Some of this Week’s Other Highlights in Brief

  • Federal defence minister Bill Blair announced on Monday (Feb. 19) that the government will donate over 800 SkyRanger R70 drones to Ukraine to use in its defence against Russian aggression, now in its third year. The drones, made by U.S. company Teledyne FLIR at its Waterloo, Ontario plant, are designed for surveillance operations but can also carry payloads of up to 3.5 kg. “These drones are going to help Ukraine’s front-line troops assess targets and threats quickly with accuracy and effectiveness,” Blair said. The cost of the donation is approximately $95 million.
  • Today is the federally proclaimed National Aviation Day, designated in recognition of Canada’s first powered airplane flight in 1909 by the Silver Dart. “Every year on February 23, we take time to celebrate Canada’s rich aviation heritage and its countless achievements made in the aviation industry over the years,” said federal transport minister Pablo Rodriguez in a press release.
  • The City of Barrie, Ontario and its nearby military base CFB Borden have plans underway to celebrate the RCAF’s 100th anniversary, which occurs on April 1. A unique tribute the city is planning for its waterfront Military Heritage Park is a tulip garden in the shape and colours of the RCAF roundel. “Borden is actually the birthplace of the RCAF, so it’s extremely significant considering the close ties between Barrie and Borden,” according to local veteran and RCAF Association Wing 411 member Bill Sergeant.

  • Autonomous airplane flight is rapidly becoming a reality as more and more pilotless airplane flights are announced. Last December U.S. company Reliable Robotics announced the successful test flight in California of a pilotless Cessna Caravan, which they touted as “a first in aviation history.” The US Air Force and Boeing are developing a pilotless aerial refueller which is named the MQ-25A Stingray. Fast-advancing drone technology and robotics are edging toward making on-board pilots redundant in many applications.