WestJet Buying 787-9s

WestJet will buy up to 20 Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

WestJet is poised to go head to head with Air Canada on lucrative international routes to Asia and Europe with the purchase of up to 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The company announced earlier this week it will get its first 10 Dreamliners in 2019 and 2021 and has an option to get 10 more by 2024.  It will enable the airline to get rid of the old Boeing 767s it acquired two years ago to handle its limited European and Hawaii service.

The Dreamliners will be able to fly non-stop from Canada to all of the high-revenue destinations Air Canada serves with its mix of Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft.

“This order represents an exciting new chapter in WestJet’s history,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO. “We have carefully executed on our strategic plan, first launching WestJet Encore to connect smaller communities across Canada to our growing network followed by our successful venture into wide-body flying to Hawaii and London Gatwick. Now, with the most sophisticated commercial airliner available, we turn our attention to further growing our international presence and introducing even more travellers to our award-winning guest experience.”

WestJet and Air Canada have both ordered Boeing 737 MAX jets for North American flights. WestJet will cycle its 737-600, 700 and 800 aircraft through an ultra low cost carrier it plans to start at the end of 2017.

Pilots Call For Fatigue Rules

Pilot unions are calling for tighter crew rest regulations.

Canada’s four largest pilot unions have joined forces to pressure the federal government into tightening proposed crew rest requirements for commercial pilots.

The Air Canada Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association Unifor and Teamsters, which represent 8,000 pilots, say Canada is out of step with other flying nations and its crew rest regulations are “antiquated.”

The Safer Skies campaign is urging Transport Minister Marc Garneau to bring the draft legislation in line with interntational standards.

“For seven years now, we have been mired in a multi-year regulatory review process,” said Captain Dan Adamus, President of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) Canada. “Through this process, we have seen extensive lobbying by airline operators who have essentially – and troublingly – argued that operational considerations are more important than human physiology, science and a concern for safety.”

Pilots want limits not only on flight time but on shift duration and special consideration for night operations based on scientific research on how humans react to fatigue.

After a fatigue-related accident in Buffalo, New York in 2009, the U.S. Congress mandated a variety of crew rest requirements that even exceed international standards.

“Americans learned the hard way, but we don’t have to,” said François Laporte, President, Teamsters Canada. “Let’s not wait until after an accident to update the rules on fatigue. The government needs to make this right – lives are at stake.”

Aero150 Hampered By Rain

Despite sleet, near freezing temperatures and a generally miserable day, the French Air Force’s Patrouille de France were able to wow a determined air show crowd at Aero150 in Gatinueau April 30.

The eight-plane formation performed with the Snowbirds at the early air show, which was hastily arranged to take advantage of the French team’s April tour of the U.S.

Gatineau usually has its show in summer but it shifted to April 30 to accommodate the French team’s schedule.

The Snowbirds shifted their schedule to be at the show, too, using Gatineau to launch their season when they normally head for more convivial conditions in the U.S. for the early dates.

Those who braved the weather were thrilled with the show, which also included aircraft from Vintage Wings of Canada’s collection along with other warbirds.

No-Frills Plan Boosts Union Bid

WestJet pilots have launched a new unionization push.

WestJet’s announcement that it will be spinning off a no-frills carrier by the end of the year may mean the end of its admittedly tenuous status as a non-union company.

The airline has used profit sharing and a team concept to try to prevent certification and narrowly avoided it with both pilots and flight attendants in 2015.

But with news that a new bargain carrier is being created may have become a rallying point for employees to sign cards.

Pilots upped the ante by inviting the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) to organize another union drive.

“WestJet pilots have demonstrated the pilot unity needed to certify a union on the property, and we believe WestJet pilots will be successful in their election for ALPA representation,” ALPA President Capt. tim Canoll said in a statement. “The WestJet pilots work for a profitable and productive company, and with the vast resources available through ALPA representation, they will begin the process to legally negotiate the terms of their employment and establish a collective bargaining agreement under the Canada Labour Code that other union-represented aviation groups in Canada enjoy today.”

Meanwhile, the pro-union WestJet Professional Flight Attendants Association issued a statement saying the no-frills prospect “shows how important it is for WestJet flight attendants to have an independent union negotiating job security, work rules and compensation.”

Summit Air Expands

Summit Air has added an RJ-100 to its fleet.

Summit Air has anounced it’s building a new operating base at Calgary International Airport and added its largest aircraft to date to its fleet.

The company, which is a subsidiary of construction giant Ledcor, specializes in fly-in, fly-out services to mining operations in the North from Edmonton and Yellowknife.

“We have had a Calgary base in our plans for a number of years. Some of our clients have come to us recently and expressed a desire to move their workforce rotations out of Calgary which aligned well with our long-term strategy,” said Paul McElligott, President of Summit Air and President & COO, Ledcor Resources and Transportation. “Adding Calgary as an operational base will facilitate further growth into the southern markets not currently serviced by Summit Air and will help connect our jet fleet flights to Canada’s third largest airport, and its network of national and international flights.”

The company has added an AVRO RJ-100 to its fleet of RJ-85s. The high-wing jets can operate from gravel runways common at mining operations and have self contained airstairs and APUs to allow operation into unserviced fields. The new aircraft seats 111 passengers and the 85s seat 90.

The Calgary base will open in the next few months.

Voyageur Completes Dash 8 Freighter

Wasaya Airways is taking Voyageur Aviation’s first two Dash 8 freighters.

North Bay-based Voyageur Aviation has completed it first conversion of a Dash 8-100 for freight service.

The company unveiled the first completion last week at its North Bay hangar and announced Wasaya Airways as launch customer.

The high-wing turboprop will be used on unimproved runways throughout the North, replacing Hawker Siddeley HS 748s and Cessna 206s.

The new aircraft will carry up to 4,500 kilograms or 39 cubic metres of freight and includes an aft cargo door for easy loading.

The first aircraft will go to Wasaya shortly and a second will follow by this summer. Wasaya could take as many as 15 aircraft.

“It’s a fantastic machine and we have great aspirations for it,” said Wasaya CEO Michael Rodyniuk.

Voyageur is looking for new customers for the conversion, too. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chorus Aviation, which also owns Jazz.

CSeries Approved For London City

CSeries can fly non-stop from London City to the Eastern U.S.

Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency have approved Bombardier CS100 airliner for service to London City Centre Airport.

And that means Bombardier can sell the aircraft to airlines that want to provide non-stop service from the convenient downtown London airport to eastern U.S. cities.

Most of the aircraft that use the downtown airport are regional flights with limited range.

The CSeries offers a realistic transatlantic option from the airport.

Central to the approval was certifying the CSeries for steep approaches of six degrees. Swiss International Airlines will start service to the airport later this year.

Although London was the prize in the certification, it will also clear the plane for use at airports in Lhasa Tibet and Haifa, Israel. Also mentioned  was Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto but the obstacles there are less technical and more political.

A330 Loses Wheel

An Air Canada A330 lost a wheel during taxi at Dorval on Monday.

Ground crews at London’s Heathrow Airport were surprised to find an Air Canada A330 missing one of four wheels on its right main gear when it landed there on Monday.

The aircraft took off from Montreal seven hours earlier and left the wheel in Montreal beside a runway. It apparently rolled away while the aircraft was taxiing for takeoff.

No one noticed anything amiss in the takeoff roll or landing and Air Canada said the mishap, attributed to bearing failure, never endangered the flight, despite breathless mainstream media accounts that suggested something serious had happened.

“As the landing gear is comprised of eight wheels in addition the two nose wheels, this had no impact on the safe operation of the flight,” spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur told the CBC.

The aircraft was supposed to do a fast turn in London for a return trip to Montreal but had to be fixed first so the passengers had to be put on other flights.
How the wheel came loose is being investigated but the airline insists the airplane was properly maintained.

Rouge Pilot Collapses On Final

The pilot flying on a Rouge flight collapsed on final.

An Air Canada Rouge lost consciousness as the aircraft approached Pearson International Airport on April 3.

The flight was enroute from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and set up for the runway when the pilot flying collapsed.

The pilot monitoring (PM) took immediate control and landed the aircraft without further incident,” said the CADORS report.  “The pilot regained consciousness at some point during short final or after touchdown. The pilot sought medical attention immediately after the conclusion of the flight.”

The airline downplayed the incident despite the rarity of pilot incapacitation, especially in critical phases of flight.

“While this situation is certainly not something we experience often, all crew members are trained and qualified to manage a flight to landing under a single pilot operation – if needed,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told CTV News.

TC Defends Simulator Training

Most Transport Canada don’t fly airplanes anymore.

Transport Canada’s director general Aaron McCrorie defended cuts to training flights for its inspectors in Parliament on Tuesday saying they’re actually better off learning on the ground.

“You can actually get better training with a simulator,” he said in testimony before the House of Commons Transport Committee.

McCrorie was responding to questions from committe members about a survey conducted by the union representing TC inspector pilots that said 80 percent of its members though safety was being compromised by moving training from the cockpit to the simulator.

The change in training focus came with sharp budget cuts to the inspector flight training budget and the pilots are now able to be fully checked out without ever leaving the ground.

McCrorie told the committee that there are  “better, more efficient pilots coming out of the simulator stream.”

He was backed up by Denis Guindon, director general for aviation safety oversight and transformation said simulators can replicate situations that are too dangerous to try in flight and modern sims replicate “everything down to the last two feet.”

TC has cut its training budget from $8 million to $3.5 million and financial constraints are thought to be the real reason TC inspectors hardly ever fly anymore. The Canadian Federal Pilots Association says its survey found two thirds of TC inspector pilots haven’t flown a plane in the last year.

TC spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier told the National Observer last week that the department has “revised its flying program” using “the latest simulator technology” and said it’s in line with international standards.

Pearson Delays Ripple

Runway construction has reduced access to Pearson.

Reconstruction of a main runway at Canada’s busiest airport has caused rippling cancellations, particularly among regional airlines.

Runway 05/23 will be out of service until the end of May and that has caused some slot problems.

Most cancellations have affected regional airlines and London International Airport has had 10 Toronto flights cancelled in the last couple of weeks.

“There have been cancellations and we are concerned,” said Mike Seabrook, the airport’s chief executive told the London Free Press.

“They (Air Canada) are between a rock and a hard place. Pearson has to do airport maintenance. They are not going to cancel flights from Heathrow or Beijing.”

The closure also affects business and general aviation traffic. Slots are required for all such traffic and no arrival slots will be issued from 3 p.m. to 7:59 p.m.


Chris Gonsalves

Flight Date: 03/28/2017
Flight School: Genesis Flight Center
Flight Instructor: Ash Hundal
Comment: Congratulations on your first solo Chris!!


KF Aerospace Expands

KF Aerospace will undergo major expansion in Kelowna

KF Aerospace will hire 90 employees in coming months to cover a major expansion in its maintenance and cargo conversion business.

The company has signed a deal with Aeronautical Engineers Inc. which holds the engineering rights for installing cargo doors on Boeing 737-400 and 800 passenger aircraft as well as MD80 and CRJ models. The Kelowna-based KF Aerospace will do the conversions on AEI’s behalf.

KF Aerospace also won a contract from Vx Capital to do conversions on up to 19 737s owned by Vx Capital.

“Even better, we still have a few other announcements pending over the next few weeks – all good news,” said Grant Stevens, KF Aerospace’s director of human resources.

KF Aerospace fell on hard times two years ago when it lost the contract to carry freight for Canada Post and Purolator. The company refocused on its maintenance business and earned deals to convert WestJet airliners from seatback televisions to online entertainment systems.

As part of the expansion, the company is building a new hangar at Kelowna International Airport.

Hawk One For Sale

Hawk One is for sale for $1million.

Vintage Wings of Canada is selling Hawk One, its Canadair MK-V Sabre that has been used as an air demonstration aircraft since 2009.

The airplane was originally restored as a tribute to the centennial of powered flight in Canada in 2009. Vintage Wings has flown the aircraft at air shows in the intervening years but it hasn’t flown since 2015.

It was flown by astronaut Chris Hadfield at the reenactment of the flight of the Silver Dart in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, in 2009.

The nonprofit foundation that ran Vintage Wings’ flight ops has been restructured and it would appear the notoriously thirsty Sabre is a casualty of that. The aircraft is being sold by Courtesy Aircraft Sales in Rockford, Illinois.

The Sabre in question was built in Canada and has the more powerful Orenda 14 engine that is favoured by fans of the airplane. It served in the Royal Canadian Air Force until 1968.

The airplane was owned by EAA in the 1990s and flown in U.S. Air Force colours. The aircraft has had a lot of work, including a rebuilt engine, modern avionics, updated ejection seat and dozens of other items far exceeding the asking price of $1 million CAD. It has 3,506 hours TT and 363 hours since its restoration.

17 WOAW Events in Canada

Participants show their certificates after a flight.

Canadian volunteers staged 17 events in the annual Women of Aviation Worldwide Week in early March as part of a global effort to expose women to aviation.

A total of 53,000 girls and women at 148 events all over the world jumped at the opportunity to visit local industry facilities, attend multi-faceted events, meet female role models, try various skills, hands-on, and check out static aircraft displays. A total of 9,056, went on a Fly It Forward flight – an introductory flight for women and girls who have not previously flown on any small aircraft.

The week organized by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) aims to address the air and space’s industry deeply rooted gender imbalance by inviting girls of all ages to discover the industry’s careers and hobbies within a welcoming environment and familiarizing them with women’s past and present contributions.

Studies and iWOAW’s annual feedback surveys show that women and girls are unlikely to consider the industry’s technical careers traditionally presented as men’s jobs without an explicit invitation to do so.

Since 2010, iWOAW’s Fly It Forward Challenge and Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiatives have successfully changed perceptions. For more than 80 percent of nearly 200,000 participants to date, the impact went beyond a perception shift; it was life changing. In fact, 64% are now considering a career or hobby in the industry.

No participating airport anywhere in the world introduced more women and girls to flying than Albuquerque International Sunport did. It wins the 2017 Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide title. Runner ups in the airport category are the Lachute Airport, QC, Canada and the Brampton-Caledon Airport, ON, Canada.

Hosting a one-day event including a fully fledged conference, many industry booths, activities spanning across two airports and coordinating as many as 170 flight introductions per hour, Marguerite Varin of Lachute, QC, Canada is this year’s Most Productive Organizer Worldwide in the flying event category.