The CBAA Column: Audits, Audits, Audits, Audits, Audits
cbaa by Peter Saunders, Manager, Private Operator Certificate (POC) Program, Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA)

This article was previously published in CBAA Newsbrief#118. Reprinted with permission.

At the recent CBAA Safety Seminar held in Montréal, Que., the words “audits, audits, audits, audits” resounded in the room. Mr. Gordon Graham, renowned expert on organizational and operational risk management, was the speaker. Mr. Graham was addressing the way an organization can truly understand and quantify its overall operational health. An internal audit process provides the means of checking and rechecking all of the policies and procedures that are in place to support the direction and mandate of the responsible executive.

Private operator certificate (POC) holders are required to develop, implement and operate a safety management system (SMS) that is sound, appropriate and effective for their operation. An integral evaluation tool of SMS is the operator risk profile that, when completed, provides the operator with an understanding of their exposure to operational risks. The operator’s risk profile forms the framework for developing processes and policies to address day-to-day operational requirements and to mitigate identified areas within the risk profile.

What needs to be understood is that, by nature, an effective SMS is essentially a live, ever-evolving system that needs to be routinely reassessed, challenged and revised where necessary. Whenever revisions are made to the SMS, they are initially evaluated to ensure that the changes are sound, appropriate and effective. Over time, the operator’s profile should evolve, creating the need to make additions or amendments to the SMS. To ensure that this is done appropriately and effectively, a system of checks and balances needs to be utilized.

So, how do we know that what has been implemented through policy and procedures is indeed appropriate for the identified situations? The simplest, most effective method is to conduct internal audits. Initially, a POC holder engages a CBAA-accredited auditor to evaluate the operator’s SMS. Following the initial certification audit, and in conjunction with the operator’s risk profile, a predetermined periodicity for the reoccurring audit is determined, which shall not exceed three years. But those are the required audits.

More and more organizations are discovering the multiple benefits of implementing ongoing internal audit systems. One cannot underestimate the business efficiencies realized by compliance with operational and regulatory standards.

Internal audits, if properly implemented, can:

  • demonstrate an operation’s credibility;
  • minimize the gaps between required audit cycles;
  • demonstrate due diligence regarding liabilities;
  • improve staff understanding of the systems in place in the organization;
  • ensure that everyone is following policies and procedures
  • provide motivation for ongoing improvement and streamlining of systems; and
  • demonstrate to external parties that the policies and procedures are sound, appropriate and effective.

Ongoing internal audits do not have to be complex, lengthy or involved. They can be structured to focus on a single department, a single area of responsibility or a single item of the business aviation safety standards. An audit implementation plan can be developed, illustrating an internal audit schedule that is a gradual, phased approach over a period of time. An internal audit can focus on areas that require the most attention and can be dealt with on a priority and frequency scale over the course of the internal audit schedule.

By undertaking an internal audit process, operators will have an up-to-date understanding of their operation’s position; the hidden unknowns will have been identified and resolved long before a formal external audit takes place. Best practices indicate that ongoing internal audits enable companies to operate consistently at peak performance, as risk management becomes the way of doing business.

Understanding Altitude Deviations
by Ann Lindeis, Manager, Safety Management Planning and Analysis, Operational Support, NAVCANADA

navcanada logo

Altitude deviations1 are serious events which, if undetected, can lead to losses of separation and the potential for collision with both aircraft and terrain. Figure 1 shows the altitudes where deviations were reported through NAVCANADA’s aviation occurrence reporting (AOR) system for the last two years for which complete data is available. The figure is broken down by altitude and shows, not surprisingly, that most altitude deviations take place in the lower altitudes, where aircraft are involved in making step climbs and descents.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Click on image above to enlarge.

Figure2 shows the number of altitude deviations reported over the last two years, broken down by flight information region (FIR), and demonstrates that this issue is pertinent across Canada.

Figure 2
Figure 2
Click on image above to enlarge.

These data were presented and discussed at NAVCANADA safety forums held recently in Toronto, Ont., and Vancouver, B.C. This initiative was described in a previous Aviation Safety Letter(ASL) article (issue 3/2007), and provides an opportunity for NAVCANADA to discuss specific safety issues with customers. The discussions led to a clear understanding that altitude deviations are a concern to both operators and NAVCANADA, and that decreasing the safety risk they represent will require an integrated approach. Some of the potential contributing factors leading to altitude deviations, which were discussed, include:

  • The challenges of complying with late descent clearances in modern, highly-automated aircraft when the aircraft is relatively high and close to the airport;
  • The increased numbers of altitude clearances received when aircraft are vectored off the standard terminal arrival(STAR);
  • The fact that most altitude clearances come in the terminal environment when the crew are in a period of high workload;
  • The potential for communication problems in receiving altitude clearances (see related article in ASL2/2008 on communication errors).

If you or your organization are interested in working with NAVCANADA to better understand and mitigate the problem of altitude deviations, please contact Ann Lindeis at or613-563-7626.

COPA Corner-Those Darn Charts: How Do We Update Them?
by John Quarterman, Manager, Member Assistance and Programs, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA)

As pilots, we are all aware from our flight training that we are required by regulation to equip ourselves with up-to-date charts, databases, the Canada Flight Supplement(CFS), weather information and NOTAMs before we take off. This requirement is stipulated in the following sections of the Canadian Aviation Regulations(CARs):

602.71 The pilot-in-command of an aircraft shall, before commencing a flight, be familiar with the available information that is appropriate to the intended flight.

602.72 The pilot-in-command of an aircraft shall, before commencing a flight, be familiar with the available weather information that is appropriate to the intended flight.

Most pilots are diligent and make a credible effort to achieve this standard on each flight. We obtain weather information and NOTAMs from the NAVCANADA Web site. We contact the flight information centre (FIC) for a last-minute update, then grab our flight bag full of the latest (or nearly latest) visual flight rules (VFR) navigation charts (VNCs) and recent CFS. We often include our VFR global positioning system (GPS), which most pilots update once a year. Then we go flying-usually with great success. Adding to the implicit safety factor is the fact that we normally fly locally, and local conditions are passed on throughout the pilot population by word-of-mouth, without necessarily referring to official sources. Pilots often receive informal reports about local aviation information, even critical NOTAMs, from other pilots. Of course, there is nothing wrong with passing on information to each other, provided we do not stop reading and updating the official sources of information that we are required to use.

So, we are safe...right? Of course, the local grapevine in the flying club or flight school that helps pilots stay informed may obscure the fact that a pilot has become somewhat lax about their sources of aviation information. We all know, or have heard of, pilots who carry a twoyear- old CFS, or who fly with 1969 highway maps, or who use the Weather Network as their weather source. Fortunately, this does not always show up as a problem, as long as these individuals stick close to home; however, it can lead to disastrous circumstances when pilots travel far from their home base.

The informal system that pilots sometimes get away with locally certainly breaks down as soon as pilots wander away from their familiar haunts, territory and airspace. Now the pilot has no word-of-mouth sources, and suddenly has to revert back to basics and use official sources. This requires a bit of understanding on how aeronautical charts are updated.

Since May 2003, NAVCANADA has been selling and distributing aeronautical publications. In March 2007, they became responsible for all aeronautical publications, including VFR charts, which had previously been published by Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN). VFR charts include aeronautical VNCs, aeronautical VFR terminal area charts (VTA) and world aeronautical charts (WAC). VTAs are published once a year and VNCs are revised on a one-year, two-year or five-year cycle. This means, for example, that a one-year chart revised in January can be expected to be revised again at approximately the same time the following year. The same applies to two- and five-year charts. WACs are on a similar cycle, but have not been updated in many years. NAVCANADA will begin updating them in 2008. All VFR charts include an edition number, the month and year that they are issued, and the effective date for airspace amendments. Changes to a VFR chart, after it has been published, are compiled throughout the year(s) for inclusion in the next edition (see below for more information). The current VFR chart list is available on NAVCANADA’s Aeronautical Publication, Sales and Distribution Unit (AEROPUBS) Web site:

The last word-VFR chart updating data
Most pilots consider an up-to-date chart as the last word in aviation data, along with pertinent NOTAMs. Many do not know that this is not quite the last word. In fact, the CFS, which is issued every 56days, has a section called Planning (Section C). If you look up the table of contents under the Planning section, you will find a heading called "VFR Chart Updating Data." In this subsection, the latest changes to VFR charts are listed by province. Under Ontario, for example, the heading "ONTARIO – DANGER, RESTRICTED & ADVISORY AREAS" might provide you with information such as:

CYA532(A)Lake Simcoe – Time of Designation changed to Ocsl(Occasional) by NOTAM."

If a change is listed in the CFS, it means that the information on the (current) chart is out of date, and a notation and correction need to be made to the chart. Of course, the longer a chart circulates before it is replaced, the longer the potential list of corrections to the chart. Many of these changes may be critical to flight safety, such as a new antenna that creates an obstruction close to an airport. Normally, a NOTAM that lists a correction or addition to a chart is cancelled when the information is added to CFS SectionC, so until a new chart is issued, the CFS is the only place where the information is available.

It is not appropriate for NOTAMs to communicate temporary changes that will be in effect for a long period (three months or longer) or information that is relevant for a short period, which contains extensive text or graphics. In these instances, the changes shall be published as AIP Canada (ICAO) supplements, which are available on the NAVCANADA Web site on Aeronautical Information Products.

What, then, is the correct approach to planning and flying VFr (even for local flights)?

Obtain, read and carry the latest CFS and the latest chart.

Familiarize yourself with corrections from CFSSectionC and transcribe them onto the VNC chart.

Check and incorporate the following into your planning, before you decide to take off:

  1. NOTAMs;
  2. aviation information circulars and supplements:
  3. weather information.

With proper planning and the right information to plan with, every flight will be that much safer! Have a great flight. For more information on COPA, visit:

Cabin Safety:Did You Know...
by Pascale Lachance, Program Manager, Cabin Safety Standards, Standards, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

Travelling by plane for a ferry flight or to reach a holiday destination is probably commonplace for those of you who work in the field of aviation. Since travelling this way is a part of your life, it is natural that you feel very comfortable in an airplane, and you probably pay less attention to your surroundings, as well as the instructions and safety tips given by the flight crew. Although some of their instructions may not seem to matter much, especially after you’ve heard them so many times before-perhaps even told them to others-all information pertaining to safety on an aircraft is governed by regulations and must be stated upon each takeoff and landing, and whenever turbulence is encountered, etc. In addition, although the instructions may appear to be the same, they are actually different from one airplane to the next, since most aircraft are different. For instance, you will find variances in the location of emergency exits, as well as the safety features card and the life jackets used.

Did you know that the law requires that passengers obey the instructions given throughout a flight? It’s true. It is your responsibility, as a passenger, to pay attention to thestandard safety briefing given by the flight attendants and to follow their instructions, otherwise you could be held accountable in a court of law, just like any other passenger.

Checked luggage and carry-on baggage
When it comes to packing a suitcase, most people like to have the same personal items that they are used to, whenever they travel. This can make packing an arduous task. Also, with the new security rules in effect, at times you may feel totally lost when it comes to choosing which items to include in carry-on baggage and which ones to stow in checked baggage. Take care not to include any non-permitted items in your carry-on baggage, so that you are not delayed when going through security. Some items are permitted when they are carried by a working member of the flight crew, but not permitted when flight crew members travel as passengers.

Did you know that some products that we use regularly are considered to be dangerous goods when carried on board an aircraft? Did you know that matches are not permitted in carry-on baggage?

Pre-boarding security screening goes smoothly for educated and prepared passengers.

Photo: CATSA

Pre-boarding security screening goes smoothly for educated and prepared passengers.

Did you know that different types of aircraft have different size and weight limitations for carry-on baggage? It is therefore important to check with your airline to determine their carry-on baggage allowances, since they may be different from what you are used to.

Travelling with children
Travelling with young children can present additional challenges. Although restraint systems are not mandatory for children under two, and infants may be held in an adult’s arms, it is strongly recommended that you use an approved child restraint system on board an aircraft. These devices are much safer than simply holding the child in your arms. It is recommended that child restraint systems be used upon takeoff and landing, whenever turbulence is encountered, and whenever the "fasten seatbelts" light is turned on.

Did you know that child restraint systems purchased abroad, with the exception of the United States, are not approved in Canada and cannot be used on board Canadian aircraft? Only child restraint systems made in Canada, that meet Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards(CMVSS)213 or213.1 are accepted for use on board an aircraft. A statement of compliance label must be affixed to the restraint system, indicating that the device complies with CMVSS213 or213.1 and may be used on board an aircraft.

Some child restraint devices made in the United States are also accepted on board aircraft if they meet certain criteria. However, it is important to note that child restraint systems made in the United States are not approved for use in Canadian automobiles. In either case, it is important to double-check that the proper label is affixed to the child restraint system.

Note also that CARES™ child aviation restraint system is now accepted on aircraft through a global exemption. Since airlines have a choice of whether or not to take advantage of this exemption, it is a good idea to check with your airline to find out if they accept the restraint system. You will find more information on the CARES™ child restraint system by visiting the appropriate link below.

Disorderly conduct
All passengers and crew members have the right to fly in a safe and secure environment. Disorderly conduct such as harassment, intimidation, verbal or physical abuse, refusal to comply with flight crew instructions, and consumption of personal alcoholic beverages, are all examples of behaviour that is not tolerated on an aircraft. Passengers displaying such behaviour are liable to a fine or imprisonment under the CriminalCodeofCanada and the AeronauticsAct.

Indeed, if any of these behaviours are observed on an aircraft, the flight crew may decide to divert the aircraft, if deemed necessary, and theperson (s)involved may be arrested, detained and tried when the aircraft lands, or once they have returned to their point of origin. A new regulation on unruly passengers and interference with a crew member was published inMay 2007in the Canada Gazette, PartI.

Your health is very important and small gestures or changes in habits can make your trip much more enjoyable. Did you know that alcohol, tea and coffee are diuretic beverages that actually have a dehydrating effect on you? The air circulating in an aircraft is very dry. It is therefore vital that you drink plenty of water or juice. Also, as a passenger, you are much more sedentary than you would be if you were working as a flight attendant. It is therefore important that you try to exercise a bit on the plane, especially during long flights. This also applies to the flight crew members working in the cockpit. You can easily do exercises in your seat without having to get up and move around. Simple movements like rotating your ankles, head and shoulders will improve your circulation and prevent problems such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Listed below are several links where you will find detailed information on the topics discussed above, which might prove very useful for your next trip. Have a good flight!

Transport Canada’s Cabin Safety Standards Web site:

Passenger T.I.P.S.(Travelling In Planes Safely) and FAQ:

Tips for Travellers-Air:

Canadian Transportation Agency(CTA):

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority(CATSA)

Info on dangerous goods in carry-on or checked baggage:

Permitted and Non-Permitted Items:

Flying with children links:;

New regulations on unruly passengers and interference with crew members:

Aviation Document Booklet
by the Flight Crew Licensing Division, General Aviation, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

This is a follow-up to the article "Transport Canada Update-Personnel Licence Booklet," published in Aviation Safety Letter(ASL)1/2007.

It’s here!
Transport Canada Civil Aviation is proud to present the new Aviation Document Booklet for all holders of Canadian air traffic controller licences and flight crew licences and permits.

The new Aviation Document Booklet will now incorporate a photograph of the holder, machine-readable security features and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) language proficiency requirement. During the life of the booklet, the status of individual licences, permits, ratings and medical certificates is likely to change. Adhesive labels, similar to the stickers provided by many provinces for motor vehicle licence plate renewals, will be provided to reflect changes in licensing status. These labels must be affixed to the booklet in order for the licence or permit to be valid.

Transport Canada has begun replacing existing licences and permits with the new Aviation Document Booklet. The first documents to be replaced are those with the greatest potential for international use. Transport Canada has already started issuing new booklets to holders of airline transport pilot licences (ATPL) and commercial pilot licences (CPL) who have submitted the required application.

Moving towards the new booklet
Eventually, all holders of Canadian air traffic controller licences and flight crew licences and permits will receive the Aviation Document Booklet. Transport Canada licensing offices will continue to administer all licensing action for flight crew and air traffic controllers.

All new applicants for licences and permits will be issued an Aviation Document Booklet.

All new applicants for licences and permits will be issued an
Aviation Document Booklet.

Replacement of existing licences and permits in the current format will be phased in over a three-year period. A schedule for replacing existing documents with the new Aviation Document Booklet can be found in Advisory Circular (AC)400-001, which is available on the Transport Canada Flight Crew Licensing Web site listed below.

Replacement of ATPLs and CPLs with the Aviation Document Booklet format will be completed by early2009. Private pilot, air traffic controller, and flight engineer licences will be replaced through2009. The remaining pilot licences (glider and balloon) and all permits will be replaced by the end of2010.

Please visit the Transport Canada Flight Crew Licensing Web site for more information:

Houston, Transport Canada Is on the Line...
by Denis Brunelle and Sarah Jardine, Civil Aviation Contingency Operations, National Operations, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began flying its current space shuttles in April 1981. Having flown only 120times, some would still consider the orbiter to be an experimental vehicle. Safety is of paramount concern to those involved in the space program, where every item is checked with painstaking care to ensure the success of each mission. Procedures and backups are put in place to help the crew and give them options in the event of an emergency.

Apart from the highly acclaimed "Canadarm," Canadian astronauts participate in various shuttle missions; but Canada also participates in another important role: providing a suitable, safe landing site in case of an emergency. Personnel from Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Contingency Operations (CACO), a division of the National Operations Branch in Ottawa, Ont., participate in all space shuttle launches to the International Space Station, and remain on standby until the shuttle is in orbit.

Transport Canada has been involved in the space program since1995, when NASA formally requested the use of selected airports along the Canadian east coast in the event of an aborted shuttle launch, because the shuttle’s trajectory runs along the east coast of Canada. Today, because of their strategic locations and available facilities, Gander, N.L.,St.John’s,N.L., Stephenville,N.L.,Goose Bay,N.L.,Halifax,N.S., and, on occasion, Greenwood,N.S., airports are the designated sites. Additionally, the Halifax joint rescue co-ordination centre (JRCC) provides search and rescue capability in the event the astronauts have to bail out over the Atlantic Ocean. Transport Canada, in conjunction with NASA, the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) and NAVCANADA, has developed and tested the procedures that would be used if a shuttle was forced to land at one of these sites.

CACO acts as the Canadian co-ordination facility during a launch. Two hours prior to lift-off, using pre-determined criteria, CACO officers begin their detailed operational assessment on the suitability of each of the designated Canadian landing sites, and report their status to NASA. CACO initiates a communication link with the designated airports, NAVCANADA, Halifax JRCC, the Canadian Space Agency and the Government Operations Centre. Live communication is then established with mission control at the Johnson Space Centre (JSC) in Houston,Tex., approximately 30 min before lift-off, and remains operational until the window for an east coast abort landing (ECAL) has passed.

The window of exposure for an ECAL implicating the Canadian east coast landing sites comes during an 80-s timeframe, approximately 6 to 8 min after takeoff. Should a problem develop, a quick decision would have to be made to select the most suitable airport, based on weather and operational conditions. If the shuttle were unable to land at one of the airports, the crew would have to bail out into the Atlantic Ocean, triggering a rescue response from Halifax JRCC.

Within 8 to 10hr of an emergency landing, NASA would deploy their rapid response team from the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) and their crew recovery team from the JSC to begin recovery operations. In addition to the safing and reconfiguration of the shuttle for transportation back to the KSC in Florida, the extensive recovery process involves diplomatic co-ordination and co-operation between various Canadian and U.S. government departments and agencies, as well as the airport and local community.

In total, recovery operations would take some 400 NASA personnel up to40 days-requiring approximately 19flights utilizing C5 and C17aircraft. Finally, the shuttle would be loaded onto NASA’s Boeing747 and flown back to KSC in Florida.


The airport authorities are keenly aware of the important role they play in providing support to the NASA program, and have developed contingency plans for an ECAL. Recently, representatives from NASA and Transport Canada visited each Canadian site, provided an updated technical briefing on shuttle hazards for their emergency response and management personnel, and presented them with a commemorative montage, which included a Canadian flag that was previously flown in space. During the presentation, Marty Linde, Landing Support Officer,JSC, indicated the montage was a small token of appreciation from everyone at NASA, in particular the astronauts, who felt more comfortable knowing that should a problem occur they have options to land in Canada rather than having to bail out. By the end of 2007, Transport Canada and the Canadian airports had supported 33 launches. The shuttle program is scheduled to end in2010. Until that time, CACO will continue to play a role in each launch, as part of the international effort to explore space-an extraordinary achievement that, due to all the activity behind the scenes, almost seems routine.

Keith Collins, President and CEO of the St. John’s International Airport (centre), having received a commemorative montage from Dennis Gagen, Director Ground Operations, Kennedy Space Centre (left) and Marty Linde, Landing Support Officer, Johnson Space Centre (right).
Keith Collins, President and CEO of the St. John’s International Airport (centre), having received a commemorative montage from Dennis Gagen, Director Ground Operations, Kennedy Space Centre (left) and MartyLinde, Landing Support Officer, Johnson Space Centre (right).

ComputerGeneral Aviation On-Line Services

The General Aviation Branch now offers a variety of services on-line. To access the General Aviation On-Line Services site, you must have a Government of Canada epass account. Click on
,and it will direct you to the epasssign-in page.

If you already have an epass account for other government services, simply sign in to that account and you will be re-directed to the General Aviation On-Line Services site. If you do not have an epass account, you will be directed to the epass page where you can obtain an epass user ID and password. Epass will then re-direct you to the General Aviation On-Line Services site.

When you enter the General Aviation site for the first time, you must submit a new user request to obtain an activation key that will allow access to your records. This activation key will be mailed to you at the address on file with Transport Canada. Once you receive your activation key, you can sign-in, enter the activation key and access your records.

Registered aircraft owners will be able to:

  • view marks, registrations, and leasing activities;
  • reserve registration marks;
  • renew a mark reservation;
  • submit a notification of a change of ownership;
  • change their address; and
  • submit a Leasing Advisory(LF-5).

Holders of flight crew licences and permits will be able to:

  • view flight crew licensing information (including the status of their new language proficiency assessment);
  • change their address; and
  • access licensing application forms.

1 Altitude deviations include events where the aircraft deviated from an assigned or designated altitude. This may include deviations due to turbulence or other weather events. Flights may be conducted under instrument flight rules (IFR) or visual flight rules (VFR). For the purposes of this analysis, these do not include standard instrument departure (SID) deviations, as these are analyzed separately.

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