Pre-Flight Pre-Flight

Update: Floatplane Operators Association of British Columbia

by Lyle Soetaert, President, Floatplane Operators Association of British Columbia

The Floatplane Operators Association of British Columbia (FOA) is up and running! Our status as a not-for-profit organization was approved in early March 2011, and we held our first annual general meeting on April 12, 2011. Our mandate is to establish best practices, together with a consistent culture of safety across the industry. The successful launch is due to the tremendous support we have received from the industry, Transport Canada (TC) and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

Beaver door mounted with a popout emergency exit window provided by Viking Air Ltd.
Viking Air Ltd. provided this Beaver door mounted
with a popout emergency exit window.

Our members consist of all commercial floatplane operators in the province, organizations with a vested interest in the B.C. floatplane industry (associate members), and individuals from across the province. Our elected board of nine members represents all sizes of operators and the entire geography of B.C. floatplane activity. Additionally, one of the board members represents our associate members with full input with respect to discussions and decision-making processes. We are proud to announce that our associate members elected Viking Air Ltd. of Victoria, B.C., to hold this position.

As with any new organization, we need to "put the rubber to the road" and demonstrate value to our members. So, what have we been doing? Our first order of business was to establish several committees to perform research and provide recommendations to the board. We immediately formed our Safety Committee and charged it with investigating options and recommending best practices for the use of life preservers by our passengers. We are very happy to report that the committee came back with several options, all of which meet the existing standards and can be readily adopted by our members (details can be found on our Web site, please see below). The committee is continuing to work on this issue and is improving on the existing recommendations to ensure our passengers' safety.

We have also been very busy connecting with similar organizations both here and in the United States, and with our partners in government. We attended the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-TC Cross Border Aviation Summit in Anchorage, AK, which was the first time the B.C. floatplane industry was represented at this meeting. We were able to share best practices with our northern cousins and discuss similar safety and operational issues. We made contact with the Medallion Foundation of Alaska and have begun discussing how our organizations can collaborate to reduce aviation accidents and improve safety.

We then participated in the Civil Aviation Safety Officer Partnership sponsored by NAV CANADA. Operators, airport managers, and NAV CANADA specialists gathered to share safety information and discuss methods of improvement. Our participation brought forward industry concerns regarding webcam placement and usage, wake turbulence concerns around airports, and our ability to provide feedback about proposed changes. The forum was very productive; we now have input regarding issues directly affecting us and we have regular contact with NAV CANADA.

As the word about us spread, the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) invited us to participate in their Special Flight Operations Committee meeting to establish a position on the work of the Transport Canada Flight Duty Times & Fatigue Management Working Group. We were able to provide a different perspective as 703 and 704 operators, and we voiced our concerns with respect to this very important issue, which continues to be examined. Following this meeting, we attended ATAC's Industry Symposium on Regulatory Services. Our concerns joined our industry partners' concerns regarding the level of service supplied by the regulator.

Last, but definitely not least, we attended the Civil Aviation Executives Safety Network meeting sponsored by TC. Over 100 individuals from across all aspects of aviation and aerospace were in attendance. The subject, "Leading for Tomorrow: Setting the Course for Aviation in Canada", involved a remarkable discussion on how the aviation industry and TC can work together to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future. We brought forward our unique industry concerns and helped develop priorities for TC and the aviation and aerospace sector.

The information shared and the personal contacts forged at these events are invaluable. We are working diligently to foster more relationships and expand our ability to make commercial passenger floatplane travel the safest it can be. We will continue to provide added value to all our members and to the travelling public. We are in the midst of a membership drive and encourage all interested parties to contact us. The Board is energized and focused on developing a successful and leading organization devoted to commercial floatplane safety. Please see our Web site below or contact us directly for further information. We would also like to thank the British Columbia Aviation Council for the support they have given us and the partnership we are developing. We look forward to serving you on the waters of B.C.!

Contact info:
Floatplane Operators Association of British Columbia
PO Box 32366, YVR Domestic Terminal RPO
Richmond, BC V7B 1W2

COPA Corner: Flying is Fun, Flying an Ice Cube is Not

COPA Corner Logo

by Dale Nielsen. This article was originally published in the "Chock to Chock" column of the October 2009 issue of COPA Flight, and is reprinted with permission.

Like it or not, colder weather is coming and airframe icing doesn't just happen to IFR aircraft flying in cloud. It has happened to me in clear air with the cloud cover at least 3 000 ft above me, and it could happen to you.

I was flying a C-170 with a student in the practice area in late October when it started to rain. The rain froze all over our aircraft. We descended and turned back to the airport. The ice continued to build until we were about 4 mi. from landing when the rain stopped.

We were flying under a winter warm front where the air above us was above freezing and the air we were flying in was below freezing, giving us freezing rain.

This ice was mixed ice (rime and clear) and added considerable weight to the aircraft as well as considerable drag. Also, our windshield was covered with ice reducing forward visibility to zero.

Winter Warm Front

Figure 1

Airframe icing can occur any time there is an inversion and you are flying in cold air below warmer air aloft and there is cloud above you.

Rime ice is formed by small water droplets that freeze on contact without spreading, making it look opaque, milky and rough. As it occurs, it disrupts the airflow, causing an immediate loss of lift. Fortunately, it easy to see as it forms.

Clear ice is formed from very large supercooled droplets that spread out on impact making a glassy heavy coating over the leading edge of aircraft surfaces and a fair distance back over the upper surface of the wing. Clear ice is heavy and very hard to see forming. It eventually also changes the shape of the wing causing a loss of lift and an increase in drag.

When airframe icing is encountered, it is imperative to leave the area immediately and select pitot heat and cabin or windshield heat "on." If it is possible to descend to warmer air, do so and the ice will melt off quickly. If it is not possible to descend, turn around to leave the area. With luck the icing will melt off. In my case, luck was not with us. We remained in cold air and the ice was too thick for the cabin heat to melt.

The Cessna Supplement for light Cessna aircraft suggests that if visibility is impaired, perform a forward slip to gain better visibility. It also states that the approach should be flapless at 70 mph. Piper has no recommendations for flight with airframe icing and other light aircraft manufacturers may not have any advice either.

I would be careful about slipping with airframe icing. Drag has already been increased by an unknown amount. A forward slip is normally performed to increase drag to lose altitude. Do we really want to increase drag any more at this point? Even with an increase in power to maintain airspeed we may possibly stall at the approach speed.

A 70 mph approach with the flaps up may not be enough. An experience in the Air Force taught me that an aircraft may stall at an airspeed 20 kt above the normal indicated stall speed. This would not leave much margin at 70 mph with the flaps up.

If it is possible to open a side window or slide the canopy back a little, you may be able to scrape enough ice from the windshield to see ahead. I was not able to scrape enough ice off the windshield to see ahead so I flew a little to one side of the approach path and leaned my head as far to the left as possible. This enabled me to see enough to perform an approach. As I approached the runway, I moved the aircraft left and used my peripheral vision to stay in the centre of the runway.

I flew the approach at 80 mph with the flaps up. I had 5 000 ft of runway and I did not want to even think about a stall.

Lowering the flaps changes the camber and angle of attack of the wing. This change in angle of attack with ice on the wing could precipitate an immediate stall.

I flew the aircraft onto the runway, raising the nose of the aircraft only enough to avoid landing nose wheel first. I reduced the power very slowly and just enough to get the aircraft to land and then I reduced the power to idle. Flaring the aircraft for landing may increase the angle of attack of the wings to beyond the critical angle of attack with the ice build-up. A rapid power reduction as the aircraft nears the ground may also precipitate a stall.

If you are landing on a short or icy runway, you may have to modify this procedure some, but carefully. It is better to use all of the runway or even go off the end rather than stall short of or over the runway.

Watch for and try to avoid flying under a winter warm front or inversion with a cloud cover. At the first sign of airframe icing, get away from it. Flying is supposed to be fun. Flying an ice cube is not.

Dale Nielsen is an ex-Armed Forces pilot and aerial photography pilot. He lives in Abbotsford, B.C., and currently flies MEDEVACs from Victoria in a Lear 25. Nielsen is also the author of seven flight training manuals published by Canuck West Holdings. Dale can be contacted via e-mail: To know more about COPA, visit

Reducing the Risk of Runway Excursions


by Monica Mullane, Performance Indicators Analyst, NAV CANADA

The Flight Safety Foundation's May 2009 Report on the Runway Safety Initiative entitled "Reducing the Risk of Runway Excursions" reported that from 1995 to 2008:

  • commercial transport aircraft were involved in 1 429 accidents,
  • 30 percent (431) occurred on runways, and
  • 97 percent of these were runway excursions.

A runway excursion occurs when an aircraft fails to confine its takeoff or landing to the designated runway. This may result from the aircraft undershooting or over-running the runway during landing, the aircraft failing to become airborne in the available runway during takeoff or a loss of directional control during takeoff or landing.

The Air France accident at Toronto's Pearson International Airport in August 2005 and the Antonov incident at the Windsor airport in December 2000 are examples of runway excursions in Canada.

Although runway incursions have been identified as an aviation safety risk for many years, runway excursions have not received the same attention. For example, in 1999 a joint subcommittee of Transport Canada and NAV CANADA was formed and made recommendations for the prevention of runway incursions and improving runway safety. Runway excursions were not discussed in the final report, TP 13795.

Canadian statistics

The following charts show the situation with respect to Canadian runway excursions and incursions, as identified through the NAV CANADA Aviation Occurrence Reporting process. Unlike the figures mentioned earlier for commercial aircraft accidents, the charts below include all types of aircraft in all types of operation from private to commercial. In addition, some of the excursions do not meet the definition of an aviation accident.

The first chart compares runway excursions with runway incursions for the past ten years.

Chart 1. Canadian Runway Excursions and Incursions
Chart 1. Canadian Runway Excursions and Incursions

The second chart compares the type of Runway Excursions observed in 2010. Given that this data contains all types of operation and not just accidents, it is not surprising that the pattern is somewhat different from the worldwide statistics. The Flight Safety Foundation's May 2009 Report showed roughly equal number of veer-offs and overruns.

Chart 2. Breakout of Canadian Runway Excursions for 2010
Chart 2. Breakout of Canadian Runway Excursions for 2010

Actions to address

The Flight Safety Foundation report identified the role of five groups in helping to reduce the risk of runway excursions: Flight Operations, Air Traffic Management, Airports, Aircraft Manufacturers, and Regulators.

For air operators, the Flight Safety Foundation's top four recommendations were:

  • stabilized approach criteria;
  • true "no fault" go-around policy;
  • training for crew in handling the excursion risk factors; and
  • policies, procedures and knowledge to assist decision-making in the cockpit.

NAV CANADA's role in reducing the risk of runway excursions lies in two main areas:

  • by providing air traffic services that allow flight crews to fly a stabilized approach, and;
  • by NAV CANADA procedures that require both controllers and specialists to provide current Runway Surface Condition (RSC) and Canadian Runway Friction Index (CRFI) reports to arriving and departing aircraft, allowing flight crews to make informed decisions.

NAV CANADA has an information exchange with safety officers of airlines to improve safety. One question raised was why conditions upon landing appeared to differ from those expected based on the pilot's understanding of the Runway Surface Condition (RSC) report. There are limitations to the RSC reports and these must be taken into consideration as you plan your approach and landing. The European Aviation Safety Agency – EASO 2008-4 reports:

"The amount and type of RCR [runway condition reports] information varies between countries and even airports themselves. A major matter of concern is that lack of harmonization leads to surface condition information provided by airports to air carriers and aviators, especially for operational reporting, being generated using a variety of inspection methods and friction measurement procedures without uniform quality standards. Airplane manufacturers and air carriers, therefore, have a limited ability to provide precise airplane landing and take-off performance instructions to pilots for contaminated runways. This in turn may lead to greater than necessary safety margins which financially penalize operators through operational limitations, or it may lead to misinterpretation of condition reports resulting in compromised safety."

Current efforts in Canada and internationally are focused on standardizing runway surface report information.

Runway excursions are an industry challenge, requiring coordination and cooperation at the local, national and international levels. All industry stakeholders described in the Flight Safety Foundation report have a responsibility to implement mitigations that will ensure a safe landing or departure.

NAV CANADA has expanded the Runway Safety Web site to include information on runway excursions – visit the site at

Fuel Cargo System in a Canadian Aircraft

by Roger Lessard, Civil Aviation Safety Inspector, Dangerous Goods Standards, Standards, Civil Aviation, Transport Canada

During a Program Validation Inspection, a Civil Aviation Safety Inspector–Dangerous Goods (CASI-DG) discovered that an air operator, with a valid Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued in the Prairie and Northern Region, was using an aircraft to carry dangerous goods in large means of containment without the appropriate dangerous goods procedures and training program approvals. The aircraft was issued a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for a fuel cargo system in an existing Class E cargo compartment from the Ontario Region. The system consists of twelve (12) fuel tanks each capable of containing 202 U.S. gal (approximately 780 litres (L) each).

Transport Canada published Advisory Circular (AC) 500-013 – Carriage of Bulk Liquids in Aircraft, Issue 01, in 2004. This AC summarizes the criteria for the certification of design and installation of systems for the carriage of bulk liquids in aircraft, including liquids classified as dangerous goods. The AC is available online at:

With respect to the fuel cargo systems, Section 5.0 of the AC indicates that in addition to the criteria set out in this AC, bulk liquids carriage systems designed for the transportation of liquids classified as dangerous goods must comply with the requirements of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. It makes no reference to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) Part VII Commercial Air Services, Division IX, Manuals, Requirements Relating to Company Operations Manuals.

Section 9.3 of the AC indicates that each operating limitation resulting from the installation of bulk liquids carriage system on an aircraft and any additional information necessary for safe operation must be developed and included in a Flight Manual Supplement (FMS). For the carriage of liquids classified as dangerous goods, the FMS must restrict the operation of the aircraft to essential crew only, with no passenger permitted.

Fuel Cargo System

TDG Regulations

The handling, offering for transport, or transporting dangerous goods to, from or within Canada must be in compliance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG Regulations), Part 12 and the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI). They provide for the classification, packaging, documentation, safety marks, and training requirements. The TDG Regulations use the term means of containment (MOC) rather than packaging. A small MOC is an MOC with a capacity less than or equal to 450 L, whereas a large MOC is an MOC with a capacity greater than 450 L.

Each one of the fuel tanks installed under the STC is a large MOC. Large MOCs containing 3 000 L or less are called Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC). However, the ICAO TI prohibits the transport of flammable liquids in large MOCs, including IBCs, by air unless the State Authority provides a domestic exemption. Such an exemption is provided for the aircraft fuel tank used for the propulsion of the aircraft.

In Canada, section 12.9 of the TDG Regulations provides a domestic exemption to air operators holding a valid AOC under the CARs Part VII, Subpart 2, 3 or 4, or CARs Part 6, Subpart 4 for the transport of specific Class 3 Flammable Liquids. Subsection 12.9(5) states:

"When the Class 3, Flammable Liquids…are contained in a large means of containment, that large means of containment must be…a tank, a container or an apparatus that is an integral part of the aircraft or that is attached to the aircraft in accordance with the Certificate of Airworthiness issued under the Canadian Aviation Regulations."

Section 12.12 of the TDG Regulations provides a similar exemption for all liquid dangerous goods that are used or are to be used at the location where aerial work activities are conducted.

An air operator holding a valid AOC issued under CARs Part VII, Subpart 2, 3 or 4, can transport dangerous goods in a fuel cargo system in compliance with the TDG Regulations, section 12.9 or 12.12. The air operator must submit for review and approval procedures for the carriage of dangerous goods part of the Company Operations Manual, and the corresponding dangerous goods training program. An air operator holding a Private Operator Certificate issued under CARs Part VI, Subpart 4 needs to comply with Section 12.9 of the TDG Regulations.

In all other instances, the transport of dangerous goods by air in large MOCs is prohibited. The transport of dangerous goods by air in large MOCs (including an IBC) may be permitted under an Equivalency Certificate (EC) under Part 14 of the TDG Regulations.

NOTICE: Instrument Procedures Manual (TP2076)

The Instrument Procedures Manual (TP2076) is no longer produced by Transport Canada. The rights to the book have been assigned to Aviation Publishers (, the same people who produce From the Ground Up. Trainers and students will be happy to know that Aviation Publishers has updated the Instrument Procedures Manual and released it for sale. The Instrument Procedures Manual is now available from commercial booksellers.

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