$5 Million Milestone for North Star Air and FN Partner Communities

April 30, 2021 – Thunder Bay, ON – North Star Air is proud and very pleased to announce the milestone in their First Nation Community Partnership Agreements program. As of April 30, 2021, North Star Air eclipsed the $5million mark for funds contributed back to their First Nations Partners!

Since the program’s inception, North Star Air’s growing strategic business partnerships include eleven First Nation communities: Cat Lake, Deer Lake, Eabametoong, Kashechewan, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, North Caribou Lake, North Spirit Lake, Poplar Hill, Sachigo Lake and Webequie.

“Revenues generated from North Star Air community partner agreements are designed to distribute funds back into the community for future investments in social, economic and infrastructure projects” explains Executive Vice-President Tom Meilleur. “We’re very proud and dedicated to playing an active role in making a positive difference within First Nation communities. This achievement is a testament to the great relations we have with our First Nation partner communities and the mutual support and growth we have achieved together.”

“This is a great partnership that works for the First Nation communities in providing assistance to the north where it is desperately needed. We continue to support this initiative and encourage all our community members, other suppliers and government agencies to use North Star Air that supports the betterment of our community” says Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation.

In support of their vision and mission, North Star Air partner communities also benefit from competitive rates for passenger, charter and air cargo services. The airline also provides grant money for members of their First Nation partner communities to attend an accredited Aviation school to enjoy a rewarding career in the exciting world of aviation with North Star Air.

To celebrate this $5million milestone, and in recognition of their customers and their team in helping build these great relationships, North Star Air has adorned their passenger aircraft with celebratory decals. “We’d love to be going into the communities and celebrating with them, hosting a community BBQ and presenting their cheque, but due to COVID, we’ll have to put our visits on hold this year,” states Maureen Massaro, Director of Passenger Services, “this is a small way of showing our mutual achievements and this milestone.”

Elevating Safety: North Star Air Opens Rapid Screening Centres

Thursday April 1, 2021, 11:00AM EDT – Thunder Bay, ON North Star Air is the first regional airline in Northwestern Canada to provide, through a third party provider, COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Screening for passengers prior to boarding their flight. This is good news and a game-changer for passengers travelling to remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.

Working closely with the First Nations communities served by North Star Air, the support from community leadership was overwhelming. Remote northern communities have been looking for such a program to increase safety amid the on-going fight against the spread of COVID-19. While predeparture screening is not required for domestic travel within Canada, North Star Air understands the importance of providing an additional line of defense to northern remote communities. “We’ve stepped up the layers of protection for the good of the North. Our communities have always been concerned and employing various protocols to minimize the spread of COVID within their communities. This is very much needed “says Chief Harvey Yesno of Eabametoong First Nation. Chief Cornelius Benson of North Caribou First Nation applauds the initiative saying “We are very happy with this initiative that will bring more safety to our community.”

John and Irene Oskineegish of Eabametoong First Nation received their negative COVID-19 test

result prior to boarding their North Star Air flight at the Thunder Bay Airport. After months of discussions with northern communities and various health service providers, the challenge has always been the resources required to administer the screening. A solution was found. Effective this week passengers flying with North Star Air will be required to take the COVID-19 rapid test at the Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout Airports prior to boarding their flight. The rapid screening, with results in as little as fifteen minutes, will supplement and not replace the mandatory requirements for health questionnaires, temperature checks and facemasks. “This is a critically important program. It’s another layer of protection that we offer our customers, our communities and our staff,” states Jeff Stout, President of North Star Air. As part of the program, the Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout Airports have provided support by allocating secure locations within their Airports for the screening to take place. While there are costs involved with the screening, North Star Air is offering this service free of charge to all passenger flight customers. North Star Air’s President Stout adds that, “In order to get this program online we understand there are costs that we as an airline will need to absorb, however we are calling on all levels of government to provide financial assistance. This should be a cost neutral service for the customer and the airline. We’re only halfway there today.”

COVID-19 testing rolled out at Sioux Lookout Airport this week!

North Star Air continues to be the leader in providing the utmost in safety when it comes to their passengers, employees and the remote communities they serve. Since the onset of the pandemic, North Star Air has implemented a series of safety measures to help mitigate the spread of the COVID19 virus. These safety measures along with FAQ’s about rapid screening can be found on their website. http://www.northstarair.ca/covid-19-update

North Star Air – Toys for North Take Delivery

TOY DELIVERY A SUCCESS DESPITE COVID

December 14, 2020 – THUNDER BAY, ON – This past weekend highlighted the start to the final leg of the 2020 RCMP Toys for the North campaign with the delivery of toys to the first recipient community, Pikangikum First Nation in Northwestern Ontario. “In the next few days, months of planning will be coming to a close, and it’s the most rewarding part”, says Jeff Stout, COO and President of North Star Air. “This year posed so many challenges due to the pandemic. We must congratulate everyone involved that made this happen with the utmost of community safety in mind.”

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the Canadian Toy Association, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Royal Canadian Air Force and Thomson Terminals works to provide children’s toys to families in some of Canada’s most remote regions who cannot access or often afford children’s toys during the holiday season, including communities in Northwestern Ontario. “Double the amount of donated new toys were received this year off the Hercules last week. We were so glad to see the surplus as the need is much greater this year,” adds RCMP Cpl. Stacy Morton.  

Over 2,500 toys were received through the Toys for the North campaign. “The community request for toys quadrupled this year, and with good reason,” says Karen Matson, Director of Marketing & Community Relations at North Star Air, “Residents weren’t traveling out of their communities to do their Christmas shopping. We’re currently working on the distribution through our flight network to seven more communities in the coming days to ensure pre-Christmas delivery.”

Once the toys were delivered to Thunder Bay via the Hercules, they were then transported to the local Gardewine warehouse where volunteers sorted them by age, by community. They were then transported via Gardewine to North Star Air bases in Red Lake and Pickle Lake, Ontario to be delivered to the recipient communities. This year eight communities are on Santa’s list to receive toys, books and winter wear through the annual “giving” campaign. Receiving communities for the 2020 Toys for the North are Pikangikum, North Spirit Lake, Muskrat Dam, Bearskin Lake, Marten Falls, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake and Fort Severn First Nations.

North Star Air along with the RCMP and Retired RCMP, including ISC Ontario Region’s own Normand Roy with encouragement and support from RDG Anne Scotton and Director GIAGR Diane Bain, worked out the logistics of the program for this year.

“This year was certainly different in how we executed the campaign. Normally we travel into the community to enjoy a community feast and celebrate with the community members as Santa hands out the gifts to the children. But, of course, due to the pandemic all that changed. It’s not an easy task, but worth it knowing we put smiles on the children’s faces on Christmas morning.” offers Roy.

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone stepped up to ensure the success of this years’ Toys for the North campaign while keeping safety at the forefront. Thank you also to Frontier College Thunder Bay for their donation of 200 hard cover and paperback books again this year that were also included with the toy delivery. Winter snowsuits were again donated by Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory snowsuit drive in southern Ontario. Their second year of participation helped provide over two dozen snowsuits and teen care packages for youth in remote locations. “We thank and congratulate everyone involved in this years Toys for the North campaign” says Matson. “We look forward to next year’s campaign when we can celebrate alongside our partners and our Northern neighbours.”

North Star Air is in it’s sixth year of partnership with the “O” Division Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) ‘Toys for the North’ charitable drive. The initiative has evolved over the years to include a national network of RCMP, law enforcement, corporate and external partners who collectively contribute to the success of delivering new toys and more to children in remote Northern Ontario communities.

COVID WON’T CANCEL THE TOYS!

We invite you to join us in welcoming the Canadian Air Force military aircraft CC130 Hercules to Thunder Bay this Friday December 4th at 11:00am as we kick off the 2020 RCMP Toys for the North! (social distancing and face masks are a must. Location is Shell Aviation on Derek Burney Drive).

December 3, 2020 – THUNDER BAY, ON – Once again the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Gardewine and North Star Air will deliver toys to remote First Nations communities this Christmas! Thousands of donated new toys, basic needs items and more will arrive in Thunder Bay this week thanks to the Canadian Air Force military aircraft CC130 Hercules.

“We’ve had to change up the way we distribute the toys this year, due to the pandemic,” says Karen Matson, Director of Marketing & Community Relations at North Star Air, “extra precautions are in place to ensure we prepare and deliver the toys in a safe manner. We won’t be traveling as a group to celebrate with the communities, which is disappointing, but at least we can get the toys delivered.”

The arrival of the Hercules in Thunder Bay starts the journey to the remote North. Once the cargo is off-loaded from the Hercules in Thunder Bay, Gardewine Freight Delivery will then move the cargo to their local warehouse where volunteers will sort the goods by age per community. “We’re talking about thousands of toys that need to be sorted so that the next phase can continue as planned.” says Retired S/Sgt. Normand Roy of the RCMP, “PPE and safe distancing will be mandatory as we prepare the toys for delivery.”  

Once sorted, the toys will then be transported by Gardewine to North Star Air bases in Red Lake and Pickle Lake where it will then be air transported to remote communities on Saturday December 12th via North Star Air’s flight network. You can follow the journey on North Star Air’s Facebook page. 

https://www.facebook.com/northstarair

North Star Air is in it’s 6th year of partnership with the “O” Division Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) ‘Toys for the North’ charitable drive. The initiative has evolved over the years to include a national network of RCMP, law enforcement, corporate and external partners who collectively contribute to the success of delivering new toys to children in remote Northern Ontario communities.

DC-3 crashed after accidental lever nudge cut fuel to engines

From Flight Global News – link to story

By David Kaminski-Morrow ~ 1 September 2020

Canadian investigators believe one of the pilots of a modified Douglas DC-3 inadvertently moved the aircraft’s fuel-condition levers while raising the undercarriage, cutting off the fuel flow to both engines.

The North Star Air aircraft (C-FKGL) came down after take-off from Fort Hope airport in Ontario, while carrying out ferrying of diesel fuel to Pickle Lake, on 21 June last year.

After it became airborne the first officer, who was flying, called for the landing-gear to be retracted at about 200ft. The captain selected the gear-up lever but both engines simultaneously lost power and the crew force-landed the DC-3, in darkness, on the surface of Eabamet Lake.

Neither of the two pilots, the only occupants, was injured. The flight lasted just 50s.

The DC-3, built in 1942, was a Basler Turbo TP67 version, with its original Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830 piston engines replaced by Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67R turboprops.

Transportation Safety Board investigators conducted an acoustic analysis of the cockpit-voice recorder to ascertain whether the sounds captured during take-off differed from those on three earlier flights.

The inquiry found the sound traces from the three normal flights, and the accident flight, were similar and contained two clicks associated with movement of the landing-gear handle, followed by the signature of the retracting undercarriage.

But while the normal flights had no other acoustic events until the crew’s 400ft height call, the landing-gear operation of the accident flight was interrupted about 1s after it began, owing to a loss of hydraulic pressure – coinciding with two additional clicks and a rapid reduction in propeller speed – before the impact 17s later.

DC-3 C-FKGL

Source: Transportation Safety Board

Pilots of the DC-3 had no time to relight the engines after the sudden loss of power

No propeller or power-lever adjustments had been made in any of the analysed flights before the loss of engine power, and the inquiry theorised that the unexpected clicks before the crash originated from the fuel-condition levers, on the same throttle quadrant, being “accidentally moved”.

It points out that the landing-gear control can present “ergonomic challenges” to the pilot. The handle is located behind, and to the left of, the right-hand pilot seat. To raise the landing-gear, the left-seat pilot would need to turn at the waist to reach for the handle with their right hand, and probably steady themselves by putting their left hand on the throttle quadrant.

Tests carried out by investigators found that the pilot’s hand could inadvertently move the fuel-condition levers, particularly if they were not secured in their gates.

“The gates are narrow and the fuel-condition levers are long, making it possible to snag or bump [them] out to the left and down,” says the inquiry.

Insufficient height meant the crew did not have time for any of the three options to relight the engines after the power loss.

Investigators are still probing a second North Star Air accident involving a modified TP67 version of the DC-3, nearly six months after the Eabamet Lake crash. The aircraft (C-FKAL) struck terrain about 500m south-west of runway 10 during approach to Sachigo Lake airport on 3 December. Neither pilot was injured.

Live Bingo Broadcast for Remote Northern Communities

From North Star Air

 June 19, 2020 – Thunder Bay, ON – This Saturday local airline North Star Air is hosting a free bingo game broadcast live for members of their First Nation partner communities in remote Northwestern Ontario.  “With the COVID-19 virus across Canada, we’ve all been shut in for months and who knows how long this will go on for.  We wanted to provide a safe, fun way to engage with the communities we serve. Due to the virus, we’ll miss our visits this Summer to their communities, as we normally fly in and host a community barbeque,” says Karen Matson, Marketing Director with the airline. “Of course practicing physical distancing is important, especially in remote Northern Ontario where PPE and medical equipment is minimal, so we decided to host a bingo where members can participate safely from their own homes.”

The free bingo game will be broadcast live over Wawatay Radio and on North Star Air’s Facebook page. Over 6,000 free bingo cards have been distributed via the airline to their partner communities in Northern Ontario. “We also included members that reside off-reserve in Thunder Bay. They’ve been shut in too, so we’ve provided them with the free bingo cards to join in the fun too.” continues Matson.

It should be a fun-filled evening of bingo, music and laughs as comedian Moccasin Joe will be calling the bingo and adding some of his humour throughout the game. Over $18,000 in prizes, including an ATV, an outboard motor and a $1,250 prize package will be up for grabs in the bingo thanks to sponsors North Star Air, Northern Stores, Bazaar & Novelty and Dufresne Furniture & Appliances. North Star Air will host a second free bingo on Saturday June 27th open to over 25 remote First Nation communities across Northern Ontario.