The pandemic from 4,000 feet: Pilots found surprises lurked when flying the empty skies

News from Guelph Mercury Tribune – link to story

Jul 26, 2020 by Katie Daubs Feature Writer

The pandemic from 4,000 feet: Pilots found surprises lurked when flying the empty skies

Mark Brooks saw a very different city from a few thousand feet up as he flew during the early days of the pandemic. Here is a very quiet Billy Bishop airport on March 24. – Mark Brooks

On April 11, as Gord Roberts flew north of the city toward the Kitchener airport to practise an instrument approach, the voice of the air traffic controller at Pearson came in clearly over the radio in his Cessna-182.

“Do you want something special today?” the controller asked.

Roberts loves being up in the air, and normally he’s pretty busy as a volunteer pilot, transporting people from northern Ontario to cities like Toronto for medical treatments with the charity Hope Air.

But when the pandemic hit, those flights were cancelled. And although there was nowhere to go in March and April, Roberts was still flying when he could, because he likes to keep his instrument skills sharp.

Flying by instrument is essential on cloudy days, in storms, any kind of bad weather, so he practises instrument approaches at different regional airports. Roberts would never attempt Pearson: if he asked air traffic control if he could try an approach at Canada’s busiest airport before the pandemic, he would politely be told it wasn’t possible, unless it was an emergency.

General aviation traffic — which includes smaller planes like Roberts — is typically diverted around Pearson, in routes north and south of the city, for the safety of everyone. And that’s where Roberts was, north of the city, on April 11, when he was asked if he wanted to try something special. (He’s not usually asked that question.)

He was about 3,200 feet above the ground, heading west (4,000 feet above sea level). The winding suburban streets below were filled with parkedcars that were normally at GO train parking lots, tucked underneath office towers, or crawling along Highway 401.

As the pandemic deepened, the runways at Pearson, normally teeming with traffic, were just as quiet as the highway below. According to Nav Canada figures, by the end of March, traffic at the airport had plummeted to around 250 departures and arrivals a day versus the normal 1,200 flights a day for the same period in 2019. That pattern deepened in April and May, with daily flights dropping to around 180 a day. In June, daily flights averaged 250 a day, compared to an average of 1,300 a day for June 2019.

The controller asked if Roberts had the instructions for approaching Pearson with him. Roberts confirmed he had the digital file on board, and loaded it up to his screen for easy reading. He was told to make a left turn toward the airport, where he was cleared for an approach over runway 33-R. Using his instrument training, he descended to 200 feet above the runway before he climbed back into the sky. It was a novelty, a thrill.

When he mentioned it to his friends at the Buttonville Flying Club, they were all pretty amazed. “The fact that I didn’t even ask for it and was offered to me,” Roberts says. A few of them even went over to Pearson to check it out themselves.

Jonathan Bagg, a spokesperson with Nav Canada, the not-for-profit company in charge of managing Canada’s airspace, says that in general, commercial jets and smaller aircraft aren’t mixed — the larger planes travel faster, and create wake turbulence, which is a safety concern for smaller aircraft. The job of an air traffic controller is to ensure that aircraft operate at a safe distance from each other.

While the airspace structure around Pearson has not changed, with fewer planes in the sky, “sometimes that gives you more flexibility in terms of how you keep aircraft safely distanced,” he says, confirming that there have been more requests from smaller planes to fly in the normally busy zone. If it’s quiet, air traffic controllers have more ability to grant that access, he says.

David Sprague, the president of the Buttonville Flying Club, says that flying in a small plane is often peaceful. It’s especially nice when the sky is clear, and you can see the city, and watch the jets parade overhead as they go in and out of Pearson. Now, the parade is a very slow and sporadic one.

Sprague was flying above Buttonville on a Saturday in June to keep his hours current — and it was just after sunset. “There were only three airplanes within what looked like 10 miles — one was a police helicopter, one was a guy that coming from New Brunswick, and one was a guy coming from Muskoka.”

On a mid-July morning, at his home in Toronto, he looked at his tracking devices and saw five airplanes below 10,000 feet, and five above 10,000 feet, within an 80 kilometre radius of the city. He estimated that it was about a third of the regular traffic, possibly lower.

Commercial and cargo traffic have been picking up, Gord Roberts says — But in the first months of the pandemic, “the controllers were basically sitting there bored and they were just so obliging,” Roberts said.

While airports like Pearson have felt the pandemic’s effects acutely, smaller airports saw big declines, too. “Initially our flying was down by about 75 per cent,” says Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport vice-president Rob Seaman. “That’s slowly crept back up.”

The Markham-based airport serves all kinds of general aviation traffic, including police and media helicopters, medevac flights, flight training schools, corporate flights and recreational flyers who make short jaunts on the weekends. Nowadays, all occupants of landing planes are surveyed, people on board are given thermal scans. There are disinfections, masks, a check-in process on the street side and the air side, says Seaman, who hired two people for that purpose.

“We are doing everything we can to keep the bug out the door,” he says. “Initially some people were grumpy about it, and some were non-believers, and now they’ve just resigned themselves to the fact that this is what they’re going to do.” The mandatory mask orders that some municipalities have enacted have also helped, but there are still people who grumble.

Mark Brooks is a flight instructor with Canadian Flyers based out of Buttonville Airport. Flight school was grounded until recently, but he does a lot of utility flights, and has been flying across the province and beyond fairly regularly, repositioning planes and doing maintenance checks.

The first few months of the pandemic were interesting, but rustic. Many airports had fuel, but no food, and no washrooms, he says, which meant packing a granola bar and “peeing behind the nearest bush.” As Ontario has slowly reopened, those amenities have been coming back.

With travel restrictions and border closures, the economic pain has spread widely. Buttonville tends to be a jumping-off point for young people going to other airline jobs, Seaman says, and he’s heard from a lot of former employees.

“Everyone who has left us in the last couple of years has come back knocking on the door saying, ‘Boss, can I have my job back,’ because they’re being told on the commercial airline side its going to be at least two years before the young hires who were at the end of the line get called back,” Seaman says. “It’s a mess.” 

Nav Canada is funded by the fees it charges aircraft that fly through Canadian airspace.

The company’s president told the Star’s Bruce Campion-Smith that traffic and the subsequent revenue dropped by around 75 per cent in April. The company has fixed costs to control Canadian air traffic around the clock and with no government assistance forthcoming, they announced a 30 per cent fee hike this May to take effect in September.

“They make most of the revenue off the transatlantic routes,” Mark Brooks says. “Right now they’re really hurting and like all of us they’re trying to try to figure out how to make it work.”

General aviation pilots have noticed the changes. When you fly anywhere in Canada, you typically speak with different controllers as you pass through different regions. When Gord Roberts flew from Oshawa to London recently, he spoke with one controller the entire way, where he would normally speak to three.

Nav Canada’s Jonathan Bagg says that combining positions is something they do at night when there is less traffic, but now they’re doing it more consistently.

The company’s “laser focus on safety” hasn’t changed, he says. “Our people are committed to getting the job done from a safety perspective, and that safety focus also applies to how we run the operation,” he says, noting that they’ve implemented a number of protocols to keep staff safe.

A forecast for the next five years of air travel from the International Air Transport Association estimates that average trip lengths will fall sharply, and that international air travel may not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023-2024. A July update showed that domestic air travel in regions like China and U.S. has increased slightly over pandemic lows, but border restrictions have not been widely relaxed for international travel.

Within the GTA, general aviation is picking up again. People who fly for recreation are making more weekend jaunts to regional airports, where some restaurantpatios on site are open for an outdoor meal. Gord Roberts is back flying for Hope Air once again. Canadian Flyers, the flight school where Brooks teaches, has many students eager to take off, with a steady supply of masks and disinfectant.

On a recent flight to London, Ont., and Goderich, Brooks noticed more traffic in the air, and saw some bigger jets going toward Hamilton and Pearson. Barely a month ago, he said, he would have seen no one. Smaller utility airports like Buttonville and Oshawa, he says, are “roaring back to life.”

Brooks is glad to see a gradual and careful return for the industry’s sake, although he enjoyed the peaceful skies.

Katie Daubs is a Star reporter and feature writer based in Toronto.

Wheels Up – Namaimo Model Airs finds a home at two parks

News from Nanaimo NewsNOW – link to story

Steve Hughes, president of Nanaimo Model Airs, is happy to have extended a pilot project with the city allowing his members to fly model plans at two locations in the city of Nanaimo. (Alex Rawnsley/NanaimoNewsNOW)

Nanaimo model air club lands permission to continue using pair of fields

By Alex Rawnsley – Jul 25, 2020

NANAIMO — After years of moving around, a passionate group of model pilots are hoping to be permanently cleared for takeoff.

The Nanaimo Model Airs recently received permission from the city to use Seraxumen Sports Fields and Elaine Hamilton Park for another year.

The venues are being gauged by city officials for data collection for the pilot project.

Model Airs president Steve Hughes said the locations are far from perfect, however he and members of the club are thrilled they have a more convenient location to pursue their passion.

“It takes a lot of skill and there’s not a lot of room for going too far there, they’re fairly restricted. Some people like to fly aerobatics, others fly for the joy of it to go up, fly around and if they can make a good takeoff and landing that satisfies them.”

The club had originally pitched using East Wellington Park, however concerns raised by area residents scrapped the venue.

Hughes said approximately 30 members fly through the year. Some fly fixed-wing aircraft at Serauxmen, while others pilot drones at Elaine Hamilton.

Smaller aircraft have wingspans between two and three feet, while some members fly much larger, eight foot-wide planes. The planes allowed to fly in the city must have electric engines only.https://servedbyadbutler.com/creative-169007-923160/index.html?__ab_location=https%3A%2F%2Fservedbyadbutler.com%2Fredirect.spark%3FMID%3D169007%26plid%3D1225396%26setID%3D224136%26channelID%3D853%26CID%3D413884%26banID%3D519951012%26PID%3D0%26textadID%3D0%26tc%3D1%26mt%3D1595955473538208%26spr%3D1%26hc%3De89c380668d31dfc9f3ca1a75a319b3be1d56348%26location%3D&__ab_zone_id=224136&__ab_zone_name=%20News+midcontent&__ab_publisher_id=29173&__ab_publisher_name=Nanaimo+News+NOW&__ab_banner_id=519951012&__ab_extra_data=

Both groups are heavily regulated by the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC), which also provides insurance for model pilots.

“The field we fly from has to be approved from MAAC which means they take in the safety aircraft, whether there are any houses near or full sized airplanes nearby,” Hughes said.

Pilots must be registered by MAAC in order to legally operate remote aircraft at the fields. Membership to MAAC allows pilots to bypass new Transport Canada licensing regulations, provided pilots fly within the association’s rules.

Hughes added safety is the primary focus among members who diligently track weather and monitor any hazards in the surround area.

No complaints from nearby residents at either venue have been made known to Hughes who said they’re thrilled to have a place to call their own.

He believes once summer 2021 comes around, they’ll have nearly two years of solid data featuring no negative interactions and a strong case to make the venues permanent.

Many of the Nanaimo members have also joined the larger PDQ Flyers club based in Nanoose, which boasts around 100 members and have a larger, more tailor-made flying venue.

alex.rawnsley@jpbg.ca

ADM Announces its Financial Results at June 30, 2020

MONTRÉAL, July 28, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – ADM Aéroports de Montréal today announced its cumulative consolidated operating results for the six-month period ended June 30, 2020. These results are accompanied by passenger traffic data from YUL, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport.

Highlights
The number of passengers at YUL continued to show a sharp decline and stood at 156,000 passengers in the second quarter of 2020, a 96.9% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. This decrease is directly related to the international health crisis associated with COVID-19 and the effect it is having on all sectors. 

EBITDA (excess of revenues over expenses before financial expenses, taxes, depreciation, impairment and share in the results of a joint venture) was negative by $26.0 million for the second quarter of 2020, a decrease of $111.4 million, or 130.4%, compared with the same period a year earlier. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2020, EBITDA was $47.5 million, a decrease of $127.5 million, or 72.9%, compared with the same six-month period in 2019. 

The Corporation’s capital investments totalled $55.4 million during the second quarter of 2020 and $160.3 million during the first six months of 2020 ($77.2 million and $116.5 million, respectively, in 2019). Airport investments for the six-month period were financed by cash flows from operating activities, including airport improvement fees, as well as by long-term debt.

Quote

“These second-quarter results reflect the devastating effects of the pandemic on the financial health of our organization and will have a definite impact on ADM’s ability to deliver certain projects at our airport site, which are essential for the good of the community,” said Philippe Rainville, President and CEO of ADM Aéroports de Montréal. “The aviation sector has been especially affected by the restrictions that have been put in place and will struggle to recover if the situation persists. While the country and the province have begun deploying their deconfinement plans in recent weeks and many economic sectors have resumed their activities, it would be timely to discuss a gradual and targeted opening of the borders. Thanks to proven sanitary measures, ADM and its partners, including the airlines, are well prepared to receive more travellers at YUL in a well-controlled environment.”

Financial results
Consolidated revenues were $28.1 million in the second quarter of 2020, a decrease of $142.0 million, or 83.5%, compared with the same period in 2019. Year-to-date revenues at June 30, 2020 were $176.9 million, a decrease of $171.2 million, or 49.2%, over 2019. This result is a consequence of the current pandemic which has resulted in significant travel restrictions around the world since March 2020.

Operating expenses for the second quarter amounted to $40.7 million, a decrease of $15.3 million, or 27.3%, over the previous year. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2020, operating expenses decreased by $12.5 million, or 10.9%, from $115.2 million to $102.7 million. ADM has adopted measures to reduce its operating costs, in particular those related to the reduction of airport activities and the temporary closure of certain areas of the terminal. In addition, ADM implemented wage cuts, did not replace positions left vacant by departures, and applied for relief measures through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

Transfers to governments (payments in lieu of taxes to municipalities and rent to Transport Canada) amounted to $13.4 million for the second quarter and $26.7 million for the first six months of 2020 ($28.7 million and $57.9 million, respectively, in 2019). This decrease is attributable to lower revenues and to the rent exemption granted by Transport Canada. This exemption represents a savings of $12 million for the six-month period.

Depreciation and impairment of property and equipment and right-of-use assets amounted to $39.0 million during the three months ended June 30, 2020, an increase of $0.9 million, or 2.6%, over the same period in 2019. For the first six months of 2020, it totalled $77.7 million, an increase of $2.7 million, or 3.6%, over the first six months of 2019. This increase is mainly due to the commissioning of projects completed during 2019.

Net financial expenses totalled $25.6 million for the quarter under review, an increase of $1.0 million, or 4.4%, over the same period last year. Cumulative net financial expenses as at June 30, 2020 totalled $48.8 million, remaining relatively stable compared with the corresponding period of 2019. The variance in net financial expenses is mainly due to interest income generated by cash surpluses following the issuance of the R bond series in April 2020, net of the increase in interest expense.

For the quarter ended June 30, 2020, there was a deficiency of revenues over expenses of $90.7 million compared to an excess of revenues over expenses of $22.9 million for the same period in 2019, a decrease of $113.6 million. At June 30, 2020, the deficiency of revenues over expenses was $78.9 million, a decrease of $130.0 million compared with the same period in 2019.

EBITDA is a financial measurement that is not recognized by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). It is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures used by other entities that are not airports. EBITDA is defined by ADM as the excess of revenues over expenses before financial expenses, taxes, depreciation, impairment and share in the results of a joint venture. It is used by management as an indicator to evaluate operational performance. EBITDA is meant to provide additional information and is not intended to replace other performance measures prepared under IFRS.

Outlook for 2020

Continued border closures with the United States and internationally, as well as the absence of a vaccine to counter the effects of COVID-19, will continue to negatively affect passenger traffic, carrier activities and ADM’s financial results. ADM continues to monitor the situation to respond quickly to changes, namely by implementing cost-cutting measures. Once passenger traffic returns to more normal levels, ADM will focus on critical capital projects, namely those related to the maintenance of its assets as well as those required to replace assets that have reached the end of their useful life, in accordance with its obligations under the land lease linking ADM to the Government of Canada.

Passenger traffic

In the second quarter of 2020, traffic at YUL totalled 156,000 passengers, a 96.9% decrease from 2019. International traffic decreased by 97.2%, transborder (U.S.) traffic decreased by 99.0%, while domestic traffic decreased by 95.3% compared to the second quarter of 2019.

Cumulative passenger traffic declined by 56.2% in the first six months of 2020, to 4.2 million. International passenger traffic decreased by 52.5%, transborder (U.S.) passenger traffic decreased by 58.1%, while domestic passenger traffic decreased by 59.4% compared to the same period last year.

Total passenger traffic*

Aéroports de Montréal (‘000)
20202019Variance
January1,595.01,532.14.1%
February1,533.81,432.57.1%
March956.01,712.7-44.2%
April33.51,568.0-97.9%
May38.41,603.2-97.6%
June84.31,838.5-95.4%
Total4,241.09,687.0-56.2%
*Note: Total passenger traffic includes revenue and non-revenue passengers
Source: Aéroports de Montréal

Avcorp Awarded F-35 contracts by BAE Systems for its Carrier Variant (CV) Outboard Wing

ANCOUVER, July 28, 2020 /CNW/ – Avcorp Industries Inc. (TSX: AVP) (the “Corporation” or “Avcorp” or the “Avcorp Group”) is pleased to announce it has been awarded contracts by BAE Systems for the assembly of the F-35 Carrier Variant (CV) Outboard Wing. The total contract awards are approximately $87 million CAD.  These contracts extend Avcorp’ s current long-term contract with BAE Systems into 2022.

“We are extremely pleased with the award of these significant contracts for our military and defense production lines” stated Amandeep Kaler, Avcorp Group CEO.

The Avcorp Delta BC facility is the single source supplier for the F-35 CV-OBW assembly under contract with BAE Systems with delivery of the assemblies directly to Lockheed Martin in Ft Worth Texas. The Outboard Wing is the foldable portion of the wing on the carrier version of the F-35 aircraft which allows for handling and storage of the aircraft on the aircraft-carrier’s deck and hangers, while keeping its long-range and low-landing-speed flight characteristics. The CV-OBW is regarded as one of the more complex assemblies that the Canadian aerospace industry manufactures for the F-35 program.

NAV CANADA to resume nighttime service at twelve B.C. locations

OTTAWA, July 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NAV CANADA will restore regular nighttime air navigation services at twelve locations in British Columbia, beginning August 4, 2020. This decision was made after considering both the regional public health environment and operational requirements.

In May 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic NAV CANADA temporarily suspended overnight air navigation services at 18 facilities, including air traffic control towers, flight service stations and locations which receive remote airport aerodrome advisory service. These measures reduced the exposure of NAV CANADA’s essential employees to the coronavirus, while ensuring that critical air navigation services remained available when they were most needed.

NAV CANADA remains fully committed to safeguarding the health of our employees and the resiliency of our services. The company will remain vigilant and regularly reassess the COVID-19 situation.

Quick Facts

  •       Midnight operations will be restored at the following sites.
Aerodrome Advisory Service
SiteEffective DateEffective Time
Terrace, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Cranbrook, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Fort Nelson, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Fort St. John, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Kamloops, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Penticton, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Port Hardy, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Remote Aerodrome Advisory Service
SiteEffective DateEffective Time
Sandspit, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Abbotsford, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Victoria, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Kelowna, BCAugust 4, 202022:00 local
Tofino, BCAugust 5, 202022:00 local
  • Pilots can receive detailed information about these new levels of service through NOTAM.
  • The temporary suspension of overnight services remains in effect at Prince Albert (Glass Field) SK (CYPA), Red Deer, AB (CYQF), Deer Lake, NL (CYDF), St. Anthony, NL (CYAY), Charlottetown, PE (CYYG), Saint John, NB (CYSJ), and Sydney/J.A. Douglas McCurdy, NS (CYQY). The need for temporary measures at these remaining sites will continue to be assessed based on the prevailing regional public health environment and operational considerations.
  • Safeguard measures, including enhanced cleaning protocols and restricting visitor access remains in effect at all NAV CANADA operational units.

Masks are mandatory at Winnipeg airport starting Wednesday

News from Global News – link to story

By Elisha Dacey Global News July 27, 2020

James A. Richardson International Airport.
James A. Richardson International Airport. Elisha Dacey/Global News

Starting Wednesday, masks will be mandatory for all people who enter Winnipeg’s airport.

The Winnipeg Airport Authority said Monday that all passengers, visitors and employees at the airport must wear a mask when they enter the terminal.

“This added safety measure is being implemented in all public areas of the airport terminal to further prioritize safety and protect the community,” the WAA said in a statement.

Previously, visitors and passengers were told they must wear a mask if they couldn’t maintain safe social distancing measures, but increasing passenger volumes means it’s harder to stay the recommended two-metre distance from each other, said the WAA.

“The mandatory face covering requirement is now being implemented in all public areas because passenger volumes are beginning to increase, especially during peak times of day, which makes physical distancing more difficult to achieve in all areas of the terminal.”

Transat A.T. Inc. delays closing $720-million takeover by Air Canada

News from The Globe and Mail – link to story

ERIC ATKINS TRANSPORTATION REPORTER | JULY 27, 2020

Transat A.T. Inc. has again delayed the closing deadline of its takeover by Air Canada, amid mounting questions about the future of the $720-million deal.

The agreement approved by Transat shareholders in August allows either side to delay three times the date on which either side can walk away if the deal has not been completed.

Transat said on Monday it has delayed the closing date of the deal until August 27, after pushing it back until July 27, as both sides await approvals by Canadian and European Union regulators.

“Since the European Union’s decision is now expected between September 30 and November 19, and there is no defined date for Canada’s decision, we intend to use as many of those one-month periods as necessary,” said Christophe Hennebelle, a spokesman for Montreal-based Transat.

Transat’s share price fell by more than 2 per cent to about $5.30 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, well below the $18 Air Canada agreed to pay. The shares plunged in March as the COVID-19 pandemic spurred governments to close borders and advise against travel.

Transat halted operations and laid off much of its workforce in response, but recently resumed a small number of flights.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick confirmed in an email the date has been extended but did not address questions about how the pandemic has changed the business case for the deal.

Transat shareholders in August approved Air Canada’s takeover, after the larger carrier raised its offer from $13 a share amid pressure from Transat shareholders and would-be rival bidders. Transat’s updated fleet of fuel-efficient Airbus planes made it an attractive target for Air Canada, which found itself facing the prospect of stiffer competition from WestJet, recently purchased by deep-pocketed Onex Corp.

The combined companies would control about 60 per cent of transatlantic traffic and 45-per-cent of seats to Caribbean holiday destinations, warned Canada’s Competition Bureau, which said the combination of the two companies would limit travellers’ choices and drive up air fares. The Competition Bureau’s report and an assessment by Transport Canada will inform a decision on the merger by the Canadian government.

As it launched a closer study of the deal, the European Union’s competition regulator said in May the takeover could limit competition on 33 routes, and that Calgary-based WestJet Airlines is too small to present much of an alternative.

Air Canada has laid off 20,000 people – more than half its workforce – and cancelled much of its schedule. The airline recently added some routes, but has ceased serving several communities. Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada’s chief executive officer, has been a vocal proponent for opening borders and lifting travel restrictions, saying the rules are hampering the industry’s recovery. The airlines point to heightened  efforts to prevent the virus from spreading, including mandatory masks in airports and on planes, and heightened sanitation efforts.

However the Canadian government has not withdrawn its travel quarantine requirements and advisory against non-essential travel, saying the measures are needed to limit the spread of the deadly virus.

Pilots in Gillam medevac plane crash failed to notice fuel shortage, report says

News from CBC News – link to story

Captain, training pilot didn’t check fuel gauges before, after takeoff, TSB says

CBC News · Posted: Jul 27, 2020

The medevac flight lost its landing gear in the emergency landing at Gillam, Man. (Manitoba RCMP)

The pilots of a medevac plane that crash-landed near Gillam, Man., last year made numerous mistakes and missed multiple opportunities to discover the fuel shortage that forced it to make the emergency landing, according to a report by the Transportation Safety Board.

No one was injured when the medevac flight landed on the frozen surface of Stephens Lake, almost 230 metres (750 feet) short of the runway at Gillam Airport on April 24, 2019. Gillam is about 735 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

The Keewatin Air LP Beechcraft B200 plane suffered heavy damage, however, when it hit the ice.

The flight was on its way from Winnipeg to Rankin Inlet Airport, with a stop planned in Churchill, Man. The captain was receiving instruction from a training pilot, who had assumed the role of first officer on the flight. 

Two flight nurses were also on board.

Investigators found that the flight crew missed “multiple opportunities” to discover the fuel shortage. Before leaving Winnipeg, the captain asked the first officer if the plane was ready for takeoff. The first officer replied that it was, without recalling that the plane needed fuel. 

After takeoff, while completing an  after start checklist, the captain responded with an automatic response to the first officer’s prompt regarding fuel quantity, without actually looking at the fuel gauges

The flight crew also didn’t check the fuel gauges during their periodic cockpit scans during the flight, nor did they check the fuel gauges to compare against their progressive fuel calculations, the Transportation Safety Board report said. 

If they had done this, they might have had enough fuel to make a safe landing, the report says. 

The Gillam Airport has one gravel runway. The plane landed nearly 230 metres short of the runway in April 2019. (Google Satellite Image)

During the flight, once fuel pressure warning light went on, the flight crew became startled and failed to take appropriate action soon enough to make it to the airport safely. They declared a fuel emergency with air traffic control and started an emergency descent, at which point the left engine lost power. 

“Still feeling the effect of the startle response, the captain quickly became task saturated, which led to an uncoordinated response by the flight crew, delaying the turn towards Gillam and extending the approach,” the report said.

The right engine the lost power and a safe forced landing became impossible, the report said. 

Keetwatin Air issued a bulletin to pilots and flight coordinators on proper procedures for checking fuel during flights. The report did not include any mention of disciplinary action against any members of the flight crew.  

Quebec Based STEPHAN/H Joins Battle Against COVID-19

QUEBEC, July 27, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – STEPHAN/H, a manufacturing company specializing in the design, development and manufacturing of technical uniforms, offers its expertise and production capacity in these pandemic times. Since mid-March, the company has developed and produced masks and protective clothing. Several Vocational Training Centers, Childcare Centres and private companies are currently using its products.

In the wake of the last announcement from the Government of Quebec making masks mandatory in closed public settings, STEPHAN/H is working hard to meet demand, always prioritizing technical materials such as BioSmart™ fabric. BioSmart™ antimicrobial technology has been tested in the laboratory and has been shown to kill 99.9% of the most common viruses and bacteria. Its filtration rate is more than 87%. For information, the N95 masks have a filtration rate of 95% and those in cotton around 75%.

 “We are very proud to be able to mobilize our seamstresses and contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Even if these are unusual products for us, this line completely meets our mission which is to provide professionals with technical, safe and comfortable products “, says Ms. Champagne, vice-president of STEPHAN/H.

Founded in 2012, STEPHAN/H designs and manufactures all its products entirely in Québec in a modern workshop equipped with the latest technologies in the textile field. The company has more than 30 employees and meets the needs of specialized aviation equipment, emergency medical services and front-line professions throughout America, Europe and Asia.

Watch the video: https://vimeo.com/409833342

For more information about STEPHAN/H: www.stephanh.com

For more information on BioSmart™ technology: https://www.stephanh.com/2020/06/09/all-about-biosmart-technology/

Bombardier Expands Worldwide Customer Support with Enhanced Structural Repair Capabilities

  • Extended capabilities provide customers with unparalleled support and more reasons to bring their jets home to Bombardier 
  • Bombardier’s Customer Response Center (CRC) remains the single point of contact for all customer repair needs

MONTREAL, July 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bombardier Aviation has announced the extension of its worldwide customer support offerings through enhanced structural repair capabilities for its worldwide fleet of business jets.

Bombardier’s structural repair offerings are a collaborative effort with The Mobile Repair Team, a company which specializes in the completion of aircraft structural repairs worldwide. Bombardier Aviation will continue to provide high-quality repair solutions at one single point of contact through Bombardier’s Customer Response Center at +1-866-538-1247 (North America) and +1-514-855-2999 (International).

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and this extended partnership with The Mobile Repair Team will allow us to provide worldwide skilled and proficient structural repairs directly through our Customer Response Center alongside the outstanding service experience that our distinguished Bombardier customers expect,” said Andy Nureddin, Vice President, Customer Support, Bombardier Aviation.

The cross-functional CRC teams at Bombardier are empowered with state-of-the art tools and technology and are backed by Bombardier’s aircraft engineering as well as The Mobile Repair Team’s high-quality structural repair solutions that keep customers’ aircraft flying. Bombardier continues to show its ongoing commitment to providing its customers with the most comprehensive onsite, mobile and aircraft-on-ground resolution services in the industry.