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Under-Bridge Takeoff Prompts Probe

Transport Canada is looking into an incident on the Ottawa River that caused a big splash in the local media but probably didn’t violate any regs.

Members of the Ottawa Rowing Club were getting ready for an event on the morning of Aug. 9 when they heard the sound of an aircraft revving to takeoff power. The floatplane accelerated normally and lifted off the water a few hundred metres from the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge connecting Ottawa and Gatineau.

The pilot continued the takeoff and climbed out normally after flying under the centre span of the bridge. Witnesses called the takeoff “reckless” and “crazy” and told various media outlets they were afraid the plane was going to hit the bridge, opinions the video does not seem to support.

The aircraft was between two bridges and likely could not have climbed over the bridge with the takeoff room available. The other option would have been a long taxi to the other side of the bridge.

The CARS don’t specifically outlaw this kind of activity since the 500-foot rule for avoiding obstacles doesn’t apply to takeoffs and landings.

Nevertheless, Transport Canada said in a statement it will investigate and if it determines the pilot’s actions were a violation of the regs then “appropriate action will be taken.”

Lancaster Makes England

CWH's Lancaster landed at sunset in Keflavik on Aug. 6 on the way to England.
CWH’s Lancaster landed at sunset in Keflavik  on the way to England. Photo by Lisa Sharp

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Avro Lancaster finished its journey from Hamilton to Coningsby, England on August 8 and a moment more than 40 years in the making is scheduled for Aug. 14.

The Canadian Lanc will fly in formation with the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster at the Eastbourne International Air Show in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

The air show appearance follows a day of training at Coningsby and kicks off a busy schedule of air show appearances and flypasts to commemorate the huge impact the four-engine bomber had on the defense of the U.K. in the Second World War.

Perhaps the most-awaited event will occur at the Clacton Air show on Aug. 21. The two Lancs will fly in formation with the world’s only flying Vulcan bomber. The Vulcan was a Cold War nuclear jet bomber perhaps most famous for its runway-destroying raid of the Stanley Airfield during the Falkland Islands war in the 1980s.

The Vulcan is operated by a volunteer society that raised millions in donations to restore it to flying condition.

On its way to England, the CWH aircraft stopped at Keflavik, Iceland and Canadian Aviator correspondent Lisa Sharp took a gallery of photos of its arrival.

Fresh Incidents Sharpen Drone Concerns

Airliner encounters with drones are becoming a time consuming problem for  Transport Canada.
Drone encounters are  a time consuming problem for Transport Canada.

A Jazz crew on a flight from Fredericton to St. John’s spotted what may have been a drone 1,000 feet above their aircraft, prompting Transport Canada’s latest investigation into what has become a time consuming issue for the agency.

The incident occurred Aug. 3 and it’s not clear from media reports what altitude or phase of flight the Jazz aircraft was in but the pilots reported seeing a red and white vertical tube with a rotor attached above them and called it in.

There has been a spate of airline/drone encounters in Canada and involving Canadian aircraft in the U.S. in recent months and so far the pilots have been elusive.

Perhaps one of the most disruptive incidents was at Pearson Airport in June, according to a Toronto Star investigation.

In that case, controllers had to change runways because a drone was spotted on the approach to one of its main runways, 24R. “Multiple aircraft on short final to Toronto runway 24R reported seeing a drone operating…left of centreline. Changed operation to land runway 23 only,” said a Transport Canada report.

A similar incident in Vancouver disrupted operations there, too.

Close Call A Window To PTSD

More than 300 people had a near-death experience aboard a 2001 Air Transat flight.

A Hamilton psychologist is using the near-death experience that she and more than 300 other people shared on a flight to Europe 13 years ago as a window into the effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

Margaret McKinnon was among 293 passengers and 11 crew that escaped what most of them believed was certain death when all the fuel leaked out of the Air Transat A330 over the Atlantic. Pilots Robert Piche and Dirk de Jager dead sticked the aircraft into an emergency airfield in the Azores and there were no serious injuries.

But the 25 minutes the occupants of the aircraft had to contemplate their fate had a profound effect on the future course of their lives and some of them ended up being diagnosed with PTSD.

McKinnon involved herself and 14 other passengers, half of whom were diagnosed with PTSD, in the study to probe the long-term impact of believing with certainty that death was imminent and being spared at the last minute.

The study determined that it’s not the memory of the incidents that causes PTSD but the way in which the memories are processed by the brain.

McKinnon was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after the incident but said she was fortunate to receive treatment.

“It’s important to intervene as soon as possible with as much care as we can offer,” she said.