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Category Archives: News

7 things to do in Québec City this winter

Experience the magic of Québec City during the winter months. Here, the streets covered in snow create a whimsical opportunity for the perfect seasonal adventure. Fly in and out of the Neuville Airport and take advantage of COPA Flight 198’s courtesy car to get to and from your accommodations

Once there, make sure to add these seven winter activities to your Québec City itinerary.

1. Connect with local COPA Flights and board members

Connect with COPA Quebec board members Pierre Drapeau and Jonathan Beauchesne to learn more about aviation in the area.

Pierre is a private pilot with 750 hours of flying experience. Since 2007, he has been a COPA member and owned a Cherokee 140, a Mooney M20E which he has just sold, and a recently acquired Taylorcraft. Pierre also has 37 years of experience as an air traffic controller at Montreal Terminal.

Jonathan has served on the COPA Board of Directors since 2014. He has contributed to the defense of several airfields, including St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, St-Cuthbert, and St-Roch-de-l’Achigan (projected).

For contact information for COPA Flight chapters across Canada, visit copanational.org/copa-flights.

2. Spend a night in a hotel made of ice — Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel)

Did you know that Hôtel de Glace is the only ice hotel in North America? This fairytale-like masterpiece is made exclusively out of ice and snow — including the drink glasses — making it a truly unique overnight experience available only in the winter. Even if you can’t stay here overnight, you can still experience the renowned Ice Hotel by taking a day tour.

The themed suites showcase ice sculptures expertly carved into the walls by talented artists. The hotel even has a chapel that has seen numerous couples declare their love for one another over the years! The intricately carved ice sculptures and impressive architecture make Hôtel de Glace a winter experience you’ll never forget.

3. Wander through Vieux-Québec (Old Québec City)

7 Ways to Make the Most of Our Winter Wonderland | Visit Québec City
Photo credit: Destination Québec Cité

Take a walk-through Vieux-Québec, where cobblestone streets and charming European-like architecture create the perfect setting for a winter walk.

Explore Petit-Champlain, a pedestrian-only street with an array of unique boutiques and stunning architecture. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many pubs then tour the citadelle.

You can even go ice skating and cross-country skiing here! Walking around Vieux-Québec and finding its hidden gems is a can’t-miss experience when visiting Québec City.

4. Immerse yourself in culture

Take a break from the colder temperatures at one of the city’s many museums. Begin your cultural exploration at the Musée de la Civilisation, where the exhibits showcase Québec’s heritage and the evolution of its people, traditions, and innovations.

For art enthusiasts, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec is where you want to be, with an impressive collection of Québécois and Canadian art spanning centuries. Wander through the galleries, marveling at masterpieces that reflect the region’s artistic mastery.

To learn more about the province’s politics, visit the Assemblée Nationale du Québec. This historic parliamentary building not only offers a glimpse into Québec’s political workings but also boasts incredible architecture.

5. Take part in a dog sledding adventure

Photo credit: Au Chalet en Bois Rond

Glide your way through the snow on an unforgettable dog sledding adventure with Au Chalet en Bois Rond. Connect with the natural beauty of winter in a way like never before. The enthusiastic sled dogs will weave you through the snow-covered trails on the outskirts of the city, about 45 minutes from downtown.

Not only will you get the heart-pounding excitement of the ride itself, you’ll also get to spend the day hanging out with the dogs who are leading the way. When the ride is done, warm up with some well-deserved hot chocolate.

6. Hit the powder and ski or snowboard at Mont-Saint-Anne

Located just 30 minutes northeast of Québec City, Mont-Sainte-Anne provides the perfect landscape for skiing and snowboarding, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth. With breathtaking views of the Saint Lawrence River and well-groomed trails, you’ll enjoy the scenery as much as you enjoy the slopes.

If you don’t have your own gear, you can easily rent all the equipment needed. Not confident in your skills just yet? Sign up for a lesson and an expert will help you get started.

7. Get your maple fix at a sugar shack

Vivez l'expérience de la cabane à sucre - Au Chalet en Bois Rond
Photo credit: Au Chalet en Bois Rond

Sneak away from the bustling city and visit a traditional sugar shack, a small wooden house built for making maple syrup. Located just a short drive from the downtown core is Le Relais de Pins, a rustic sugar shack perfect for an authentic experience. The “sugaring season” takes place during March and April, but Le Relais de Pins offers maple syrup experiences year-round.

Enjoy a hearty meal and choose from favourites like French Canadian pea soup, warm maple ham, and meat pie — a maple-inspired meal awaits you. While you warm up from the cold and fill your belly, you’ll also be serenaded by lively folk music!

Québec City in winter is a magical destination with a never-ending list of activities to experience. From the awe-inspiring Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) and many museums to the thrilling adventures of dog sledding and skiing, there’s no shortage of winter indoor and outdoor excitement here. Embrace the season, bundle up, and make the most of your winter getaway in Québec City!

 

Canadian Women Grabbed 12% of All Pilot Licences Issued in 2023

iWOAW.org

Originally posted on the Insistute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide website iWOAW.org on January 31, 2024.

(Photo credit: Gus and Clara Corujo)

From 2010 to 2023, the number of pilot licences issued to women grew by 79% in the commercial sector and 58% overall.

iWOAW is pleased to share encouraging Canadian pilot population statistics. In 2023, Canadian women grabbed 12 percent of the 6,354 pilot licences issued by Transport Canada, 58 percent more than in 2010.

Over half (52%) of all pilot licences issued in 2023 were recreational in nature. Transport Canada recorded 2,980 new Private pilot licences, the first step to an eventual professional career. 65 percent of these licences went to candidates between 20 and 39 years old.

Eileen Vollick was the first Canadian woman to receive a pilot licence on March 13, 1928, and Rosella Bjornson was the first Canadian female pilot to be hired by an airline in 1973. Last year, Canadian women qualified for 13 percent of the new recreational-type pilot licences, 12.3 percent of the new Commercial pilot licences, and 8.1 percent of the new Airline Transport pilot licences.

The progress in the commercial sector is particularly impressive. The number of women who received a Commercial or Airline pilot licence soar to 334 last year. It was just 197 15 years ago when iWOAW launched the Fly It Forward® Challenge, the world’s first female-specific outreach initiative focused on closing the aviation introduction gender gap. At the time, a boy was more than twice as likely as a girl to be introduced to aviation careers.

As iWOAW prepares to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its Fly It Forward® Challenge that made it possible for nearly 73,000 Canadian girls of all ages to visit various aviation industry facilities and facilitated 22,403 first flight experiences for women and girls, the tangible impact of the initiative is uplifting.

iWOAW is asking aviation enthusiasts and professionals who want to change the face of aviation to double down their efforts during the upcoming Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 4-10, and respond to its 15-for-15 challenge to introduce at least 15 women or girls to aviation’s career opportunities, hands-on, during the Week.

iWOAW annually awards global Fly It Forward® titles and trophies to the most outstanding airport, community, corporation, and event organizers. iWOAW announces the names of the winners at the end of March.

Mark Baker Stepping Down As AOPA President

AOPA President Mark Baker
Photo by Chris Rose

Originally posted on the AOPA website on January 30, 2024.

After 10 years of growing AOPA, keeping it the world’s largest civil aviation organization, and protecting general aviation pilots’ freedom to fly, AOPA President Mark Baker announced that he is working with the AOPA board of trustees to search for his successor.

Baker stressed that the move is part of a natural leadership transition process and follows his decadeslong, successful career in retail and business before he joined AOPA in 2013 as only its fifth president.

“It’s hard to believe that more than a decade has passed since I joined AOPA,” Baker said to staff. “Now the time has come for me to plan the next chapter—for AOPA and for myself.”

Baker told staff that he is committed to staying at the helm of AOPA for up to two years while the board works to find the absolute best person to lead AOPA into the future. “During this process, it’s business as usual,” Baker added.

 

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) along with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) are both members of the The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), a global network of member organizations representing general aviation interests at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

 

Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame announces 2024 inductees

Ken Money (Photo: NASA, CAHF)

Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame named six leaders in aviation and aerospace as the inductees for its 2024 class.

The 2024 induction will include: Neil Garfield Armstrong, for his contributions to the intersection of critical care and flight; John Binder, for his contributions to aviation business and maintenance, spanning over five decades; Mary Cameron-Kelly, in recognition of her pioneering work as a female aviator, including as a trailblazing pilot with 8,600-plus Aurora hours and her 42 years of military service; Ken Money, for his work as an astronaut and scientist which significantly advanced both aerospace medicine and Canada’s space program; and Robert and Tommy Wong, for their perseverance and business acumen in promoting and building early aviation in Canada.

Neil Armstrong (Photo: CAHF)

The six leaders will be formally inducted at Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame (CAHF) annual ceremony, scheduled for September 14, 2024, at the Sheraton Airport Hotel & Conference Centre in Toronto.

Founded in 1973, CAHF is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes and honours individuals and organizations for making outstanding contributions to Canadian aviation.

Federal funding to strengthen safety, efficiency at 8 BC airports

Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, on December 5 outline a planned investment by the Government of Canada to improve the safety and efficiency of eight airports in British Columbia.

“Our government knows that local and regional airports provide essential services to Canadians and local businesses,” said Rodriguez. “We’re investing in our local airports to build safer, healthier, and stronger communities across Canada.”

Through Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program, the eight airports are receiving more than $12 million in new funding for projects and equipment that will help maintain safe airport operations for passengers, crews, and airport workers.

The airports receiving funding and specific projects include: Bella Bella Campbell Island Airport to improve Runway 13-31 end safety area, $5,527,913; Campbell River Airport to purchase a 4 x 4 plow truck, $558,375; Castlegar, West Kootenay Regional Airport to rehabilitate and expand the taxiway and Apron 5, $2,359,820; Kamloops Airport to rehabilitate Apron 1, $2,091,362; Nanaimo Airport to purchase a loader, $346,860; Quesnel Regional Airport to purchase a sweeper, $491,500; Terrace-Kitimat, Northwest Regional Airport to replace omni-directional approach lights on Runway 15, $108,599; and Tofino-Long Beach Airport to purchase a loader, $533,631.

The runway improvements in Bella Bella include the removal of rock and terrain that intrude into the takeoff and landing airspace, explains Transport Canada, which is especially important should there be a runway excursion. The equipment in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Quesnel, and Tofino-Long Beach will be used in maintaining aircraft movement surfaces and for the removal and control of ice and snow from airside surfaces such as runways, taxiways and the apron.

The taxiway expansion project in Castlegar will allow for more space between aircraft, explains Transport Canada, resulting in greater efficiency and safety when more than one aircraft is present. Multiple aircraft activity can occur in situations during aerial fire suppression activities directed by the provincial Forestry Air Tanker Base located in Castlegar, allowing the tankers to land and refill their water supply more quickly.

The replacement of omni-directional approach lights with LED in Terrace-Kitimat will result in brighter lights and cost savings. The rehabilitation of Apron 1 in Kamloops will repair or replace selected panels, with subsurface improvements for the concrete areas, and mill/pave of 100 mm for the asphalt areas.

Since the Airports Capital Assistance Program started in 1995, the Government of Canada has invested over $1.26 billion for 1,268 projects at 201 local, regional and National Airports System airports across the country.

(Image: Nanaimo Airport)

TSB reports on collision with vehicle and terrain in Langley

Occurrence aircraft wreckage after the post-impact fire (Photo: TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its investigation report (A23P0039) into the 2 May 2, 2023, landing accident in which a privately registered Cessna 182P aircraft collided with a vehicle and then struck the perimeter fence at the Langley Regional Airport, British Columbia. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) conducted a limited-scope, class 4 investigation into this occurrence to advance transportation safety.

The Cessna 182P was conducting a Visual Flight Rules sightseeing flight from Langley Regional Airport (CYNJ), British Columbia, with the pilot and one passenger on board. TSB explains, that on return to CYNJ, the pilot conducted a straight-in approach to Runway 25 and the aircraft was observed to be low on the approach. Shortly after, the aircraft struck a pickup truck that was driving on 216 Street, explains TSB, a public road, approximately 450 feet east of the runway’s displaced threshold.

Map showing the occurrence location, with close-up view in inset. (Source of main image and inset: Google Earth, with TSB annotations)

The aircraft then struck the airport perimeter fence approximately 60 feet west of the initial impact with the pickup truck, according to TSB’s report, and slid a further 30 feet before it came to rest against a berm. A post-impact fire started shortly after, explains the TSB, but the passenger was able to exit the aircraft unassisted and a bystander helped the pilot out of the aircraft – both were airlifted to hospital and the aircraft was destroyed.

Visit TSB’s website for its full investigation report.

TSB reports on 2022 aircraft collision with water in Pluto Lake

Occurrence aircraft after the collision with water. (Photo: Department of National Defence search and rescue aircraft, TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its investigation report (A22Q0122) into the 2022 aircraft loss of control and collision with water in Pluto Lake, Quebec. The pilot was the sole person on board and suffered serious injuries.

On October 12, 2022, a True North Airways Inc. de Havilland DHC-3 Otter aircraft on floats was conducting a visual flight rules flight, with one pilot on board, from Mistissini Water Aerodrome, QC, to Pluto Lake, QC, where it would deliver cargo and pick up passengers. At approximately 9:29 am, while manoeuvring for landing on Pluto Lake, the aircraft collided with the surface of the water. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the aircraft was significantly damaged.

TSB explains its investigation found, that due to the visual cues of the landing area that were visible to the pilot, the close proximity of the landing site where passengers were waiting, and the natural tendency to continue a plan under changing conditions, the pilot continued the approach despite visibility in the local area being below the minimum required for visual flight rules flight.

Route of flight. (Source: Google Earth, with TSB annotations)

Owing to the reduced visibility, TSB explains the pilot’s workload as he was manoeuvring for landing, was high and his attention was focused predominantly outside the aircraft to keep the landing area in sight. As a result, TSB explains a reduction in airspeed went unnoticed and, during the aircraft’s turn from base to final, the increased wing loading, combined with the reduced airspeed, resulted in a stall at an altitude too low to permit recovery and the aircraft collided with the water.

The aircraft was equipped with a stall warning light, but it was not equipped with an auditory stall warning system. If aircraft stall warning systems do not provide multiple types of alerts warning the pilot of an impending stall, TSB explains there is an increased risk that a visual stall warning alone will not be salient enough and go undetected when the pilot’s attention is focused outside the aircraft or during periods of high workload.

After the occurrence, TSB explains the company took safety actions, including amending its operations manual to more accurately reflect the Canadian Aviation Regulations regarding visual flight rules weather limits.

See TSB’s investigation page for more information.

Brockton council votes for sale of Saugeen Municipal Airport

— By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times (Photo: Pauline Kerr,  The Walkerton Herald Times)

It all came down to money – whether Brockton councillors felt the Saugeen Municipal Airport was providing taxpayers with good value for their money.

They decided it was not.

Brockton council has decided in favour of option one – sale of Saugeen Municipal Airport (SMA).

The decision followed a report at the Nov. 14 council meeting, during which two options were presented. The second option was to propose a revised cost sharing formula.

The decision confirms Brockton’s preference for asking the municipalities of West Grey and Hanover to proceed with a sale, splitting proceeds according to the cost-sharing agreement currently in place. The report stated, “The proposal would be to secure a buyer that would continue to operate an airport from the lands to support the existing uses, especially the medical flights.”

The report touched on the possibility of a use other than as an airport, noting, “Alternate uses of the SMA property may be limited by the zoning and also by the servicing. There are no municipal sanitary sewers.”

Option two stipulated an updated cost sharing formula and noted “Brockton should be prepared to increase the SMA budgets over the next few years to support the creation of a reserve fund and to support the strategic initiatives that will establish the SMA as a financially self-sufficient regional airport.”

Coun. Greg McLean commented that as stated in the report, the airport “is not on track to meet its budget shortfall.”

Coun. Kym Hutcheon took it a step further, saying that the “promised spinoffs” from the airport have not happened; the airport should be operated privately, not as a municipally-owned facility.

The only council member to speak strongly in favour of retaining the airport was Coun. Tim Elphick, who said, “This is an underperforming asset, but it is an asset.” He noted the airport has been part of the community for many years and has potential for the future. Factoring in the tax revenue from the airport, Elphick said Brockton was only “subsidizing the airport $15,000 net.”

Coun. Carl Kuhnke, the council representative on the SMA commission, commented on the fact that only a third – or less – of the airport’s 50 pilots come from Brockton, that the airport has had three managers in four months, and that the bulk of the expenses pay for the manager. He also noted every other municipal airport in the area, except Kincardine, has been sold to private interests

Deputy Mayor James Lang expressed the hope the airport would be purchased by those “private interests.”

Coun. Mitch Clark spoke out strongly against retaining the airport, saying he viewed it not as an asset but a liability.

“We have given the airport committee enough time,” he said.

The past few years have been challenging for the airport, according to the report. “The 2023 budget projected revenue of $60,000, although only $19,856 has been raised up to Oct. 31, 2023. Another $19,000 has been committed for 2024. The SMA has underspent on property development, runway and grounds maintenance and some wages… It should be noted, however, that the SMA owes Brockton $36,178.63 for the tractor and $54,649.36 to Meridian Credit Union for the hangar construction… The Municipality of Brockton received $50,388.51 in tax revenue from the Saugeen Municipal Airport property and the surrounding hangar properties in 2023.

“There were significant unbudgeted legal expenses and upgrades to the fuel system that resulted in a deficit at the end of 2022. As the SMA has operated on a very lean budget with no reserve funds for many years, it was difficult to overcome these unbudgeted expenses. While the runway and main hangar building appear to be in good shape, the SMA does not currently have a long-term asset management or capital replacement plan, and no reserves set aside for upgrades that may be needed.”

The report further stated that it will take some time for the goal of becoming financially self-sustaining to be accomplished. Additional investment may be needed to realize the potential of the facility becoming a regional airport, as per “visioning sessions” that have been taking place with Grey County.

The report stated SMA consists of approximately 254 acres, with about 56 used for growing hay. It has an MPAC value of $3.5 million.

SMA allows recreational pilots from other airports to fly in to park and refuel their planes, recording 178-plus such visits in September of this year. SMA is also used by commercial and medical flights.

SMA has a successful business – Kuhl Aero Academy, as well as The Landing Gear Diner.

CYKZ is closed

— By Phil Lightstone

An airport closure rarely happens in Canada. In 2009, the Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport (CYKZ) announced their plans to sell the airport to property developers. On May 31, 2023, the airport management announced that it would be permanently closing the airport on November 30, 2023, impacting 200 to 300 aircraft. As of November 27th, there was one aircraft left a Buttonville, a de-registered Beechcraft Musketeer (B19, cancelled Certificate of Registration on September 12, 2022). With flat tires, de-registered and an aircraft owner not responding to the emails and telephone calls from the airport’s management, the aircraft may end up on a trailer and sold for scrap. It is reported that some resourceful pilots are attempting to buy the aircraft and put it back into flying condition. But that’s a long shot.

On Friday November 24, a paving company began grinding off the numbers and runway markings on runway 15/33. On November 16th, runway 03/21 was closed and the markings ground off. With runway 15/33 closing at 11:00 am EST, a few intrepid aviators flew in for a few touch and goes and full stop landings. With less than 15 minutes left on the clock, three Cessna aircraft (172 and 150) flew in for the final experience. Based upon the radio calls, one Cessna 172 flew in from the Ottawa area, sadly arriving at 11:02 and performed a low and over on runway 15/33 and then departed the area. On a personal note, standing on a closed runway watching heavy equipment grinding up the runway was a bit depressing. I began flying at Buttonville in 1993, creating lifelong friends and memories.

Chris Nowrouzi, CEO of FLYGTA Airlines, began his aviation career on the ramp at Buttonville, a flight instructor leading up to co-founding FLYGTA Airlines. Operating out of Buttonville, with a departure lounge, pilot onboarding, recurrent training and maintenance operations, FLYGTA’s charter business prospered during their years at Buttonville (and the other airports they operate from). Chris Nowrouzi reports: “I grew up at Buttonville. I remember in 2005 when I started working there, seeing over 500 aircraft on the ramp and in the hangars, amongst which were nearly 50 owned by the flight school. Buttonville was exceptionally busy, with an aircraft waiting at position 20 for takeoff, and another 10 in the circuit. This was a gem which will be a part of me forever. People like Dan Matovic, and Sylvie Snutch, have had the biggest impacts on me in my career with all their advice. Thank you to all those who held a part in this historical airport. Gone but never forgotten.”

David R. Cox, Buttonville Flying Club Safety Officer (COPA Flight 44) was licensed in 1963 and has been flying out of Buttonville since 1997 reports: “I have been visiting Buttonville daily for the past two weeks, watching and experiencing the end of an era. While I have relocated my aircraft to the Oshawa Executive Airport, I will truly miss the Buttonville experience, which I believe is unique in the Greater Toronto Area.”

Marvin Kalchman, discovered the passion for aviation later in life, moving his advanced ultralight aircraft from Edenvale to Buttonville in 2021 after beginning flight training in 2018. With a 20 minute drive from his home to Buttonville, the move increased his opportunity to fly. Recently Marvin completed his transition to a Recreational Permit at Buttonville. Marvin reports: “the concierge service delivered by Buttonville Flightline was exceptional, with the staff always looking at my aircraft and advising me of any issues. There was never a problem with requesting a pull of my aircraft even with short notice. The comradery of the Buttonville Flying Club introduced me to new flying friends willing to share their experiences and advice to his low time pilot.”

During November, the airport began moving furniture and selling off assets such as tugs, snow ploughs and terminal furniture (to name a few). With most of the tenants moved out, the terminal building has become a ghost town and is eerily silent. The hangars are completely empty and are awaiting their final fate of being dismantled and sold for scrap. With the clock counting down, the management has been motivated to sell off or give away the remaining assets. One outcome of the airport closure is the creation of an airport closure playbook, which is rumored may be used for the closure of the Toronto Downsview airport (CYZD).

The last day of the airport will see emotions running high for staff, management, tenants and pilots alike. Facebook and other social networking platforms have been quite active with comments, pictures and videos being posted with both emotional and nostalgic themes. Regional airports like Buttonville, are a meeting place for aviators and aviation enthusiasts alike, where the love of aviation can be shared and reinforced. The closure of any airport detracts from our rich aviation culture. What’s in the next chapter for the displaced aircraft, maintenance shops and the people from Buttonville, only time will tell.