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New Buffalo Plan Scrapped

Viking Aircraft has withdrawn a bid to build new Buffaloes for the RCAF.
Viking Aircraft has withdrawn a bid to build new Buffaloes for the RCAF.

There will be no made-in-Canada option for the RCAF’s new fixed wing search and rescue aircraft.

Viking Air, of Victoria, B.C. has confirmed it has withdrawn from the competition and is no longer offering to build modernized DHC-5 Buffalo aircraft to replace those now in use by the RCAF. The company owns the type certificate to the Buffalo.

The company had said the Buffalo option would have saved the government money and provided a platform proven by decades of experience in search and rescue missions, particularly off the West Coast.

The company said changes to the tender requirements requiring a single source supplier and in-service support of the aircraft put Viking out of the running.

Instead, the company is concentrating its efforts on the successful resumption of production of the Twin Otter, including a military version it calls the Guardian 400. The RCAF operates four Twin Otters at 440 Sqn. in Yellownkife for search and rescue, transport and Arctic sovereignty missions.

According to recent media reports, Treasury Board is scheduled to review a request for proposals today (Feb. 19/15) for replacement of the Buffaloes and the field of candidates is down to three aircraft: Alenia’s C-27 Spartan, Airbus’s C295 and a combined SAR and special forces version of Lockheed Martin’s C-130J.

It will likely be at least a year before the contract is announced.

Air Canada Talks CSeries

CSeries still on Air Canada's radar.
CSeries still on Air Canada’s radar.

Air Canada President Calin Rovinescu has given Bombardier’s CSeries program a much-needed vote of confidence.

Rovinescu told reporters after giving a speech in Montreal that when the airline replaces its 25 E-series Embraer short-haul aircraft, CSeries will be a contender.

“When those Embraers come out, for sure the Bombardier CSeries will be an alternative, 100 per cent,” Rovinescu said.

He dismissed the current delays in the program and the recent changes at the top at Bombardier as issues in Air Canada’s ultimate decision. “I certainly would not be concerned if I was in the market for airplanes today and I don’t think that that will be an issue,” he said and also predicted Bombardier would emerge from its current problems stronger than it was before.

The company last week replaced CEO Pierre Beaudoin with former United Technologies CEO Alain Bellemare and announced it was going to raise another $2 billion in capital. Last month it “paused” the Learjet 85 business jet program and there have been reports Learjet is for sale.

Meanwhile, Rovinescu said Bombardier will have to make the case for the CSeries when the time comes to start replacing the Embraers. Air Canada has already ordered up to 109 Boeing 737 MAX airliners for domestic operations but that order is independent of the Embraer replacement. Embraer will also be in the running for that order with its updated version of the E-190.

Canadian Forfeits Aircraft in Border Infraction

Cessna 172M of the type forfeited by Canadian pilot.

A Canadian pilot’s pleas for his beloved Cessna 172 fell on deaf ears as a U.S. judge ordered the aircraft’s forfeit as part of the pilot’s sentence for illegally flying a Canadian woman into the U.S. last August.

Ryan Brandt, of North Bay, Ontario, who had been in an Ohio jail since last August even offered to stay incarcerated longer if the plane was returned to him at the end of his term but U.S. District Court Judge Jack Zouhary said there are no such dealmaking provisions in the law and ordered the 1975 Cessna 172M turned over to the U.S. government.

Brandt was nabbed by U.S. border agents at Erie-Ottawa International Airport in northern Ohio just after midnight last Aug. 29 after flying from Windsor Airport. His passenger, Kathryn Adamson, was banned from the U.S. for previously overstaying a visa and she, too was arrested.

Brandt and Adamson had been in the local jail since their arrest. Adamson was sentenced Jan. 16 to time served and a $700 fine for illegal entry. She told the court she was trying to get to Florida to visit her boyfriend. Brandt had his sentencing hearing Feb. 11 and was sentenced to time served and foreiture of the plane for his role in the caper.

“If I would have known how serious the consequences would have been, I would have never even thought of flying here,” the Toledo Blade reported Brandt as saying. “I’ve lost nearly everything I care about over this mistake.”

Brandt admitted to flying low under cover of darkness to avoid detection on that night and Zouhary told him he’s lucky not to have evoked a harsher response from U.S. authorities.

“The world changed after 9/​11, and what might have been seen in the past as a minor indiscretion is not so anymore because of the world we live in,” the Blade quoted the judge as saying.

Although Brandt was the registered owner of the aircraft, his mother is stuck with the financial penalty for its forfeiture. Court was told she’d taken out a line of credit to finance its purchase for her son.

McLeod Third in Abu Dhabi, Wins Sponsor

New colours on McLeod's aircraft.
New colours on McLeod’s aircraft.

Canadian Red Bull racer Pete McLeod came third in the first race of the season at Abu Dhabi last weekend.

McLeod’s team had been battling an underperforming engine through the event but managed the podium finish, although he was more than a half second behind first place winner Paul Bonhomme, of the U.K. and Matt Hall, of Australia, in second place.

The race week began with McLeod’s announcement that he’s now being sponsored by GPS and avionics giant Garmin. McLeod represents the company’s Virb line of remote cameras.

McLeod’s Edge 540 racing plane has been painted in Garmin colours of blue and black and made its official debut in training runs at Abu Dhabi.

Women of Aviation Week Approaches

Our Women of Aviation supplement digital edition can now be viewed online.
Our Women of Aviation supplement digital edition can now be viewed online.

Women of Aviation Week will be held the week of March 8 and to help the organization in its quest to attract more girls and women to aviation, Canadian Aviator has produced a supplement.

The Women of Aviation booklet is included in the March/April edition of the magazine and almost 5,000 will be distributed to participants of 10 WOAW events being held in Canada during that week. The booklet is also now available in digital format for free viewing on our Web site .

This year’s WOAW events are being held in honour of the thousands of women in military aviation roles and there is a section highlighting a variety of women in RCAF aviation jobs.

There are also articles of a more general nature describing what opportunities are available in aviation for men and women. It stresses that all jobs in aviation are open to both sexes and can be performed equally by men and women.

The supplement is included in newsstand copies of the March/April edition of Canadian Aviator and a limited number of copies of the supplement are also available and can be obtained by emailing