Category Archives: Uncategorized

Unions demand return of detained flight crew

By Christopher Reynolds

CP – Unions are calling on the federal government to secure the return of five Canadian airline employees detained in the Dominican Republic. The flight crew has been held for more than 40 days after it discovered 200 kilograms of cocaine in the plane’s avionics bay and reported it to police in Punta Cana on April 5, say three labour organizations representing 93,000 aviation workers.

The Air Line Pilots Association, the Canadian Union for Public Employees and Unifor say their members were arbitrarily detained, threatened and prosecuted despite following Transport Canada protocols and international laws. The crew members – two pilots, two flight attendants and one part-time maintenance engineer on a Pivot Airlines charter flight – were jailed then later released on bail after surrendering their passports pending further investigation.

“They’re being essentially held in a foreign country without proper evidence being presented. We’ve asked the government to intervene and return them home,” pilots association president, Tim Perry, said in a phone interview from the Montreal airport. “We’ve heard credible threats against their safety.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and the Prime Minister’s Office have both acknowledged the situation to unions and airline, he added.

Global Affairs Canada spokesman, Jason Kung, said in an email last month the department is aware of the detention and that consular officials are providing assistance, but privacy considerations prevent disclosing more information. “It’s obviously a tense situation. Our member is certainly worried. He’s got a young family living at home,” said Unifor spokesman, Scott Doherty. “The indications are that this is cartel-related.”

The Dominican Republic prosecutor, which is appealing the five crew members’ bail, aims to hold the crew members in jail for more than 12 months, the unions said. “We are gravely concerned about our members and the entire crew, who have been held captive under tremendously challenging conditions,” Wesley Lesosky, who heads CUPE’s airline division, said in a joint release. “The fact is Canadian lives are at risk in the Dominican Republic. We need our government to act.”

That country’s National Directorate for Drug Control said in an April 6 release it found “eight black packages” in the avionics bay of a private plane bound for Toronto from Punta Cana International Airport. Each package contained 25 smaller packets, the agency said, amounting to more than 440 pounds of cocaine. The directorate said nine Canadians, one Dominican and one person from India were under investigation.

Region of Queens Municipality sells Greenfield airport

— By Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

The South Shore Regional Airport located in Greenfield has been sold to a private buyer.

The Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) was the owner of the property. Council made the sale official at the RQM council meeting April 12 after an in-camera session.

The airport has been sold to Liemke Ventures Limited for a total of $565,000 plus HST.

“I can tell you that when Mr. Liemke tells the community of his plans, they’re going to be very pleased. It will continue to operate as an airport, and there’s a good relationship with the South Shore Flying Club and the Nova Scotia Drag Racing Association,” RQM Mayor Darlene Norman said in an interview with LighthouseNOW.

“This is a great step forward to ensure the continuation and future development of an airstrip for the South Shore, which is what it was built for. The sale ensures that the airstrip will continue and grow and provide many new attributes to the northern part of Queens. It’s a good news story.”

Following an in-camera discussion about the sale, the council resumed the public session of the council meeting to vote on the sale. All councillors supported the sale with the exception of Deputy Mayor Kevin Muise, who commented before the final vote of councillors, “I am not in favour of this sale. I find the price is way too low. I know it is the appraised value, but I find it’s way too low.”

The mayor later commented in an email to LighthouseNOW that the airport was sold for the appraised value, “which, according to the Municipal Government Act, must be realized. Could we have requested more, yes, we could have, but why turn away the opportunity to finally put the airport lands into the hands of a business that wishes to see it grow and prosper. This sale has long-standing benefits which far outweigh the (money).”

She added that it was appraised recently by a third-party business that looked at comparable large land sales in the area and the value of the infrastructure.

The assessed value of the property and amenities was $826,000.

CEO and owner of Liemke Ventures Ltd., Gerd Liemke, said there were a couple of reasons for the purchase.

“Two key aspects convinced our investment. Primarily, the strategic location in between the South Shore together with the Nova Scotia growth rate and secondary, the foreseen demand of an alternative logistic hub for the seafood industry,” he said in an email.

Liemke Ventures Ltd. (LVL) is a private company founded in 2020 and registered in Nova Scotia. It is based in Hubbards and is a member of a German-based holding with its main focus in aviation and related business.

Liemke said the airport will remain a public airport and a long-term strategic growth plan is in place. A part of the plan is to install a JetA1 fuel station to serve turbine aircraft such as law enforcement, firefighters, EMS aircraft and midsize business jets. He also wants to build a hangar to accommodate private planes for visitors and local pilots and “reactivate the airport as a port of entry for U.S. travellers.”

His vision for the airport includes “becoming the first choice airport for aviators visiting the South Shore, become a logistic hub for the local seafood industry, contribute to the region’s economic growth, add value for the community of Queens, share and support the passion of flying and to serve rescue and law enforcement agencies.”

The airport has served the area for more than 50 years. Work began on a landing strip in 1965 with the first routine flights taking place in 1970.

It has been operated by members of the South Shore Flying Club (SSFC) an entity formed in 2015 and in 2016 the club signed a 13-year contract with RQM to manage it. The municipality had stopped supplying a manager for the airport several years earlier, according to Norman.

Peter Gow, president of SSFC, said the club is “pleased that things finally finished up. I am certainly looking forward to seeing what happens from here,” he said. “We’ve been doing what we can to keep it alive, and so far we’ve been able to do that, and now that Mr. Leimke is involved that only means bigger and better things. So we’re looking forward to that.”

The flying club boasts nearly 40 members.

Jack Johnson, the spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Drag Racing Association, said the club has been racing at the airport for the past 18 seasons. He indicated it has worked out a multi-year contract with the new owner.

“We look forward to keeping drag racing on the South Shore for many years to come. I think it’s the beginning of a strong relationship,” he said. The club has five scheduled race weekends this year beginning in May.

(Photo: South Shore Regional Airport)

Waterloo Warbirds markings changeover

Text and photos by Gustavo Corujo

In an effort to recognize the current turmoil enveloping Ukraine, Waterloo Warbirds changed the Soviet-era Russian markings on its classic Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin and MiG-15 UTI to Ukrainian Air Force (L-29) and Polish Air Force (MiG-15 UTI).

“I feel this is the right thing to do at this critical moment in time,” said Richard Cooper, the owner of both aircraft.

More photos of the markings changeover process can be view here.

Valleyfield Airport, a quality alternative for pilots based in Cedars

— By Jocelyne Laberge, Valleyfield Airclub (Photo: François Audette)

The recent announcement of the closure of the Cedars airport (Les Cèdres – CSS3) next May has dismayed the entire pilot community. The general aviation community is in mourning, especially since this is the second airport to close in the Montreal area in just over five years, following the one in Mascouche in November 2016.

To offer a quality alternative to pilots in Cedars, the Valleyfield Airport Board of Directors (CSD3) has been proactive in adding new spaces to the development plan, allowing places for pilots seeking a new location for their aircraft.

Located 9 nautical miles from Cedars, the airport has a 2800 feet long and 50 feet wide runway (20 feet paved). The runway is lit with an ARCAL system allowing night flying. The maintenance of the runway 12 months a year allows winter flying. Outdoor parking is available at $400 per year. Monthly or weekly rentals are also offered. Domes and hangars are permitted with a surface agreement starting at $725 per year.

A pavilion was installed in 2021 (FBO and meeting room) and an ecological toilet will be added in the spring of 2022. The Flying Club has currently about 30 members and will soon become a COPA Flight.

Feel free to contact us and join our community!

Tel. : 450-802-0344
Email : executifcsd3@gmail.com

Remembering Bill Long

— Text and photos by Gustavo Corujo

William (Bill) Long passed away at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ontario, on Feb. 2, 2022, at the age of 85.

Long started his aviation career at the early age of 17 and built a successful career as a pilot for the next 60 years, beginning with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and then as a commercial pilot, including time with Wardair, Air Vietnam and then sharing his flight knowledge as a teacher for Air Canada.

After retirement, Long kept his passion alive by flying the Harvard aircraft at the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association and Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. He also continued to train pilots part time in simulators until the year of 2015.

Long took his very first flight on the Harvard Aircraft 242 back in 1954 while training to be a pilot with the RCAF in Claresholm, Alberta, and 60 years later his final flight as a pilot was on the same aircraft at the Tillsonburg Airport on August 5, 2017.

Blue skies and tailwinds, Bill… You will be missed. More photos can be found here.

Discussing the Whitecourt Airport Master Plan and recent updates to it

— By Serena Lapointe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press

In 2014, Woodlands County undertook an Airport Master Plan. In 2020, the plan was updated. It focused on a socioeconomic analysis of the airport facility, airport development opportunities, stormwater management, fixed vs. rotary-wing conflicts, ownership options, airport approach lands, certification review, and marketing plans. Upon completion in 2020, the updated file was presented to the Airport Advisory Committee, which requested to have a few other items reviewed, resulting in a supplement to the plan.

“When the Airport Master Plan review (was undertaken), a number of stakeholders were interviewed, including tenants at the airport, local governments, and users of the airport. They put all the information together,” said Andre Bachand, Director of Infrastructure. “The airport contributes to 173 full-time equivalent jobs and a GDP of about 13.5 million.”

On the topic of marketing, several ideas were tossed around. “We have undertaken, through Administration, a couple of items such as the 2023 COPA and things like the Reno (Formular 1 Air Racing). We are advertising in some aviation magazines and are trying to get the word out. In 2022, the airport should have its own website linked to the Woodlands County website. We’ll also reach out to our partners to get a link on their websites,” said Bachand.

“For some on the committee prior, there was transportation at the local airport. In 2019 the operator lost the contract for air ambulance, which subsidized their passenger flights. They reduced their number of flights, stopped flying, and then COVID hit, and the airport numbers went down totally. There was some interest just before COVID of another company taking over but since COVID that had not produced anything,” explained Bachand.

During his presentation, Bachand mentioned the topic of a commission for the airport structure. Committee member Rob Magee asked if changing the airport’s operation would change the funding model.

Bachand said, “we are looking at equal partnerships at the airport. That would change the funding, and that would change the full ownership of CYZU (airport code).” Magee then asked, “that’s a fairly significant change, right?” To which Bachand said, “it is. More to come.”

Committee Chair Councillor Alan Deane said that back when the Airport Master Plan first came out, one of the top priorities was lands to be developed. “People wanted to be able to purchase lots to build hangars etc., and potentially have business opportunities out of there. The other one was to have some sort of card lock fuel system. It’s 2021, and that’s still in the works, is it?”

Bachand said yes, “that’s still in the works. A couple of issues are holding it back, but hopefully, we are getting to the point where we can go out for proposals on getting fuel back at the airport. It would be essentially a credit card operated self-serve.” Deane asked if Bachand felt the card lock fuel system would be something the committee would get to look at in 2022.

“I would say definitely sometime in 2022. I should also point out since you mentioned ownership of the lands at the airport, one of the things identified in the Master Plan update was not selling land within the airport. Selling land, you lose control of your airport. That’s one of the recommendations,” explained Bachand.

Deane asked if it was standard practice, at similarly-sized airports, to lease rather than sell lots. “The bulk of airports lease land. There are some that do have private property, but there’s not a lot of them. I know there is one airport in southern Alberta that the municipality sold it to an interested party, and they are looking at selling lots off, but generally, they are leased.”

Member Curtis Brownlee, a pilot who also has a hangar at the airport, said it was necessary to identify what Administration was looking for to decide if they should lease or sell. “If you’re looking for private, you’re not going to get a lot of guys that are going to be able to afford to lease and stand a hangar as opposed to buy and stand a hangar. If you’re looking purely to go industrial, lease is the way to go. If you don’t put a fair mix in there when one suffers, so does the other,” he explained.

Deane asked Administration if stakeholders were engaged in going from sale to lease. “I don’t know if that was one of the questions they asked. That was just something the consultant observed,” replied Bachand. “Currently, there are some lots available for lease. There are private vacant lots. I know one lot just sold in a private deal.” For the County to take control of any private lots, they would need to purchase them from the current owners. “I think there are six or seven private lots. I believe there’s a possibility of up to eight lots that can be leased. The last subdivision built by the County, we did not specify or survey out the lots. It was left the way it is so that if we have somebody come in and want a three-acre lot, or a one-acre lot, we can do that (for lease).”

Brownlee provided context on the pricing. “When they sold those lots, they were $30,000 and the one that just sold, because you can’t buy anymore land out there, sold for about $180,000. Nobody wants to lease land. How do you go to a bank as a private individual and say, I want to stand a hangar? The bank will laugh at you because you don’t own the land.”

Magee added that some of the privately owned properties are hangarless. “So, we sold them, and nobody built anything except for two people. Maybe a caveat should be put in there that you have to build within two years.” Deane said that the conversation on lease versus sale would be discussed at greater length at a future meeting, as would the lease rates.

(Photo: Fireweedfour)

Who Can Use RCAP Procedures?

— Text provided by COPA

If you have ever considered flying an instrument approach procedure published in the Restricted Canada Air Pilot, there are a few things you should know. Only operators with specific authority from Transport Canada (Ops Spec 099 or 410), operating under CAR 604, 702, 703, 704 and 705, can legally fly these procedures because they have been designed with certain deviations from the regulations.

These deviations are permitted because special crew training, operational procedures and/or aircraft capability permit. As a general aviation pilot, it’s important to understand why these procedures are not available for you use.

Who is considered a 604 operator? A 604 Operator is considered a Private Operator, and applies to anyone, for the purpose of transporting passengers or goods, flying the following aircraft:

• large aeroplanes (MCTOW of more than 5,700kg or 12,566 pounds);
• turbine-powered aircraft;
• pressurized aircraft; and
• multi-engined aircraft.

CAR 702-705 operators fall under the Commercial Air Services. It should be clear that neither of these designations will apply to general aviation.

Even though you may look at an airport with a procedure in the RCAP, and feel tempted to use that approach, it is not something you are authorized to fly. In order to receive permission to use RCAP procedures, operators must prove to Transport Canada an acceptable level of training, procedures and aircraft performance. The procedures listed in the RCAP are simply not designed to be flown by pilots and aircraft without authorization. Limit yourself to regular Canada Air Pilot procedures, and be safe.

(Photo: Adobestock)

Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship applications open

The Northern Lights Aero Foundation announced the opening of online applications for the third annual Captain Judy Cameron Air Canada Scholarship, established in honour of the airline’s first female pilot. Applications for the 2021-2022 scholarship will be accepted until November 30, 2021.

This is the third year that Air Canada has provided this scholarship, which targets women who are Canadian citizens and who are enrolled in a fixed wing aviation flight program at a college, university, or flight school, or an aircraft repair and maintenance program anywhere in Canada.

Application details and the application form can be found on our website here.

The Northern Lights Aero Foundation is in its 13thj year of celebrating women in Canada’s aerospace and aviation industries. Other initiatives of the Northern Lights Aero Foundation include a speakers’ bureau, mentorship program, scholarship program and a junior board.

(Image: Air Canada video)

Christine Gervais celebrates first year as President and CEO of COPA

By Laura McLean, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, COPA

June 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of Christine as President and CEO of COPA. And what a year it has been! All in-person events had been either cancelled or postponed, but that didn’t stop Christine and the team from charging on, adapting and redirecting their work to advocate for our members and General Aviation in Canada.

Christine’s interest in aviation began in Ottawa when she pursued a commercial pilot license over 20 years ago – a license she still holds to this day, through the Ottawa Flying Club’s Professional Pilot Development Program.

Christine’s strategic priorities in the first six months as President stemmed from the COPA 5-year Strategic Plan, which was developed in 2019 in collaboration with the Board, Flight Captains and COPA members. This included; becoming the recognized, undisputed, unified voice of General Aviation, embracing the exploding drone market and fostering a collaborative and cooperative relationship between COPA Board of Directors and management.

Over the next year, COPA will continue its ongoing efforts of the past year and focus on other priorities of the strategic plan. This includes developing new programs, such as a leadership and mentorship program and providing more resources and support to COPA Flights. The team will continue to increase digital communications in an ongoing effort to help members manage their membership more efficiently and reduce waste.

Christine’s ambition, combined with her professional ethics, exemplifies that she is ready and capable of undertaking new challenges. The new COPA team, in combination with the strong and dedicated support of its elected directors of the Board, will serve COPA well to continue on its mission of advancing, promoting and preserving the Canadian Freedom to Fly.  To read more, check out the October edition of Flight magazine.

(Main photo: Bob Burns of the Kawartha Lakes Flying Club)