June 28, 2017

GA Safety Campaign Launched


The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) and Transport Canada have announced the launch of a new campaign aimed at educating pilots, passengers, and the general public on key areas related to safety in general aviation. Through an investment by Transport Canada over the next three years, the General Aviation Safety Campaign will highlight important topics in several areas of general aviation.

The announcement was made at a panel discussion at  COPA’s 2017 Convention and Trade Show held in Kelowna, B.C. June 24

Aimed at both pilots, industry stakeholders, and the public, the campaign will address: promoting compliance with safety regulations, building awareness of safety hazards and risks, enhancing collaboration on safety strategies, promoting Canada’s State Safety Program and safety objectives, and increasing public confidence in civil aviation. The safety campaign represents a partnership between Transport Canada and COPA, supported by an advisory committee comprised of partner associations from across Canada.

“COPA is proud to partner with Transport Canada in launching this exciting initiative to not only inform members of the general aviation community, but also the public on some of the important safety topics relevant to general aviation,” said Bernard Gervais, president and CEO of COPA. “As general aviation pilots, we take pride every day in committing ourselves to the highest standards of safety both for our passengers and ourselves. COPA is pleased that Transport Canada has chosen to work with us in this educational context in order to avoid imposing costly and unnecessary regulatory burdens on Canadian pilots.”

General aviation describes all civil aviation operations that are not scheduled air services, or unscheduled air services for hire. The most common general aviation activities include private aviation, business aviation, agricultural aviation and flight training. It is estimated that nationally, general aviation contributes $9.3B to the Canadian economy and accounts for almost 36,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“The safety of the aviation community is a priority for Transport Canada. Through this campaign, the department is taking a proactive approach to safety by collaborating with key stakeholders to promote regulations, build awareness of risks and educate passengers, aircraft owners and maintenance providers on safe aviation practices,” said Aaron McCrorie, the director general for civil aviation at Transport Canada.

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 general aviation 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 general aviation sector, worldwide.

“The TSB fully supports this cooperative initiative between COPA and TC to increase awareness and promote the proactive management of safety in general aviation,” said John Lee, manager of regional operations and air investigations for the TSB’s western region.

Belinda Bryce, Partner, Aviation, of the Magnes group told the panel that clear trends emerge from claims data and 50 percent of claims involve landing accidents. She said a cooperative approach is needed to address systemic and cultural issues at work.

“The General Aviation Safety Campaign is a clear example of Transport Canada’s commitment to general aviation and it’s confidence in COPA’s ability to drive this important safety initiative forward,” she said. “By enhancing general aviation safety across Canada it demonstrates what can be achieved when government and aviators work together towards a common goal.”

Mark Vanderaegen, the flight school director for Southern Interior Flight Centre, said pilots at all levels need to continuously train to keep up with rule and flying environment changes.

“Regulations, technology and aeronautical support systems develop on a continual basis in aviation, requiring ongoing training for every pilot. Initiatives like this allow pilots to continue to fortify their skills and help to make Canada stand out as a leading country in aviation safety,” he said.