Bruce MacKinnon at the Canadian Aviation Safety Seminar (CASS) 2000 in St. John’s, N.L.

Bruce MacKinnon at the Canadian Aviation
Safety Seminar(CASS)2000 in St. John’s, N.L.

A consummate professional, Transport Canada’s wildlife control specialist Bruce MacKinnon was also a dedicated family man, a passionate advocate of aviation safety, and one of the most amicable people in the department. His wildlife control expertise was recognized around the world and he would jump on any opportunity to share it with others. Always in high demand for his time and knowledge, Bruce managed to contribute generously to the Aviation Safety Letter(ASL)over the years, and this last instalment is just one more example. Bruce MacKinnon passed away on July6,2008, in an aviation accident in northern Ontario. Bird Strike Committee Canada has established the Bruce MacKinnon Memorial Scholarship, which aims to remember Bruce and to continue to bring education and awareness in the field that he loved. A beautiful tribute to Bruce’s life and accomplishments has also been posted on their Web site, at

Thank you Bruce, from all of us here at the ASL.

Animal Ambush:The Challenge of Managing Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports

Adapted by Bruce MacKinnon, Wildlife Control Specialist, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

The following article is an edited version of "Animal Ambush:The Challenge of Managing Wildlife Hazards at General Aviation Airports," which explores in detail wildlife hazards at general aviation(GA)airports in the United States. The article was written by Dr. Richard A. Dolbeer, Michael J. Begier and Sandra E.Wright from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The guidelines are also applicable to GA airports in Canada.

-Bruce MacKinnon, June2008.

Increasing wildlife populations and their adaptation to the airport environment have become a safety and economic concern for the aviation industry. The limited management of wildlife hazards at many GA airports adds impetus for actions by pilots and aircraft owners to assist in reducing damaging wildlife strikes. Listed below are recommendations to mitigate the risk of damaging strikes.

Question 1:At what height(above ground level[AGL])do most strikes occur?
Answer: Bird strikes have been reported up to 32 000ft. The majority of damaging strikes occur below 100ft and frequently between 501 and 3 500ft. Pilots should climb expeditiously in areas and seasons of high bird activity and avoid high-speed flight below 3 500ft. Speed contributes more to the amount of damage than bird mass does.

Question 2: Do more strikes occur during takeoff or landing?
Answer: More bird and deer strikes are reported during the landing phase of flight compared to takeoff and climb. In contrast, turbine-powered engines are more likely to sustain substantial damage with possible hull loss during takeoff and climb. Pilots should delay takeoff if birds are observed on the runway.

Question 3:Shouldn’t birds sitting or standing on the runway notice an approaching aircraft and disperse?
Answer: Pilots should not assume that birds will detect or react in time to avoid a strike with their aircraft. The majority of birds will attempt to avoid approaching aircraft, but avoidance reaction may be too late or inappropriate. Furthermore, birds are apparently less able to detect modern aircraft with quieter engines compared to aircraft with noisier engines.

Question 4:What about flying or soaring birds? Do birds normally dive or climb in response to an approaching aircraft?
Answer: The majority of birds encountered above 500ft AGL try to dive, and few birds attempt to climb. In contrast, below 500ft AGL only 25percent of the birds encountered in the air showed an attempt to dive and 32 percent attempted to climb. If an avoidance manoeuvre is possible, a pilot should try to fly above birds, although expect unpredictable manoeuvres close to the ground.

Question 5:Are bird strikes only a problem during the day? What about deer strikes?
Answer: More total bird strikes to civil aircraft occur during daylight, but the probability of a bird strike is greater at night, especially above 500ft AGL. Pilots should fly above 3 500ft AGL at night during spring and fall migration periods to minimize the possibility of en-route bird strikes. For deer, about 80percent of the strikes occur at dusk or night.

Question 6:What about season of year?
Answer: In North America, July to November is the worst period for damaging bird strikes in the airport environment(below 500ft AGL)and the highest bird population levels occur in late summer. Above 500ft, September to November, April and May are the most dangerous months-the peak periods of migration. October and November are the worst months for deer strikes.

Question 7:Are strikes more likely under certain weather conditions?
Answer: Strikes occur more frequently on rainydays. This increase might relate to the greater abundance of invertebrate food at the soil surface, which is appetizing for birds.

Question 8:Are bird strikes more likely to occur to wing mounted turbofan engines or fuselage-mounted turbofan engines?
Answer: Wing-mounted engines were five times more likely to have a bird strike compared to fuselage-mounted engines, based on an analysis of engine strikes per 100000 movements for commercial air carriers in the U.S. from 1990 to 1999.

Question 9:Will the deployment of on-board radar disperse birds from the path of an approaching aircraft?
Answer: Many species of birds are sensitive to certain stimuli such as earth’s magnetic field for navigation. However, there is no scientific evidence that birds detect radar deployed on aircraft or even that detection would be sensed as a threat and cause birds to avoid aircraft.

Question 9 a):Are visual devices effective for alerting birds of approaching aircraft?
Answer: Birds often respond to light beams with abrupt avoidance manoeuvres, although only limited data suggest that pulsating landing lights reduce bird strikes. Additional research is needed to determine optimal strategies. However, pilots should not rely on radar, aircraft and spinner markings or lights to prevent bird strikes.

Question 9 b):Will ultrasonic devices keep birds out of hangars and off the airfield?
Answer: Ultrasonic devices are not effective against birds in hangars or on the airfield, and birds do not hear in the ultrasonic range any better than humans do.

Question 10:Why should a pilot report strikes?
Answer: Strike documentation is an important means of educating the public about the need for wildlife management at airports. It also alerts airport operators, regulatory agencies and others to the need for improved management strategies.

Question 11:How does someone report a strike and ensure proper identification of bird species?
Answer: In Canada, wildlife and bird strike reports can be completed and submitted several ways:
By phone(toll-free hotline):1-888-282-BIRD(282-2473)
On paper:order hard-copy bird/wildlife strike report forms(form number 51-0272)in bulk from the Transport Canada with the following contact information:

Web site:
Toll-free(North America only):1-888-830-4911
Local:613-991-4071 Fax:613-991-2081

If a species is unidentifiable by flight crew or airport personnel, consult a local biologist. A digital photograph of the remains is helpful. If a local biologist is not available, feathers or tissue from the bird species can be sent to the Smithsonian Institution(see addresses below)for correct species identification free of charge.

U.S. Postal Service:
Feather Identification Lab
Smithsonian Institution
PO Box 37012
NHB, E610, MRC 116
Washington DC20013-7012


Feather Identification Lab
Smithsonian Institution
NHB, E610, MRC 116
10th &Constitution Ave. NW
Washington DC20560-0116

More details can be found at and in the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA)AdvisoryCircular150/5200-32A.

By addressing the important safety and economic issues related to wildlife at GA airports, pilots can assist in the justification and development of wildlife hazard mitigation programs, and help to improve education programs for pilots and aircraft owners. All stakeholders in this important safety issue must contribute in order to minimize the risk associated with collisions between wildlife and aircraft at GA airports.

The SAC Column:What Glider Pilots Should Know to Avoid Unnecessary SAR Response After a Landout

Soaring Association of Canada (SAC) Logo

by Dan Cook, Flight Training and Safety Committee, Soaring Association of Canada(SAC)

The e-mail and response below will be of interest to all pilots, NAVCANADA and anyone involved in search and rescue(SAR)activities. The e-mail was from a glider pilot, and was addressed to the SAC’s Flight Training and Safety Committee(FTSC). The response may help to understand how glider operations may affect us.

"A recent routine landout by a pilot, who was being monitored by a NAVCANADA terminal controller, resulted in the dispatch of a search helicopter from a rescue centre, when radio contact was lost. It seems that controllers do not realize that a landout(in a highly cultivated area)is routine and almost risk free.

If this becomes a regular response, then a great deal of resources will be wasted, and it could be an excuse to charge the SAC for services. Moreover, Transport Canada(TC)could demand filing of flight plans and all that rigamarole.

There seems to be a suggestion that pilots should call rescue coordination after a "landout." Does the SAC have a position on this? Has it been discussed with NAVCANADA?"

FTSC response:
All pilots(including glider pilots)are required to file a flight plan, or flight itinerary,(with a responsible person)in accordance with Canadian Aviation Regulation(CAR)602.73 when planning to fly crosscountry. As most glider cross-country flights are done within gliding clubs, the regulation is routinely met for a flight itinerary when a glider pilot declares their turn points to the field manager(responsible person), who will notify SAR should the pilot not return and is not heard from by the end of the soaring day. This information should be recorded in the club’s operation log at the flight line, prior to departure, due to changes in personnel during the flying day. All glider pilots have been trained to notify the club-after a landout-that they are safely down, so that they can have the retrieve crew dispatched and prevent an unwanted search. Landing out is a normal and routine part of glider cross-country sport flying. We do not want to land out, but we must be prepared and plan for it because lift is not guaranteed.

As airspace is getting more complicated, many pilots are now contacting NAVCANADA air traffic control(ATC)facilities during their flights. If contact has been established, it is customary for the pilot to let ATC know when they are leaving the frequency or airspace. Should a landout occur after contact has been made, and before the pilot has notified ATC of leaving the frequency or airspace, then it would be prudent for the pilot to also notify NAVCANADA-through any ATC facility-that they have landed safely, to prevent an unwanted search. If the pilot is unable to call ATC, they can relay a message on 121.5MHz to over-flying commercial traffic that routinely monitor the frequency.

In addition, more gliders are using an emergency locator transmitter(ELT)and the pilot should monitor 121.5MHz after landing to ensure that their transmitter has not been activated. Regional rescue centres start a telephone search upon ELT activation, but often will commit resources when NAVCANADA reports that a radar contact has been lost and communications cannot be re-established. Failure to follow any of the above explanations could result in the pilot being financially responsible for the rescue costs. For more information, see sections RAC3.0( SAR of the Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual(TC AIM).

A gliding instructor further commented on the above FTSC response:
The New Brunswick Soaring Association(NBSA)had a problem like this years ago when I flew there. The problem was that the glider pilot was communicating with ATC, ran out of lift and informed ATC that they were landing in a field. The standard protocol is for ATC to notify SAR after 30 min if contact has been lost. This sounds like a similar scenario.

SAR then did a communications search. After ATC notified SAR of the lost contact and the Halifax Joint Rescue Coordination Centre(JRCC)tracked the NBSA down and contacted us in Havelock,N.B., we explained that the glider had landed safely and contacted us, so there was no emergency and it would be retrieved in due course. We were busy with students, so "due course" was much later.

It did not help that the glider landed in a large field under a busy visual flight rules(VFR)airway about 10 mi. from Moncton,N.B., or that the pilot removed the canopy, turtle-deck, cushions, etc. to expedite the eventual de-rigging. Until we finally got around to retrieving the glider, sightings of the wreckage and apparent debris were reported by passing pilots for the rest of the afternoon. The military SAR staff on duty spent the afternoon fielding the "crash" reports and making annoyed calls to our operations in Havelock.

While it is important for flight plans or itineraries to be filed with responsible persons, it may not always prevent incidents like this. Once a glider contacts a flight service station(FSS)or ATC, the "30 min lost contact protocol" is activated. Consequently, unless the radio contact is formally closed, such as "glider ABC switching to 123.4, ABC out" and/or a call is made to ATC after landing to confirm "flight plan closed," SAR response will follow(as it should.)

In the NBSA incident, the pilot flew only gliders and was not used to dealing with ATC; working with a glider is not that common for ATC either.

Conclusion: if you talk to an FSS or to ATC, formally end the conversation before landing, and for good measure, phone them once you are on the ground to confirm that all is well.

COPA Corner: The New Aircraft Avionics

by John Quarterman, Manager, Member Assistance and Programs, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association(COPA)

Canadian Owners and Pilots Association

This spring, COPA staff participated in familiarization and conversion training on one of the relatively new, four-place, single-engine, glass cockpit aircraft, which COPA now uses to attend COPA events, fly-ins, and aviation meetings across our region. Normally, pilots are required to take a manufacturer’s training course when these aircraft with their modern and sophisticated avionics are bought new from the factory. In order for a pilot to fly a used aircraft, many insurers insist on the same factory course or an aftermarket equivalent. These new aircraft are very pleasant to fly, with capable autopilots, instant situational awareness, and hundreds of different helpful displays and features available at the push of a few buttons.

Modern glass cockpit in a general aviation aircraft

Photo:K. Psutka

Modern glass cockpit in a general aviation aircraft

For pilots used to the rather sparse instrumentation of the seventies-era flying-school aircraft equipped with two navcoms-if working-a somewhat unreliable automatic direction finder(ADF), perhaps distance measuring equipment(DME), hardly ever an autopilot, these new aircraft are like a dream come true.

What has become apparent to all our COPA pilots is that the new aircraft instrumentation requires a discipline that we didn’t previously need to the same degree. There is so much to look at, so much to "play with," there are so many functions to use that we have found it very tempting to fly "heads down," watching and using all the new instrument features available. The discipline to maintain a careful scan of the airspace around us while flying in visual meteorological conditions(VMC)is an important part of learning to fly these new aircraft.

An essential safety factor in flying these aircraft is currency. It is our experience-and this is echoed by many COPA members who own these aircraft-that the sophistication of the new avionics requires constant practice in order for pilots to stay proficient in finding and using the features in these units quickly and while keeping up with cockpit workload. This same issue was found to be a challenge with the new GPS units that emerged around the turn of the decade and that were retrofitted into our round-dial aircraft. The challenge is now even greater, as the number of features, consequent screens, soft keys, and buttons have multiplied with the new factory-equipped, glass-panel aircraft. Using all these features effectively means using them must be second nature to the pilot operating in high-stress, busy environments.

Recently, a spate of informal media surveys indicated that pilots are cutting back on training and flying hours due to increased costs-especially fuel costs. While these surveys do not represent scientific data, and while there are no recently published Transport Canada statistics, it is clear from anecdotal evidence that pilots are feeling the pressures of increased costs. Certainly, flying less to lower costs does not fit well with the necessity for pilots to stay proficient in the technology and operations of their new aircraft.

Several options can help minimize the effects of decreased flying hours. For example, computer simulation programs are available from all the major avionics manufacturers, allowing the pilot to practice nearly all actions, features, flight-planning and instrument-approach capabilities of the avionics fit while on the ground. Supplementing this avionics familiarization and practice with regular simulator sessions to keep current with instrument procedures is another option that helps maintain the pilot’s currency. Finally, regular review of the new, more complex systems, planning requirements, engine management features, and of all the other familiar flying rules, procedures, weather knowledge, and other facets of safe aviating can help to make our transition to flying in the twenty-first century safe. For more information on COPA, visit

TSB Communications on Visual Glide Slope Indicator(VGSI)Issues

The following are two Aviation Safety Advisories recently submitted to Transport Canada(TC)by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada(TSB)

On November11,2007, a Bombardier Global5000 departed Hamilton,Ont.(CYHM), for Fox Harbour,N.S.(CFH4), with two crew members and eight passengers onboard. On approach to Runway33, the crew followed the visual glide slope indications from an abbreviated precision approach path indicator(APAPI)to guide their descent. At 14:34 Atlantic Daylight Time(ADT), the aircraft touched down seven feet short of Runway33 at Fox Harbour. The landing gear was damaged when it came in contact with the edge of the runway, and directional control was lost when the right main landing gear collapsed. The aircraft departed the right side of the runway and came to a stop 1 000ft from the initial touchdown point. All occupants evacuated the aircraft. One crew member and one passenger suffered serious injuries, while the others suffered only minor injuries. The aircraft suffered major structural damage. The TSB investigation into this occurrence(A07A0134)is ongoing.

The Fox Harbour Runway33 VGSI is an APAPI system and is designed for use by aircraft with eye-to-wheel height(EWH)of up to, but not including, 10ft(3 m). The crew had flown into the Fox Harbour aerodrome on at least 80occasions and were familiar with the runway environment. They had relied on the Runway33 APAPI guidance in the past to complete approaches, normally touching down within the first 500ft of runway. However, previous flights were with smaller aircraft, such as the ChallengerCL604 with an EWH of 12.1 ft(3.7 m). The crew had little overall experience on the larger Global5000 with an EWH of 17.2 ft(5.2 m)and it was only their third time landing this aircraft at Fox Harbour.

Flight crew awareness of VGSI system limitations
VGSI information can be found in many different publications used by operating flight crews, such as the Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual(TC AIM), as well as in the Canada Air Pilot General Pages(CAP GEN)and the Canada Flight Supplement(CFS), both published by NAVCANADA.

For example, the CAP GEN describes the different types of precision approach path indicator(PAPI)systems available. A table provided in the Approach Lights Legend section gives the following information:

P1 PAPI for aircraft with eye-to-wheel height up to 10ft.

P2 PAPI for aircraft with eye-to-wheel height up to 25ft.

P3 PAPI for aircraft with eye-to-wheel height up to 45ft.

AP Abbreviated PAPI for aircraft with eye-to-wheel height up to 10ft.

Following visual guidance from a visual approach slope indicator system not appropriate for the type of aircraft operated can result in an unsafe threshold crossing height. This is especially critical when operating to a runway not served by an electronic glide path, when visual illusions might be present, or at night. Flight crew knowledge of the limitations associated with the different types of visual approach slope indicator systems in use is therefore essential in order to assess the appropriateness of the system to the type of aircraft operated.

Many small community aerodromes across Canada are serviced by aircraft with EWH exceeding the limitations of the aerodrome’s visual approach slope indicator systems. Furthermore, compared to older aircraft, newer aircraft, such as the Global5000, now have landing and take-off performance capabilities allowing them to operate using short runways. Those short runways are often equipped with visual approach slope indicator systems appropriate for aircraft with EWH of less than 10ft. This situation increases the exposure to the risk of landing with reduced threshold crossing height safety margin.

Even though information related to VGSI systems is available in multiple publications, the investigation has determined that while pilots are aware that different systems are in use, they are not aware of their associated limitations, nor are they aware of the significance of following guidance from a system that is not appropriate to the aircraft type operated. For example, it is not critical for a small aircraft to follow visual guidance from a P2 or P3, as it would only provide a greater threshold crossing height; however, any aircraft with an EWH greater than 10ft following visual guidance from a P1 or an AP would not be assured a safe threshold crossing height.

The TC Flight Instructor Guide-Aeroplane(TP975E)lists the topic of VGSI as a teaching point under the night flying section. Although instructors cover the different types of equipment and their associated limitations, the emphasis is put on the significance of VGSI system indications to the pilots, without discussing the risks associated with following VGSI guidance not appropriate for an aircraft type. This limited emphasis results in pilots relying on VGSI guidance not suitable for some of the aircraft types they are operating. The investigation has determined that a RED/WHITE on-slope indication on approach would be perceived by pilots as a confirmation that they were on a safe flight path to landing. Without considerations for the type of VGSI system generating the visual guidance, following an on-slope indication could result in a large aircraft not having a safe threshold crossing height.

Furthermore, the only related topic addressed in TC flight crew examinations is the interpretation of the different visual indications provided by VGSI equipment. There are no questions with regards to the limitations of the different types of VGSI currently in use(PAPIs).

Due to flight crew limited knowledge of the different VGSI systems in operation and the significance of their limitations on the safety of flight operations, flight crews will continue to follow visual guidance that may not be appropriate for the aircraft type they are operating. Those flight crews will therefore not be assured safe threshold crossing height.

Therefore, TC may wish to review the pilot training requirements so that flight crews are made aware of VGSI limitations as well as its impact on the safety of flight operations for their aircraft type.

Availability of aircraft EWH information
VGSI system guidance is important when approaching a runway not served by an electronic glide path, when visual illusions might be present, or at night. However, knowledge of an aircraft’s EWH is necessary in order to assess whether a VGSI system is appropriate for the aircraft type being flown.

At the time of the above-mentioned occurrence, the crew was not aware of the EWH of either the ChallengerCL604 or the Global5000. The Global5000 EWH was not published in the aircraft flight manual(AFM), or otherwise available to the crew. Although information relevant to the operation of an aircraft is usually published in the AFM, the investigation has determined that EWH information is generally not available in the AFM.

In the past, large aircraft performance characteristics precluded operations from short runways such as Fox Harbour’s 4 885-ft Runway33. Modern large aircraft with better short field performance are now able to operate from shorter runways, where they are more likely to encounter VGSI designed for smaller aircraft. A large aircraft with an EWH greater than 10ft following visual guidance from a VGSI designed for a smaller aircraft is not assured a safe threshold crossing height. Without EWH information, this situation increases exposure to the risk of landing with a reduced threshold crossing height safety margin.

On November 26,2007, the TSB issued an Aviation Safety Information Letter to TC, informing them that the approach was flown with reference from an APAPI that was not designed for a Global5000 with an EWH that, at the time, was suspected to be greater than 10ft. TC’s response stated that EWH information is not normally stated in the AFM, nor is there a requirement to do so. TC also pointed out that, should an operator require this information, the type certificate holder can provide it to the operator on request. The investigation has determined that even the type certificate holder may not have this information readily available.

Because aircraft EWH is not available to pilots, crews may continue to conduct approaches with an aircraft mismatched to the VGSI system, increasing the risk of an unacceptable threshold crossing height safety margin.

Therefore, TC may wish to review the requirements to have aircraft EWH information available for use by flight crews in aircraft publications.


Air Taxi Safety

by Gerry Binnema, Civil Aviation Safety Inspector, System Safety, Pacific Region, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

The air taxi industry is facing a number of significant challenges in today’s market conditions. The price of fuel is skyrocketing. Qualified staff are often hard to find and retain. Clients are becoming more safety conscious, but do not seem to be willing to pay a premium for better equipment and more experienced staff. How can you, as an operator, cope with these demands and continue to provide a safe and efficient operation?

A couple of years ago, there were several high-profile accidents in the Pacific Region involving air taxi operators. As a result, Transport Canada conducted a safety study on the air taxi sector, primarily focusing on the situation in the Pacific Region. This study has now been published and you can find it at: The report identifies a wide range of hazards, but many of them are simply beyond anyone’s control. For instance, there is very little that can be done about the mountainous terrain and poor weather that is typical of much of coastal British Columbia.

A recent Pacific Region Aviation Safety Council meeting focused on this report and sought operator input on what hazards were significant for them, and how they were coping with those hazards. The top hazards from the operator’s perspective involved staffing challenges, managing employee fatigue, and dealing with client pressures. Some ideas from this session are presented below.

Staffing challenges
It has probably never been more difficult to find qualified staff. In particular, aircraft maintenance engineers(AME)and helicopter pilots are in short supply. Even on the fixed wing side, air taxi operators are finding it difficult to find experienced staff, and as a result, they are hiring lower-time pilots and doing more training with them. In order to deal with this hazard, operators have adopted several strategies; you may wish to consider some of these ideas.

  • The pay versus experience balance is one that could be revisited. By increasing salaries to attract and retain more qualified people, you can reduce training costs and possibly insurance premiums. You might also reduce the risk of expensive accidents or incidents.
  • More experienced staff may be a selling feature for your company. Letting your clients know that all your staff have more than a certain number of hours may attract more business.
  • If your company has a wide range of aircraft, you can create a training structure that hires low-time pilots and puts them into action on your smaller aircraft, and then train them to your standards and bring them into more complex aircraft and operations.
  • You could develop briefing packages for your various destinations and routes. Prior to the first trip into any location, the pilot could review the material, and review the route using an on-line satellite imagery program. This would give the pilot the benefit of many people’s prior experience.
  • The company culture must create a healthy learning environment, where new pilots are encouraged to ask questions, are often asked if they feel comfortable, and someone is often available to review their planning. It only takes one person in the company with a surly attitude toward a new pilot to make learning a more difficult experience.

Remember that the number of flying hours is only one measure of experience. You may hire a pilot with many hours of float experience, but that may not be helpful if it is not coastal experience. Likewise, a low-time pilot who has good relevant experience and is sharp may be a better fit than someone with more hours.

Managing fatigue
Many air taxi operators use a self-dispatch style of operational control. This means that the pilots are told where they are flying, and the planning of the flight is left to them. This gives pilots a great deal of autonomy and control over the details of their flight, which might not be the best thing for pilots with little experience. The challenge for the operator is how to maintain operational control under a self-dispatch system.

One challenging issue is that of fatigue. The regulations allow a pilot to be on duty for 14 hours a day, but 14 hours of loading and unloading aircraft, flight planning, flying, and aircraft servicing could well lead to fatigue, particularly if the pilot is still getting used to the job. If the operator is not there to observe the pilot, how can they ensure that the pilot isn’t operating while very fatigued?

Some operators manage fatigue by setting up guidelines that are more conservative than the regulations. They look at the kind of operation, and the level of experience, and establish appropriate flight and duty time restrictions.

Fatigue is not just limited to pilots. Some operators try to educate their staff, including AMEs and pilots, on the signs and symptoms of fatigue, so that all their staff know when to call it a day. This kind of approach can only be effective when the operator sets a tone that allows people to stop when overly fatigued. Transport Canada has developed some fatigue management guidance. You can find it on our Web site

The self-dispatch system also puts pilots in direct contact with the client. The client may exert a great deal of pressure on the pilot to carry out the flight, even against the pilot’s better judgement. This pressure can be deflected more readily when pilots are confident that management will back up their decision. Again, this issue is best managed when operators maintain open lines of communication and support the pilots in their decisions.

A critical moment occurs each time a pilot refuses a flight and the client complains to the manager. The manager then approaches the pilot to find out what happened. It is easy for the pilot to feel that his judgement is being questioned, so the manager must begin by expressing support for the pilot. The manager can indicate that he needs to know what happened, only so that he can properly respond to the client. The manager should also end the conversation by again expressing support for the pilot.

Another critical moment occurs when a pilot makes a poor decision due to lack of experience, fatigue, or excessive pressure. In order to maintain a positive safety culture, it is important to handle the situation appropriately. Reprimanding the pilot might feel good, but does it help? Or does the reprimand create a fear of asking questions or confessing an error in the future? The pilot thought he was doing the right thing at the time, so it is important to understand how his decision making went wrong, and provide strategies to prevent a re-occurrence. This requires that you get the full story from the pilot and then work with the pilot to ensure that a similar event will not re-occur, either to him or to anyone else in the company.

None of the above thoughts are especially new, but they are incredibly important in today’s challenging market conditions. Staff turnover can create instability in a company, which leads to a domino effect. Maintaining operational control requires more work, as new staff need closer supervision and guidance. New staff are also more susceptible to client pressure. Providing clear guidance and maintaining open communication becomes critical in these environments.

TC AIM Fast Fact:Airframe Icing

Report icing to ATS and, if operating IFR, request a new routing or altitude if icing will
be a hazard. Give your aircraft identification, type, location, time(UTC), intensity of icing, type, altitude or flight level, and indicated airspeed. (See the suggested format on the back cover of the Canada Flight Supplement [CFS].)

The following describes icing and how to report icing conditions:

Trace Ice becomes perceptible. The rate of accumulation is slightly greater than the rate of sublimation. It is not hazardous, even though de-icing or anti-icing equipment is not used, unless encountered for an extended period of time(over 1 hour).
Light The rate of accumulation may create a problem if flight is prolonged in this environment(over 1 hour).
Moderate The rate of accumulation is such that even short encounters become potentially hazardous, and use of de-icing or anti-icing equipment or diversion is necessary.
Severe The rate of accumulation is such that de-icing or anti-icing equipment fails to reduce or control the hazard. Immediate diversion is necessary.
*Rime ice Rough, milky, opaque ice formed by the instantaneous freezing of small supercooled water droplets.
*Clear ice Glossy, clear, or translucent ice formed by the relatively slow freezing of large supercooled water droplets.

*Type of icing

Source: TP 14371 - Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM)

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