14 July 2015

News from the Carleton ACE Lab

Kathleen Van Benthem, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carleton University Advanced Cognative Engineering Lab (ACE), who has spoken to COPA Flight 8 in the past, recently send news about the Aging Pilot Study.

The study is complete and four videos have been produced that outline the project and its results.

Van Benthem writes:

It has been a while, but I am finally finished the Cessna study at Carleton U! We were very fortunate in that SmartPilot.ca came out last fall and made some professional videos about the lab and this study (much better than our homemade ones!). You will find the videos here (no login in required).:

The four videos presented cover:

  • The people of the aging pilot study
  • Understanding the study
  • So what? Lessons learned
  • About the Lab

Van Benthem also noted that a recent Carleton article has focused on the work done at the ACE lab by several grad students, including the work of Chris Nicholson, a psychology PhD student who is interested in how flight simulator motion affects pilot training.

In that same article Van Benthem summarized the findings of the aging pilot study:

Research at the ACE lab showed that, although older pilots did show poorer results on some aspects of flight performance when compared to younger pilots, some of the effects of age were reduced by having higher levels of expertise. "This emphasizes the need for continued upgrading of skills throughout the pilot lifespan," says Van Benthem.

She also notes: "I am also happy to say that we are working on finding the funding to continue this work, and develop a GA-purposed cognitive health screening tool."

Flight 8 would like to congratulate Kathleen Van Benthem on completing the study!

09 July 2015

Book Review: Wings Over High River

  • Wings Over High River - Conversations with A. Gordon Jones - The Biography of a BCATP Pilot Instructor
  • by Anne Gafiuk
  • Published by The Nanton Lancaster Society, Nanton, Alberta
  • Book launch 1 December 2012
  • 11" X 8.5" soft cover
  • 287 pages
  • $47.00

This book, by freelance writer Anne Gafiuk, was an accidental project. She started off writing a story about another World War II pilot when her background research took her to the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alberta. The Museum's Tink Robinson connected her with Gordon Jones, a local pilot who was an instructor with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during the Second World War and taught at #5 Elementary Flying Training School in nearby High River, Alberta. In interviewing Jones and his family at their home in High River in southern Alberta, Gafiuk became entranced by his story and the museum convinced her to create the book from her interviews. The museum then published the book in house. Jones was well known at the museum because he owned and flew a deHavilland Tiger Moth, a yellow one in BCATP markings and he displayed it often at the museum.

Gafiuk showed up at the Jones house for her first interview bearing a homemade lemon meringue pie and that won over hearts and minds. She came back, several times, to complete the interviews through 2011-12.

Gordon Jones was born on 12 January 1923 in Bangor, Saskatchewan, the son of Welsh pioneer settlers. Jones' father served in the infantry in the First World War and was gassed in France. He came home with shrapnel wounds. Jones himself lived through the rigours of farm life in the Great Depression and then he enlisted in the RCAF when he turned 18 in 1941. He had to redo the medical three or four times before they took him and he then reported to #2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba in May 1941. After basic training he was assigned to do guard duty as an Aircraftsman Second Class at #10 Service Flying Training School at Dauphin, Manitoba. He was next sent to #4 Initial Training School in Edmonton, where he flew the Link Trainer simulator.

Jones did his Elementary Flying Training at #5 EFTS in High River, Alberta, on Tiger Moths, where the instructors were civilians at that time. Jones arrived in Fort Macleod and #7 SFTS for his service flying training on Ansons. Billy Bishop himself pinned Jones' wings on and Jones was then promoted to Sergeant pilot. Hoping to be sent overseas, Jones was surprised to be posted to #1 FIS in Trenton for instructor training on 1 January 1942, on Harvards. He says of the 40 or so members of his course who did go overseas, only one made it home.

After instructor training Jones was posted back to #5 EFTS in High River in March, 1942 to teach pilots and was promoted to Pilot Officer and later Flying Officer. It was in High River that Jones met his future wife, Linora Randle, and he says that she taught him how to dance at Alberta country dances. In October 1943 the school converted to Cornells, but Jones never lost his admiration for the Tiger Moth. Jones and Linora Randle were married in October 1944 and it was in that month that the orders came to begin the closure of #5 EFTS as the war wound down. Jones was sent to #1 FIS Trenton and later posted to #16 SFTS in Hagersville, Ontario, where he became a testing officer, taking trainees up for flight tests. No matter how much an instructor wanted to be sent overseas, once you had some seniority in the job you were too valuable as an instructor to go.

After the war Jones went back to farming and stayed in High River the rest of his life. He owned a Piper Cherokee 235, became a member of the International Flying Farmers and a freelance instructor. For a while he owned a flying school and flew charter flights as well, including air ambulance flights. He served on the local airport commission and became the Flying Farmer representative to the COPA board. He was elected to the Municipal District of Foothills five times and became the Reeve. He had kidney cancer in 1973, but overcame it. He later traded his Cherokee for a Piper Lance and then in 1994 bought a real yellow BCATP Tiger Moth when it came up for sale. He kept the Lance as well until 2008, when he was diagnosed with cancer again, beating it again. In 2012 he was given an Award of Merit by COPA President and CEO Kevin Psutka. He kept his Tiger Moth to the end of his life, willing it to the museum.

His biography was published in late 2012 and Gordon Jones passed away on 10 September 2013, at age 90.

In many ways this isn't a classic sort of biography of a World War II pilot. Instead this is a sort of a scrap book of interview transcripts, old photos, pages from logbooks, flight test reports, that sort of thing. It's a warm and personal book and has an intimate quality to it. During the long interviews that the author did with Jones and his family, friends and wartime associates she became a part of that family and very close to her subject. The book is full of the little stories and anecdotes that made up wartime service, even here in Canada, far from the fighting, stories of low flying exploits, cross country flights, promotions, train trips and country dances held on remote prairie air bases. Overall it is a delightful read and surprisingly compelling. It is also profusely illustrated with hundreds of photos and documents.

Wings Over High River is an interesting personal story, one that most aviators would find of interest.

External links

07 July 2015

Bancroft 2015 Pancake Breakfast Fly-In

The Bancroft Flying Club (COPA Flight 119) is holding their 2015 pancake fly-in breakfast on 12 July 2015.

The event will include a display of classic automobiles. Airplane rides will also be available from WM Aeroflight at $50 per person on both 11 and 12 July.

Everyone is welcome to fly in or drive in!

Here are the details for the event:

  • Date: 12 July 2015
  • Time: 0800-1200 hrs
  • Location: Jack Brown/Bancroft Municipal Airport (CNW3), N45 04 23 W77 52 44
  • Frequency: Unicom 122.8 MHz, within 5 nm and 4100 feet ASL
  • Breakfast:
    • pancakes
    • sausages
    • orange juice
    • coffee
    • real maple syrup
  • Prices:
    • Adults: $6.00
    • Children (5-10) $4.00
    • Children (under 5) free
    • Families: $20.00

External links

Midland Fly-In 2015

The Midland Fly-In is coming up soon on 11 July 2015! The event is organized by the Midland-Huronia Chapter of the RAA and sponsored by Aircraft Spruce and Speciality.

The event includes a Transport Canada Safety Seminar at 1000 hrs.

Other highlights include an airport terminal open house and displays by Aircraft Spruce and Speciality, as well as the Midland District Model Railroad Club. Zenair will also be holding an open house and there will be displays of vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

Everyone is welcome.

Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday 11 July 2015
  • Time: 0900-1500 hrs
  • Location: Midland-Huronia Airport (CYEE), N44 41 05, W 79 55 46
  • Frequency: Unicom 122.85 MHz
  • Telephone: 705-526-8086
  • Food: Lunch will be available on site

External links

06 July 2015

RAA Ottawa-Rideau­ Chapter 4928 Fly-In BBQ Lunch

RAA Ottawa-Rideau­ Chapter 4928 is holding its July fly-in BBQ lunch on 12 July 2015 at Kars/Rideau Valley Air Park.

Everyone is welcome to attend! Fly-in or drive-in.

Here are the event details:

  • Date: Sunday 12 July 2015
  • Time: Lunch served 1100-1400 hrs
  • Location: Kars/Rideau Valley Air Park, Kars, Ontario (CPL3), 45°06′N 075°38′, RWY 26/08
  • Radio: Traffic 123.4
  • Food: BBQ

External links

29 June 2015

Smiths Falls Fly-in Lunch

The Smiths Falls Flying Club, COPA Flight 100, will host a fly-in lunch on 18 July 2015, in conjunction with a Transport Canada training session.

Everyone is welcome to attend! Fly-in or drive-in.

The Transport Canada recurrency training session will start at 1300 hrs, following lunch at 1100 hrs.

Here are the event details:

  • Date: Saturday 18 July 2015
  • Time: Lunch starts 1100 hrs, Transport Canada recurrency training session starts 1300 hrs
  • Location: Smiths Falls-Montague (Russ Beach) Airport, Smiths Falls, Ontario (CYSH)
  • Radio: Unicom 122.7 Mhz within 5nm and 3400 feet ASL
  • Food: The Ad Mare Seafood Truck will be at the airport. Ad Mare’s famous fish and chips or fish tacos will be served. Price will be $12. Indoor seating will be available.

External links

28 June 2015

Iroquois Flying Club’s 49th Annual Fly-In Breakfast

The Iroquois Flying Club will hold their 49th Annual Fly-In Breakfast on 19 July 2015 at the Iroquois Municipal Airpark and everyone is invited to fly or drive in.

Here are the details:

  • Date: 19 July 2015
  • Time: 0800-1130 hrs
  • Location: Iroquois Municipal Airpark (CNP7)
  • Frequency: Unicom 122.8 MHz
  • Information: 613-657-1646
  • Menu: Eggs, Ham, Baked Beans, Roll, Coffee and Juice.
  • Price: $6.00, Children 6 and under $3.00
  • Note: There is a separate breakfast line for pilots and their passengers

Canada Day Fly-In 2015

by Brenda Reid

On 01 July 2015 Canada Day, The Rockcliffe Flying Club will host its Annual Fly-In Breakfast from 0730-1100 hrs. Cost for breakfast is $6.00/per person. This year we are serving pancakes and sausages, baked beans, rolls, coffee, tea and juice. We will be serving bacon and eggs for those who prefer the traditional RFC breakfast.

Sightseeing flights in a Cessna 172 will be available from 0930-1630 for $35/per person. Registration is based at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The flights will be based at the RFC. The customers will be shuttled back and forth from the Museum to the RFC.

If you have any questions you can contact Brenda Reid or call 613-746-4425.

External links

23 June 2015

Book Review: Air Canada - The History

  • Air Canada - The History
  • by Peter Pigott
  • Published by Dundurn Press, Toronto, Ontario, 1 March 2014
  • 10" X 7" soft cover, also available in PDF and ePub digital formats
  • 328 pages, including notes, further reading and index
  • $35.00 in hard copy and PDF, $16.99 in ePub

Peter Pigott's recently published history of Air Canada is surprisingly readable, and while not as gripping as a mystery story whose ending is unknown, this book will keep you reading right to the end.

Pigott has researched his subject well from original sources, archives, interviews and papers and presents it in chronological fashion, starting from the formation of Trans Canada Airlines in 1937. Not a commercial enterprise when it was conceived, the fledgling national air carrier was created as a part of Canadian National Railway and as a policy instrument to establish something that Canada lacked, a national airline. In those days there were lots of small air carriers, but none provided more than local service; no one was flying passengers or freight coast to coast.

It had actually been the short-lived Conservative government under RB Bennett that started the construction of a national series of airfields and navigation facilities as a Great Depression relief effort, to provide work for unemployed men. The Trans Canada Airway was inherited by the Liberal Mackenzie King government in 1935, almost complete. All it lacked was an air service to use it. TCA was born as a result and given a monopoly on the airway. It was to be a "social instrument - an essential service like the provincially owned electricity companies or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, designed to bind the country together...." The first minister responsible was the irrepressible CD Howe. The first flight was flown from Vancouver airport in a Lockheed 10A Electra to Seattle, on 1 September 1937.

The airline went on to fly a wide variety of aircraft including the Avro Lancastrian, Canadair North Star, Vickers Vanguard and Viscount and the jets, the Douglas DC-8 and DC-9, the Lockheed L-1011, the Boeing 747 and 727 and the Airbus A320, A340 and A319.

Pigott goes on to detail the airline's life in a good level of detail, including the decisions made in the executive suite, the political interference suffered, the aircraft purchased and sold, the organization, uniforms, the strikes and other challenges. Much of the tale is told with the spectre of privatization hanging over the whole endeavour, something wholeheartedly supported by most of the leadership over the years and only completely achieved in July 1989.

The author divides the story up by company president, with chapters on the years dominated by Gordon McGregor, Yves Pratte, Claude Taylor, Pierre Jeanniot, and finally the Americans, Hollis Harris, Lamar Durrett and Robert Milton. The book ends in 2002, leaving the newer tales for a future volume.

Pigott includes pretty much everything, the crashes (including the "Gimli Glider" incident), the national and regional politics and the politics of routes, the early computer reservation systems, finances, cabotage and rights granted, competition with Canadian Pacific, Pacific Western, Wardair and WestJet, customer complaints about poor service, the takeover of the ailing Canadian Airlines, even the "Airbus Scandal" of the Mulroney years. The book is illustrated with many photos of the aircraft, the designer uniforms, aircraft paint schemes and the key people involved. He also covers the regional and budget air services Air Canada started: Air Canada Connector, Jazz, Tango, Zip and even AeroPlan, the customer loyalty "points" system. Even though he shows obvious keen interest in the subject, Pigott is a consummate historian and the reader never feels like this is a "fan" work, but always a passionate, but unbiased history.

I have to admit when I picked this book up I thought, "how interesting can a history of Air Canada really be?" But the author tells a story worth relating and he makes it engaging, if not gripping. I think this is a book that anyone interested in aviation or just general Canadian history will enjoy and find hard to put down.

The book's publisher, Dundurn Press of Toronto, is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

External links

18 June 2015

COPA Announces New President & CEO

By Trekker Armstrong, Chairman, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

June 15, 2015

COPA’s Board of Directors today announced that Mr. Bernard Gervais has been appointed as the next President and CEO of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. He will officially begin his term on July 1st, 2015.

The Succession Committee of the COPA Board, went through a structured and disciplined recruitment process and was fortunate to have attracted numerous qualified applicants. We wish to thank and acknowledge those applicants who sought to contribute to the success of the Association.

Mr. Gervais is the Past Chairman of the Board of the APBQ (The Quebec Aviators and Bush Pilots Association) and is an outspoken advocate for personal aviation. He has actively collaborated with Transport Canada, NAV CANADA and Community stakeholders on numerous cases. Mr. Gervais has been instrumental in organizing air rallies and provincial air tours to promote general aviation and flight safety. He holds a Private Pilot’s license with a Night and Seaplane endorsement. He flies a 2008 Maule MX-7 on wheels, floats and skis.

As President and CEO, Mr. Gervais’ duties and responsibilities are wide ranging. Mr. Gervais will be responsible for providing valuable membership services, contributing to the corporate strategy and business plan, leading and integrating corporate goals and deliverables, while influencing government bodies. He will be the liaison and primary contact person for entities such as Transport Canada, NAV CANADA, other Canadian Aviation Associations, AOPA and EAA, as well as US and Canadian border agencies. Mr. Gervais will work with the COPA Board regarding corporate governance, while leading and managing a small team of dedicated professionals at COPA's national office in Ottawa.

Mr. Gervais will attend COPA’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday, June the 20 th at St. Andrews Airport (CYAV) in Manitoba. He welcomes the opportunity to meet with COPA members and with others in the broader aviation community.

External links

17 June 2015

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Fly-in - 09 August 2015















The L'Association des Pilotes et Propriétaires de Hangar de St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (COPA Flight 160) are holding their 11th annual fly-in on Sunday 09 August 2015 and everyone is invited to come!

The event features free hotdogs, corn on the cob and soft drinks plus a one day pass for all pilots and passengers to the International Hot-Air Balloon Festival which is held at the same time and place.

Pilots can check for NOTAMs on the club web site for last minute updates.

Details

  • Location: St-Jean Airport (CYJN)
  • Date: Sunday, 09 August 2015
  • Time: All day, except runways closed 1800-1900 hrs for balloons
  • Frequencies: Tower 118.2 MHz, Ground 121.7 MHz
  • Contact: Nicole Legault

External links

28 May 2015

COPA Annual General Meeting Coming Up

By COPA HQ

Join COPA in Winnipeg on 20 June 2015, at our Annual General Meeting. A host of activities are planned in connection with the COPA business session. Friday evening there will be a barbeque meet and greet at Lyncrest Airport and participants will be able to take part in a progressive fly-out dinner on Saturday. Tours are being arranged to visit Nav Canada's Area Control Centre, CYAV Tower, Canadian Propeller, AeroRecip,the Western Canada Aviation Museum, the Museum for Human Rights and the Polar Bear Exhibit at the Winnipeg Zoo.

For more information and to register visit www.copawinnipeg2015.ca.

See you in Winnipeg!

22 May 2015

Howard Watt: Air Mail and Bush Pilot 1926-1941

By Diana Trafford

I'll be giving a talk on my uncle, Howard Watt at Venturing Hills, Luskville, Quebec, on Thursday 28 May 2015 at 1900 hrs.

Uncle Howard flew in the Red Lake Gold Rush of 1926 in a Curtiss JN-4, then owned a Standard J-1 based in Toronto, flew a Ryan M-2 out of The Pas which he later bought, then flew mainly Fairchilds for Canadian Transcontinental and Canadian Airways on the Quebec North Shore mail service, and finally set up in the Lower St. Lawrence as an independent operator with 2 Fox Moths and later a Dragon.

The talk - very much a story telling approach - will last 45-50 minutes, probably with a break in the middle to allow people to talk to each other. I have about 100 slides and hope to show video clips as well so that people will get a feel for those early planes. Technical details for the planes I mention are given on the slides.

I'll be giving a 30-minute version of this talk at the 2015 convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in Hamilton on 18 June 2015.

14 May 2015

Crosswinds Café opens weekends for the summer at Huronia Airport

The Crosswinds Café is re-opening at Huronia Airport on 16 May 2015. It will be open on weekends in the summer.

The Huronia Airport is located near the towns of Midland and Penetanguishene on Georgian Bay, Ontario and is owned and operated by the municipalities of Midland, Penetanguishene and the Township of Tiny.

The airport is also known as the home of Zenair, one of Canada's most prolific kit plane manufacturers.

External links

07 May 2015

COPA at AirVenture Oshkosh 2015

From COPA National HQ

This is COPA's first official invitation to all Canadian Pilots at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and is brought to you by AIG and the Magnes Group. Refreshing root beer floats will be offered to satisfy your thirst after your full day of gawking at aviation's finest and newest products.

Prizes will be raffled off with the grandpPrize of an iPAD Mini 64gb and a one year subscription to ForeFlight Canada going to one lucky winner.

Special guests are being invited and hopefully will come speak to our crowd of Canadian aviators. Don't miss out! Mark your calendar! Attend COPA's "All Canadian Pilots Reception 2015" (spouses and friends are also invited).

See you Tuesday 21 July 2015, between 1730 hrs and 1930 hrs, under the Partner Resource Center tent on the north side of the Exhibit Hangar A.

External links

06 May 2015

COPA Flight 100 Fly-In at Smiths Falls

COPA Flight 100 Smiths Falls invites everyone to come to their annual fly/drive-in breakfast this summer at Smiths Falls-Montague (Russ Beach) Airport.

The club says, "hang around as long as you like and bring the whole family. Enjoy a great breakfast and look at lots of planes".

Here are the details:

  • Date: 7 June 2015
  • Time: Serving from 0730 until 1130 hrs
  • Location: Smiths Falls-Montague (Russ Beach) Airport, Smiths Falls, Ontario (CYSH)
  • Weather: Rain or shine, the event is on!
  • Contact: For more information, call 613-283-1148 or check the club website

External links

17 April 2015

Greenbank and a Tale of Three Airports

Photo: Greenbank Airport before all the fuss

By Gord Mahaffy, COPA Flight 70, Oshawa

If you think that the concern over the proposed amendments to the National Aeronautics Act is overblown, consider this: In the space of one week there were three public meetings focused on changes to airports in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The first was in Oshawa on March 26 to consider the new Oshawa business plan which includes the Oshawa Airport.

The second was in Port Perry on March 30 to consider improvements to the Greenbank airport. The third was on March 31 to present a plan for extending the runways at Billy Bishop Toronto Island Airport (BBTIA). With the exception of a few COPA members all of these meetings were attended by people opposed to any kind of changes whatsoever and many of these people would like to see the airports closed.

There will be more comments on the developments at the BBTIA airport by members of COPA National but this article will be focused on Greenbank airport.

First some background on Greenbank. Up until 2008 it was owned and operated by Micky Jovkovic who was slowly making improvements. He planned to add hangars, pave the runway, and build a restaurant. Unfortunately Micky died tragically in August of 2008 and several years later the airport was sold to a numbered company.

While all this was happening another phenomenon was occurring driven by the explosive growth in construction in the Greater Toronto Area. The disposal of gravel being excavated from huge building projects such as the Toronto subway was proving difficult. This created a controversial industry; that of paying landowners for the privilege of dumping this fill on their land. Anyone with enough land could have truckloads of gravel dumped and make lots of money while being completely passive in the whole operation.

The downside to all of this is the damage to the environment that it causes and the noise and pollution it causes for the neighbors. If the soil is contaminated it can contaminate water supplies and cause serious health problems.

To control the effects of unrestricted dumping for profit most municipalities have strict by-laws that require the soil to be used for legitimate building purposes. Other conditions include limits on daily loads and soil testing on a regular basis.

Ah, but there is a loophole that unscrupulous operators can employ to get around municipal by- laws. If the property is an airport then it comes under federal jurisdiction and municipal by-laws don’t apply.So there exists the situation where a legitimate airport that wishes to expand their facilities can import the necessary fill and actually make some money from the process which will help defray the cost of improvements.

On the other hand there is a temptation to use an airport as a dumping ground just to collect dumping fees.

This is the situation that the Scugog Council was dealing with at their meeting on March 30. Most residents of the area believe that Greenbank airport is now just one big gravel dump and when all of the fill has been dumped in this pristine area it will simply be closed and the owners will walk away with the profits.

Less cynical people including many pilots hope that it will be completed as per plans and present Southern Ontario with a pristine, full service, state of the art airport with increased capacity for General Aviation.

When the project first started the owners of Greenbank voluntarily complied with local building regulations and agreed to pay the municipality a “Tipping Fee” for every cubic meter of fill dumped. This was enforced by a one year contract between the municipality and Greenbank.

But this contract expired on March 31 2015.

The Scugog Council extended this contract for one week and submitted a new set of restrictions for Greenbank to consider.

These new conditions include increasing the security deposit to $1 million, increasing insurance coverage to $10 million, eliminating Saturday deliveries of gravel, erecting a security fence, giving municipal inspectors full access to the site and allowing the municipality to do its own soil testing by drilling 50 foot deep wells 10 feet apart in critical areas.

If the owners of Greenbank accept these conditions then another one year contract will be signed and work may proceed. If the conditions are not acceptable then more negotiations will be needed and work will stop until an agreement can be reached.

As of this writing a new contract has not yet been signed.

13 April 2015

College of Pilots Event Held in Ottawa

From the College of Professional Pilots of Canada

Join us in Ottawa on Friday, 17 April 2015 to hear from former Concorde pilot John Hutchinson speak about what it was like to fly one of the world’s most famous airliners.

This event is being held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum starting at 1800 hrs and everyone is welcome.

Following Captain Hutchinson’s speech there will be an informal networking session where pilots can learn more about an organization we recently became affiliated with, the Honourable Company of Air Pilots. This event will be a good opportunity for pilots early in their careers to make contacts with more senior members of our industry.

External links

06 April 2015

Book Review: Yukon Wings

  • Yukon Wings
  • by Bob Cameron
  • Published by Frontenac House, Calgary, Alberta in 2012, printed in China
  • 12.25" X 9.5" hardback
  • 368 pages, including cast of major characters, notes, index of aircraft and general index
  • $60.00

Author Bob Cameron grew up in the Yukon, the son of a Yukon aviation pioneer. He graduated as an engineer and worked for United Aircraft in Montreal, before returning to the Yukon to become a bush pilot for Trans North Turbo Air. He retired as Operations Manager there after three and a half decades of flying, in 2001. Over the years Cameron also made it his vocation to collect Yukon flying stories, photos and artifacts, up to and including collecting aircraft wrecks. He still lives in Whitehorse, too. If anyone can tell the story of pioneer flying in the territory it must be him!

At 368 pages and 4.5 lbs (2 kg) dead-weight, this is no quick pass over the subject. This is a truly "large" work, with a lot of photos and a lot of detail in it. That said the book is very readable from start to finish and you can feel the author's personal connection to the people he is writing about, many of whom were his boyhood heroes.

The book's 16 chapters focus on the period between the First and Second World Wars when aviation arrived in the Yukon and went to work there. It covers into the time of the Second World War, as well, with the flying support for the Alaska Highway and Canol Pipeline construction that made use of local civil aviation, as well as the northwest ferry route of aircraft heading from North America factories to aid the Soviet war effort.

The book really starts with the US Army expedition of four British-designed Airco DH.4 biplanes landing in the Yukon in July, 1920 on their way to Alaska. It was not until 1927 that anyone actually set up an air service in the territory, when the Yukon Airways and Exploration Company started flying with one Ryan B-1 Brougham aircraft named the Queen of the Yukon, similar to Lindbergh's Ryan, the Spirit of St Louis. This outfit carried out the territory's first passenger flights, first airmail and first air freight runs, too. The Queen of the Yukon met an inglorious fate when it hit a Model T Ford truck on landing roll-out. It was replaced by an Alexander Eaglerock biplane and eventually a replacement Ryan, the Queen of the Yukon II. That latter aircraft was also crashed, with fatal results, after an engine failure on take-off on 22 November 1929.

In many ways that initial episode sets the tone for much of the story that Cameron tells, of brave and resourceful people setting up commercial air services and crashing aircraft. The book is full of the author's collection of many dozens of photos of airplane wrecks. In most parts of the book you can't thumb four pages without seeing a crash photo. In many ways this is unavoidable, as early commercial aviation had an abysmal safety record and a complete history, like this book, cannot ignore that aspect of the story or gloss it over.

The book covers in great detail and lyrical narrative the endeavours of air services such as British Yukon Navigation Company, White Pass Airways, North Airways, North Canada Air Express, United Air Transport and of course Yukon Southern Air Transport, that became part of Canadian Pacific, flying aircraft like the Fairchild FC-2W2 and 82, the Keystone-Loening Commuter flying boat, the Buhl AC-6 Airsedan, the Lockheed 10A Electra, the Ford Trimotor, the tubby American 100 Pilgrim, the Bellanca 66-776 Aircruiser, Curtiss Condor, cabin WACOs and of course the stalwart Fokker Universal and Super Universal. Cameron delves into the fierce competition of the inter-war years, the rate wars, but also the cooperation between companies, especially when aircraft went missing or were stranded in a remote location, unservicable.

Cameron seems to have always had a personal interest in Yukon aviation history, having grown up surrounded by it. He started collecting stories and photos, but also used his time bush flying to visit old wreck sites and eventually collected the remains of three Fokker Super Universals in the 1970s, a type dear to his heart and one of which no examples remained. The huge one piece wooden wings of the "Super" had a very limited lifespan, especially in the north bush and none survived. After 18 years of painstaking restoration by Calgary pilots and engineers Clark Seaborn and Don McLean one "Super" flew again from the remains of the wrecks Cameron had saved. CF-AAM was flown around North America and even won a "Judge's Choice" award at Oshkosh in 1999. It now resides at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (formerly the Western Canada Aviation Museum) in Winnipeg.

The author received a grant from the Yukon Foundation's Doris Stenbraten Fund to write the book. Of note Doris Stenbraten was the author's high school English teacher! The book was actually printed in China and the publisher, Frontenac House of Calgary, is supported by both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Alberta.

Yukon Wings is a very complete, well written and profusely illustrated work, it would make an excellent addition to any aviation enthusiast or history buff's book shelf.

External links

03 April 2015

New AIM is out!

The 02 April 2015 copy of the Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual is now available for free download as a 40 MB sized PDF!

Transport Canada doesn't give a lot of stuff away for free, so get your free AIM today

01 April 2015

Book Review: Fling Wing

  • Fling Wing - The New Age Bush Pilots with Adventures From a Pilot's Log
  • by Jack Schofield
  • Published by Coast Dog Press, Mayne Island, BC
  • 8.25" X 8.25" softcover
  • 148 pages
  • No price imprinted, but some booksellers have listed it for $24.95

This book is a recent offering from Jack Schofield, long time west coast pilot, journalist, writer and founder of Canadian Aviator magazine, originally called West Coast Aviator. The book first came off the presses in 2012.

This is a lavish, full-colour work, in a small, square book format, with an emphasis on photographs illustrating selected parts of the history of the Canadian west coast helicopter business. The book follows two approaches to the story. The first 42 pages chronicle a general history in pictures of BC helicopter civil flying, while the balance of the book tells the story of Peter Barratt, the founder of West Coast Helicopters in photos and narrative.

Part one starts at the beginning, with the story of the founding of Okanagan Helicopters by Carl Agar, Barney Bent and Alf Stringer in 1948, starting with a single open cockpit Bell 47-B3. The photos and text follow the company through to its absorption into Craig Dobbin's Canadian Helicopters in 1987. It touches on the founding of Vancouver Island Helicopters in 1955 by Ted and Lynn Henson, including Ted's death in a 1957 helicopter accident. The book also has brief chapters on helicopter maintenance and heli-logging, including its phase-out in recent years for economic reasons.

The second part of the book details episodes from Peter Barratt's 45 year helicopter flying career, from his immigration from the UK as a child, through his time as an RCN Sea King helicopter pilot, to his civil flying career, starting with Okanagan Helicopters on Bell 2006s and S-61s. After he became the Okanagan base manager at Port McNeill, BC, Barratt became involved with the Nimmo Bay resort, a fly-in fishing lodge that he helped construct, hauling loads on the Jet Ranger's hook. He later became an investor in the resort, which allowed him to pursue his other love in life, fishing. Barratt later switched to flying for Highland Helicopters, then back to Okanagan, which became part of the Canadian Helicopters empire and later founded his own company, West Coast Helicopters.

The book's publishing company, Coast Dog Press, represents five different authors who all live on Mayne Island, BC. The company website gives the feeling that it is more of a co-op, as the site explains, "publishing these days is a mugs game, and writers must now market as well as write their books. There are so many people who now deem themselves to be writers that traditional publishers receive about 1000 unsolicited manuscripts per year and rejection slips are flying out there like snowfall on Mount Baker." Coast Dog Press seems to be this group's solution, allowing them an umbrella to do their own writing and marketing. It is worth noting that Fling Wing at least seems to have been published without government assistance, a rarity in Canadian aviation book publishing these days.

Fling Wing is a fun read and certainly will appeal to aviators young or old and also as a good book to share with a non-flyer on a day when the fog socks Tofino in down to the shoreline and the only flying being done is "hangar flying".

External links

27 March 2015

LSA Sales Figures

Back the early 2000s, when I worked at COPA, we had some conversations with the good folks at EAA as they were advocating for the then-proposed Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) category. That category greatly borrowed from the Canadian experience with the Advanced Ultralight Aeroplane (AULA) category that we have had since 1991 and the resulting LSAs, on the market since 2004, are very similar aircraft.

EAA was very interested in our technical details, including our TP10141, the design standards for AULAs, as well as the aircraft that were already flying in the category here in Canada. We were happy to share our experiences, as I have flown quite a number of AULAs, doing reviews for COPA, including the Merlin, EZ-Flyer, CT2K and the Allegro.

Since I have been doing my annual analysis of the civil fleet numbers since that time, one thing that did come up was sales expectations. EAA was planning that the new LSA category would provide new, inexpensive and fun two seat aircraft and that it would revitalize the sagging American aviation market.

At that time we had had our AULA category for about 13 years and I pointed out that the national fleet had statistically increased by an average of 60 aircraft per year in that time. I noted that with a population that is ten times that of Canada, it would be reasonable to expect that US sales would be about 600 aircraft per year. The EAA rep indicated that after all the work that they had done that sales in that range would be a disaster for aviation in the US. He indicated that they had projected sales much higher than that, some 5,000-10,000 aircraft per year in the US. I thought at the time that would have to mean that Americans would have to be an average of at least ten times richer than Canadians, or at least ten times more interested in buying a new two seat airplane. I wished them luck and hoped he was right.

Over the years I have kept an eye out for LSA sales numbers. At one time Cessna had 1200 orders for their Cessna 162 SkyCatcher, which sounded very positive. In the end they only delivered 192 aircraft, with the remaining 80 unsold aircraft used for parts, when the company cancelled 162 production. In the case of that design, price increases and lacklustre performance drove buyers away.

So this week I was interested to see recent sales figures released. These show sales of 199 LSAs in 2014, down from 259 in 2012.

The leading builders in 2014 were:

  • CubCrafters - 50
  • Van's Aircraft - 26
  • Searey - 19

In overall production since 2004 for the US market Flight Design leads with 372 aircraft and CubCrafters is second, with 326 aircraft flying. In the case of Flight design that represents about 37 aircraft per year sold.

While these are great little aircraft I don't think the category has met expectations for revitalizing aviation in the USA.

17 March 2015

Mike Shaw to Retire as Flight 8 Captain

After more than 15 years at the helm of Flight 8, Captain Mike Shaw has decided to retire.

In a recent message to the flight members he explained his decision:

I have decided that since I expect to be travelling most of next winter, I should resign as Captain of Flight 8 effective the end of April 2015. It's been a pleasure and I have enjoyed all of your company over the years. I hope someone will step forward and assume this position, I still want to attend meetings when able.

Anyone interested in taking over the running of Flight 8 should contact Mike Shaw to put their name forward.

14 March 2015

Canadian Air Racing Team

By Mark McIntyre, Temper Tantrum Racing

My name is Mark McIntyre and I am an AME, pilot and a member of COPA Flight 193 in Saint John, New Brunswick. I have started a new project that I need a bit of help on so I thought I would reach out to other COPA members across Canada.

I’ve started an air racing team to compete in the Reno Air Races in the Formula One Division. I have gathered a large team of skilled volunteers for the build. However we are falling short on funding. So I started a Kickstarter Fund Raising Campaign. Below you will find the link to my campaign and a complete write up on what is going on, along with a short, 45 second video of the races.

With maximum exposure we can make this team competitive and showcase Canadian aviation on an international level.

External links

12 March 2015

Urgent Action: Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory (CARAC) developments

By Trekker Armstrong, Executive Chair, COPA

CARAC was established in 1993, and is a joint undertaking of the government and the aviation community, with participation from a large number of organizations outside Transport Canada with the intent of representing the overall viewpoint of the aviation community. COPA has been an active participant in these Focus Groups.

Transport Canada’s recent Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA #2013-014) on aerodromes does not reflect accurately the efforts of the Focus Group and will materially damage COPA’s hard work and progress. As written, the NPA would cater to opponents and discriminate against the interests of the aviation enthusiast. The NPA has potential to significantly impact recreational aviation in general, and private owners and operators, in particular.

Transport Canada now wants to move from a permissive environment to what they call “participatory decision making” to ensure that local land use authorities and the public have input and indeed a greater say in whether or not an aerodrome can be established and developed. Furthermore this is also being extended to non-certified new and existing aerodromes. COPA provided direct input on the extent of damage this initiative will cause. COPA’s response can be found on COPA’s National website.

Given the far-reaching potential of this initiative, the industry responded with an unprecedented amount of feedback calling for a Focus Group meeting which finally occurred in June 2014. COPA was in attendance.

In October 2014, COPA, along with other participants of the Focus Group, was completely surprised that an amendment to the Aeronautical Act was hidden as part of the Federal Government’s omnibus budget Bill C-43. None of the participants of the Focus Group had knowledge of this development, or it’s content. Had the Focus Group known that the initiative extended as far as the Act amendment proposes, there would have been considerably different discussions about the implications of the expanded applicability. Given that there was no discussion or consultation with industry about the Act amendment itself and the scope of the application, the Act amendment should have be pulled from Bill C-43 to permit a thorough discussion with the industry.

COPA submitted a brief to the House Standing Committee on Finance and appeared before the Senate Committee on Wednesday, 19 November 2014. At that time COPA’s President & CEO Kevin Psutka asked the House Standing Committee on Transport and the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications to vote in favor of returning the amendment to Transport Canada for consultation with the aviation industry.

Regardless of COPA’s and other industry efforts, Bill C-43 received Royal Assent on 16 December 2014 and is now law.

A continuation of the Focus Group meetings on the proposed Aerodrome NPA was planned for January 2015, but due to scheduling conflict, was postponed. In order to move forward with this initiative, Transport Canada indicated they would publish the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) through the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council Activity Reporting System in early March 2015. COPA received email notification of the NPA on 26 February 2015. The disadvantage of issuing the NPAs before the Focus Group convenes will make it more difficult to change many of the measures. Now Transport Canada has scheduled the NPA Focus Group to discuss the regulatory proposal on 31 March and 1 April 2015.

As COPA continues to work on this issue, we strongly recommend that every member read the Notice of Proposed Amendment on Aerodromes and send in your written response to the CARAC secretariat (carrac@tc.gc.ca) with copies to COPA (pgilligan@copanational.org). COPA is in the process of drafting its position brief and it will be available at COPA "Take Action". The cutoff date for comments on this proposed rulemaking is 8 April 2015.

This issue is so important that every member should contact their MPP, MLA or Provincial Transport Minister. Contact information. The time for comment is very short on this critical issue that is fundamental to your Freedom to Fly in Canada.

04 March 2015

Information Session Invitation - Ottawa Terminal Control Area Changes

By Michel Tremblay, Airspace & Procedure design Coordinator, Performance Based Navigation (PBN) OPI, ATC Team Supervisor, Ottawa, Québec Terminal, Nav Canada

As of 30 April 2015, the Ottawa Terminal Control Area size and classification will change. In order to efficiently communicate the changes to the pilot community and operators, Nav Canada will be hosting an information session at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Theatre on 31 March 2015, 1900-2200 hrs. The session will be interactive and offer an opportunity to discuss the issues with air traffic control representatives.

Confirming your attendance will help improved planning for the evening. Please RSVP to Christiane Vinet.

Directions

02 March 2015

New Strict Proposed Regulations For New & Existing Aerodromes

URGENT ACTION, 8 April 2015 Deadline!


From Patrick Gilligan, COPA

Transport Canada has just sent a new strict proposed regulation for all aerodromes. A consultation requirement with 27 "onerous" public notification steps estimated by TC to cost new and existing aerodrome owners up to $60,000.

The most devastating requirements are:

  • The installation/aerodrome must adhere to local building and fire codes, no longer according to the National Building Code of Canada.
  • Information on the environmental status of the project, including any requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

Public consultation

  1. The public consultation process will apply to:
    a. A new aerodrome development
     i. Within a built-up area of a city or town;
     ii. In non-built up areas if
      1. It is within 4000m of a built-up area of a city or town;
      2. It is in or within 4000m of a protected area; or
      3. It is within 30 nautical miles of a registered or certified aerodrome.
    b. An existing aerodrome development if
     i. modifications result in changes to existing level(s) of service or operation; or
     ii. modifications result or could reasonably result in change(s) to existing usage.
  2. Pre-Consultation: Proponents must notify NAV CANADA and Transport Canada of their aerodrome proposal regardless of the requirement to conduct a public consultation.

Action required

Until 8 April 2015, comments on this notice may be addressed, in writing, to:

CARAC Notice #2013-014 contact info: carrac@tc.gc.ca also please copy COPA’s National office by copying Patrick Gilligan who is the coordinator for COPA’s response.

Note: after this date, comments will no longer be considered in further revisions to the regulations and standards.

External links

01 March 2015

Progress on the Environmental Assessment at Toronto City Centre

By Cheryl Marek, Southern Ontario Director, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

In 2013 Ports Toronto proposed an extension of Runway 08-26 in order to allow for commercial jet flights into and out of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA) (formerly known as Toronto Island Airport) in response to a request from the airport’s anchor tenant, Porter Airlines.

To assess the Porter proposal, Ports Toronto (formerly Toronto Ports Authority) secured Swerhun Facilitation to develop and oversee public engagement in determining the scope and process for the EA and Airport Master Plan. To date (February 28), since November 2014, there have been about 7 Agency Advisory Committee (AAC) meetings, an Open House Day and 2 public input sessions, and 2 of 4 Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) meetings. The 14 AAC groups include, for example: City of Toronto a) Waterfront Secretariat, b) Community Planning and c) Toronto Public Health; Build Toronto; Transport Canada; Greater Toronto Airports Authority; Province of Ontario a) Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and b) Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The 36 SAC include active participation by COPA, Toronto Island Pilots (TIPA - COPA Flight 32), Tourism Industry of Ontario, Porter Airlines, Toronto Financial District BIA, Air Canada, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Trans Capital Air, Stolport Corporation, and a couple dozen environmental, boating, waterfront, neighbourhood groups. Detailed comments from all meetings (recorded during or submitted in writing or by phone) that inform the processes are found at BBTCA Runway EA website under the various drop down menus.

The Draft EA, to be discussed at the March 3 and 10 SAC meetings, will assess effects from the following two future scenarios:

  1. No amendments to the Tripartite Agreement are implemented; and
  2. Tripartite Agreement is amended to permit commercial jet operations and the extension of Runway 08-26.

I look forward to comments you may have, especially with respect to General Aviation at BBCTA.

The update of the 2012 Airport Master Plan is addressed through a conceptual design developed by Ports Toronto that could accommodate the requested runway extension, as well as noise and other mitigation measures that could be required as a result of commercial jet flights. The proposed design and operational changes to the runway are described in Ports Toronto’s 2015 Master Planning exercise. More details are found on the BBTCA Runway EA Public Meetings page under February 26 Master Planning Presentation and Master Planning Handouts.

25 February 2015

Moe's Fly-in 2015

Maurice Prud'homme's 26th annual Ottawa River Ice fly-in, sponsored by COPA Flight 169, is coming up this weekend!

Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday 28 February 2015
  • Location: 45 26 57 N 75 55 48 W, one mile west of the Ottawa VOR, on the Ottawa River
  • Runway: 34-16, 3280 feet X 100 feet, surface is ice and snow and may be ploughed if possible, skis are recommended
  • Food: Provided!!
  • Frequencies: Air 123.20 MHz, ground: 122.75 MHz
  • Information: Maurice Prudhomme 819-682-5273

24 February 2015

Quest Aircraft Sold!

Bushplane builder Quest Aircraft has been sold.

Quest builds the Kodiak ten-seat turboprop STOL utility aircraft at its plant in Sandpoint, Idaho. The company is privately owned and thus always on the lookout for investors to help it grow. The company produces the Kodiak as its sole product, but has always planned to expand into producing new aircraft designs.

A few years ago Setouchi Holdings of Japan became a dealer for the Kodiak and the company recently decided to buy Quest Aircraft. Setouchi Holdings is part of the part of the Tsuneishi Group. Setouchi has said that the company will remain in Sandpoint and retain its existing staff.

Here is my ever-expanding list of western aerospace companies bought out by non-western interests:

  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Enstrom Helicopter Corporation - Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co, China
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Flightstar Sportplanes - rights, tooling and parts inventory purchased by Yuneec International, China
  • Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
  • International Lease Finance Corp - 90% New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • LISA Airplanes - 75% owned by Heima Mining Company, China
  • Mooney Aviation Company - Soaring American Corp, backed by Chinese investors
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
  • Quest Aircraft - Setouchi Holdings, Japan
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China
  • Thielert Aircraft Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China

External links

16 February 2015

Book Review: Queen of the Hurricanes - The Fearless Elsie MacGill

  • Queen of the Hurricanes - The Fearless Elsie MacGill
  • by Crystal Sissons
  • Published by Second Story Press, Toronto
  • 6" X 9" softcover
  • 270 pages including bibliography
  • $24.95

Elsie Gregory MacGill described herself as an ordinary person, but she certainly lived an extraordinary life.

MacGill was born in Vancouver, in 1905, to a famous mother, Helen Gregory MacGill, a noted professional who became a judge and a life-long feminist herself. When Elsie MacGill was young, women won the right to vote in Canada, but that was only a start in the crusade for equality in which MacGill was to play a key role. She went on to graduate from the University of Toronto as the first woman engineer in 1927. Left disabled by a bout of polio, she persevered, although walked with a cane much of her life. Two years later she had a master's degree in aeronautical engineering. She then worked for Fairchild Aircraft and then moved onto Canadian Car and Foundry (CCF) in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), as Chief Aeronautical Engineer. There she designed the Maple Leaf II biplane, the first aircraft designed by a woman.

It was at CCF that she found herself when the Second World War broke out and she became responsible for Hawker Hurricane production and the later conversion to building the troublesome Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber. Leaving CCF under a somewhat scandalous shadow, she soon married Bill Soulsby, who had been CCF's General Manager, in 1943. She quickly started her own engineering consulting company and, due to her high degree of engineering skill, her feistiness and tenacity, never found herself short of work.

MacGill became very involved in a number of groups working to further women's place in Canadian society. Initially skeptical that there was a problem to even be solved, MacGill started to see that other women were being disadvantaged in ways she had never encountered in her time in the field of engineering. She joined the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs of Canada and quickly became the head of the organization. Her boundless energy lead her to be named as a commissioner on the federal government's Royal Commission on the Status of Women that ran from 1967-70, helping shape its final report. After the commission had completed its work she continued touring and speaking about the commission's report, encouraging people to read it and keep the pressure on government to implement its recommendations.

MacGill was named to the Order of Canada in October 1971 and died suddenly on 4 November 1980 from a lung infection. She was 75 years old.

Today she is remembered through the many awards and the recognition she was accorded during her lifetime and also through the Elsie Gregory MacGill Memorial Foundation, founded in 1984 by her many feminist and engineering friends.

In taking on this biography, independent historian Crystal Sissons has created a fitting tribute to an important Canadian figure. The book is officially "A Feminist History Society Book" and Sissons states in her introduction that it is primarily though biographies that much of women's history is preserved. She holds closely to that aim throughout the book, but don't think that this is a book of feminist doctrine, because it isn't. It is a fair and balanced look at an ordinary person who lived an extraordinary life. MacGill clearly got many things in her life right, but she made mistakes as well and these are fairly described in Sisson's text.

The book is very well-researched and footnoted, although to save space the footnotes are located on the internet instead of on paper, an interesting approach. Sisson's writing is both engaging and scholarly, without being at all dry and the reader is left feeling they would have known and liked MacGill herself. The one aspect of her life I would have liked to have heard more about was her relationship with her husband, Bill Soulsby, as there is not much detail provided. Soulsby must have had some interesting thoughts on being partner to a remarkable engineer and feminist like MacGill and must have accompanied her on many of her speaking engagements. Sissons notes that MacGill was a very private person when it came to her personal life and so it was likely just due to lack of source material that more was not said on the subject of their relationship.

Queen of the Hurricanes - The Fearless Elsie MacGill belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in engineering, aviation, feminism or Canadian history. You don't have to have an interest in all of those subjects to find this an engaging and thought-provoking read.

External links

Free Enterprise in the 21st Century

I guess I just don't understand free enterprise or capitalism here in the 21st century. I always thought it meant that the market, buyers with money, would decide whether products and ultimately companies would sink or swim, based on the quality of their ideas and their ability to turn those ideas into something people will pay for.

So this week in Duluth, Minnesota, mayor Don Ness is hopeful that the Minnesota state government will put up US$4M, to go with the US$6M the city has committed, to build a new US$10M plant at the Duluth Airport. The plant will be leased to Cirrus Aircraft who will use it to build their new SF50 Vision personal jet aircraft in. The jets will sell for about US$2M each. Cirrus CEO Dale Klapmeier indicated that time is running out for the state to commit. Mayor Ness is very concerned that without the city and state building the plant for Cirrus that the company will move its manufacturing of the SF50 elsewhere, lured by incentives from other cities in the US.

You see in free enterprise there is lots of competition, at least between US communities willing to give tax breaks or even build facilities for companies, in an attempt to lure jobs to their communities.

The odd thing is that Cirrus was bought out for US$210M in February 2011, by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation, which is wholly owned by the Government of the People's Republic of China. The Government of the People's Republic of China is currently arguably the richest entity of any kind on earth. So why do they need handouts from small US cities? It is also a communist government and a bit totalitarian, but let's not get into that.

Okay so let's summarize: The City of Duluth and the State of Minnesota want to provide a total of a US$10M taxpayer subsidy to the Government of the People's Republic of China as an incentive for them to establish their Cirrus SF50 production in Duluth instead of having it lured away by greater government subsidies from other cities. The new plant will build jets for rich Americans, since I doubt that poor or middle class Americans, like most of the taxpayers in Duluth, will be buying too many personal jets.

That all seems to add up to the taxpayers of Duluth and Minnesota subsidizing lower aircraft purchase prices for wealthy Americans via the intermediate step of providing facilities to a Chinese government state-owned enterprise.

Is it worth mentioning that government subsidies like this are not permitted under most trade agreements, like GATT? Of course that would be applicable if the City of Duluth was subsidizing a private company, but in this case they are really subsidizing a foreign government, so I guess that doesn't count.

I guess I just don't understand free enterprise, at least 21st century free enterprise.

External links

14 February 2015

Non payment of Nav Canada service charges

By Nav Canada, via COPA

Nav Canada invoices and collects charges to cover the costs of air navigation services provided or made available by the Corporation, in accordance with the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act. Charges are structured in such a way that all customers pay for air navigation services, in a reasonable and equitable manner.

Since implementation of the Nav Canada charges for small aircraft in 1999, the number of owners who are not paying their Nav Canada invoices has increased every year. Given that Nav Canada does not make a profit but sets its charges at a level to allow it to recover its costs, it is important that charges are paid in a timely manner.

In order to ensure fairness and equity amongst its entire customer base, Nav Canada is taking action to recover these outstanding charges. The company has retained a collection agency, CTL-WDW Ltd., to pursue outstanding debts.

All customers with a past due balance will shortly be receiving a Notice of Collections letter from Nav Canada, giving them 30 days to contact the Corporation and pay, or initiate resolution of their past due amount. Inaction, refusal to resolve or pay the past due amounts will result in the account being listed with CTL-WDW for collection action. CTL-WDW will report non-paying/non-acting accounts to a credit bureau that may negatively affect customers' credit ratings.

Nav Canada continues to modernize its operations to improve service delivery and control costs, and as a result, has not raised its rates in over a decade. In order to keep these rates as low as possible, it is important that all customers pay their invoices.

All of Nav Canada's charges, including the annual fees, were developed, approved and implemented in accordance with the requirements of the ANS Act. Payment of the charges by aircraft owners and operators is a legal obligation.

Further details can be found in the Customer Guide to Charges at www.navcanada.ca.