Beauty in Beastly Weather

Photographer Ken Lin has taken some spectacular images of the Canada 150 Hornet.

The RCAF is putting its air demonstration teams through their paces in Comox, B.C. this week as they get ready for the six-month air show season.

The Snowbirds and CF-18 demo teams typically spend a couple of weeks on normally-balmy Vancouver Island in April to put the final touches on their routines before hitting the road.

The weather has been rainy and cold, with some warm sunny days, but the flying goes on and our photographer Ken Lin has found ways to get some spectacular images because of, rather than in spite of, the challenging conditions.

The newly-painted CF-18, sporting a red and white Canada 150 theme, has been a show stopper for those who gather at the observation areas around the base to watch the shows come together.

The intricate design came from Jim Belliveau, who has been the brainchild behind the elaborately painted fighters for more than 10 years. See more photos on our Facebook page.

Vimy Mission Accomplished

Five replica biplanes fly past the Vimy Monument April 9. Photo by Alexandre Dlulaba.

Five replica First World War biplanes flew around the Vimy Monument in France on April 9 as part of a huge ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the epic battle.

The aircraft, four Nieuport 11s and an SE-5, duplicated an honour flight that took place in 1936 marking the dedication of the monument.

After Sunday’s flight, Lt. Gen. Mike Hood, commander of the RCAF, presented the five pilots and four support personnel in France medals commemorating their historic flight.

Those receiving the medals were Allan SnowieDale Erhart,B Rent Handy,  Peter ThorntonLarry RickerPaul O’Reilly , David Wilson , Al French and Will McEwan.

With the Vimy flight behind them, the group now has to disassemble the aircraft and load them aboard a C-17 for transport to Greenwood, Nova Scotia, where they’ll begin a cross-Canada educational tour.

Although much of that trip will involve appearances at high schools and halls across the country, there will be at least one more high-profile flight.

The biplanes will join the Snowbirds for a flight over Parliament Hill on Canada Day.

The main thrust of the cross-Canada mission is to educate Canadians about the importance of the Battle of Vimy to the evolution of Canada as a nation.

It was the first time Canadian troops had gone to battle as a unified force and not as part of British-led operation.

Bombardier Chairman Cuts Pay

Bombardier Chairman Pierre Beaudoin is taking a $1.4 million pay cut.

Bombardier’s board of directors has approved cutting Executive Chairman Pierre Beaudoin’s pay by $1.4 million USD to his 2015 rate of $3.8 million USD.

The pay cut was requested by Beaudoin after filing documents made public last month revealed that the total compensation for senior executives jumped 50 percent from $21.9 million USD to $32.7 million USD. Previously CEO Alain Bellemare asked the board to defer more than half of the planned pay for executives until 2020.

The hefty increases for the top floor suites came after a tough year for Bombardier which saw 14,500 employees laid off and the company receiving more than $1 billion in federal and provincial bailouts.

At first, Bombardier defended the increases saying they were awarded after the executives reached “performance targets” as part of their contracts.

But as public backlash grew (including a tongue lashing from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau), the top execs started relenting and Beaudoin said the controversy over pay became “a distraction” to efforts to turn the company around.

Flying Replica Arrow Takes Shape

A two-thirds scale Arrow is being built in Calgary.

A group of Calgary pilots is building a .6 scale replica of the Avro Arrow that they hope to fly within the next five to 10 years.

The group has been meeting for 20 years about the project and much of the first few years was spend in research. The build goes on every Tuesday night and the plan is to fly the aircraft as an amateur built.

It will be powered by a couple of jet engines “similar to what is used in Citation jets” and operated under a special certificate of airworthiness.

The volunteers also operate the Avro Museum at Springbank Airport and the flying replica is the ultimate goal of keeping the legacy of the famous fighter alive.

“For me, the challenge of preserving that knowledge and that achievement, in addition to the challenge of building a flying replica of the aircraft, is what keeps me going,” Paul Gies, the lead builder, told the CBC.

Zenair Stab Inspections Needed

Zenair 601 owners have to inspect their horizontal stabs.

By RAA Canada

In September 2016 an Advanced UL Zenair 601 was on approach to Guelph Airpark when the nose pitched abruptly downward and crashed, killing the one crew member on board. The Canada Transport Safety Board did a comprehensive investigation and found preexisting internal damage to the forward spar of the horizontal stabilizer. The build quality of this part had been exceedingly bad, with only half the required number of rivets holding the left forward attach bracket to the spar. In addition, there were many extra holes randomly drilled through the spar and the bracket, which weakened the spar. It appeared that these mistakes had been ignored during the build, and once the skins had been installed they could not be seen even during an annual inspection.

In the 1990s the builder of an Advanced UL signed off his own work without any Transport Canada requirement for an inspection, and based on that signature the plane became legal for the carriage of a passenger. Later this was changed to require that the manufacturer or his representative signed the document, but there was still no specific inspection requirement. The quality and extent of inspection was left to each manufacturer to decide.

Zenair has looked further into the situation and they have issued instructions to remove and inspect the horizontal stabilizer of the 601 and 650 series, the 701 and 750 series, and the STOL 801. The lower skin must be cut open to reveal the internals so that the brackets and spar may be inspected for loose rivets, adherence to plans, and quality of build. A new closure piece is then riveted over the inspected area using their specified procedure.

Their website shows other build problems with mounting brackets and the fuselage tabs to which those brackets are bolted. The easiest path to find the information is to Google “Zenair 601 horizontal stab”. Some builders have not paid attention to a good fit and have just tightened bolts to close a gap, rather than shimming to fill the gap. The site also shows brackets that have been badly drilled so that the bolt holes are ragged and oval. In many cases, because of edge distance requirements, it is not safe to updrill to use a larger diameter bolt. Some brackets also show cracks near the bolt holes, possibly from the bolt heads’ biting into the curved area of the brackets if the builder located the hole too close to the corner of the bracket.

For Advanced UL aircraft this is definitely a Mandatory Action before next flight. Failure to comply means that the plane no longer meets the manufacturer’s specification, a requirement in this type-defined category. There is no AD process for Basic UL or Amateur Built aircraft but owners would be foolish to ignore the manufacturer’s concerns. Many in these two categories were built from plans so dimensions can vary from ideal. Amateur Built planes receive MD-RA pre-cover and final inspections but a Basic UL receives neither. A couple of 3/8” wrenches will remove the tail, and if nothing is wrong the plane can be flying in a day. If there are discrepancies it is far better to find these on the ground.

Anyone considering the purchase of one of these aircraft should verify that the work has been done and that it has been logged.

Canadians Flock to SNF

Insight Aviation, of Fort Erie, is exhibiting at Sun ‘n Fun.

By: Phil Lightstone

In typical Florida weather, Sun ’n Fun opened hot and humid, with a broken ceiling at 3800 feet.  With a record of 510 exhibitors, Canadian participation was at an all-time high with a total of 10 companies exhibiting.  Members of the Buttonville Flying Club from Toronto flew down in record numbers.  Igor Egudkin made his maiden flight with instructor Humberto Villalobos in his late model Cessna 182.  A low-time pilot, Igor used the flight to build instrument time towards his rating.

Sun ’n Fun’s direction has shifted to embrace education and careers within aerospace.  The  third annual job fair, saw over 300 applicants, all with pre arranged slot times for interviews with prospective employers.  The new Aerospace Opportunity Centre has been established to create an incubator for aviation startups.  The new AOC brings innovators together with venture capitalists, in an environment focused on aviation.

Patrick Coulter, flying out of Collingwood Ontario, received his private licence a year ago.  Last week he purchased a turbocharged Cirrus SR22.  Coulter’s mission at Sun ’n Fun was laser focused on researching a panel upgrade, Avidyne or Garmin,  decisions not for the faint of heart nor the pocketbook.

Insight Instruments of Fort Erie, Ontario  is presenting their line of Canadian designed and manufactured graphic engine monitors, air data computers and lightning detectors.  Insight is working on a new instrument which will revolutionize older aircraft and is awaiting Transport Canada certification.

Companies offering ADS-B products were everywhere.  OpenFlight Solution’s FlightBox now incorporates AHRS. With plug and play versatility, FlightBox easily displays traffic, weather and attitude information to EFB’s such as ForeFlight and WingX.  FlightBox can be purchased in a some assembly required kit or full built.

A350 Lands in Vancouver

Cathay Pacific has introduced A350 service to Canada.

The first scheduled flight of Airbus’s latest airliner landed in Vancouver earlier this week.

Cathay Pacific has launched daily A350-900 service to and from Hong Kong.

The aircraft is Airbus’s answer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which Air Canada operates on Asian routes.

The Cathay Pacific version features the individual seat pods in first class that have become standard on new aircraft but back in economy Airbus managed to add an inch to the width of the seats, an important factor in the game of inches that has become airline competition.

The aircraft is fast (.85 Mach cruise) and, like the Dreamliner, pressurizes the cabin to about 6,000 feet at altitude.

The thicker, more humid air is healthier for passengers and they feel noticeably better at the end of a long trip.

Juan Jaramillo

Flight Date: 02/25/2017
Flight School: Namao flying school
Flight Instructor: Julio Hernandez
Comment:My solo was wonderful, my family was there and the tower at CZVL did an awesome job to help me out with this milestone in my career. A day to never forget.

Maksym Zinakov

Flight Date:07/18/2016
Flight School:Durham Flight Center
Flight Instructor: Andy Powers
Comment:Congratulations Maksym on your first solo!!


TC Inspectors Warn About SMS

Inspection services are suffering say federal pilots.

Inspection services are suffering say federal pilots.

The chair of the Canadian Federal Pilots Association is calling on the federal government to beef up direct oversight of commercial aviation operations.

In an op-ed article in the Ottawa Citizen, Greg McConnell, whose union represents TC pilot/inspectors, says the department has “all but abandoned direct operational oversight of airlines.”

About 10 years ago, the feds required major carriers to adopt safety management systems to monitor their own safety systems under the overall oversight of Transport Canada.

But McConnell says TC has virtually abandoned that oversight role by drastically cutting back on the number and extent of inspections intended to ensure the SMS system is effective.

“We seldom, if ever, conduct no-notice inspections, ramp checks, pilot check rides and other activities that once gave us a window into the state of safety of an airline,” McConnell said. “Commercial air operators in Canada can go for as long as five years without a single SMS assessment. That’s far too long and well beyond the international requirement for yearly inspections.”

McConnell said the cuts made by the former Conservative government have severely impaired the monitoring effectiveness of the pilot/inspectors who remain.

Canada’s aviation safety regulator has grounded the pilots who work as aviation inspectors, causing their qualifications to atrophy, preventing them from staying current with rapidly changing aviation technology and cutting their training at the same time,” he wrote. “There have never been fewer fully trained pilots whose qualifications are current and up to date working as aviation inspectors.

Ice Damages Q400 Window


Ice damaged a Jazz Q400 window.

Jazz Aviation says ice was the likely culprit in damaging a window on one of its Bombardier Q400s last week.

Passengers aboard the flight from Charlottetown to Montreal were rattled by a loud noise during the flight. Window seat passenger David Smith said he lifted the shade just in time to see the ice smack the window, damaging the outer pane.

It’s likely the ice was flung from the number one engine propeller, which Jazz spokeswoman Terri Udle told the CBC is a “rare occurence” but one the aircraft designers anticipated.

“The aircraft was a Q400 and is designed with a protective ice shield on the side of the aircraft to prevent damage to the fuselage of the aircraft,” she said. “The window affected is designed with the same structural integrity and, therefore, limited the damage to the outer pane.”

The window was replaced and the aircraft returned to service.

T-33 Monument Under Repairs

Gimli wants its T-33 back as soon as possible.

Gimli wants its T-33 back as soon as possible.

It’s not often that an aircraft that hasn’t flown for 40 years is involved in a collision but the T-33-on-a-stick in Gimli, Manitoba has been grounded for repairs.

A construction vehicle clipped one of the wingtip fuel tanks and the city has taken the aircraft down temporarily while it figures out how to fix it.

The T-bird has been displayed since 1971 when the federal government closed Gimli Air Force Base. Gimli was a major training base for the air force and the T-33 was one of the last aircraft used there.

The historical significance of the base has prompted the city to ensure the aircraft is returned to a place of honour.

“People want to see it back. It’s something that’s part of our history. It’s part of our community,” Gimli Mayor Randy Woronium told the CBC. “”We’re going to endeavour to try and get it back as soon as we can.”

A local tradesman is going to try to fix the tank but failing that Woroniuk said he’s willing to go some distance to ensure its properly repaired. He may go to an aircraft boneyard in the Mojave desert to get a fuel tank from a T-bird still in storage there.

Canada Now Lags On Drone Rules

la-faa-drone-regulation-amazon-20150216Just 18 months ago, Canada was seen as a leader in the integration of small unmanned aircraft into the airspace system but sweeping new regulations in the U.S. have turned the tables.

Transport Canada announced proposed rules to allow limited commercial use of drones in unpopulated areas in late 2014.

But on Tuesday, the U.S. FAA announced rules that will allow broad use of drones for business as long as pilots pass a written test that ensures knowledge of the drone rules and basic airspace requirements.

“The big deal is the Americans have implemented their rules with none of the bureaucracy and overhead that we have in Canada,” Unmanned Systems Canada Chairman Mark Aruja told the CBC. “It’s a much more complex process.”

There is no indication that Transport Canada intends to follow suit and that means trouble for what was a burgeoning drone industry in Canada.

In an email, TC told the network the new rules in the U.S. are similar to those covered by special flight operations certificates required in Canada, except, of course, for the absence of any application process in the U.S. model.

TC told the CBC Canada is “a world leader in unmanned air vehicle safety.” A total of 6,849 SFOCs have been issued in Canada.

Mark Shewen

Flight Date:08/26/2016
Flight School:Future Air
Flight Instructor: Jose
Comment:Amazing, absolutely amazing, I was in shock when my instructor Jose Goncalves looked at me and said I’m going solo.


Crash Victim Had No Training

Peterborough plane crash victim had no training.

Peterborough plane crash victim had no training.

The mentally ill young man who died in a plane crash in Peterborough last week had never taken any flight training and that’s raising multiple questions about airport security and the response by authorities.

Mohammad Hassan Chaudhary, 20, of Markham, apparently stole the Piper Tomahawk from Markham airport late in the evening of Aug. 11 or the early morning of Aug. 12. He was able to start it, taxi and take off even though he’d had no training.

He was evidently trying to land the airplane on a major road in Peterborough but the aircraft hit a sign before plummeting to the ground. Chaudhary was pronounced dead at the scene.

His father Afzal Chaudhary said his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia two years ago and had a troubled life but had never threatened to hurt anyone. He told Global News he was shocked his son was able to obtain an aircraft and fly more than 100 kilometres without a “single minute” of flight training.

“I can’t believe it. Can’t believe it. It’s unimaginable,” he told Global. “I mean how [can it] happen like this?”

The father also told the network the RCMP had interviewed him multiple times trying determine if there was any link to terrorism. The RCMP subsequently said it had found no evidence of any such link.