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.

11 February 2015

Questair Venture on Skis?

It is winter in Canada and so Flight 8 member André Durocher recently had his homebuilt Questair Venture on skis, as shown in these photos.

Durocher added, "I need someone to compute my new Vne."


07 February 2015

COPA Seeks New President and CEO

COPA is looking for the person who will become just the third person to lead the organization since it was founded in 1952. Here is the official announcement for the job opening:

COPA is a not-for-profit organization with over 17,000 members. Its mission is to protect Personal Aviation and promote it as a valued, integral and sustainable part of the Canadian Community. More information may be found on COPA's website at www.copanational.org

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO leads a small team of dedicated professionals at COPA's national office in Ottawa. The President & CEO is responsible for providing valuable membership services, contributing to the corporate strategy and business plan, leading and integrating corporate goals and deliverables, influencing governments, assisting the Board with regard to corporate governance while leading and managing the national office.

The successful candidate will have experience with how governments work at the political level and related legislation; knowledge of the challenges facing General and Personal Aviation in Canada; experience in managing and leading teams and effectively working with a Board of Directors. Ideally the candidate will bring experience with regulatory structures and regulations affecting aviation and its impact on the aviation industry. A comprehensive job description, inclusive core and desirable qualifications, may be found at www.copa.recruiterbox.com.

Interested individuals may apply in confidence for the position through the online recruiting website at www.copa.recruiterbox.com or forward their application via e-mail to copa@applications.recruiterbox.com The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, March 26th , 2015.

02 February 2015

COPA/AOPA Survey: NEW Canadian Cross Border requirement

By Patrick Gilligan

COPA and AOPA need all pilots to complete this survey. Your opinion counts!

In previous articles (August 2014 COPA article and October 2014) I alerted members to the development of an additional procedure being developed by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for crossing the border. This survey will provide statistical feedback to Canadian and US officials to find a solution that both addresses their goals and minimizes duplication. COPA is heavily involved in finding creative solutions to minimize the detrimental consequences that any additional requirements will have on our sector of aviation.

I would like to emphasize that no changes have been made to the existing requirements. Any change to the requirements for crossing the border in a GA aircraft will, at the earliest, occur sometime in 2016.

COPA highlighted that the fundamental issue is the elimination of duplication. Since all pilots must complete the US eAPIS reports for entering and exiting the US, it would be a relatively simple extension for the US to send information to Canada for their security purposes.

CBSA officials continue to collaborate with our sector, while at the same time respecting the Government of Canada’s privacy rules and policies, which make the work more challenging. A Washington meeting succeeded in convincing the CBSA that their US counterparts are willing to cooperate. COPA will continue to participate in the ongoing working group meetings as well as with our counterparts in the US in an effort to develop a program that both meets our government’s needs and minimizes the impact on our sector of aviation.

Complete the COPA/AOPA Survey on CBSA’s Canadian Cross Border NEW requirement