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Noise Complaints Greet Calgary Runway

Noise complaints are rampant since Calgary's new runway opened.
Noise complaints are rampant since Calgary’s new runway opened.

City of Calgary council members are looking at ways to reduce the use of a $600 million new runway at Calgary International Airport that was built to increase capacity and reduce congestion.

Council members say they’ve been inundated with noise complaints from residents since the 14,000-foot 17L/35R was opened with fanfare less than a month ago. Early morning and late night flights are sparking the most complaints from residents who have watched the runway being built over the past few years and which has been in the planning stages for more than 30 years.

“My office has been inundated, as a couple of other councillors have, in regards to noise complaints because people are upset they are getting woken up at 5:30 and 6 o’clock in the morning,” said Coun. Ray Jones at a council meeting earlier this week. “Is there anything we can do to enact or suggest a noise bylaw to the airport authority?”

Jones has lived in the same home for 37 years and was surprised by the change. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Jones isn’t alone and he wants to discuss operation of the new runway with the airport authority.

Airport authority spokeswoman Jody Mosely told the Calgary Sun the organization will be happy to provide the city with any information it wants on operations and the noise studies it did.

Gunfire Hits Cropduster

A bullet struck the bottom of a cropduster and exited the side (lower right of photo).
A bullet struck the bottom of a cropduster and exited the side (lower right of photo).

A 51-year-old Manitoba man is facing fines and jail time after he is alleged to have opened fire on an aerial application plane near Fortier.

Police say Luc Arnal has been charged with discharging a firearm, mischief causing damage in excess of $5,000, pointing a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm and endangering an aircraft.

Police searched his rural property near Portage La Prairie after the pilot of the aircraft reported taking gunfire. No one was injured but the aircraft was damaged when a bullet went through the bottom of the fuselage and exited the side, narrowly missing the pilot.

Aircraft owner Ken Kane told CBC News more serious charges, like attempted murder, are warranted. “He was shooting at the airplane and the pilot that was in it,” Kane said.

The pilot was shaken up but went back to work the next day.

Air Canada To Resume Tel Aviv Service

Air Canada is scheduled to resume flights to Tel Aviv after a rocket attack there.
Air Canada is scheduled to resume flights to Tel Aviv after a rocket attack there.

Air Canada’s regular evening flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv was set to leave on schedule Wednesday after the Tuesday flight was cancelled due to safety concerns.

Most airlines suspended service to Ben Gurion Airport after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip exploded within a mile of the airport.

The U.S. took more extreme action and the FAA banned flights by American carriers for 24 hours.

The Wednesday flight was scheduled to leave at 6:15 p.m. and land in Israel about noon Thursday.

Israel downplayed the rocket incident, saying its missile defence system is working there is little risk to flights using Ben Gurion. Israeli airlines continued to fly as normal. Critics of the U.S. ban on flights said it played into the hands of Hamas by causing disruption to Israel.

Cockpit Texting On Increase

Pilot controller data link communications are expanding.

Nav Canada says it hopes to expand use of pilot/controller data link communications as the advantages of the system are becoming evident.

“This type of communication, this type of automation is certainly recognized within the industry as the way of the future,” Rob Thurgur, VP of operations for Nav Canada, told Metro News.

The system is only used for aircraft flying above 29,000 and is only used for routine altitude, heading and routing exchanges between pilots and controllers. Nav Canada is now looking at expanding the service to aircraft operating below RVSM airspace.

Thurgur said texting reduces the chances of miscommunication between pilots and controllers, particularly when dealing with pilots from other countries who might speak with accents or have trouble interpreting the nuances of the language as it’s spoken in North America.

Texting also reduces the volume of radio traffic and keeps the frequencies clear in case they’re needed for an emergency.

Thurgur said controllers and pilots are adapting to the system but it’s new employees on both end of the keypad who are really embracing the idea. “You look at new controllers that are coming into the industry today. They’ve grown up text messaging and talking via this type of technology so it’s almost second nature for them.”

The system is used almost exclusively by airlines at the moment and GA will likely depend on voice communications for the foreseeable future because of the cost of equipage.

First Female Airline Pilot Honoured

Rosella Bjornson, Canada's first female airline pilot, has had a stamp issued in her honour.
Rosella Bjornson, Canada’s first female airline pilot, has had a stamp issued in her honour.

The first Canadian female airline pilot has had a stamp struck in her honour.

Rosella Bjornson joined Transair as a first officer in 1973 and eventually became the first Canadian captain for Canadian in 1990.

Along the way she helped Transport Canada formulate policies to allow an easier transition for female pilots who followed.

“Of course, when i started, there were no policies in our contract that dealt with pregnancies,” she said. Since pregnancy is not an illness, she couldn’t take sick leave. She instead had to take a leave of absence. Pregnant pilots are allowed to continue to fly through their sixth month under doctor’s supervision thanks to policies Bjornson helped develop.

The Ninety-Nines commissioned the stamp through Canada Post’s Picture Postage Program.

Bjornson, now 67, retired 10 years ago as a 737 captain for Zip. She owns a Cessna 170 that she flies regularly from her farm near Edmonton.

She is now the executive director of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and continues to promote aviation to women.

“I want young women to realixe they have opportunities and I want to encourage them to pursue a career that will help them achieve their full potential and provide a degree of independence,” she told the Edmonton Journal. “I hope they sort of see me as and example and say ‘If she can do it, I can do it too.'”