14 July 2016
12 July 2016
- Canadian Aviation Weather, First Edition
- by Captain Doug Morris
- Published by Avmet Weather Consulting, Oakville, Ontario, September 2015
- 8.5" X 11" paperback
- 340 pages, including an author's biography
Canadian Aviation Weather is the first aviation textbook that I have been asked to review. Up until now, most of the works sent to COPA for review have been history books or at least books of aviation stories, so this was something new, landing with a 1.03 kg (2.3 lbs) thump on my desk.
My first thought was, "why do we need a new textbook on aviation weather?" The author makes his case, "this book will fill the massive void that existed in Canada regarding a solid up-to-date discourse on meteorology for Canadian pilots." And he really is right in that regard. I mean, despite his homage to the legendary work, Weather Ways, on page 255 of this new book, some things have changed since my copy came out. Like the author, my copy of Weather Ways is marked "third edition, 1961". We now have weather radar, lightning detection, Nav Canada, climate change and a far better understanding of many things meteorological, from volcanoes to space weather. So I agree with the author, that the 21st century calls for a new weather text.
It is hard to argue that there is anyone more qualified to write this book than Doug Morris. Morris is an Air Canada captain on A320s, with more than 21,500 hours in the air. Like most of us, he started on small aircraft and worked his way up in the industry, flying light piston twins on courier flying in Atlantic Canada, yes, right in all that weather they get down east. Being a high-time pilot alone, though, does not qualify one to write weather text books. This is where Morris sets himself apart, as he worked for four years as a weather forecaster for Environment Canada, in a diversity of assignments, including writing east coast aviation forecasts, so he has seen the business from both sides. In fact it was his time as a forecaster that motivated him to learn to fly, something few pilots will be able to fault.
In more recent years Morris has become a writer on meteorology, while carrying on his piloting duties, writing for publications such as Air Canada's enRoute, Wings, Canadian Aviation and Weatherwise. He also gives talks to public audiences on weather, as well as aviation safety topics and gives weather training to new hires at Air Canada, too. Sometimes, when the weather is in the news, he gets the media call to be "an expert weather guru", so you may have seen him on TV as well.
So what is in the book? This is a beginner's book of aviation meteorology, aimed at people on the private pilot course, so Morris starts from the beginning, with a large number of short, sharp chapters, numbering 36 in all, including the three appendices. The topics start with the basics, like the atmosphere, stability and lapse rates, clouds, atmospheric pressure and then work into fog, visibility, air masses, fronts, wind shear, airframe icing, turbulence and thunderstorms, before delving into the reading of METARs, TAFs, GFAs, SIGMETs, AIRMETs, FBs (formerly FDs - wind aloft forecasts). From there the book shifts gears and the author presents a broad look at Canadian regional weather, where to find good met stuff on the internet, reading weather charts and understanding jet streams. He then moves into how ground and airborne weather radar work and how to use both. Next is satellite imaging, dealing with hurricanes and post-tropical storms, how space weather affects circumpolar flying and a chapter on volcanic ash. Yes, he even mentions the April 2010 Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull eruption and the air travel havoc it caused, not to mention the havoc in the news rooms where on-air news readers had to pronounce it. Finally there are appendices on airport identifier codes, RVR and the use of UTC time in weather.
Traditionally aviation weather texts have been, well, a bit dry to read. Most student pilots expect that, after all meteorology is a science subject and there is lots to learn and just plain memorize. Morris seems determined to crack that stereotype and produce a weather book that is actually interesting to read. He accomplishes this mostly with small anecdotes from his own flying career interspersed on almost every page as "sidebars" with their own little "smiling airliner" logo. In these he attempts to relate the book knowledge with occasions when when the lessons were brought home for him, poignant thoughts and minor asides on how the information is relevant and useful. Overall these make the subject much more lively and personal and will probably increase retention for readers as well. There are enough biographical and aviation stories interspersed in the text that by the time you are done you have a feeling that you know the author quite well.
Morris' pure passion for meteorology shines through the text, too. You can tell he has a great deal of enthusiasm for the subject and that can be pleasantly infectious for the reader, making a complex subject more readable and fun. In several places in the book he gets into technical details that are out of the depth required by pilots, which is just his meteorologist side taking over the writing. In many cases he stops himself, indicating that he acknowledges that he is off on a tangent and ends the subject there. I found these places in the book really detract a bit. I don't mind more depth than is needed in aviation meteorology, but it would be better to either pursue that line of inquiry or not put it in at all, rather than start and then quit, but this is a minor quibble on my part.
Like a number of books I have reviewed recently, this book is self-published by the author and printed by Lulu.com. This probably says more about the sad state of book publishing in Canada these days, than anything about the quality of this work. Here we have a well-recognized and highly qualified subject expert, who has written a much-needed textbook, did a good job at it, assembled a good team of expert reviewers, copy editors and even a graphic artist to do the more than 150 diagrams and illustrations, and he has to publish it himself, without further assistance. Canadian publishers and the administrators of the various government publishing support programs in place really need to back up and have a better look at what is being published in Canada these days and why they are not both doing more. That said, the good news is that the book is available from some well-known aviation booksellers in Canada, including VIP.
My criticisms of the book are few. Despite the team of expert and copy editors, a few grammatical errors slipped through. Hopefully these will be cleared up in the second edition. The book lacks the one thing that would be quite useful in a paper book, an index. Again, hopefully a future edition will add this feature.
So who will want to read this book? It is clearly aimed at PPL, CPL and ATPL student pilots, plus those pursuing an instrument rating. It is skewed towards jet airline flying, more than general aviation ops, so the ideal reader would be someone with those aspirations, although student pilots with any flying goals at all will find the book useful and very readable. I have to admit, as an old time pilot with three decades of flying behind me and with more than a dozen civil, military and academic meteorology courses, too, that I learned quite a lot from reading the book. This makes me think that just about every pilot, new and old, should read it, unless you really think you already know everything about meteorology. I would also say that this book would make a good gift for any budding young "met nut", who will learn not only meteorology, but probably catch some of the author's infectious affinity for the subject. This book would also benefit people in other areas of endeavour where understanding the weather is critical, such as sailors, and even all those people we see in many parts of Canada wearing shorts and sandals in January.
03 July 2016
by Gary Gaudreau, Director/Secretary, Bancroft Flying Club (COPA Flight 119)
COPA President Bernard Gervais and Vice President Patrick Gilligan will be attending our Fly In Pancake Breakfast.
Come and meet COPA's new President.
30 June 2016
by The Rockcliffe Flying Club
The Rockcliffe Flying Club invites you to our fly-in / drive-in / splash-in Canada Day Breakfast. Breakfast served 07:30 – 11:00. $7 for bacon / sausage / eggs / pancakes / beans / OJ / coffee. No landing fees, no day-parking charges. Overnight parking fees waived with fuel purchase.
Splash-in? Yes! RFC has float-plane docks in the Ottawa River, immediately north of the airfield and a three-minute walk (if that) to the field.
Come for the day. Or, fly-in on Friday morning for breakfast, visit CASM for the afternoon, go downtown (apprx 10km) for concerts, events and fireworks – then come back to the field to camp under your wing (no camping fees, and 24hr washroom with hot/cold/flush and shower).
CYRO, Ottawa/Rockcliffe in the CFS. 123.5, circuit height 1200'. All circuits over the Ottawa River, north of the field (left-hand circuits for 09, right-hand circuits for 27).
The Canadian Aviation and Space Museum is also on-field - no-charge vans shuttle across the airfield for those who wish to visit the Museum (CASM has NO admission fees on Canada Day!).
- 0730-11:00 RFC Breakfast, $7
- 0900-17:00 Free shuttle RFC-Museum
- 1100-11:30 Performance by CF Parachute Team, Skyhawks
- 1200 Flyover by CF Snowbirds
- 1430 CASM - Autograph session with Snowbirds Pilots
For further information: email@example.com, 613-746-4425
28 June 2016
23 June 2016
By Jane DiRaimo, Community Assistant to Ottawa City Councillor George Darouze, Ward 20, Ottawa
Councillor Darouze has asked me to pass on this important information from NAV CANADA concerning Airspace Improvements at Ottawa International Airport. It is very important to residents living in and around the airport and in our Ward further out with regards to flights taking off and landing at the airport. They are seeking your input and would like to have that by 30 June 2016 or earlier. Please visit their website listed below along with their brief message.
Nav Canada is seeking public input regarding proposed changes to flight paths for aircraft arriving to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.
The proposed flight paths are estimated to save up to two minutes flying time for arrivals while greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions reductions are estimated at 750 metric tonnes each year.
Nav Canada has made information – including maps – on proposed flight path changes available online. Residents are invited to learn about changes and provide feedback using the comment tool available on the website by 30 June 2016.
22 June 2016
Firstly, CYOW does not have a serious noise problem, at least not with airliners.
The Noisy News is that we, General Aviation types, are part of the problem. What! GA is noisy? Well, we are when we don’t follow the Noise Abatement procedures. It seems visiting pilots fail to check the Canada Flight Supplement when arriving and departing CYOW and fail to follow the Noise Abatement Procedures. The local flying schools are doing the job better than in the past.
Of course, that’s not the whole story. It seems the folks living on the departure from runway 04, (apparently several folks on one street) are the main complainers. I know, I know, they knew the airport was there when they moved there, or should have, but that does not stop them from complaining. And it doesn’t mean we or the airport can ignore them. I don’t know what we as pilots can do to safely mitigate their noise perceptions. We are following legal and appropriate departure paths. The airport is concerned too about what looks like a coordinated campaign.
The bottom line is we must at least follow the noise abatement procedures, it’s the law and we want to be part of the solution, not the problem, eh!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
17 June 2016
By Cpl. Christianne (Chrissie) Lapointe, Operational Coordinator - Protective Policing, RCMP
Here's the 'Coles notes' version of the NOTAM that will be published next week for 29 June 2016:
- 12 nm radius of Parliament Hill - No operation of aircraft/UAV fro SFC to 18,000 ft
- 10 nm radius of YOW - No operation of aircraft/UAV fro SFC to 18,000 ft
- 30nm radius of YOW - No operation of aircraft/UAV fro SFC to 18,000 ft. A phone number will be on the NOTAM for any aircraft wanting to obtain authorization.
- If you were around when President Obama came in 2009, the parameters are the same. The altitude is higher this time.
- We do not yet have the times for the NOTAM but are saying 'daylight hours' for now. Once we get the exact times, the NOTAM will be issued.
I would advise your members that authorizations for the day are unlikely.
13 June 2016
From Kathleen Van Benthem PhD, Post doctoral Fellow, ACE Lab
Carleton University is looking for at least 15 more participants for its General Aviation Study!
Who can participate?
Participants should meet the following criteria:
- a pilot or a pilot in training (solo and some cross-country experience)
- medically licensed to fly
- at least 40 years of age, and
- interested in flying a full-scale Cessna 172 simulator
Each participant would be asked to come in for two different sessions, each at a maximum of two hours.
When and where?
All sessions will be held at the Carleton University ACE lab, and scheduling is open to the participants via an easy to use online scheduler.
We are pleased to cover all parking costs while at the university.
All responses, as well as any further questions can be sent to Carolina.
27 May 2016
From the Fredericton Flying Club
The Fredericton Flying Club is having our 50th anniversary celebration and BBQ fly in. It is our intention to hold this event on 18 June 2016 at our new club hangar in the Fredericton Airport General Aviation Area. The times are to be from 1000-1500 hrs.
The event will be "weather permitting", with no rain date.
For more info contact Club President, Manfred Knapp, at 506- 447-2913 or by email.
19 May 2016
General Aviation will finally land at Mirabel Airport once and for all.
Marc-André Théorêt, an aircraft owner/pilot, president of Mirajet inc. successfully negotiated with Aéroports de Montreal the right to develop a piece of land directly at the base of the control tower, only steps away from the huge runways of this airport.
The Mirajet Airpark will allow in its first phase, two hangars sizes, with bi-fold doors of 42 and 58 feet wide, all planned to accommodate a wide range of planes from single engine aircraft to corporate twins and small jets.
- Mirajet 514-299-5376
- Mirajet website
By Bernard Gervais, COPA President & CEO
The last COPA Flight in newsprint format. The July issue of COPA Flight will be a full colour magazine format, our first in collaboration with our partner Canadian Aviator Publishing (CAP). Why change? To save a whole lot of money and allocate the membership dues on aviation services, not printing. We are not in the newspaper business and believe it or not, printing on newspaper costs almost double than printing a magazine. When we switched from magazine to newsprint many years ago, it was to save on printing costs of those days. How ironic.
As we move along, this outsourcing deal will leverage CAP's experience of just-in-time aviation news delivery, improving your online experience on the website and complemented by a regular newsletter. Rest assured COPA Flight will be a different publication than the well-respected Canadian Aviator. It will still be the association's magazine and COPA will maintain editorial control and content management. COPA Flight will still be COPA Flight. But in a better, revamped, more pertinent format with perhaps a few surprises once in a while. You will like it as much as we are excited to see these changes. But don't just take my word for it. See you next month in a glossy colour magazine.
16 May 2016
By Mike Miles, COPA Flight 56, Westport
This is just a quick reminder that the Westport - Rideau Lakes fly-in is this upcoming weekend, 21 May 2016. The event happens on Saturday from 0800-1300 hrs. Come on down on this upcoming great long weekend flying, have a great breakfast and join the 30 or so planes who plan to be there.
Join us for a great introduction to the summer near the fabulous town of Westport, Ontario. View the planes in the morning and enjoy the Westport in the afternoon. Fun for the whole family.
- What: Annual Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast
- Hosted by: The Rideau Lakes Flying Club, COPA Flight 56
- When: 0800-1300 hrs 21 May 2016
- Where: Westport ON (CRL2), (N) 43 39 93 (W) 76 23 92
- Meal: Breakfast served from 0800-1100 hrs for a donation to the club.
- Runway: 07/25, 3118', grass
- Comunication: 123.2 MHz
- More information:
15 May 2016
The Ottawa Flying Club has announced that they will hold their charity fundraiser Fly Day on Saturday 1 October 2016 and planning is already underway.
This annual event offers light airplane rides to the public in exchange for a donation and uses local pilots who are club members to carry out the flying on a volunteer basis.
To volunteer as a pilot or as ground support staff contact the club.
From The Ottawa Flying Club
The 2016 Wings Dinner, the Ottawa Flying Club's annual celebration to mark the achievements of our student pilots in achieving their Private, Commercial, Multi, IFR and other ratings, will be held on Friday, 27 May 2016.
The dinner will be held at RCAF Officers' Mess, 158 Gloucester Street, Ottawa.
As well as the awarding of the Wings for those who have achieved their private license since 05 June 2015 to the time of this year's dinner, various licenses and ratings, and other awards, the evening will include a guest speaker Emma Telford, who graduated from the Aviation Management class in the fall of 2011, worked hard as line staff at the Ottawa Flying Club and now flies as Captain with Jazz Airlines.
Cash Bar opens at 18:00 and Supper will be served at 18:30.
Tickets available at Dispatch at the Ottawa Flying Club or reserving by email to Dispatch@ofc.ca or calling 613-523-2142.
- Students and Instructors $45
- Members and Guests $50
05 May 2016
Creative Commons licensed photo by Blake Crosby
Buttonville Airport in Toronto will stay open until at least October 31, 2017. Directors of the facility met Wednesday, April 27, and agreed to extend the life of one of the GTA's busiest GA facilities. The airport was slated to close by Oct. 31, 2016, to make way for a massive residential and commercial development.
There's no word on the rationale for the extension but many of the tenants of the airport have moved or announced plans to do so. Transport Canada announced it was closing its offices at Buttonville by the end of June of this year. But meanwhile the facility will remain available.
"All, it is now official," said Buttonville Flying Club President Dave Sprague in an email to members. "Buttonville Airport will stay open until at least Oct. 31, 2017."
03 May 2016
by Angela Anderson, Director of Marketing, Personal Aviation, ForeFlight, LLC
This live webinar (web seminar) event is an advanced, scenario-based course on flying with ForeFlight Mobile. Dominik will focus on VFR features of the app from a Canadian perspective. You will learn how to use the app to its fullest from planning to inflight navigation. Pilots at any level are welcomed, however this course is beyond beginner level and is geared towards pilots who have at least some working knowledge of the app.
Your presenter is Dominik Ochmanek. Dominik is a Transport Canada certified Multi IFR flight instructor, and a graduate of Western University’s Commercial Aviation Management program. He has worked for two of Canada’s major airlines and is now actively instructing in the Greater Toronto Area. Dominik is a member of ForeFlight’s Pilot Support Team specializing in Canadian content.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
- What: Flying with ForeFlight Mobile Web Seminar
- When: 1500 hrs CDT, 05 May 2016
- Where: On the internet!
- Register here
29 April 2016
Vintage Wings, the private flying museum located at Gatineau Executive Airport, has launched a new newsletter to improve communications with everyone interested in the goings-on at the museum.
Vintage Wings explained the need for a new newsletter, saying:
This inaugural edition of the Vintage Wings of Canada newsletter, ‘The Roundel’, marks the beginning of a larger effort by Vintage Wings to provide everyone with regular and up to date information. Our intent with this first issue is alert you to important activities around the hangar, including updates on the aircraft, a heads up on upcoming activities, and some information on how you can enhance your experience with us.
The PDF-format newsletter is supplied free and anyone can sign up for notification of the availability of future issues.
22 April 2016
From Transport Canada
In a recent event, an amateur-built Pipistrel Virus SW experienced a severe vibration while cruising at approximately 1600 feet above ground level. The pilot reduced the engine power and the vibration was reduced. The pilot steered the aircraft towards an abandoned aerodrome, shut down the engine and deployed the ballistic parachute. The aircraft descended to the Aerodrome and landed upright on the wheels. The pilot was uninjured. Shortly after the pilot exited the aircraft, the deployed chute was caught by a gust of wind and the aircraft was pulled inverted to where it came to rest.
The examination of the aircraft revealed that one blade of the propeller, manufactured by Woodcomp, model SR3000, had detached. The remaining propeller blade, hub, and blade root of the detached blade were sent to the TSB Laboratory for further analysis.
The TSB Laboratory determined that fatigue cracks, likely assisted by corrosion, had developed in the bosses of both blade roots of the occurrence propeller. In the root boss of the blade that detached, the crack had caused the separation of the blade.
A similar crack was growing in the remaining root boss but did not cause blade separation because a short segment (about 8%) of the boss circumference still remained unbroken. Fatigue cracking was a result of looseness in the blade root (retainer, bearings, hub assemblies).
Corrosion due to moisture penetration accelerated the growth of the fatigue crack. All 3 bearings that were examined (2) pitch bearings and the detached blade rear bearing exhibited distress of the rolling contact surfaces due to moisture penetration. In addition, the inward race of the rear bearings of both blades was made from a softer material, resulting in its significant deterioration.
The propeller, model SR3000, was acquired new with the aircraft kit. By the time of the present occurrence it was in service for about 11 months and accumulated about 235 hours since new.
All owners are reminded that STD 625, Appendix C, paragraph 6, requires the following:
Fixed Pitch and Ground Adjustable Propellers:
(a) Fixed pitch wooden propellers shall be checked for tightness after the first 25 hours of air time following their installation and at each subsequent inspection (amended 2007/12/30);
(b) At intervals of not more than 5 years, the propeller shall be removed from the aircraft and inspected for corrosion or other defects over its entire surface, including the hub faces and the mounting hole bores. While the propeller is removed, it shall also be checked for correct dimensions. However, if defects which require repairs beyond those recommended as field repairs by the propeller manufacturer are found, the propeller shall be repaired by an organization approved for the overhaul of propellers (amended 2007/12/30).
19 April 2016
- World Directory of Light Aviation
- by Willi Tacke (Publisher), et al
- Published by Flying-Pages Europe SARL, Flying Pages GmbH
- 210 X 297 mm, A4 magazine format, perfect binding
- 282 pages, including an index
The World Directory of Light Aviation (WDLA) is more of a magazine format directory than a true book, but if you are shopping for a new aircraft, engine or avionics, or are just interested in what is new in aviation, then, regardless of format, this publication is essential.
The WDLA has been an annual publication for some years now and was originally called the World Directory of Leisure Aviation, but it grew too big and was split into two separate publications, the World Directory of Light Aviation, which covers mostly powered aviation and the World Directory of Free Flight (WDFF), which covers paragliders, paramotors, hang gliders, powered parachutes and other forms of foot-launched and related flight.
The WDLA is published by a large team of writers and researchers working in conjunction with the publisher, Flying Pages Europe. There are four separate editions published in English, French, German and Chinese.
The publication has listings for over 1000 aircraft, a quite remarkable number, illustrating the global scope of the publication. The WDLA is advertiser-supported and the pages feature aviation ads from many of the leading manufacturers. I didn't see any ads from non-aviation advertisers.
The WDLA is divided into a number of chapters, each with their own tab colour for quick flipping:
- Red tab - Fixed Wings/LSA, edited by Marino Boric, covers European microlights, light-sport aircraft and advanced ultralights
- Orange tab - Homebuilts, edited by Roy Besswenger and Marino Boric, covers homebuilts including plans-built and kit-builts
- Mauve tab - Certified aircraft, edited by Dave Unwin and Marino Boric, covers certified production aircraft
- Light blue tab - UL Motorgliders, edited by Marino Boric, covers ultralight gliders and powered gliders
- Light blue tab - Certified motorgliders, edited by Xin Gou, covers powered and unpowered gliders
- Dark purple tab - Gyroplanes, edited by Werner Pfaendler, covers manufactured and kit gyroplanes
- Light Purple tab - Helicopters, edited by Werner Pfaendler, covers kit and certified helicopters
- Dark blue tab - Trikes, edited by Dimitri Delemarle, covers hang glider-winged ultralight trikes
- Green tab - Instruments, edited by Robby Bayerl, covers aircraft instruments of all kinds
- Periwinkle tab - Motors, covers all the aircraft powerplants available, in table format for quick comparisons, with a special section for electric powerplants
- Sky blue tab - Suppliers and Services, listing manufacturers of everything for aviation from floats, helmets, propellers, radios, rescue parachutes, wheels and tires, plus a list of importers for each brand. Finally there is an index of manufacturers, aircraft and advertisers
There are introductory articles to the publication overall, describing current trends in aviation, plus also introductions for each aircraft section, with more detail on what is new in the world of LSAs, gyroplanes, helicopters, etc.
The aircraft sections feature five entries per page in a standardized "box" format. Each entry provides a photo, a text description of the aircraft and its manufacturer, its regulatory category, the manufacturer's contact information and website, basic specifications, such as empty weight, gross weight, wing span, fuel tank size, engine, horsepower, seats, maximum speed, cruising speed, stall speed, climb rate, certification and prices. Since this is a European publication, the specifications are in metric. The prices are for the country of origin and thus may be in US dollars, pounds sterling or Euros.
The WDLA is affiliated with and carries the logos of Flying China, Vol Moteur, Flugel das magazin, Powered Sport Flying, The British Microlight Aircraft Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, Paramoteur+ and Parapente+.
New editions of the WDLA and its sister publication, WDFF, come out each year, in updated form. They can be found on the shelves of some Canadian aviation booksellers and magazine stands, but they can also be ordered directly from the publisher's website.
Overall the WDLA is a great publication that will appeal to the the aircraft shopper, but also to anyone who wants to keep up with what is happening in the world of general and recreational aviation. It will also appeal to aviation enthusiasts, both young and older, just the thing to curl up with in a quiet chair on a low-IFR day!
07 April 2016
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum at Rockcliffe, in Ottawa has a new acquisition. On Tuesday 05 April 2016 the RCAF delivered its last remaining Lockheed CC-130E Hercules to the museum.
This "E" model Herc, serial 130307, was in service for 51 years and accumulated more than 30,000 airframe hours before being retired from the fleet. This particular "E" model was last operated by 424 Transport & Rescue Squadron, based at 8 Wing, CFB Trenton. The "E" model was an upgrade to the previous "B" model, with the additional of more fuel in wing-mounted external tanks for more range.
There are still older "E" model Hercs in service elsewhere in the world and the RCAF continues to operate newer "H" and "J" models, so the Hercules has not disappeared from Canadian skies quite yet.
Hercules 307 is now at the museum at Rockcliffe airport and will be soon displayed there for the public to have a look at.
25 March 2016
- Pem-Air - The Community Airline That Did It All
- by Del O'Brien, Q.C. Juris D.
- Published by Burnstown Publishing House, Burnstown, Ontario, 2015
- 6" X 9" trade paperback
- 158 pages, including an introduction by Bob Gould and an author's biography
For 32 years, from 1970 to 2002, Pem-Air flew scheduled and charter flights from its base in Pembroke, Ontario without a death or serious injury, which is quite remarkable. Its safety record alone would put it above most other small Canadian air carriers, but Pem-Air was quite different from the typical small airline. It was a community-building project, started by local Pembroke business men with the aim of bringing economic growth to the small Ottawa Valley town.
The book's author, Del O'Brien, is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Pem-Air. O'Brien is a local Pembroke lawyer who was also the founding chairman of the Pembroke Airport Commission in 1968 and became the founding president of Pem-Air in 1970. He was there from beginning to end of Pem-Air and to some extent this history of the airline is his own personal memoir from the period. He is also a private pilot and aircraft owner and so understands the language of aviation as well as the business and legal sides.
When O'Brien opened his law practice in Pembroke in 1966, the town had no airport and no air service. With the large army base at Petawawa nearby, plus Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Chalk River facility in Deep River, there was no shortage of need for an air service, though. Furthermore the town's attempts to attract businesses to locate there often hinged on air connections and, lacking them, businesses often located elsewhere.
To address the problem, the town first built an airport, with O'Brien leading the venture in securing Bliss Brown's small grass airstrip for development and expansion. That was followed by airline service being initiated by Royal Air of Montreal. Service started in August 1968 with a Douglas DC-3 flying Pembroke to Toronto. Royal Air later applied to the Canadian Transportation Commission to serve the town with a Fokker F-27 turboprop, but the CTC rejected the application, a turn of events the author suggests was due to Air Canada's influence, a recurring villain in this story. Royal Air suspended service and that left the town without air connections again.
AECL indicated that they really needed daily air service to Toronto to maintain their nuclear facility and staff and this encouragement moved O'Brien to start a new airline as a community project. He approached many of the town's leading citizens and sold them each $5,000 shares in the new service, to be called Pem-Air. The new airline initially operated one Beechcraft Model 18, purchased for $20,000 and started service on 1 May 1970.
After a period operating a pair of Beech 18s on scheduled runs to Toronto, plus many charters as well, the airline bought its first DC-3 for $37,000. The operation did well for a time, until the 1973 Yom Kippur War resulted in the Arab employment of the "the oil weapon" and the price of fuel skyrocketed overnight. The economy experienced a recession at the same time, resulting in reduced passenger loads. A major construction project at the Pembroke Airport to expand the space and accommodate the army's requirements for air force Lockheed C-130 Hercules support for its airborne training meant that Pem-Air had to reduce operations and fly out of the military base's small grass airstrip instead, resulting in a further loss of traffic and financial red ink.
To reduce the costs of engine overhauls on the DC-3 fleet the company bought a Beech 99 Airliner, but maintenance issues and other problems meant it was not a viable replacement. The company moved to flying Piper Navajo Chieftains and these proved a winning aircraft choice. There were several setbacks along the way, too, such as a 1983 hangar fire that might have been due to arson. The fire burned four aircraft, but the losses were completely covered by insurance and the company recovered, building a new steel hangar at Pembroke as a replacement.
Pem-Air also operated a helicopter air ambulance service for a time, starting with a Bell 47-J2 and then with a Bell 206B Jet Ranger. The service was eventually ended and O'Brien names political and ground ambulance union issues as the culprits.
In 1983 the airline accidentally inherited a flying school after the local school closed, leaving many students stranded. The school was reopened and turned into a successful operation that went on to train Royal Canadian Air Cadets and also fed newly-minted pilots into the air carrier side of the business.
The company next moved to using a Beechcraft King Air A100 and finally a British Aerospace Jetstream intended to be used on a short-lived Kitchener-Waterloo to Ottawa service, linking the two hi-tech development centres.
In the end the airline was carefully shutdown over a period of time, a victim of deregulation, falling traffic levels from its home base of Pembroke, due to improved highway links, competition from the likes of Air Canada, plus a latter-day airport management at Pembroke that seemed to think that if they pushed Pem-Air out that another carrier would pick up the city as a destination. History notes that since Pem-Air shut down, now some 14 years ago, the community has been without air service.
The author doesn't mince words when it comes to analyzing what the caused issues for the community airline, from Air Canada's monopoly status to local political shortsightedness. This makes the book an interesting read and more than the usual handshakes and backslaps often found in airline histories.
I only have a couple of criticisms of the book. The first is that it has a fair number of spelling, grammar and especially proper noun capitalization errors, that should have been caught by proper professional editing. The other is the choice of fonts. The book uses a very narrow serif font that, while in a good point size, is not as easy to read as it should be. I showed the book to a number of readers and all agreed it should have been set in a better typeface.
Other than those two minor gripes, I really enjoyed the book. It has everything a reader could want in a history of a community-owned and run airline, including details about the aircraft, the people who flew them, the business side of things and especially the perils and intrigues involved, both before and after airline deregulation occurred in Canada. While most pilots and aviation enthusiasts will find it an interesting and engaging read, it should be mandatory reading for anyone even vaguely thinking about starting up an airline.
The book is published by Burnstown Publishing House, a relatively new publisher, just started by Tim Gordon in 2015, after he sold his previous publishing business, General Store Publishing House, also of Burnstown and later Renfrew, which he had owned since 1981. The book selling business is very challenging these days and Gordon has taken an interesting tack on dealing with the diminishing returns that retailers offer publishers. He explains on his website, "with the demand for higher and higher discounts by the chain stores, we have concluded that we cannot do effective business with Chapters. We will be selling books to giftshops, bookstores, and libraries on a 50 percent-off, non-returnable basis. With this system in place, BPH will have no need for a warehouse, which will be a big help in keeping down the cost of getting a book into print." He also sells directly from his e-commerce equipped website, too. I hope Gordon succeeds in his publishing endeavour, as we have very few book publishers in Canada these days willing to print new works by new authors and not just print old back catalogue works guaranteed to keep selling. He deserves our support!
19 March 2016
13 March 2016
- Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, Volume 2
- by Jack Schofield with Arthur Cox
- Published by Coast Dog Press, Mayne Island, British Columbia, 2016
- Electronic on-line only book
- 78 pages
- Price - free
Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, Volume 2 is, of course, the much-anticipated second installment to volume 1, which Jack Schofield and Arthur Cox released last autumn. This second book in the series continues the tradition set by the earlier work, of collecting together short flying stories written by the pilots who were there "when it happened". The book also features a wealth of colour and black and white photos, plus the artwork of both Schofield and Cox, too.
Another tradition continued with this volume in the series is that the book is made available to read for free. This volume has some advertising in it, but all are ads are for the other books that Schofield offers from his own Mayne Island, British Columbia based publishing house, Coast Dog Press. His plan is to continue the series to at least a third volume in the near future. As with the last volume, as a COPA member, all you have to do is send Schofield an email and he will send you the link for the book. He will also send you a note when the next volume is out. It is hard to beat all that service and for free, too!
So what do you get for free this time around? Hangar Flying - Tales From the Flight Deck, Volume 2 is 78 pages, just six pages shorter than the first volume. It is not a long book and like the previous edition took me about an hour to read it.
Each of the chapters are short flying stories. As last time, some are serious and some are amusing, but all are worth thinking about, reading and enjoying.
In volume 2 you get:
- Over the Pool, by Robert S. Grant, the story of a Cessna 208 Caravan relief flight in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Once An Aviator, by Mel Turner, tales from flying Avro Shackleton maritime patrol bombers in some of the small British colonial wars after WWII.
- Beaver to Helsinki, by John Addison, about a very long ferry trip from BC to Finland, mostly at 500 feet.
- A Sketch From History, by Jack Schofield, about a drawing of a Twin Otter he did.
- The Yellow Peril, by Arthur Cox, a tale from training on RCAF Harvards in the 1950s.
- 4000 Merlins, A Story Within a Story, by Jack Schofield, about the crash landing in hostile territory of a Halifax during a 1000 bomber raid on Germany.
- Twisting and Turning, by Ken Armstrong, which details an incident during forest fire fighting with a Bell 205 Huey.
- Fiction - No Laughing Matter (episode two of three), by Jack Schofield with illustrations by Art Cox, about a Gulfstream biz jet charter adventure to Germany with some rather suspicious passengers. The story will be continued in the next the Hangar Flying volume.
I was quite pleased to see the story by John Addison, the former RAF Vulcan pilot, who was the Chief Flying Instructor at Victoria Flying Club when I learned to fly there, almost 40 years ago. Ken Armstrong's name will be familiar to COPA members, as he served many years on the COPA board as a director from BC.
As with the first installment, I greatly enjoyed this book too. It is a fun short read and may lead many pilots to think about why they haven't yet written down their own favourite flying tales. Given the price, there is no reason that this volume shouldn't find a home on your laptop or tablet, too.
09 March 2016
- Air-Crazy - Facinating stories of Canadian women in the air
- by Elisabeth Gillan Muir
- Published by Another Chapter Publishing, 2015
- 8" X 10 paperback
- 46 pages, including an introduction and author's biography and acknowledgements
Review by Leeloo Lengagne
Air Crazy by Elizabeth Gillan Muir talks about how, over a 100 years ago, airplanes were only flown by men and woman weren’t even supposed to be passengers. The book has a short story for each woman and talks about their work and experiences with flying. It tells the stories in time order from 1912 to 2000 and each chapter has photos.
This book was interesting in many ways, such as the nicknames that were given to the pilots like “the flying school girl”. Not all of the women were pilots; some were the first woman to be passengers on a plane. I feel that it would be unfair to not be able to do something that you love and these women did it anyway. I found all of the stories fun to read especially the last story about Maryse Carmichael because she was the first woman to fly with the Snowbirds Canadian Forces acrobatic team. I didn’t know what the Snowbirds were before reading this book.
I think that Air Crazy is good for kids ages 8 – 12 because if you are older you might find it a little too easy. Also, this book is good for a young girl who is interested in flying or planes. I think it should be in a library or given as a gift.
The back of the book tells us that the author, Elizabeth, is a historian in Toronto. I find it interesting that she is a historian because if she wasn’t a historian then the books that she writes might be fairy tales. I like that the stories in the book are real. She has written stories for children’s magazines in Canada, the United States, Australia, and Great Britain. I think it is interesting that “She was paid $1.00 for her first story, “Marsh Hens”, which was published in Child Life when she was ten. She has recently published two adult books: Riverdale: east of the Don and Canadian in the sky: 100 years of flight”.
In general Air-Crazy by Elizabeth Gillan Muir is a great book for people who like the idea of flight and it gives the message that everyone should take a shot at anything that people say they can’t do.
Leeloo Lengagne is COPA's reviewer of aviation books for children. She is a student of art and literature and is eleven years old.
26 February 2016
The 27th edition of Mo's Ottawa River wheel and Ski Fly-in will take place on Saturday 27 February 2016.
Weather forecast: in the morning -12° degrees, sun and clouds, less then 1 cm of snow. Afternoon: +1° degree, cloudy, less then 1 cm of snow.
Runway 16-34, 4000 ft X 100 ft. 16 to 18 inches of ice. A few years ago Mo had 100 airplanes on 14 inches of ice.
- Date: Saturday 27 February 2016
- Location: 45 26 57 N 75 55 48 W, one mile west of the Ottawa VOR, on the Ottawa River
- Runway: 34-16, 4000 feet X 100 feet, surface is ploughed ice and snow
- Food: Provided!!
- Frequencies: Air 123.20 MHz, ground: 122.75 MHz
- Information: Maurice Prudhomme 819-682-5273
18 February 2016
Bernie's 7th annual seaplane (including ultralights) and helicopter flyin will be held on Saturday, 16 July 2016. It is located on Patry island in the Gatineau River, 6 miles south of the Maniwaki airport, 1.75 mile south of Bouchette.
Planned events include a golf tournament (call Michel Patry 819-465-3654 for info), a kid's playground, food served starting at 1000 hrs, mechoui from 1800 hrs and evening dancing after dinner.
All profits will go to the Municipality of Bouchette's Service des Loisirs.
11 February 2016
Diana Trafford, a member of COPA Flight 169 Pontiac, has just launched a new blog about aviation history.
She explains the project:
Flights of History is a blog centred around early aviation in Canada, particularly in Quebec. A few years ago, as I was researching family genealogy, I took a detour into aviation history. Stories about my uncles, both bush pilots in the 1920s and 1930s, captured my imagination. So I began researching their adventures and the wider context of aviation along Quebec’s North Shore and in the Lower St. Lawrence.
In this blog I hope to share some of what I have unearthed through this research. As time goes on, I may broaden the focus to include subjects other than aviation. I hope you'll find the blog entertaining. Please feel free to comment, offer new information or suggest topics you would like to read about.
04 February 2016
01 February 2016
Transport Canada Civil Aviation Ontario Region presents "An Evening with the Canadian Military".
Join us as speakers from the Canadian Mission Control Centre (CMCC), Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton and 424 Squadron provide information on a number of topics including:
- the Canadian Beacon Registry
- CMCC and Cospas-Sarsat
- JRCC Trenton
- rescue co-ordination
- search and rescue (SAR) missions
Attendees will qualify for the 2-year recency requirement as per CAR 421.05(2)(b).
- Date Wednesday 24 February 2016
- Time 1900-2130 hrs. Doors open at 1830 for sign-in
- Location Algonquin College (Ottawa Campus) Classroom T119 (1st floor Building T), 1385 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa, ON K2G 1V8
- Parking Parking Lots 8 + 9 and enter through Building T.
- Contact Will Boles, Civil Aviation Safety Inspector, Standards Coordination, (416) 952-3858
19 January 2016
18 January 2016
by Kathleen Van Benthem, Ph.D. & Alana Cooper, Institute of Cognitive Science
The ACE Lab at Carleton University is looking for participants!
This study will explore cognition and cross-country general aviation flight.
If you are:
- a pilot or a pilot in training;
- medically licensed to fly;
- at least 40 years of age; and
- interested in flying a full-scale Cessna 172 simulator
The study takes place over two sessions at the ACE Lab at Carleton University.
This study is quite different from the last one, so pilots can participate even if they were here before. Participation is completely voluntary. You will not be compensated monetarily or otherwise for participating in this study but parking costs will be paid for by the study.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Interested pilots please reply to Kathy Van Benthem.