Category Archives: News

Wheatland County approves amendments for De Havilland despite opposition

The De Havilland Field facility outside of Calgary in Wheatland County is to be the site of final assembly for the DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft, DHC Twin Otter and the Dash 8-400 aircraft. (Image: De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

— By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, DrumhellerMail.com

Wheatland County council passed second and third reading to make textual amendments to its West Highway 1 Area Structure Plan and Land Use Bylaw for the proposed De Havilland Field aircraft manufacturing facility following a public hearing during the regular Tuesday, August 15 council meeting.

These amendments will allow De Havilland Aircraft of Canada to construct a new aircraft manufacturing facility within the county, including an “associated aerospace facility and businesses,” as well as place shipping containers for temporary storage and “move parts and equipment to the site prior to construction of the aerodrome facility.”

“The developer, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, is proposing to construct a new aircraft manufacturing facility which will consist of an aircraft assembly facility, parts, manufacturing, and distribution centre, maintenance repair, overhaul facility, runway, and associated commercial and industrial uses,” explained Community and Development Services general manager Sherry Baers during the meeting.

Several stakeholders and ratepayers were in attendance during the public hearing portion of the meeting, with some stepping forward to speak both in favour and against the proposed De Havilland Field development.

Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce executive director Natasha Fyfe was among those who spoke in favour of the development. She noted the potential positive economic impacts the development could have for Wheatland County, between the creation of “hundreds of jobs during the development phase,” along with the estimated 1,500 jobs De Havilland Field would generate.

Along with the benefit of bringing jobs to the region, the proposed development will also help to attract new residents and businesses. Developer Neal Coulter, who is behind the Lakewood Meadows development in the Town of Strathmore, touted the neighbourhood development has seen a surge in purchases since De Havilland first announced its intention to build in Wheatland County, which has allowed the developer to not only sell some 30 lots in Phase 1 of the development, but has also allowed them to bring forward Phase 2; nearly 90 per cent of lots in Phase 2 have already been sold.

Despite support, several landowners were also in attendance and expressed their concerns for the De Havilland Field project.

A primary concern for some of the landowners was the loss of prime agricultural land, and impacts on property values for surrounding and adjacent landowners. While it is anticipated these values will increase, this could put a damper on those agricultural producers looking to expand in the area if land prices were to rise. It was also questioned what impacts having a development, which will include factories, will have on adjacent properties in close proximity to the facility, and the noise impacts of a proposed road diversion through the area.

Another concern was whether the economic benefits touted by those in support would actually have any impact on Wheatland County. One landowner expressed, with the City of Calgary and other municipalities in close proximity to De Havilland Field, whether any of the proposed 1,500 jobs at the De Havilland Field would go towards people living in Wheatland County or to people living in Calgary, Strathmore, or other municipalities.

Likewise, landowners expressed concerns, while De Havilland Field itself would bring tax revenue to Wheatland County that the municipality would miss out on other residential developments which will spring up in neighbouring municipalities like the City of Chestermere or Strathmore.

Following the public hearing, Wheatland County council provided some clarity to landowners in attendance. Council members expressed their gratitude for a business such as De Havilland considering the county, and explained the tax revenue and employment opportunities generated by the development could help retain youth who may otherwise leave rural areas due to a lack of job opportunities with room for growth and advancement. They also acknowledged that much of the land within Wheatland County is agricultural, but that diversification is necessary for the sustainability of the county due to a disproportionate amount of taxes received from agricultural properties.

Council gave second and third reading to both amendments to the West Highway 1 Area Structure Plan, redesignated lands for the De Havilland Field from the Agriculture General District to a Direct Control District, and made textual amendments to allow De Havilland to place storage containers temporarily on the parcels.

The sky’s the limit with Kids Fly at SMA Day

“It was fun,” say Shanika Latrell and Tatiana Emke, upon their return from a flight with pilot Jamie Hastings over Grey-Bruce during the Kids Fly at SMA event. (Photo: Pauline Kerr, The Walkerton Herald Times)

— By Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

BROCKTON – Kids and airplanes – it’s an unbeatable combination, especially when you add sunshine, snacks and a lot of volunteers focused on making sure the kids have a great time.

Jack Zeinstra said the event had originally been scheduled for Aug. 26, but the weather was less than co-operative.

Aug. 27 was completely different, with sunshine replacing the storm clouds. Kids and their families lined up to register for a chance to fly, and pilots lined up with their planes on the runway, ready to go, as Friends of the Saugeen Municipal Airport held the annual Kids Fly at SMA event.

In all, six pilots volunteered their time to introduce kids – 122 of them, aged eight to 17– to flying. The pilots were Jamie Hastings, Tony Lang, Brenda Jolly, Ryan Dewsbury, Devon Allensen, and Rick Lark. Zeinstra said some of them were there for the full five hours – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition, he said there were too many other volunteers to list, some from the airport and some from the community.

Each child went on a flight, not just for a couple of minutes but for a good 15 minutes or more, over Grey and Bruce counties. The youngsters were urged to bring along a camera to get some pictures.

After a safety briefing, they were escorted to their plane, and off they went. Upon their return, grins were the rule of the day. Each child was presented with a certificate giving the date of the event and the name of the pilot.

They also got a free hamburger, hot dog or fries from the Fired Up Grilled in Action Food Truck.

One of the “junior pilots” was Olivia Filsinger from Elmwood. The young hockey player (goalie) brought her camera to record the event. Her pilot was Devon Allensen. Olivia’s comment after landing was brief: “Awesome!”

Zeinstra said the event is held annually, usually just before children go back to school. The date for next year’s event hasn’t been set yet, but after the popularity of this year’s Kids Fly at SMA event, it’s sure to be a success.


Scenes from the Roger Deming Fly-in

— Text and photos by Gus and Clara Corujo

On Saturday, September 2, Roger Deming hosted his annual fly-in event at Arthur Aerodrome Damascus Field (CDF6).

This picturesque grass strip is located to the north-northeast of Arthur, Ontario. The field boasts a 2,006-foot north-south runway, capable of accommodating nearly any light aircraft, and an east-west runway spanning 1,500 feet.

Despite the blustery winds that discouraged some pilots from attending, it was another splendid day filled with captivating aircraft. Nevertheless, the local community showed strong support, and it provided a delightful opportunity to reconnect with old friends. Everyone was warmly welcomed, regardless of their mode of transportation.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to Roger Deming and his sisters, Tanya and Paula, for their gracious hospitality and generosity in offering complimentary food and beverages to all attendees.

GAMA aircraft shipment and billing report for second quarter

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) on August 29 published its second quarter 2023 General Aviation Aircraft Shipment and Billing Report. The general aviation aircraft manufacturing industry’s results for the first six months of 2023, when compared to the same period in 2022, show increased aircraft deliveries across all segments along with an increase in the overall value of the aircraft shipments.

“The growth of our industry remains strong as manufacturers continue to deliver and take orders for new aircraft. As we look towards the future, it will be imperative that we have stability, accountability and sound direction from regulatory authorities, particularly in the United States,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA President and CEO.

Aircraft shipments through the second quarter of 2023, when compared to the same period in 2023, saw piston airplanes increase 11.4 per cent with 713 units, turboprops increase 17.4 per cent with 290 units, and business jets increase 2.4 per cent with 296 units. The value of airplane deliveries through the second quarter of 2023 was $9.2 billion, an increase of 1.4 per cent.

Helicopter shipments increased when compared to the second half of 2022; piston helicopter deliveries increased 28.7 per cent with 112 units, and turbine helicopter deliveries increased 30.4 per cent with 339 units. The value of helicopter deliveries increased 29.9 per cent to $1.9B.

GAMA’s complete 2023 second quarter report can be found at gama.aero.

(Photo: Getty Images)

RAA COPA Hawkefield Fly-in

— Text and photos by Phil Lightstone

Sunday August 27, 2023, saw the 27th annual fly in at Orno/Hawkefield (CHF4) located just 12 nm north east of Oshawa, Ontario. Owner-operator Hannu Halminen has a laser leveled PPR field sporting 3,988 x 80 feet of pristine grass.

The airfield has two large hangars and a house at the north end of the field. With large white runway edge markers, lining up with the runway is easy. However, caution needs to be exercised with high tension power lines 130 feet AGL and 0.2NM north of runway 18. With below seasonal temperatures and a long runway, departing Hawkefield to the north, most General Aviation (GA) aircraft should be able to avoid the power lines.

Norm Mills reports that the event attracted approximately 100 aircraft, including three helicopters, with more than 100 pilots, 200 spectators, 10 volunteers, two classic cars and a few vintage motorcycles. Gord Mahaffey was the marshalling master and head of communications. Gord and his volunteers delivered a smooth operation guiding taxing aircraft to appropriate parking spots. Hot Diggity Dog food truck provided a BBQ featuring hot dogs, sausages, burgers, chips and a variety of beverages.

The event attracted a variety of aircraft including a North American P51 Mustang, de Havilland Canada Chipmunk, Antonio AN-2 biplane owned by Lee Barker, a WACO biplane, numerous VANS Aircraft RVs, Cessna, Pipers as well as a variety of homebuilt aircraft. Manfred Harder flew in with his Bell 58 helicopter. Joining the fly-in was COPA Director and Eastern Vice Chair Ashlynne Dale and COPA Chair Doug Ronan flying in on Ashlynne’s Airbus H125 helicopter. A very cool helicopter. There were two classic cars, including an Edsel, an early 1970s Nova, and a few of vintage motorcycles (which was impressive as there was a major three day vintage auto event in Oshawa held at the same time).

Both the RAA Chapter and COPA Flight 70 had information booths setup to meet and greet pilots and the public. A variety of raffles were underway, including a ride in Hannu Halminen’s North American P51 Mustang and a 50/50 draw. The Waco biplane was flying during the morning providing demonstration flights to a few lucky attendees. Centre stage was setup just in front of one of the hangars where pristine aircraft, including the P51 Mustang were parked. This allowed pilots and spectators to view the aircraft as well as walk the flight line to view the parked aircraft. For the most part, parents had their young children under control with flight line volunteers ensuring that the pathway for taxing aircraft was free from pedestrians. This was a critical safety feature especially for tail dragged aircraft, who have very little forward visibility.

I had the good fortune to fly in with Tony Davis in his VANS Aircraft RV8 from the Oshawa Executive Airport. With a flight time of 18 minutes and a GPS track, we were able to find Hawkefield with little effort. Tony’s RV-8 (taildragger) has pristine multi shade blue with yellow pin stripes paint, making the aircraft a hit with pilots and spectators the like.

RAA Chapter and COPA Flight volunteers spent countless hours organizing the event. Norm Mills, RAA member and Co-Captain of COPA Flight 70, one of the event organizers reports: “this event has been run successfully for so long that planning is now nearly by rote. Of course, the confirmations still need to be done, e.g., insurance is in place, food confirmed, tickets for raffles and marshallers organized. Each person one the team has their own niche, which makes the organization of the event go like a fine Swiss watch.”

For those pilots unfamiliar with grass fields, soft field procedures should be considered for arrival, taxing and departure. The high quality of Hawkefield’s grass provides a turf environment for novices, making grass field operations almost as easy as operating off of pavement. Checkout Gus and Clara Corujo images taken at the event at Gusair.com.

The date for next year’s event has yet to be set, but checkout COPA’s General Aviation Events calendar which can be found at https://copanational.org/event-calendar/.

Food services reimagined at Greater Sudbury Airport

Celebrating the opening of the FlySudbury Café are, from the left, Christopher Pollesel, Giovanna Verrilli, Ranjodh Singh, Lakvir Singh Mann, and Dave Paquette. The Singhs are the operators and owners of the café. (Photo: Hugh Kruzel)

— By Hugh Kruzel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star

If you are going to board an aircraft and travel the world, then aren’t we lucky to now have an airport restaurant that embraces a global philosophy?

“Sure, we have grilled sandwiches, but butter chicken is loved by everyone and worldwide,” smiles Ranjodh Singh, as he looks at the crowd attending the recent grand op ening. “We both love to eat and cook. We have restaurant experience and my partner and I have worked together before.”

There is a mix of Canadian, Mexican and Indian cuisines that runs the spectrum from Samosas to burgers and fries, but also Quesadillas and Tacos, Lakhvir Singh-Mann notes.

Singh-Mann is the other half of the ownership.

“I know customer service and how to please clients. Fusion is going to work. We are offering Bonn to Bake desserts, and look to having more local products.”

An airport is a unique place to have a restaurant business. The hours are very different. Demands can be a wave and then a lull.

“We will match with the need,” Singh-Mann says. “We do stay open if there are delays. When Air Canada reinstates the third flight, we will adjust our hours of operation. Currently, we are here 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 4 on weekends.”

Matching schedules with early departures – like the Porter 07:15 – means the hours of operation will reflect the needs of passengers and will continue to evolve as flight schedules change over time. The restaurant’s owners have committed to be open during peak flight hours, as well as extending their hours, where feasible, in the event of flight delays and cancellations.

Early morning departure could be a breakfast sandwich or you can order an express breakfast or smoothies.

“I am very proud of the new operators,” says Gurpreet Singh Broca. “They are not relatives, but they are part of my community family. When I came to Sudbury, they fed me and mentored me. They are trailblazers and inspirational. They have shown initiative.

“We are a diverse population in Sudbury now, so why should menus not reflect that mixed demographic now?”

Surveys indicated that restoring food availability has been the most requested amenity, said Giovanna Verrilli, CEO of the Greater Sudbury Airport.

“Yes, the aviation industry is recovering slowly, but we must respond to customers’ needs,” Verrilli said. “Passengers need to have a place to relax, unwind, and dine before their departure.

“It has been some time since we last offered food services here. Three years is a long time. It has been a lot of negotiations to make this day happen. I am very excited.”

And so, too, was everyone else attending the grand opening.

Dave Paquette, chair of the airport board, says opening this venue “is a really good signal to the community. It is time to move forward.”

Christopher Pollesel, manager of passenger experience and customer engagement for the Greater Sudbury Airport, says the COVID-19 pandemic “ultimately changed the entire global aviation landscape” and led to a dramatic reduction in flights and passengers in Sudbury.

“The former restaurant closed shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pollesel said. “As we worked to attract a new restaurant partner, we increased our food selections in our onsite vending machine, as well as invested in a specialized self-serve hot beverage machine, recognizing the importance of food and beverage options for our passengers …

“Of course, this was only intended to be a temporary measure as we worked diligently to find a restaurant partner. As with any restaurant start-up, there was some time needed to prepare for the new venture. One of the benefits that the Greater Sudbury Airport’s restaurant space offers, however, is a completely furnished kitchen and restaurant space, which makes it almost a turn-key restaurant setup.

“Ranjodh and Lakhvir have been terrific restaurant partners to work with and are eager to offer a best-in-class casual airport dining experience.”

The reception and feedback of the new Fly Sudbury Café & Lounge has been positive, Pollesel says.

“The restaurant first opened in July, offering a soft-launch dining experience, where the restaurant had a limited menu and was seeking honest feedback from its patrons to meet the needs of the Greater Sudbury Airport’s travelling public.

“Over the last several weeks, I have sampled almost the entire soft launch menu and it has some great bites to be enjoyed. I look forward to tasting their full menu.”

Looking ahead, Pollesel said the Fly Sudbury Café & Lounge is working to obtain a liquor license, “which is a service offering that our passengers have continued to request.”


Ultralight Pilots Association holds annual convention

— Text and photos by Gus and Clara Corujo

The Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada hosted its convention during the third week of August. The event this year was held at Lubitz Field (CLB2), a farm strip located about 13 air miles southwest of the Waterloo Wellington Regional Airport (CYKF), about 20 air miles ESE of Stratford Airport (CYSA) and about 16 air miles NNW of Brantford Airport (CYFD).

The annual event is a significant highlight for ultralight pilots and enthusiasts across Canada. Activities this year began on Friday, August 18, at 5:30 pm with the Convention Kickoff Chili Supper. The Ultralight Pilots Association of Canada (UPAC) convention spanned three days at Lubitz Field, featuring a 1,980 foot long and 80 foot wide east-west grass runway. The convention drew large crowds, numerous planes, vendors, entertainment, camping opportunities and exceptional food.

Due to a prior commitment, we were only able to participate on Sunday, August 20. The day began on a challenging note, as heavy fog enveloped most of the region throughout the early morning hours. Finally, at around 8:45 am, the first aircraft landed on the field – Cam Harrod and his magnificent Fleet Finch.

They were soon joined by flyers from Flamborough airfield, including Olivia in the Baby Ace aircraft, as well as Brian, Scott, and John in their classic Pietenpol planes. The last aircraft to arrive was Stanley in his Piper J3C-65. Additionally, a few local aircraft took to the skies for their routine flights.

COPA Flight 70 North Port Fly-In

— Text and photos by Gus and Clara Corujo

COPA Flight 70 Durham Region hosted its 3rd annual North Port Fly-In on Saturday, August 19. With a 2,200-foot grass strip situated by the shores of Lake Scugog in Ontario, North Port, CNP4, is owned and operated by Manny and Connie Rosario. The beautiful grass strip holds about 40 parking spaces for aircraft and new dock facilities for seven floatplanes.

It was a fantastic turnout, with a great number of visitors coming in to participate. Considering quite a windy day, more than 15 visiting aircraft flew in. BBQ lunch and refreshments were available to purchase on site as a fundraiser by the 2nd VandenBos Whitby Royal Canadian air Cadets Squadron. There was a camping area, children’s bouncy castle and lots of picnic tables set up. There were Raffle tickets to win prices, 50/50 draw and the grand price was for a Mustang P-51 ride.

The day was highlighted by the presence of Manfred Harder with his beautifully restored Bell OH-58A. COPA Director for Southern Ontario and Eastern Vice-Chair, Ashlynne Dale flew in with her high performance and multi-role capacity Airbus Helicopters H125. Desmond Lightbody also made a striking entrance, piloting his impressive Pitts Special S2 known for its exceptional climb, high-speed maneuverability, and rapid agility.

A special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Rosario, organizers, volunteers and all parties involved for making the 3rd annual North Port Fly-in a success.

Upright Aviation holds first open house

— By Gus and Clara Corujo

The Upright Aviation Academy on Saturday, August 5, opened its doors in Burlington, Ontario, to the aviation community and the general public for its first open house. A significant number of visitors had the opportunity to tour the new 8,000-square-foot facility, view its fleet of aircraft, engage in conversations with pilots, and meet Milton Mayor Gord Krantz.

Krantz joined Upright Aviation Academy founder Geoff Armstrong in welcoming the visitors during the opening ceremonies. The event included a ceremonial cake-cutting and an inspiring speech.

Upright Aviation Academy is a Transport Canada-certified flight school and pilot training facility located at Burlington Airport (CZBA) in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. What began as an idea 10 years ago came to life in 2019 with a simple mission: To enhance pilot training and safety.

The academy utilizes the Extra 300L and the Super Decathlon (8KCAB) for its operations and training. The company focuses on upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT), aerobatic flight training and exhilarating thrill rides.

Giant scale model fly-in

— By Phil Lightstone

The KRCM Giant Scale Rally 2023 “Size Does Matter” event was another success for the 35th straight year. The Kingston Radio Control Modelers (KRCM) received its SOC from Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) and was able host the Kingston Giant Scale Rally on August 19 and 20, 2023, at the KRCM flying field near Kingston, Ontario.

To facilitate the event, KRCM offered online registration for R/C pilots. Online registration was closed on Wednesday with 71 pilots and 200 giant scale model aircraft registered. With the popularity of the event, camping space and parking was at a premium. Modelers travelled from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, the United States and other faraway locations to attend the event. Many KRCM members not only volunteered but also flew their giant scale model aircraft. There were 65 pilots, 81 model aircraft and approximately 125 guests in attendance.

For flyers, the cost of the weekend is $20. There is no cost for spectators and volunteers. The weekend event featured on-site camping, a dinner on Saturday night ($25 per ticket), a live local band on Saturday night as well as fun flying during Saturday and Sunday. During the day, volunteers were busy with cooking breakfast and lunch, featuring their famous Egg McRolly’s (a tip of the hat to long-time KRCM member Rolly Siemonsen). Commemorative t-shirts were available for purchase during the event.

With the loss by MAAC of Transport Canada’s exemption to CARs Section IX, American R/C enthusiasts were accommodated at the KRCM flying field by joining MAAC with a 90-day temporary membership; write (and pass) Transport Canada’s RPS exam; and obtaining a Transport Canada Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC). The KRCM provided the necessary links to Transport Canada’s website to help guide the foreign RC pilot through their Canadian regulatory obligations.

Andre Robillard, Tony Davis and I (members of COPA Flight 44 and the Buttonville Flying Club) travelled to the event on Saturday from Toronto. With the use of the Kingston Flying Club’s courtesy car, we were able to travel to the KRCM’s flying field, located just north of Odessa ON (about a 20 minute drive north west of Kingston). Tony Davis reports: “the pilots were extremely talented and the level of detail to scale was incredible. These guys take their hobby seriously and really talented pilots.”

Saturday saw high winds at Kingston (CYGK was reporting winds at 290 degrees 10 gusting 15 knots). The winds at the KRCM flying field, for most of the day, was a healthy cross wind on the pristine grass model aircraft aerodrome. For radio controlled model aircraft, the gusts, cross winds combined with trees on two sides of the field and the pit area (MAAC and KRCM safety rules preclude flying models over or behind the pit area), the conditions were challenging for all but the most competent aviators. But these conditions did not deter many of the attendees from flying. Owen Penk flew his scale P51 Mustang (inclusive retractable landing gear), which was a hit with the crowd.

Sadly, the P51 was damaged during a “hot” landing, because of going off the end of the field. Owen was able to repair the landing gear and flew the aircraft later that evening. Brian Perkins flew his Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c World War 1 single engine two seat biplane used for reconnaissance, light bomber, night fighter, training and coastal patrol aircraft. Brian flew the B.E.2c on Saturday, but the inherent design of the aircraft makes it a “hairy” flier in high gusty crosswinds. While Brian flew the B.E.2c without incident, it was not a comfortable flight for the modeler, risking thousands of hours invested into the building of this scale model. On Sunday afternoon, a Carbon Cub giant scale model went into the trees at the east end of the field and was damaged.

Saturday night dinner was catered by a local Kingston business with a meal consisting of chicken and pork souvlaki skewers, baked potato, corn on the cob, dinner rolls, cake for dessert and coffee, tea or pop to drink. Jay Kingston, Kingston Giant Scale Rally Event Coordinator reports: “Everyone was very satisfied with the meal and I didn’t hear any complaints”.

Sunday saw more favorable winds at the KRCM’s flying field, with more modellers flying their giant scale model aircraft than on Saturday. High gusty winds, with a large crosswind component can be challenging for lightweight model aircraft and requires exceptional skill to ensure that the aircraft is not damaged due to a bad landing. As a R/C model aircraft instructor, I would let students know that at some point, they will “re-kit” their models, unless they hang them up. Crashing and fixing are just part of the hobby. Fortunately, there were very few model aircraft crashes during the weekend.

Save the date for the 36th annual KRCM Giant Scale Rally 2023 “Size Does Matter” event to be held on August 17 and 18, 2024. The event offers great food, cool model aircraft, excellent comradery and social events. To really experience the event, you might consider camping at the flying field for the weekend. You won’t be disappointed with the experience.