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Keystone Air Grounded

No one was seriously hurt in the crash of a Navajo in Thompson, Manitoba.
Keystone Air has been grounded after this accident in Manitoba.

Transport Canada has suspended the operating licence of Winnipeg-based Keystone Air over safety concerns.

“This is a severe action that the department only takes when we identify serious safety deficiencies and must act to protect the public’s safety,” said spokesperson Sean Best. “Keystone Air Service may not resume commercial air service until it demonstrates to Transport Canada that it is in full compliance with aviation safety regulations.”

The suspension came after an accident in which a Keystone Navajo made an off airport landing after being misfueled on Sept. 15.

All eight people walked away from the crash and Transport Canada confirmed the accident was caused by the wrong fuel being put in the aircraft but an investigation proceeded and the airline didn’t do well.

“Transport Canada conducted a post-accident inspection that focused on the company’s operational control and quality assurance systems,” said Best. “In aviation, an effective operational control system ensures that a company’s day-to-day actions are compliant with safety requirements for things such as, for example, pilot training and the dispatching of staff as well as aircraft.

“Because Keystone Air Services posed an immediate and significant threat to aviation safety, Transport Canada took swift and firm action to protect the public.”

CSeries Certification Soon, MRJ Flies

Mitsubishi's MRJ flew Tuesday.
Mitsubishi’s MRJ flew Tuesday.

Bombardier announced earlier this week that it expected certification of its CS100 airliner by the end of the year.

It was welcome good news after a public relations shellacking over the past few weeks concerning the company’s financial and political issues.

And the news, as far as the airplane is concerned, is apparently very good. Reports suggest the key selling points of fuel economy, noise and general robustness are even better than the seemingly optimistic figures in Bombardier’s promotional material.

However, a new player officially entered the same market that Bombardier is trying to dominate.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) took its first flight in Nagoya, Japan on Tuesday and it’s expected to be on the market in a few years. Mitsubishi has attracted 223 firm orders for the aircraft, which looks a fair bit like the CSeries and boasts similar numbers.

The MRJ will undergo certification flight testing in Moses Lake, Washington.

Firm Hopeful For F-35 Work

F-35 mock-up in Canadian livery.
F-35 mock-up in Canadian livery.

A Montreal company that makes landing gear components isn’t giving up on getting work from the F-35. Heroux-Devtek makes gear for a wide variety of aircraft and is in line for millions of dollars worth of work if Canada buys the F-35.

However, the future of Canada’s involvement in the controversial Joint Strike Fighter program is, at the very least, in doubt after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise to pull out of the program. He said a competitive bidding process will replace the sole source deal the former Conservative government had with Lockheed Martin.

Heroux-Devtek is among more than 30 Canadian companies that are supplying parts and technology for the F-35 but Lockheed Martin has made it clear that unless Canada continues to be a partner in its development, the work will likely head to friendlier locations.

And Trudeau is waffling on his campaign promise. He’s agreed to a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the program before he pulls the plug on it.

Heroux-Devtek CEO Gilles Labbe told the Canadian Press that No doesn’t necessarily mean No with the F-35.

“We’ll see what the government wants to do exactly,” he said during a conference call about the landing gear maker’s second-quarter results. “They have to buy jet fighters. It’s clear our CF-18s are not in good shape and they cannot last forever.”

Volunteers Complete B-25 Restoration

Volunteers restored this B-25 for the Alberta Aviation Museum.
Volunteers restored this B-25 for the Alberta Aviation Museum.

The Alberta Aviation Museum now has a faithfully restored B-25 Mitchell bomber thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers.

The group took a rusting hulk from a rural property near Lamont, Alta. and turned it into a museum -quality exhibit over a period of 12 years.

And they did it on a budget.

“This was done by a bunch of guys with very little funding who retired and had skills and nowhere else to go so they came in here every day.” said museum spokesman Steve Finkelman. The aircraft was displayed for Remembrance Day.

The RCAF flew B-25s after the Second World War and the museum’s airplane, Daisy Mae, was part of 418 City of Edmonton Squadron.

The aircraft is restored in RCAF livery as a strike aircraft in the 1950s.