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Leduc Wins Webster Trophy

Tim Mell, of Sennheiser, presents Webster winner Sebastian Leduc with a new headset as part of the prize package.
Tim Mell, of Sennheiser, presents Webster winner Sebastian Leduc with a new headset as part of the prize package.      Photo by Andrea Ritchie-Shury

Sebastian Leduc is this year’s Webster Memorial Trophy winner. The Seneca College student competed against eight other young men from across the country to earn the title of Canada’s Top Amateur Pilot the week of Aug. 17-25 at Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre.

Leduc represented eastern Ontario in the competition. Runner-up was Andrew Bryson, of Manitoba. He trains at Harv’s Air.

Other competitors were Matthew VanderPloeg, representing B.C., from the Pacific Flying Club: Corey Harke, Cooking Lake Flying Club, Alberta: Matthew Skwara, Regina Flying Club, Saskatchewan: Alexander Hislop, Sault College, Western Ontario: Gregory Yandle, Seneca College, Central Ontario: Ali Hoteit, Cargair, Quebec: Mark Nardei, Moncton Flight College, Atlantic.

After qualifying as finalists in a regional selection process, the competitors meet for a week of practical (aircraft and simulator) and written exams along with one-on-one interviews with a panel of judges. The judges, including two Transport Canada examiners, then compile the results and come up with a winner.

Leduc thanked the competition organizers for the event, Wayne and Amy Foy, for their tireless efforts to continue to improve and elevate the competition.

For his winning effort, Leduc earned thousands of dollars in prizes and training credits, including a professional development day with the Snowbirds, and a guaranteed job offer as an instructor at Brampton Flight Centre.

Guest speaker was Hon. Col. Gerald Haddon, the grandson of J.A.D. McCurdy, the first pilot to fly a heavier-than-air powered aircraft in Canada at Baddeck, NS in 1909. Haddon recounted his grandfather’s life and his life-changing accomplishment in his speech.

Next year’s competition moves to the West Coast at Pacific Flying Club at the Boundary Bay Airport south of Vancouver.

Parts Stolen From Museum 737

Alberta Aviation Museum's Boeing 737 was readied for its final flight in November of 2013.
Alberta Aviation Museum’s Boeing 737 was readied for its final flight in November of 2013.

The emergency exit door and some other parts were stolen from the Alberta Aviation Museum’s Boeing 737 last weekend and they’re likely headed to the black market.

Museum staff discovered the theft earlier this week but were initially confused by the wanton destruction of the interior of the aircraft. Museum spokesman Thomas Hinderks said the vandalism was an apparent attempt to disguise the true nature of the crime.

Police determined that thieves wearing latex gloves very carefully dismantled and examined several high-value components of the aircraft, which was in flying condition at the time. They made off with the over-wing emergency exit door, which would cost up to $20,000 to replace.

The aircraft was donated to the museum by Pacific Western Airlines when it, along with most other 200 series 737s were retired and replaced with more fuel-efficient and quieter aircraft. There are still many in service around the world, particularly in less developed countries where noise restrictions are more relaxed (or non-existent).

Several Canadian airlines operate them on northern routes because they’re the only 737s certified to use unimproved runways.

Police aren’t saying what parts besides the door were taken or where they might have gone. They did say they were “structural, support and electrical” items all carefully and properly removed.

The museum wants to restore the aircraft to operational shape, even though it never plans to fly it again. It was put in flying condition by volunteers in 2013 so it could be flown from the former Edmonton City Centre Airport to the museum’s new home when the Edmonton airport was closed for good.

SAM Aircraft For Sale

Thierry Zibi is selling SAM Aircraft in Lachute, QC
Thierry Zibi is selling SAM Aircraft in Lachute, QC

SAM Aircraft owner Thierry Zibi says he’d rather design and test aircraft rather than build them on a production line so his first project is for sale.

The SAM is certified as and advanced ultralight in Canada and garnered a fair bit of attention for its retro looks and tandem cockpit when it was introduced two years ago.
The aircraft has undergone a full flight test program and deposits have been collected on sales of a few airplanes but Zibi says someone else should take over the business, which is located in Lachute, QC.
“I came to the realization that I love designing airplanes, but I am not so keeon on running a production company,” Zibi said.
The company is now in production, has orders and is one step away from getting LSA certification in the U.S.
The aircraft has garnered generally positive reviews in flight tests by various publications and Canadian Aviator featured it earlier this year because of the company claims that the design is spin proof.

Knee Defender Banned by Air Canada, WestJet

Knee Defenders clamp to seat tray supports and prevent the seat from being reclined.
Knee Defenders clamp to seat tray supports and prevent the seat from being reclined.

Both of Canada’s major airlines already outlaw an inexpensive device that sparked an expensive flight diversion in the U.S. earlier this week.

A United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver made an unscheduled stop in Chicago after two passengers got into a fracas over the use of a clever little plastic clamp called the Knee Defender. The device attaches to the seatback tray of an airliner and prevents the seat from being reclined.

A male passenger, who was working on his laptop, objected to the female passenger in front of him reclining  her seat, heated words and apparently some seat shoving followed and at some point he clamped her in the upright position. She responded with a glass of water to his face and the flight crew decided they’d had enough.

The passengers were hauled off the plane by police waiting for them in Chicago and the aircraft left for Denver without them. Police didn’t lay charges, saying it was a “customer service” rather than criminal matter.

Nevertheless, Air Canada and WestJet undoubtedly saw the potential for such passenger friction and  expressly banned the device some time ago. Transport Canada has not banned the Knee Defender and told CTV it will continue to allow airlines to decide whether they’re allowed on their planes.

Mynarski Lancaster Visits Namesake’s Base

The CWH Lancaster will visit the base of its namesake Andy Mynarski Aug. 28.
The CWH Lancaster will visit the base of its namesake Andy Mynarski Aug. 28.

One of the most poignant stops of the British tour by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Lancaster is scheduled for today (Aug. 28, 2014) when the aircraft lands at RAF Middleton St. George.

That’s the base from where Flying Officer Andrew Mynarski flew Lancasters in the Second World War before he died trying to save a trapped crewman on their burning aircraft over France.

The CWH Lancaster is named in honour of Mynarski, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for trying, but ultimately failing, to reach rear gunner Pat Brophy after the aircraft had been hit on a raid. Mynarski died from burns suffered in the attempt but Brophy miraculously survived the ensuing crash and reported the heroics when he was returned to England. Based on Brophy’s account, Mynarski became the last person to receive the VC in the war.

A life-sized statue of Mynarski now stands at the base and a ceremony honouring his valour will be held with the Lancaster in attendance.

Meanwhile, the British tour has passed the halfway point and huge crowds are turning out to see the iconic aircraft flying with the only other airworthy example, the RAF’s Battle of Britain Lancaster.

Museum officials are now pondering options to fill an empty seat on the aircraft for the return flight in late September. The film crew shooting a documentary on the tour has suggested that Helen Munson, the wife of Matthew Munson, who paid $79,000 in an eBay auction to fly from Hamilton, ON to England on the aircraft, be allowed to accompany him on the return flight. The film crew thinks having the couple aboard would add an interesting element to the documentary, since Mrs. Munson was concerned about her husband’s safety on the first flight.

Museum officials are still mulling the plan and may also auction off the seat for the return flight.