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VFR Restrictions At YVR (Corrected)

July 21, 2017 in News by Editor

Nav Canada’s staffing issues have resulted in an unprecedented long-term closure at Vancouver International Airport.

According to a NOTAM posted on Wednesday, VFR arrivals, except seaplanes and helicopters,  will be banned from YVR from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily until Sept. 1.

The NOTAM says the closure is the result of “reduced system capacity and anticipated TFC demands” at the airport through the rest of the summer vacation period.

Controllers are taking holidays and there aren’t enough to replace them for full service operations.

Denying VFR arrivals happens periodically at big airports across Canada but the duration of this closure is unusual.

Our earlier story didn’t convert the Zulu times in the NOTAM to Pacific time.

PDF of NOTAM below:

Nav Canada Restrictions


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Fatigue Rule Pause Urged

July 21, 2017 in News by Editor

Nine aviation groups representing charters, regional and miscellaneous commercial aviation operations have written Transport Minister Marc Garneau rebutting a campaign launched by four pilots unions on fatigue.

The unions launched the drive after Transport Canada published proposed new rules governing crew rest and fatigue that would cut duty and flying times based on the time of day.

The unions said the rules don’t go far enough. Operators say they go too far and this group says the unique nature of its operations need to be considered and the “one-size-fits-all approach” abandoned.

“Canada already has one of the safest commercial aviation systems in the world – but these proposed new regulations will not make it any safer for anyone – only more complicated for pilots and costlier for the traveling public,” the letter says.

The group says TC should pause the process and go back to the drawing board, even though the process to date has taken seven years.



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Airport Sell-Off Opposed

July 21, 2017 in News by Editor

Opposition is mounting to the federal government’s apparent intention to sell its interests in Canada’s largest airports.

The CBC reported this week that the government has quietly retained PriceWaterhouseCoopers to advise it on the sale of the airport assets. It’s estimated the sale will yield about $16 billion.

Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa airport authorities have joined to oppose the sale.

“We are not particularly in favour of privatizing this airport away from the Calgary Airport Authority unless there can be real benefits proven to citizens,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi told the network.

He said airport authorities already pay some of the highest rents in the world so to make money any private owners will have to raise costs to airport tenants, which will be passed on to consumers, or reduce services.

“And if cutting the costs means poorer service to citizens, that’s a big problem,” he said.

The government has said it will use the one-time windfall for infrastructure projects.

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Go-Around Really Was Close

July 21, 2017 in News by Editor

The much-publicized go-around by an Air Canada A320 at San Francisco a couple of weeks ago may have warranted the somewhat sensational coverage it got in the mainstream media.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has determined the Airbus came within 26 feet vertically of one of four aircraft waiting for their turn on a taxiway. The taxiway is adjacent to and parallel with the runway the crew intended to line up with.

The NTSB report says the aircraft overflew one of the waiting planes and was over the second one when controllers called the go-around.

“I find it remarkable that the Air Canada crew had still not fully comprehended their situation as they were passing over the second airliner, when the tower called for the go-around,” aviation writer and consultant Max Trescott told the Washington Post.

Both pilots hve been interviewed by U.S. authorities and the flight data and cockpit voice recorders have been pulled for analysis.

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Air Canada Goof Gathers Attention

July 14, 2017 in News by Editor

Most of the time when the multiple layers of safety that govern air operations catch an error and prevent an accident, the public never hears about it. But an Air Canada A320 crew was caught in a media maelstrom earlier this week when they lined up on a taxiway instead of one of the tightly spaced parallel runways at San Francisco International Airport. The crew and controllers caught the error at about the same time and the A320 went around. There were four aircraft on the taxiway waiting to take off and a pilot on one reported that the aircraft flew overhead. Someone recorded the brief exchange and the next day the headlines declared that a “disaster” had been averted.

San Francisco was the scene of a major accident in 2013 when an Air Asiana Boeing 777 undershot one of those runways and broke apart on the runway. Three people were killed. In this incident, even though there was little danger of an accident, the local media suggested that something on the order of the disaster at Tenerife involving a runway incursion between two Boeing 747s had been narrowly avoided. The FAA is investigating and the A320 pilots will likely be meeting with their bosses.

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Fire Emergency Cancels Quesnel Show

July 14, 2017 in News by Editor

B.C.’s wildfire state of emergency has resulted in the cancellation of the Quesnel Skyfest, a major and growing air show in the Cariboo region of the province. The provincial government has designated the Quesnel Airport as a fire support base for the next 30 days and that overlaps with the show, which was to be held on the August long weekend. “This airport designation and level of fire attack activity will render it all but impossible to conduct an airshow simultaneously with fire suppression activities,” said Jerry van Halderen, president of the Quesnel Skyfest Society.

Quesnel hosts one of the largest air shows in B.C. every other year and there were big plans for this year’s show to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. “This decision is a heavy one to make at this point in time, given the thousands of volunteer hours already put into making this year’s show one of the biggest and best thus far,” said van Halderen. The society is considering its next move, including the possibility of staging the show in 2018. It will announce a decision shortly.

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Vice Regal Pilot, Astronaut

July 13, 2017 in News by Editor

NASA Photo

A floatplane pilot with a commercial rating will represent the Queen in Canada. Former astronaut Julie Payette will become the next governor general, succeeding David Johnston. The new vice regal has a resume that reads “like it came out of central casting” not only because her long list of accomplishments but because she’s a female francophone and political outsider who is no stranger to high profile positions. “She is trained to fly fighter jets, has two engineering degrees, has sung with the Montreal Symphony and became one of the most respected astronaut leaders in what was then still a very macho top-gun world of NASA,” a former Canada Space Agency colleague told the National Post.

Payette, 54, speaks six languages, was hired as an astronaut in 1991 and spent a total of 25 days in space on two missions. She was the second Canadian woman in space and spent nine years as the Canadian Space Agency’s Chief Astronaut. She took pilot training after her selection and got typed in the CT-114 Tutor. She has 1300 hours.

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McLeod In Top Form

July 7, 2017 in News by Editor

Things continue to look up for Red Bull Race pilot Pete McLeod of London, Ontario.

The Red Lake native came second behind American Kirby Chambliss in a race in Budapest last weekend and improved his overall standing to third place with the impressive run.

Plagued by penalties associated with his aggressive flying style for the past two years, McLeod seems to be finding his groove.

“I’m thrilled with the second place and I brought a lot of speed to the racetrack. I’ve said it before, but no change happens by accident,” McLeod said. “This year we implemented modifications to the plane. It’s about pilot and aeroplane, but give the fastest guy the slowest horse and he won’t win the race. Congratulations to Kirby, but for me the take away is all positive.”

Budapest is a signature race on the circuit and flying under the Chain Bridge is part of the race course.

Third place went to Yoshihide Muroya and that was enough to keep him on top of the standings.

There are four races left and the last stop is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in mid October.

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Global Odyssey Launches

July 7, 2017 in News by Editor

by Graeme Peppler

The father-son team of Bob and Steven Dengler are looking to become the first Canadians to circumnavigate the globe in a helicopter. They’re doing it to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and they’re using as much Canadian content as possible to make it happen.

The official launch of their milestone flight took place at Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Airport, from the grounds of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, on July 1st, the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation. For their flight, the Denglers are using a Bell 429 Global Ranger helicopter manufactured at Bell Helicopter’s Mirabel, Quebec, facility. The Global Ranger’s power comes from a Pratt & Whitney Canada turboshaft engine manufactured at PWC’s Montreal facility.

The crew will be covering their 38,000 kilometre journey with stops in 104 locations outside of Canada and a further 63 stops within Canada. Many of those stops, both in Canada and internationally, will be at historic sites and landmarks, including Baddeck, Nova Scotia – site of the first powered flight in Canada – as well as Vimy, France. A significant portion of their flight will be over Russia where crucial assistance has been provided by Russian authorities that will enable the flight to take place.

“What an honour to carry the flag and spirit of Canada across the country and around the world,” said Steven Dengler to a packed atrium of media and well-wishers inside the Canada Aviation and Space Museum prior to the flight’s official departure. Though bad weather caused delays on the first day of the Dengler’s flight, once on their way, they’ll be visiting every provincial and territorial capital when flying through Canada. The longest legs of their flight will be segments between Iqaluit, Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands for which long-range ferry bladders have been installed to provide necessary additional fuel for the distances involved.

Honeywell Aerospace’s Ottawa-based facility is providing breakthrough on-board satellite communications capabilities to help the pilots communicate as they circle the globe. The Dengler’s Bell 429 is the first such helicopter to have received a supplemental type certificate (STC) for Honeywell’s Aspire 200 system which enables simultaneous voice and data connectivity on all classes of aircraft. It is the first technology of its kind to deliver high-speed worldwide connectivity while addressing the technical challenges of signal blockages inherent in rotorcraft configurations.

“We’re the first helicopter circumnavigation in history to have broadband Internet access on the helicopter,” stated Steven Dengler. “What this means is that we can share our trip. We can post photos, we can do live streaming, and we can do video conferencing.”

Joining the Denglers on their flight is Rob “Dugal” MacDuff, a retired Bell 429 test pilot with over 12,000 hours of career flying time. The journey is expected to last 35 to 40 days, and will be the first time that any circumnavigation of the globe, in any type of aircraft, has been attempted by a father-son duo. Followers of the flight can monitor every moment of the flight’s progress via the Spidertracks link on the journey’s official website, www.c150go.ca.

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Duty Rules Criticized

July 7, 2017 in News by Editor

New flight and duty day restrictions being proposed by Transport Canada are being criticized by those on both sides of the contentious issue.

TC published its proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette last week. They include reducing daily flight time from a flat 14 hours to a range of nine to 13 hours depending on the time of day the flights take place.

Research has determined that humans don’t perform as well when normal sleep patterns are disrupted, no matter how much sleep they actually get so pilots will not be able to work as long on night flights.

The new regs will also reduce the total number of hours flown per year to 1,000 from 1,200.

The Air Transport Association of Canada says the new rules will put extra pressure on companies that are already struggling to meet schedules because of a pilot shortage.

Pilot unions say the rules don’t go far enough and don’t match those adopted by most countries.

Comments are being taken until Sept. 29.

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Zenair To Build ‘Electric Bush Plane’

July 7, 2017 in News by Editor

Solar Ship and Zenair Ltd announced the agreement to convert the existing Zenair STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) CH750 aircraft into an electric bush plane. This new aircraft will provide extreme short take-off and landing (XSTOL) capability enabling pilots to take-off in areas without runways. The aircraft is recharged by either a battery swap or electric vehicle rechargers. It will not use any fossil fuel and will be available as a bush plane, float or amphibious.

The electric bush plane project is part of Zenair and Solar Ship’s ongoing partnership since 2011 when Zenair developed the fuselage for Solar Ship’s Zenship 11, a hybrid aircraft able to take-off and land from a soccer field to deliver critical cargo for disaster relief.

Solar Ship’s CEO, Jay Godsall: “We have been working with Zenair to ensure we could deliver the right power, weight and reliability for their aircraft. We love what Zenair has done to improve the Zenair STOL CH750 and we now have a perfect electric propulsion system for that aircraft. The Zenair bush planes are part of Solar Ship’s self-reliant infrastructure package to support critical cargo and air ambulance service in remote areas. The new electric bush plane will be complemented by a network of low-cost solar powered hangars able to provide battery swap stations in remote areas. Once you buy this aircraft you break free from the shackles of oil and you never need to refuel again. It is complete self-reliance.”

Snowbirds Canada 150 Plane

June 30, 2017 in News by David Niles

Just in time for the traditional Parliament Hill flypast on Canada Day, the RCAF unveiled a specially painted CT-114 Tutor celebrating 150 years of confederation.

The Tutor is resplendent in maple leaves and other Canada 150 regalia. Canadian Aviator photographer Ken Lin was one of the select media reps invited to the unveiling and filed this report on our Facebook page, where you can also see more photos.

Canadian Aviator contributing photographer Ken Lin recently took the following images of the “Canada 150” theme CT-114 Tutor jet as it was being readied for the ferry flight from CFB Trenton in southern Ontario to the 431 Sqn Snowbirds home base in CFB Moose Jaw, SK.

Sqn CO Lt. Col. Brad Wintrup and Sqn WO MWO Greg Fleet were the aircrews flying this beautifully painted jet home, which will be used to support smaller venues or dates where the nine-ship formation cannot attend during the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday this year.

While the topside of the aircraft has simple yet elegant designs, the bottom of the aircraft is painted with 150 maple leafs to symbolize the 150th birthday of Canada, it will be very visible from the ground even during level flights.

Northern Air Tour Update

June 30, 2017 in News by David Niles

By Diana Spremo
The Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour performed air show #60 Wednesday in Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of Canada. Performers have been seeing lots of polar bears as they fly above the North.
This Saturday, to celebrate 150 years of Canadian Confederation, #ArcticTour150 will be performing in Baker Lake, Nunavut, the geographic centre of Canada.
The town is going all out with a cultural music/arts festival and BBQ.
The photos and stories coming out of the tour are incredible and the traveling tour members would love southerners to know more about the positive impact they are having.
They keep hearing how entire towns are coming out to see them.

Solar Ship Demo

June 30, 2017 in News by David Niles

Solar Ship, a solar-powered airship, completed the first in a series of flights to develop a fossil fuel free transport and logistics system for Canada’s North. Solar Ship is working with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) as part of project to support the Department of National Defence.

The project is being funded by the Federal Government’s Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) to work with DRDC to demonstrate the capabilities of a new transport system able to service Canada’s far North without using fossil fuel. The aircraft will be tested for a number of capabilities including cargo, long endurance surveillance and reconnaissance, and low speed search and rescue.

DRDC’s Vaughn Cosman was on site to witness the flight. He said “We knew Solar Ship’s hybrid aircraft platform has the potential to lift a great deal of cargo. Today I saw an extremely well trained team fly a stable, controllable aircraft. I have many years of experience flying in Canada’s north and I’m excited to work with Solar Ship to create a robust, fossil fuel free transport and logistics platform that will change the way we connect our north.”

Solar Ship’s CEO, Jay Godsall said: “We agreed to celebrate Canada’s 150th with DRDC early by showing what the Wolverine aircraft platform can do for connecting Canada’s north. DRDC has been a fantastic partner helping us define what we need to do to create a robust platform for the north. Fossil fuels are an economic and environmental trap for the north. They can be replaced. A new generation of northern people can make this shift. We need to demonstrate these systems are robust enough for the north and DRDC is the ideal partner to accomplish this.”

This milestone marks the first demonstration flight for Solar Ship’s Wolverine line of aircraft, which will feature amphibious capabilities and the ability to transport cargo loads that bush planes cannot carry.

COPA, TC Advance Safety

June 30, 2017 in News by David Niles

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.