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Border Security NOTAM Revised

copalogo1The U.S. FAA and TSA have ended its border skirmish with Canadian pilots by withdrawing a controversial NOTAM that caused some serious heartburn for some operators north of the border.

The new NOTAM was posted Jan. 16 and reverses all the measures that were causing friction. The main issue was the new requirement for background checks and security waivers for pilots overflying U.S. airspace on their way to Canadian destinations.

Since the inception of aviation, Canadian aircraft have had the ability to transit U.S. airspace without having to report to Customs or submit to any other scrutiny from U.S. authorities.

While the new rules briefly caused some expense and inconvenience to some Canadian pilots and operators, it was the precedent setting nature of the NOTAM that concerned people on this side of the border.

Canadian authorities were blind-sided by the NOTAM and it took two weeks to get it sorted out.

“This event was apparently an oversight, a mistake and unfortunately normal protocol between TSA/FAA and our TC Civil Aviation Security was skipped or forgotten,” said COPA President Bernard Gervais. “COPA received assurance that such an event would not repeat itself without proper coordination.  Canadian and U.S. staff pulled together in an amazing collaboration to resolve this issue.

Zenith Buys SAM Aircraft

The assets of SAM Aircraft have been bought by Zenith.
The assets of SAM Aircraft have been bought by Zenith.

The Heintz brothers have purchased the intellectual property and physical assets of SAM Aircraft and say they plan to offer the retro-looking advanced ultralight as a U.S. LSA or kit built aircraft.

The aircraft, designed by French accountant Thierry Zibi, who set up shop in Lachute, Quebec, offers a different look and different characteristics than most aircraft in this category.

With its birdcage canopy and tandem seating, the prototype earned a lot of positive comments from media who flew it (including Canadian Aviator).

Zibi had the ability to build kits and whole aircraft but orders came slowly, likely because the company was new and it’s difficult for a new aircraft company to earn confidence in the marketplace. Zenith will add that credibility and Zibi couldn’t be happier.

“I hope we will see many Sams in the air,” Zibi told Canadian Aviator.

That seems to be the Heintz’s idea, too.

The aircraft could be offered in a variety of configurations with a gross weight of as much as 1800 pounds, depending on customer feedback.

“The advanced engineering used in developing the SAM is impressive, including extensive use of 3D modeling,”said Zenith’s Matt Heintz. “With us bringing this aircraft to market, the new SAM Aircraft design will benefit from our 40 years of experience manufacturing aircraft kits.”

The company is running an online survey to gauge customer preferences for the versatile design.

NewLeaf Pauses Ticket Sales

New Leaf Airlines will use Flair Airlines Boeing 737-400s.
New Leaf Airlines will use Flair Airlines Boeing 737-400s.

Start-up no-frills airline NewLeaf Travel has postponed its start up because of a licensing issue with the Canadian Transportation Agency.

The agency wants to delve deeper into the relationship between the company and Flair Airlines from which it intends to charter aircraft.

NewLeaf CEO Jim Young said in a news release that they launched the airline under the understanding that they had no regulatory issues.

“The CTA gave us an exemption from holding a licence directly while it reviews its legislation,” Young said.

Under the arrangement, Flair held the CTA licence while NewLeaf did the bookings.

“Now, there is ambiguity in the air as to whether we need to amend the relationship with our air service provider, or whether we need to have a licence ourselves. While Canada has many other indirect air service providers, NewLeaf is in a unique position as we are the first large-scale IASP,” said Young. “We welcome a regulatory system in which businesses like ours can thrive in Canada as they do in other countries.”

He said thousands of people had booked flights and all will get refunds while the issues are sorted out.

Delta Considering CSeries

Swiss is the launch customer for the CSeries.
Swiss is the launch customer for the CSeries.

Bombardier may have the marquee customer it needs to properly launch its new airliner.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson said his company is taking a “serious look” at the technologically advanced design.

“It’s a pretty impressive airplane. The geared turbofan [engine] is the really the first big innovation since the Boeing 787 revolutionized the composite structure for the body [sic] the fuselage of the airplane. So, we actually think that at the right price it’s quite a competitive airplane, particularly given the engine technology. So we’re taking a very serious look at it,” he said on a conference call with investors.

The key words in that comment are “right price” and Bombardier has already said it will discount aggressively to win a big airline order.

Among the large carriers, Delta is perhaps best positioned for the CSeries. It only recently retired its fleet of similar-sized DC-9s (actual Douglas models, not MD variants) that it used to funnel passengers into its Atlanta hub from the dozens of smaller markets in the U.S. Southeast.

The fact that the old turbojets (the newest was built in the mid 1980s) were profitable well into the 21st century means the CSeries could be the right fit for that market.

Airlines publication Airways News seems to think Bombardier has as good shot at a major order.

“With the flexibility to operate high frequency service from Atlanta to Newark or a long and thin route from Detroit to Spokane, the CSeries is an excellent fit for Delta’s network – at the right price,” wrote Vinay Bhaskara, “And a fleet of CSeries would be a great eventual replacement.”