Flight Operations Flight Operations

Mid-Air Collisions—CASA's Prevention Campaign

by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia. The following article on mid-air collision prevention was published in the July-August 2009 Issue of Flight Safety Australia, and is reprinted with permission.

In the 35 years leading up to 2003, there was an average of one mid-air collision per year. However, since December 2007 there have been seven mid-air collisions, resulting in nine fatalities. This is a concerning increase. The majority of mid-air collisions occurred in the circuit area. Additionally, there have been a number of 'near misses' at busy aerodromes. Detailed are some key safety factors and practical recommendations to assist pilots in avoiding mid-air collisions. This list is not exhaustive, nor are these recommendations the only factors a pilot should consider.

Example of a near-miss in the circuit
Example of a near-miss in the circuit: always know
what is going on around you.

Situational awareness

Maintaining situational awareness can save your life

  • know what is going on around you;
  • predict what could happen.

High cockpit workload is a significant factor in a pilot losing situational awareness. High traffic density, radio congestion, instructional flights and inexperience can increase cockpit workload.

Make sure you:

  • prepare and plan your flight;
  • prioritize your tasks and remain alert;
  • listen for other radio calls to identify other aircraft positions;
  • consider re-scheduling if traffic density or radio congestion increase to an uncomfortable level.

You need heightened situational awareness during diverse and complex circuit operations at busy aerodromes. Infringement of opposite circuit flight paths during contra circuit operations1 and management of different aircraft speeds and performance in the circuit are especially important factors.

To minimize these risks, you should:

  • remain clear of the opposite circuit, don't drift after takeoff and don't overshoot turning onto finals;
  • maintain an active lookout for traffic in the other circuit;
  • familiarize yourself with the speed and performance of other aircraft.


The first and last line of defence

An effective lookout is essential—always assume that you are not alone. 'See and avoid' principles are commonly used, but have limitations. 'Alerted see and avoid' can be more effective, but is not always possible. Most mid-air collisions occur when one aircraft collides with another from behind, or both aircraft converge from a similar direction.

You should:

  • maintain an effective lookout in all directions, including behind;
  • not become complacent, even if you are familiar with an aerodrome;
  • increase vigilance in high-risk areas, including inbound reporting points and in the circuit area;
  • ensure you sight any preceding aircraft before turning finals, otherwise consider going around;
  • be aware of, and manage blind spots as part of your lookout technique;
  • use strobes, beacons and landing lights to increase aircraft visibility;
  • turn your transponder on, code 1200, ALT mode.

Radio procedures

Talk is not cheap

Aviate, navigate and communicate—they're your priority. Effective communication assists situational awareness.

Incident reports show pilots sometimes do not follow or understand instructions given by air traffic control (ATC). When ATC gives you an instruction, you should:

  • acknowledge ATC in a timely manner;
  • think about what is required and then action the instruction;
  • tell ATC if you do not think you can comply with an instruction;
  • advise ATC if you do not understand an instruction;
  • not be afraid to ask ATC for assistance2.

When an aircraft is equipped with dual radios, incorrect selection of frequencies or transmission mode may create communication difficulties. To avoid these:

  • always confirm that the frequency, transmit selector and volume control are set for the radio in use;
  • ensure you have received and understood the ATIS well before the approach point.

Pilots can become confused when they receive an unexpected instruction from ATC, or are unable to make a planned radio call. To avoid confusion:

  • have an alternative plan if you are unable to make your inbound call to ATC due to frequency congestion;
  • monitor radio communications, and do not transmit during ATC instruction and responses with other aircraft;
  • make radio calls brief, clear, to the point and use standard phraseology.

Often pilots do not have a contingency plan for frequency congestion. Common congestion problems occur at approach points and on final approach. Remember:

  • if the frequency is congested, have a 'plan B';
  • consider specific risks at your location;
  • consider re-scheduling if traffic density or radio congestion increase to an uncomfortable level.

The publication of this CASA article was planned before the February 9, 2011 mid-air collision between two Cessna 150 aircraft flying formation in British Columbia. We will report on that collision in a future issue of the ASL, but in the meantime, we are republishing the following article from Issue 4/1996 of the Aviation Safety Vortex on some of the hidden hazards of formation flying. Since we tend to repeat accidents, it makes sense to repeat the lessons learned. —Ed. 

1 “Contra circuit operations” (or contra-rotating circuit patterns) is a terminology used in Australia. In cases where two or more parallel runways are in operation concurrently, the aircraft operating on the outermost runways are required to perform their patterns in a direction which will not conflict with the other runways. Thus, one runway may be operating with a left-hand pattern direction, and the other one will be operating with a right-hand pattern direction. This allows aircraft to maintain maximum separation during their patterns, however it is important that the aircraft do not stray past the centreline of the runway when joining the final leg, so as to avoid potential collisions.

2 Over the years we received a lot of mail from pilots who are intimidated by ATC, for having been scolded on the air due to a variety of honest mistakes, resulting in a fear of controllers. Pilots must get over this and not be afraid to call, question, ask for repeats, etc. Similarly, controllers must be patient and understanding of pilots who do request or require assistance. —Ed.

Hey, Let's Do The Next Leg Together!

Article previously published in Aviation Safety Vortex issue 4/1996. It is republished in ASL 3/2011 for the enduring lessons it conveys.

Beware of this phrase! For many reasons, even the simplest of “same way same day” flights can go wrong. Uncertain decision-making, poor formation skills and discipline, and lack of communications between aircraft, are just a few. The military recognizes that formation flying can be hazardous; they authorize it only when necessary, and then, only after the pilots meet stringent requirements. In the civilian world, formation flying is at least as hazardous and probably more so (most commercial pilots aren’t trained to fly formation), and it’s totally unnecessary. Despite this, we have seen, since 19931, four formation or “same way same day” related helicopter accidents, two of them resulting in six deaths.

MD 500D involved in mid-air with a second MD 500 near Yellowknife, N.W.T.
MD 500D involved in mid-air with a second MD 500 near Yellowknife, N.W.T.

The Transport Canada definition of “formation flight” is: “More than one aircraft which, by prior arrangement between the pilots, normally operate as a single aircraft with regard to navigation and position reporting.”

The Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM) Section RAC 12.132 adds: “Formation flight is considered to be more than one aircraft which, by prior arrangement between each of the pilots involved within the formation, operates as a single aircraft with regard to navigation and ATC procedures. Separation between aircraft within the formation is the responsibility of the flight leader and the pilots of the other aircraft within the formation. This includes transition periods when aircraft within the formation are manoeuvring to attain separation from each other to effect individual control, and during join-up and breakaway.”

You might think you aren’t in formation if you aren’t welded to lead like a Snowbird (Canadian military formation demonstration team). However, if you’re on the same flight plan and are flying within 1 mi. and 100 ft of the lead’s altitude, you are. ATC considers any formation to be 1 NM wide, 1 mi. long, and 100 ft thick, and they protect airspace accordingly for CVFR and VFR flights.

Question: If you can be a mile away and still be in “formation”, why is this “formation” flying considered hazardous?

Answer: Because you surrender some of your decision-making ability.

Consider the following:

Two helicopters are being ferried cross-country. You toss a coin to choose lead and “win” the toss. You turn your brain off and have another coffee while lead files the flight plan. The first legs are uneventful, lead is half a mile ahead and there are good tunes on the ADF. Midway through the third leg, the weather starts to close in. You move up a little to keep lead in sight. The visibility drops gradually and you tuck it in. Better turn off that darned music! You’re now concentrating on lead. You can’t get too close, but can’t afford to lose him in the goo.

He must be thinking about turning around because you sure are! But you’re not sure just how you would do it. He better not turn into you. You’re thinking you should land but there are no suitable spots and right now, your only “situational awareness” is that you don’t like this situation one bit. You don’t know where you are, you don’t know where to go, or even where the maps are. You’d better hang on to lead. It’s odd that he hasn’t called lately, but he does have his hands full. Suddenly, a wire flashes by the chin bubble. Lead flares, you haul back on the cyclic and it’s too late.

Does this all sound far-fetched? After all, it’s just a bit of fiction, isn’t it? You would never follow someone into adverse conditions, would you?

Consider the following:

“The wreckage trail is consistent with a mid-air collision of two helicopters flying in formation. This is also compatible with eyewitness reports of the helicopters flying in formation on their route of flight earlier that afternoon.

It could not be determined why the pilots involved in this occurrence elected to fly in formation. There were no apparent operational or technical reasons to do so. The specific cause of the collision could not be determined. In light of the rain and isolated thunderstorms reported in the Edmundston area during the afternoon of the occurrence, it is possible that the aircraft entered localized adverse weather conditions. The limited burn damage to the vegetation surrounding the wreckage, despite the presence of an obviously intense fire, is also consistent with moderate to heavy rain occurring at the time, which would have confined the spread of the fire. This rain would have degraded the pilots’ visibility and possibly contributed to the collision.”

TSB Report A93Q0157

“A Bell 206B helicopter was the second in a flight of six helicopters transporting passengers out to the ice-covered Gulf of St. Lawrence to observe seals. Approximately 40 minutes into the flight, the helicopter entered a whiteout condition and the pilot lost all visual reference. The pilot reduced speed and started a slow descent but was unable to pick out any visual cues. Just prior to the Bell 206B striking the ice, the pilot of the third helicopter advised the pilot of the Bell 206B to pull up. The pilot then pulled full up collective pitch but was unable to stop the descent in time to prevent the impact with the ice. The impact tore off the floats and the helicopter spun around coming to rest in an upright attitude facing 180 degrees to the direction of flight. The occupants were picked up by the other helicopters and transported to Charlottetown.”

TSB Report A93A0060

Six helicopters, full of passengers, nearly rolled it up on the sea-ice in whiteout conditions. Did the five wingmen surrender their free will and become so lemming-like they were willing to follow lead anywhere? Hardly. It can be a difficult decision to abandon a pre-planned flight route, even when you have been able to carefully assess all of the factors and have good “situational awareness”. However, it’s even tougher to let go of lead and strike out on a new track when you don’t know which way is up. If you’re following someone, you’re not in a leadership position. Decisions become more difficult. Not because you are suddenly a less capable pilot, but because you are not in a decision-making role. You aren’t collecting the information you need to make decisions. True, there’s safety in numbers, and it’s nice to know your pal is just a radio call away, but don’t surrender your decision-making ability. File your own flight plan. Fly your own trip.

Paul Traversy, Ottawa

Except for aerial photography or other like activities, including authorized air show performances, there is no reason for civil aircraft to fly formation. When helicopters fly in formation, the lead pilot assumes responsibility for a number of flight decisions, including navigation and communication. The trail pilot must concentrate on maintaining position, at the exclusion of normal decision-making. When the weather turns sour, stress levels rise. Both pilots suffer heightened anxiety: the lead pilot in developing and modifying a game plan for two, and the trail pilot attempting to keep the lead in sight. Any bad decision by the lead has more than twice the normal potential for an accident due to the proximity and dependency of the second aircraft.

Rob Freeman, Ottawa

 1 As of the date of the original article (1996).

2 The original article referred to Aeronautical Information Publication (A.I.P.), Rules of The Air and Air Traffic Services (RAC)12.8

COPA Corner: Night Flying Primer

Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA)

The following article was published in the December 2010 issue of COPA Flight under the “Pilot’s Primer” column, and is reprinted with permission.

Night flight can be a whole lot of fun, especially on a clear moon-lit night, but night flight also presents additional hazards to the pilot over that of daytime flying.

These hazards mostly pertain to the reduced environmental cueing in darkness; cues that are heavily relied on by VFR pilots during daylight hours. This month I’ll go over night flying in terms of the pilot and the aircraft equipment.

Psychologically, nighttime flying doesn’t usually present new problems for the pilot to deal with. However, physiologically speaking, the pilot will experience a few changes that can significantly impact flight safety. Without a doubt, these changes all revolve around the eyes.

Nighttime flying presents new challenges for the eyes in several ways: 1) the eye is less adept (less visual acuity) at seeing objects at a distance, 2) the best area for viewing is no longer straight ahead (foveal view), 3) adapting to dark conditions takes time, and 4) there are several new illusions at night that can disorient the pilot. Awareness of these limitations is the first step to improving nighttime vision capability.

Vision is made possible by the light and colour receptors located on the retina at the back of the eye. Located more centrally near the optic nerve are the cones. The cones' primary job is colour detection, but they also facilitate seeing distant objects and can focus to sharp detail.

The rods are located mainly in the periphery of the optic nerve, in a band around the cones and are most useful for locating peripheral movement. Fine detail and colour are not detected by the rods, so only shades of gray are seen. As a result of the characteristics of the rods and cones, a lack of normal light means that the rods are almost entirely responsible for visual identification of objects.

But this presents a problem since the centre of viewing, right behind the pupil, does not support nighttime viewing, when the rods are doing most of the work.

Most people grow up being unaware that their eyes are not well designed to see straight ahead in dark or poorly lit environments. In fact, most people probably never figure out that nighttime vision can be measurably enhanced by using slightly off-centred viewing.

While an object can be best seen during the daytime by looking straight-ahead at it, at nighttime, it is best seen by moving the head slightly away from the object so that the image falls off-centre in the back of the eye (hence making better use of the rods).

Ignoring for a moment that everyone has a anatomical blind spot due to the location of the optical nerve precluding the existence of rods and cones at that location of the retina (rarely a problem due to there being two eyes), it is entirely possible to not see an object directly ahead if it is dark. A slight shift of the head while keeping the eyes focused to the original area of interest will then allow the object to be seen.

Screenshot of poster named: Cats can see in the dark... you can't. Be aware of the hazards of night flying

Clearly, off-centred viewing is an important practice to keep in mind for effective night time viewing.

Although the rods are much more capable of facilitating vision in dark conditions, they do not adjust to the lack of light as fast as the cones. The cones will adjust to dim lighting in five to 10 minutes and be about 100 times more sensitive to light than prior to experiencing dark condition. The rods on the other hand take up to 30 minutes to fully adapt to the dark, but the end result is sensitivity 100,000 times better than in lit conditions.

This process of adaptation can be experienced by walking into a dark room and sitting down; initially, very little if anything will be visible in the room around you. Within about 10 minutes a noticeable improvement in acuity will have occurred. Continue to sit for another 20 minutes and you’ll generally be able to see shapes and objects well enough to navigate around them.

Once the eyes adjust, the process can be quickly reversed by entering a well-lit area. Re-entering a dark environment will then cause the adaptation process to start all over again. The nature of this process, and its reversal, requires the pilot to be careful about exposure to bright lights once the dark adaptation has begun.

Temporary blindness is possible if exposed to a short burst of bright light (such as accidentally staring into a flashlight). While the eyes are recovering from a flash of light, visual illusions may occur, further exacerbating the recovery. Recognizing that illusions may occur is the only way to combat this potentially dangerous phenomenon.

If you think you might be exposed to a bright light during night flight, sometimes closing one eye will help. This way, you still have one eye adapted while the other is recovering.

There are several common nighttime illusions that pilots might experience. One such illusion is referred to as the autokinesis effect. If a pilot stares too long at a light (such as a lit object on the horizon) it will appear to move. The apparent movement might then distract the pilot and lead to spatial disorientation.

Likewise, even distant stationary lights can be confused with stars or other aircraft when seen on a clear night. Darker, lower visibility nights eliminate the horizon from view. As a result of these problems, reliance on the instruments for attitude orientation is often required.

One very dangerous illusion is referred to as the black-hole approach. This type of approach occurs when approaching a well-lit airport from non-lighted terrain. With the runway as the primary source of visual cues, disorientation is common.

Typically, the pilot will perceive their glide path to be too high and adjust to a lower than safe glide path and impact terrain or land short of the runway. Clearly, electronic or visual approach slope indications need to be followed when approaching a runway under these conditions.

An additional problem, regardless of the terrain lighting on approach, is that bright airport or runway lighting will make the runway appear closer than it actually is. The obvious ramification of this is that the pilot might let down too early. Again, rely on the electronic or visual approach slope indicators.

In the absence of those devices, preplan your approach profile by noting 1) the airport touchdown zone elevation, 2) terrain clearance information, and 3) how far out a standard decent should be started to arrive at the runway safely. If possible, at controlled airports, ask the controller to turn down the runway lights to the lowest step that still allows you to adequately see the dimensions of the runway.

One last illusion is called the moth effect. This effect is exactly what it sounds like: flying towards light! Since runway edge lighting is the key visual cue for runway alignment, more attention is given to the lights than where the centreline should be (unless the centreline is lit as well).

Under these conditions the pilot will have the tendency to drift off centreline towards the lights. Extra care should be taken to assure that the airplane evenly bisects the edge lights on the runway (i.e. on centreline!), and the best way to accomplish this is by looking farther down field during landing and takeoff (You can try this in your car on a road with no traffic; try to stay in the middle of your lane by looking just over the hood at the roadside edge line. I’ll bet you have a hard time keeping the car centred! Now if you drive while looking farther ahead toward the centre of your lane, you’ll be better able to keep the car centred).

Beyond the limitations of the human eye, the aircraft can present additional nighttime challenges if not properly equipped. Aircraft lighting is probably the most important equipment to consider.

If you’ve ever tried landing without a landing light at night, you know how tricky it can be. In airplanes that have both a taxi light and a landing light, I’ll try to use only the taxi light until I absolutely need the landing light for takeoff and landing. This preserves the landing light for when it is needed most. But in a pinch, most taxi lights can double for a landing light should it burn out unexpectedly.

Although the landing light may not be specifically required for certain flights (as is the case in the United States) it also provides the benefit of adding visibility of your aircraft to others who might need to see and avoid.

Likewise, operating position lights is a must when it’s dark. Since most position lights are difficult to see from the cockpit, a lights-on walk-around is necessary prior to night flight.

Finally, some sort of anti-collision light is also a must. Either strobes or a rotating beacon, depending on how your aircraft was originally certified, can suffice for anti-collision. My family’s aircraft had both for added safety!

In addition to aircraft lighting, consider the regulatory requirements that may exist for your aircraft and/or your type of mission. For instance, in some cases, spare fuses (for older aircraft) may be required. The pilot should also have two hand-held light sources available. A D-cell white-light flashlight for the preflight inspection and a red-light flashlight for cockpit use are recommended.

Be sure to always check battery condition prior to intended use! And remember that red markings on charts will not show up well under red lighting so you may want a small white- or blue-light flashlight with an adjustable aperture so you can limit the amount of light and reduce the risk of destroying your night vision.

Finally, consider using supplemental oxygen (if equipped) for night flights above 5 000 MSL. Studies have shown that there is a significant reduction in visual capability above this altitude at night, and since the cones are already down for the count, you can’t really afford any additional vision losses.

And since the eyes are extremely sensitive to reductions in oxygen, consider that anything that reduces the availability or transportation of oxygen will have an equally deleterious effect on night vision.

Included in the list of ways to reduce oxygen to the eyes are smoking, drinking, and certain drug use. Pilots don’t drink and fly, so we can safely rule out that as a troublemaker (I hope!), but smoking can easily raise the physiological altitude of the pilot several thousand feet.

Drug use, prescription and non-prescription alike, can also limit or inhibit oxygen transportation to the eyes. A little research online will generally yield good information on side-effect and adverse reactions to common drugs, but please consult your aeromedical doctor prior to flying with any new drugs.

Avoiding the problems of nighttime illusions is mainly accomplished by being aware of their existence, and the limitations of sight in dark conditions. Having the right aircraft lighting equipment and personal lighting equipment is also a must.

This month’s Pilot Primer is written by Donald Anders Talleur, an Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at the University of Illinois, Institute of Aviation. He holds a joint appointment with the Professional Pilot Division and Human Factors Division. He has been flying since 1984 and in addition to flight instructing since 1990, he has worked on numerous research contracts for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Air Force, the Navy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Army. He has authored or co-authored over 200 aviation-related papers and articles and has an M.S. in Engineering Psychology, specializing in Aviation Human Factors.

Risk Profile of Floatplane Operations

by Jim McMenemy, Manager, Safety Intelligence, Regulatory Branch, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

Brochure titled TP 12365 Seaplanes/Floatplanes - A Passenger's Guide
You can read, download or order the above
brochure titled TP 12365 Seaplanes/Floatplanes -
A Passenger's Guide

by visiting Floatplanes

After a fatal accident in the Pacific Region in late 2009, the Aviation Safety Analysis Division examined the risk profile of floatplane operations. The last comprehensive look at floatplane safety was the Transportation Safety Board Safety Study, A Safety Study of Survivability in Seaplane Accidents, published in 1994. That study analyzed over 1 400 floatplane accidents that occurred between 1976 and 1990. There were 103 fatal accidents on the water, accounting for 168 fatalities.

Transport Canada's (TC) safety analysts examined the seaplane accidents during the twenty-year period from 1990 to the end of 2009 to determine what had changed, to confirm the hazards, and to understand the dynamics by which those hazards manifest as risk. Using the Transportation Safety Board's Aviation Safety Information System (ASIS) database, we found 134 accidents on water accounting for 72 confirmed fatalities and five missing persons. The accident rate appears to be declining, but examination of investigation reports indicates that the survival issues remain unchanged. In this edition, the ASL hopes to shed some light on the survival issues and give some advice on how to protect yourself in case of an accident.

An accident on the water presents survival challenges above and beyond accidents on land. Most of those who perished in floatplane accidents survived the impact, but drowned inside the aircraft. Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) analysts concluded that the major survival issues in floatplane accidents are: egress, use of the shoulder restraint by front seat occupants and use of personal floatation devices.

As an aircraft settles after a water crash, the pressure of the water on the exterior surfaces can make it impossible to open doors or exits. The shock from sudden immersion in cold water can be incapacitating and make it impossible to hold your breath. The situation is further complicated in over half of the floatplane accidents because the aircraft ends up inverted in the water. To help people get out, knockout windows and new door handles have been designed and certified for the de Havilland Beaver and some operators have adopted them.

In situations when passengers did get out, investigation reports often cited that pilots helping passengers is the main factor in successful egress and survival. However, a significant number of reports indicated that pilots and front seat passengers who were not using available shoulder restraints were incapacitated on impact. Not only were they unable to assist passengers, it is very likely that they blocked the way out for others.

The most important thing to think about in the event of an accident is getting out of the aircraft. Start thinking about that before you take your seat. Take a look around. If you are a passenger, listen to the pre-flight briefing. Ask questions if you are uncertain about anything.What are the ways out? Windows may not be marked as exits, but sometimes they are the only way out. Often people focus on the door they entered when they would be better off using another route. What if the aircraft is upside down? How will you find your way out? If you are the pilot, do a thorough job. Make sure your passengers understand what you tell them. This is probably the only chance you will have to prepare yourself.

If you are in the front seat, wear the shoulder restraint. It can protect you from being incapacitated and might allow you and others to escape. This is probably the easiest and most cost-effective enhancement to seaplane safety available. The shoulder belts are there but do not do any good unless you use them.

You should know where your personal floatation device (PFD) is located. Make sure it is within reach. Know how to put it on and how to inflate it. The investigation reports consistently showed that donning a PFD in the water is very difficult. Regulations do not require the wearing of a PFD in flight. Operator practices vary. If you do wear a PFD, never inflate it inside the aircraft.

Accident prevention is the best way to reduce injury and damage and TC will continue work at prevention in cooperation with the aviation community. Always remember that the floatplane operational environment presents significant risks so crew and passengers alike should be conscious of things that can save their lives if an accident occurs.

For more tips on survival, see TC's Seaplane/Floatplane: A passenger's Guide. Many operators have copies for their passengers. Download yours at: Floatplanes. There is also a short video on floatplane safety and survival at: www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/video-menu.htm.

Webster Memorial Trophy Competition Develops Safer Pilots

The John C. Webster Memorial Trophy Competition was established in 1932 by the late Dr. J. C. Webster of Shediac, New Brunswick, who wished to honour the memory of his son, John, who lost his life at St. Hubert, Que., in an aircraft accident, while practising to represent Canada in the Trans-Canada Air Pageant, an aerobatic flying competition. This annual event is intended to declare the "top amateur pilot in Canada", and is open to any Canadian citizen or landed immigrant holding a valid Canadian pilot's licence.

To be eligible, applicants must never have received pilot training from the Armed Forces, excluding Air Cadet flight training, or have used their pilot licences for hire or reward within the five years prior to the final competition month, and they must never have been declared a winner of the Webster Trophy. Regional finalists undergo two separate flight tests covering various phases of their pilot navigation skills and flying abilities and a practical written examination and a navigation planning exercise are administered. The winner, runner-up and all finalists receive a large number of prizes (products and/or services) from the competition sponsors as additional incentives to participate.

Past experience has shown that pilots enthusiastic to enter this prestigious and rewarding competition have determined that extra attention to detail in their flying abilities is necessary; consequently, most have endeavoured to receive additional flight training in order to develop more precise flying skills. In the past few years, the program has achieved a greater national awareness; its support has grown through involvement from all sectors of the aviation community, thus making it more a more attractive event to participate in.

In fact, organizers claim that flight test report marks submitted by applicants have increased significantly with every passing year, indicating that a higher standard of pilots are competing, which results in safer pilots. In 2010, out of all of the competitors who entered, approximately 40% had submitted flight test marks in the high 90s percentile, whereas the lowest received was still an admirable 76%. In addition, flight test reports received were very consistent from one region to the next. This indicates to the Webster Team that training across Canada is at a very high level. The incentive of possibly becoming a national finalist and perhaps acquiring the title of top amateur pilot in Canada definitely encourages competitors to work harder in their training. The results are extremely impressive.

Every year, the National Finals take place in a different location in Canada. In 2010, they were held in Calgary, Alta., hosted by the Calgary Flying Club. In 2011, the event is being hosted by Grondair in Saint-Frédéric, Que., from August 17–20. For more information, please visit www.webstertrophy.ca.


Editor's note: In the Repair and Modification of Amateur-built Aircraft article that appeared in Issue 2/2011 of the Aviation Safety Letter, the "General Rule" section that provided definitions of "acceptable data" should have included the following: "drawings and methods found appropriate by a delegate in conformity with paragraph 4.2(o) and subsection 4.3(1) of the Aeronautics Act".

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