consider the proposals and respond to the government in a substantive way.


Collingwood Turbines Terminated

The company proposing eight wind turbines in the flight paths for Collingwood and Stayner Airports in southern Ontario has abandoned the project according to a local media report. Bayshore Broadcasting reported last week that an official with WPD Canada confirmed in an email to the radio station that the company’s board of directors had decided not to proceed further with the controversial development but declined to elaborate further.

WPD Canada had until Sept. 15 to appeal an Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal decision to revoke the project’s Renewable Energy Approval on the grounds that the 150-metre towers would pose a serious risk to human health since they were planned for sites within long-established flight paths for Collingwood’s municipal airport and a private strip near Stayner. COPA Counsel Glenn Grenier and Southern Ontario Director Conrad Hatcher directed a vigorous legal opposition to the plan.

Members of a group that organized to fight the project when it was first announced 10 years ago are claiming victory. For Betty Schneider and her neighbours, the turbines were less of a hazard and more of a nuisance but she said residents of the local community can feel relieved. “Their property value has just gone back up to where it should be,” she said.



COPA Attending ICAO Drone Meeting

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will be hosting the DRONE ENABLE, ICAO’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Industry Symposium from 22 to 23 September 2017 at its Headquarters in Montréal, Canada. The symposium will provide a unique opportunity for countries, international organizations, industry, academia and other stakeholders to share their research, best practices and lessons learned related to unmanned aircraft system traffic management systems (UTM). Attention will be given to defining a framework for a UAS traffic management (UTM) environment. Key supporting functions, such as a registration system, ability to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft (UA), communications systems and geofencing-like systems, will be included.

COPA is attending this seminar and will report back on this international initiative to bring about some sort of common understanding and way of doing things.

Update to UAV/Drone regulations

Transport Canada recently amended the regulations concerning the operation of drones and UAVs, particularly in proximity to airports and aerodromes/heliports.

For smaller, non-commercial drones between 250g and 35kg, the following new rules apply:

-No higher than 90m AGL

-If your drone weighs between 250g and 1kg, at least 30m away from vehicles, vessels, and the public

-If your drone weighs between 1kg and 35kg, at least 75m away from vehicles, vessels, and the public

-At least 5.5km from all aerodromes, airports, seaplane bases, and any other areas where aircraft take-off and land

-At least 1.8km away from heliports and aerodromes used exclusively by helicopters outside of controlled or restricted airspace

-At least 9km from a disaster area or natural hazard

-Away from interfering with police and first responders

-Day only, not in clouds

-Within sight at all times

-Within 500m of the operator

-Must be clearly marked with operator’s name, address, and telephone number

Failure to follow the regulations for safe, legal drone operation could result in fines of up to $3,000.

COPA Clears Up Privatization Stance

COPA President and CEO Bernard Gervais spent much of his time at AirVenture 2017 clearing up some misconceptions about the Canadian experience with privatized air traffic control.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called for the creation of a not-for-profit private corporation to manage airspace in the U.S., a system similar but not identical to that which has been in operation under Nav Canada for almost 20 years.

Last week, Nav Canada released a NOTAM that banned VFR arrivals at Vancouver International Airport from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

AOPA has been monitoring the issue in Canada and incorrectly reported that COPA and Canadian pilots in general were upset with the privatized system. They used that sentiment in published news stories to bolster their anti-privatization stance.

“The statement quoted by AOPA does not reflect the position of our organization on this issue, nor was it provided to AOPA by anyone with the authority to speak on behalf of COPA,” Gervais said in a statement. “Unfortunately at no time did AOPA reach out to COPA to provide a comment before their story was published.”

Reporters for AOPA publications were also approaching Canadian pilots looking for negative comments about the Nav Canada system and finding none.

Gervais spoke with senior AOPA officials and the published report was corrected and staff were told to stop pursuing the Canadian angle of the story.

COPA is sporting a new logo!

Listen as astronaut and proud COPA member, Col. Chris Hadfield, explains the meaning behind COPA’s new logo:

Details are also available in the July issue of COPA Flight. We were proud to publicly unveil the new logo at the annual COPA Convention and Tradeshow in Kelowna, B.C. The new branding was well-received by attendees at the convention who are excited about the new changes and new direction COPA is taking.




New study highlights industry’s $9.3B output to Canada’s economy

OTTAWA – Today, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) released a new study that highlights the economic impact general aviation contributes to Canadian communities and to the national economy. The study, compiled by Vancouver-based InterVISTAS, estimates that general aviation operations in Canada contributes $9.3 billion in economic output nationally and directly accounts for almost 20,000 full time jobs in communities across the country.  The report also highlights the benefits that general aviation operations bring to communities in terms of tax revenues, direct, and indirect employment.

“This study shows the real importance of maintaining the general aviation infrastructure in communities across Canada, including local airports,” said Bernard Gervais, President and CEO of COPA. “General Aviation is a critical element of the transportation network and one that helps connect communities and create jobs and opportunities for Canadians. COPA looks forward to continuing to work with communities across Canada to realize the impact that the industry has in their regions.”

General aviation (GA) describes all civil aviation operations that are not scheduled air services, or unscheduled air services for hire. The most common GA activities include private aviation, business aviation, agricultural aviation and flight training. According to recent estimates by the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA),  there are more than 350,000 aircraft and 700,000 pilots worldwide who participate in the global GA community on an annual basis. In comparison, commercial aviation accounts for only 60,000 aircraft and 400,000 pilots. This demonstrates the vast size and significance of the GA sector, worldwide.

COPA represents over 17,000 pilots and aircraft owners across the country and is the national voice for General Aviation in Canada. Through the mission of advancing, promoting, and preserving the Canadian Freedom to Fly, COPA is at the forefront on issues that affect pilots, aircraft and airports in communities across Canada and is an active partner with all levels of government in ensuring a bright future for general aviation. For more information, visit copanational.org.

If you would like more information on the economic impact of general aviation in Canada, please contact Carter Mann, Manager of Government Affairs and Communications at 613-236-4901×112 or by email at cmann@copanational.org.

Click here to download a copy of the report.