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TC Inspectors Warn About SMS

Inspection services are suffering say federal pilots.

Inspection services are suffering say federal pilots.

The chair of the Canadian Federal Pilots Association is calling on the federal government to beef up direct oversight of commercial aviation operations.

In an op-ed article in the Ottawa Citizen, Greg McConnell, whose union represents TC pilot/inspectors, says the department has “all but abandoned direct operational oversight of airlines.”

About 10 years ago, the feds required major carriers to adopt safety management systems to monitor their own safety systems under the overall oversight of Transport Canada.

But McConnell says TC has virtually abandoned that oversight role by drastically cutting back on the number and extent of inspections intended to ensure the SMS system is effective.

“We seldom, if ever, conduct no-notice inspections, ramp checks, pilot check rides and other activities that once gave us a window into the state of safety of an airline,” McConnell said. “Commercial air operators in Canada can go for as long as five years without a single SMS assessment. That’s far too long and well beyond the international requirement for yearly inspections.”

McConnell said the cuts made by the former Conservative government have severely impaired the monitoring effectiveness of the pilot/inspectors who remain.

Canada’s aviation safety regulator has grounded the pilots who work as aviation inspectors, causing their qualifications to atrophy, preventing them from staying current with rapidly changing aviation technology and cutting their training at the same time,” he wrote. “There have never been fewer fully trained pilots whose qualifications are current and up to date working as aviation inspectors.

Ice Damages Q400 Window

Jazz Aviation says ice was the likely culprit in damaging a window on one of its Bombardier Q400s last week. Passengers aboard the flight from Charlottetown to Montreal were rattled by a loud noise during the flight. Window seat passenger David Smith said he lifted the shade just in time to see the ice smack
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T-33 Monument Under Repairs

It’s not often that an aircraft that hasn’t flown for 40 years is involved in a collision but the T-33-on-a-stick in Gimli, Manitoba has been grounded for repairs. A construction vehicle clipped one of the wingtip fuel tanks and the city has taken the aircraft down temporarily while it figures out how to fix it.
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Canada Now Lags On Drone Rules

Just 18 months ago, Canada was seen as a leader in the integration of small unmanned aircraft into the airspace system but sweeping new regulations in the U.S. have turned the tables. Transport Canada announced proposed rules to allow limited commercial use of drones in unpopulated areas in late 2014. But on Tuesday, the U.S.
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Crash Victim Had No Training

The mentally ill young man who died in a plane crash in Peterborough last week had never taken any flight training and that’s raising multiple questions about airport security and the response by authorities. Mohammad Hassan Chaudhary, 20, of Markham, apparently stole the Piper Tomahawk from Markham airport late in the evening of Aug. 11
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Super Cyclone Kit Launched

Aviatech Products, of Alma, Quebec,  in partnership with the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, has announced a technically improved version of the Super Cyclone kit aircraft it’s been building for several years. The new kit, which is a reproduction of a Cessna 185, will be easier to build and technically superior to the existing model
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CSeries Performing Well

Swiss International Airlines says its new CSeries aircraft are performing better than some other aircraft in their entry to service. The first CSeries revenue flight was on July 15 and although there have been some problems, Swiss seems satisfied so far. “The dispatch reliability of the first aircraft has already reached a high value, much
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More Air Ambulance Suspensions

Some isolated B.C. communities say they’re stuck in the middle of a bureaucratic tussle between Transport Canada and Helijet Airways that is threatening the health of their residents. Residents of Texada Island, west of Powell River, can’t be evacuated by air after dark because the Gillies Bay Airport has not been certified for night landings
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RCAF Supports Vimy Flight

The RCAF will lend major support to an aerial tribute to one of the most important battles in Canadian military history. The Air Force has agreed to load six replica First World War fighters on a C-17 cargo plane to take them to France so they can fly over the ceremony marking the 100th anniversary
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EMS Helicopters Banned at Hospitals

Helijet has suspended air ambulance service to seven hospitals in the heavily populated Lower Mainland of B.C. and the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo over a paperwork issue with its helicopters. Transport Canada told Helijet its Sikorsky S-76s can’t legally land at H-1 helipads in urban areas because its interpretation of the flight manual suggests
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Fire Tornado Caused Tanker Crash

The Transportation Safety Board has determined that a Conair Air Tractor Fire Boss air tanker was caught up in a “fire whirl” before it went down near Cold Lake, Alberta, in 2015. The TSB said the invisible and unpredictable phenomeon caused the aircraft to pitch up and stall while it was making a drop in
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Rouge Keeps Growing

It appears Air Canada’s bid to blunt competition from WestJet with a spinoff budget carrier has paid off. Air Canada Rouge has grown by 31 percent in the last year and is ten times the size of the airline when it started up in 2012. The carrier now has 43 aircraft and has added an
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Fighter Showdown Out West

For the first time, the Lockheed Martin F-35 will fly against the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet in Canada even if the only thing at stake is pleasing an air show crowd. Both aircraft will perform at next weekend’s Abbotsford International Air Show and both companies have ramped up their PR machines to make the most
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No Medical Reform in Canada

Transport Canada has no plans to follow the U.S. in relaxing medical requirements for private pilots. And by extension that means American pilots who let their medicals lapse under the new rules will not be able to fly in Canada. There is one more year to go before U.S. pilots can fly under the medical
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TSB Wants Tougher Balloon Rules

On the heels of a terrible accident in the U.S., Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has issued a statement saying it continues to be concerned about charter balloon safety in Canada. TSB Chair Kathy Fox said that even though some balloons can carry up to 12 fare-paying passengers, they under nowhere near the same oversight that
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Astronaut Competition Closes Aug. 15

Anyone who wants to be one of Canada’s next two astronauts has until Aug. 15 to get the application in. Competition is tough, as might be expected. So far about 3,400 people have applied and many are pretty accomplished. Those without multiple advanced degrees, perfect health and the kind of quick decisive mind that is
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