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CSeries Ground Tests Resume

The cause of a CSeries engine failure has been determined and it's not the gear mechanism.
The cause of a CSeries engine failure has been determined and it’s not the gear mechanism.

Bombardier has resumed ground tests of some CSeries test aircraft following an encouraging preliminary report on the cause of an engine failure in late May.

It now appears a turbine problem on an engine the company had already flagged as troublesome was the cause of the uncontained failure of the engine according to reports. Neither engine maker Pratt and Whitney nor Bombardier will confirm the actual cause of the failure but both have said it had nothing to do with the gear system that is the heart of the engine and the source of its expected efficiency.

“Now that we have a good understanding of what happened, a procedure is in place that introduces control measures to avoid such events,” Rob Dewar, manager of CSeries, said in a statement. “We are working to get back on track and today have resumed ground engine runs to return the [flight test vehicles] to flight test program safely.”

The aircraft involved in the engine failure was damaged in the incident and is being repaired.


Fighter Decision Soon: Reports

The federal government is apparently close to making a decision on whether to buy the F-35 or do an open competition.
The federal government is apparently close to making a decision on whether to buy the F-35 or do an open competition.

The consensus among pundits in Ottawa suggests a decision on the process to replace the RCAF’s CF-18 fleet will come sooner rather than later.

A federal panel struck 18 months ago to review the fighter procurement process is expected to make its first public appearance on Thursday according to several media reports. The panel is expected to endorse the process used to review the procurement.

That’s all apparently part of the preparation for the federal government to make its final decision on the fighter buy. Until late 2012, the acquisition of 65 F-35 fifth generation fighters was a foregone conclusion. Canada has been a partner in the development of the sophisticated and pricey aircraft for more than a decade.

But an auditor general’s report accused the military and the government of grossly underestimating the costs of the program and the feds put the brakes on the acquisition 18 months ago while the process was reviewed.

In the meantime, three companies that build fighters have been pressing for an open bid competition and that’s one of the options available to the government. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Public Works Minister Diane Finley, Industry Minister James Moore and Defence Minister Rob Nicholson have made up their minds and will report to a cabinet committee this week. The full cabinet could render its decision within a few days of that.

However, the Citizen says the government won’t announce its decision until after Parliament recesses for the summer, which is bound to irritate opposition parties who have repeatedly accused the government of being too secretive about the process.

Canadian Tech Tracks Moncton Suspect

Transport Canada's Dash-8 found Canada's most-wanted man late Thursday.
Transport Canada’s Dash-8 found Canada’s most-wanted man late Thursday.

A Canadian aircraft using a Canadian-made surveillance camera brought a speedy end to one of the largest manhunts ever undertaken in Canada last week.

Less than 30 minutes after taking off from Moncton Airport late last Thursday night, Transport Canada’s national Aerial Surveillance Program Dash-8’s crew had located Justin Bourque, the 24-year-old suspected killer of three RCMP officers 30 hours earlier. According to the Globe and Mail TC made the airplane available to the RCMP earlier in the day to help bring to an end a manhunt that forced the virtual lockdown of Moncton and 

Westcam MX-15 used by the TC Dash-8.
Westcam MX-15 used by the TC Dash-8.

Using the L-3/Wescam MX-15 surveillance camera (designed and built by L-3/Wescam in Burlington, Ontario) mounted under the nose, the aircraft spotted Bourque trying to hide behind a tree in a wooded area in a residential area of Moncton. Heavily armed police flooded the residential area and a few minutes later Bourque surrendered.

The police apparently knew approximately where Bourque might be hiding and the aircraft crew was able to spot his infrared image clearly and show streaming video to a command centre on the ground. “We’re apparently streaming a video that has everyone excited,” TC official Brad Mundle wrote in an email released to the Globe and Mail. “We are onto someone hiding in the bush.”

The video stream continued, showing emergency response team members surrounding Bourque with guns raised until he finally raised his hands and dropped to the ground.

The aircraft took off at 11:24 p.m., Bourque was spotted at 11:58 p.m. and Bourque was in custody at about 12:10 a.m.


New Regs May Follow Prison Break


Flying over prisons may soon be illegal.
Flying over prisons may soon be illegal.


Global News is reporting that Transport Canada is planning to create new regulations aimed at preventing a repeat of the prison break involving a helicopter on Saturday near Quebec City.


The reports say TC intends to make it illegal to fly over a prison but the report is short on specifics (such as altitude limits, proximity etc.). Just how the new regs will be enforced is also a mystery.


However, there is no shortage of political pressure to do something to stop apparently well-funded and determined crime groups from plucking their members from inside prison compounds.


There is still no sign of the three men who hopped in a green helicopter that landed in the exercise yard of the Orsainville Detention Centre at dusk on Saturday and took off to the west. Officials have not confirmed whether the aircraft has been located.


Orsainville is an old institution and corrections experts say new facilities are designed to prevent such aerial access. Orsainville had apparently purchased steel mesh to cover the open compound but it had not been installed.


The three missing men, Yves Denis, Denis Lefebvre and Serge Pomerleau, had applied to have the conditions of their imprisonment relaxed the day before the escape. They were therefore able to wait for the helicopter in the compound unencumbered by handcuffs or shackles.




Prairie Theme at Historical Meeting

Delegates from across the country attended the Canadian Aviation Historical Society meeting in Regina last weekend.

By Ted Delanghe

The 51st National Convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) was held from June 4-7 in Regina, with the theme being “Canada’s Aviation History – the View from the West”. The agenda included two full days of presentations on the people and places that are such a colourful and noteworthy part of our country’s history. Tours of 15 Wing Moose Jaw, 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School, and the Moose Jaw branch of the Western Development Museum, home to more than a dozen historical aircraft and the Vintage Aircraft Restorers group, rounded out the activities.

The lineup of speakers and presentations covered a lot of ground, with one of the primary areas of focus being the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, including John Higenbottam’s presentation “Relief Landing Fields of the BCATP”, and Bill Zuk’s illustrated talk on “For the Moment”, a 1993 feature film on the BCATP.

A second theme was Saskatchewan aviation, with Deana Driver’s  entertaining “Walter Williams, a Pioneer Prairie Airman”; Linda Kort’s presentation on her father Maurice Falloon’s year in Burma with the RCAF; Joel From with a detailed look at the RAF air training base at Caron, Saskatchewan; and Richard Mayne’s nostalgic talk on the venerable C-119 Flying Boxcar. Expat Reginan Bill Cameron recounted his 38 year career with Canadian Pacific airlines, and John Chalmers delved into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame with a focus on Saskatchewan.

One particular session of high interest was “The Avro Arrow — and Why Dief Made the Right Decision”, by University of Saskatchewan Professor Russell Isinger. It explored the many myths and truths covering the decision to cancel the program, which today still stands as one of the most controversial issues in Canada’s aviation history.

The three-day event closed with an evening banquet on  June 7, with guest speaker Todd Lemieux discussing Vintage Wings of Canada and its mission to restore and fly classic aircraft significant to the early history of powered flight, and to inspire and educate future generations about the historical significance of Canadian aviation heritage.