Operating Problems

The airport at Nain, Labrador operated by the Government of Newfoundland is subject to variable wind conditions such that the wind may be blowing from different directions at each end of the runway. Considering the amount of traffic generated by the Voisey's Bay mining activities, an additional windsock would provide pilots with more information about wind direction and fluctuations, especially pilots without local knowledge. The Canada Flight Supplement currently notes "Wind direction 2700 - 3600 can cause turbulence and downdraft. Hills to 800' ASL 5000' W of thld 06."

SR 38 - Recommend the Government of Newfoundland and Transport Canada Aerodrome Standards, Atlantic Region be notified of the concerns raised about the need for an additional windsock at Nain, Labrador.

The requirement for aircraft to be equipped with a Mode C transponder to operate in Terminal Control Areas (TCA) unless they have an air traffic control (ATC) clearance has created congestion of VFR traffic at altitudes below the TCA since many small aircraft, both commercial and private, are not equipped with Mode C transponders. These aircraft operate below the TCA that is typically structured to extend from the centre of the airport to a 12 NM radius based at 1200' AGL and a 35 NM radius based at 2200' AGL. There are no VFR routes that can be used to transit under or around the TCA.

SR 39 - Recommend Transport Canada and NAV CANADA review the requirement for VFR routes for aircraft transiting around or through a TCA.

During the summer, many American pilots fly into Canada to fish, hunt, fly the Alaska Highway, etc. American pilots are not always aware of the differences between U.S. and Canadian regulations. It would be beneficial for these pilots to have a quick reference outlining the differences. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has produced a quick reference card outlining pertinent U.S. regulations on one side of the card and corresponding Canadian regulations on the other side.

SR 40 - Recommend Transport Canada, in cooperation with the FAA, produce Canada/U.S. differences cards updated with the new Canadian Aviation Regulations requirements.

Fuel storage is a problem for operators, especially on the west coast of British Columbia. Fuel caches are being jeopardized by environmental concerns of fuel spills and the subsequent contamination of the surrounding land and water. Some fuel caches have been removed without the knowledge of the air operators, which has safety implications when a pilot is counting on fuel being available only to find it has been removed. Having fuel caches gives a pilot more options, especially when poor weather is a factor.

Environmental groups insist that barrels must be stored upright to preclude fuel leakage. This method of storage increases the risk of fuel contamination from water that settles on the top of the barrel. A proposed solution was to fit a plastic lid on the barrel. However, lids are a potential danger to helicopters if the rotor downwash lifts a lid into the rotor blades. Pilots and AMEs fueling aircraft from fuel caches are responsible to ensure that fuel is not spilled. If the entire contents of the fuel drum are not used, the remaining fuel should be transported away from the fuel cache in the barrel and not dumped on site.

Aviation fuel is not readily accessible on the west coast of Canada. Many suppliers have withdrawn their services as a result of increased regulation and environmental liabilities. Coupled with the decrease in the availability of fuel caches and the reliability of the fuel in those caches, fuel supplies are diminishing.

SR 41 - Recommend Transport Canada contact the federal and provincial environment authorities to determine if they are misinformed about the proper storage practices for fuel drums and advise them of the safety-related requirements for air operators to have fuel caches.

SR 42 - Recommend Transport Canada, in cooperation with fuel suppliers, publish information for pilots and AMEs on proper fueling practices from fuel caches.

There is no central reporting system for current information on blasting operations. Alert areas are noted on VFR charts for ongoing activities such as mining, but blasting on road construction sites most often occurs at random. Avalanche control involves firing an explosive device at the cornice of snow to induce a "controlled" avalanche. Itinerant pilots are often unaware of the location of these activities. A system is currently being tested in British Columbia that would alert pilots to blasting activities. This is a remote, ground based system that emits a distinct tone on a specified VHF radio frequency when blasting activities are in progress.

SR 43 - Recommend Transport Canada review the Automatic Terminal Information Service/ Aircraft Radio Control of Aerodrome Lighting unit that is being tested by the British Columbia Aviation Council for alerting pilots to blasting operations to determine if this technology can be used to alert pilots to areas where avalanche control and other blasting operations are being conducted.

SR 44 - Recommend that VFR charts note areas of avalanche control activity.

There is no notification of the times and areas of operation for military activities, when these occur outside designated military flight areas. Pilots can encounter low-flying, often high-speed aircraft involved in military exercises or transiting between the designated flight area and their base. Additionally, some military aircraft are not equipped with VHF radios and cannot broadcast their position to civilian pilots.

SR 45 - Recommend Transport Canada request the Department of National Defense (DND) publish a telephone number in the Canada Flight Supplement for civilian pilots to report near mid-air collisions with military aircraft.

IA 45 - Recommend pilots report near mid-air collisions with military aircraft to a Flight Service Station Specialist or Air Traffic Controller until the DND telephone number is established.

Pilots, especially helicopter pilots, are often required to stay at the fire camp rather than "commute" from the nearest town. Forest fire suppression activities include repetitive work when waterbucketting, stressful work when the fire is extremely active and often work in reduced visibility from smoke. Pilots must be alert to other traffic in the area; helicopters, float planes supplying the fire camps, waterbombers and bird-dog aircraft.

Suitable accommodation is required for pilots to be well rested and prepared to work the long duty days typical of forest fire suppression work. The Canadian Aviation Regulations contain a definition of suitable accommodation that must be provided to pilots. Forestry agencies may not be aware of this requirement since it is new to the regulations. Suitable accommodation "means a single-occupancy bedroom that is subject to a minimal level of noise, is well ventilated and has facilities to control the levels of temperature and light or, where such a bedroom is not available, an accommodation that is suitable for the site and season, is subject to a minimal level of noise and provides adequate comfort and protection from the elements".

SR 46 - Recommend Transport Canada advise the provincial and territorial Ministry of Natural Resources fire centres of the requirement for pilots to be provided with suitable accommodation.

IA 46 - Recommend air operators ensure their clients are aware of the requirement for pilots to be provided with suitable accommodation and ensure their clients provide pilots with suitable accommodation.

The outlying community aerodrome runways in northern Manitoba are typically 2800 - 3000 feet in length, as opposed to 3500 feet that is typical in other provinces and territories. The shorter runway length restricts the type of aircraft that can operate to these communities and can restrict the operating capabilities of those aircraft by limiting the number of passengers or amount of cargo or fuel that can be carried. Also, the pilots can experience black hole illusion during night landings. The installation of Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) or Visual Approach Slope Indicators (VASI) would be a great safety improvement.

SR 47 - Recommend Transport Canada advise the Manitoba Government of the concerns raised about the length of the runways at community aerodromes in northern Manitoba and that visual reference on approach would be enhanced if the aerodromes were equipped with a Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) or a Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI).

SR 48 - Recommend Transport Canada initiate research and development into a less expensive, remote PAPI or VASI system.

CAR 602.77 requires that pilots close their flight plan or flight itinerary as soon as practicable after landing. Many locations, such as bush camps or remote locations, do not have radios or telephones to allow the pilot to close the flight plan or itinerary after landing. This is especially true for helicopters and float-planes. When a pilot arrives at destination and finds there is no means to contact the appropriate air traffic service, the pilot would have to take off again to close the flight plan or itinerary in the air prior to the time specified for the initiation of search and rescue. Pilots may not file a flight plan or itinerary if they know there will be a problem closing it or they may designate excessive search and rescue times in order to increase the time available for closing the flight plan or itinerary.

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