Monthly Archives: December 2010

Federal Aeronautics Powers Reaffirmed

“Air Transportation is an indispensable part of modern life. Yet as our dependence on aircraft has grown, the demands of aviation have increasingly collided with other interests.”

These words with which Chief Justice McLachlin began her judgment in Quebec (Attorney General) v. Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, 2010 SCC 39 summarized the issue before her.

Bernard Laferriere and Sylvie Gervais owned a wooded lot near the City of Shawinigan.  In 1998, they cleared part of their lot and built a grass airstrip.  But the new aerodrome was situated in a designated agricultural region and the Quebec Agricultural Lands Protection Commission ordered the aerodrome to be closed.   These facts set up the classic Canadian constitutional confrontation between the power of the …

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Supreme Court of Canada Will Not Hear Appeal of Pilot’s Criminal Conviction

In a previous newsletter, we wrote about the conviction of a Manitoba pilot (Mark Tayfel), who was found guilty of one count of criminal negligence causing death, four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and one count of dangerous operation of an aircraft.  We then wrote about the Manitoba Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn the convictions for criminal negligence but to uphold the conviction for dangerous operation of an aircraft.

In July 2010, Mr. Tayfel commenced an application before the Supreme Court of Canada, asking that the Court hear a further appeal on whether the Manitoba Court of Appeal made an error when it upheld the conviction for dangerous operation of an aircraft.  The Supreme Court released its decision today …

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Canada… or Kanawha?

In early November, the HMCS Fredericton (a Canadian Frigate) was involved in a minor collision with the USNS Kanawha.

A few days earlier, there was a different collision between Canada and Kanawha – in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The Appeals Court decided that the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West Virginia did have jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit regarding the crash of a Canadian aircraft flown by a Canadian pilot (with one Canadian passenger on board).


The Mooney M20C aircraft, based at Buttonville Airport (just north of Toronto), was en route to the Bahamas with a Canadian pilot and passenger. Due to poor weather, the aircraft made an unscheduled stop in West Virginia. Pilot and passenger spent the …

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British Columbia Aviation Council 2010 Conference and Silver Wings Banquet

Congratulations to the British Columbia Aviation Council for a successful 2010 Conference and Silver Wings Awards Banquet!  As always, the highlight of the Banquet was the presentation of the Council’s annual industry awards and aviation student scholarships.  We were especially pleased to watch the inaugural presentation of the Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP Aviation Scholarship, in memory of Ernie Alexander, Q.C.

The late Ernie Alexander was a founding member of our firm and a former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot and instructor.  For a very interesting story about one of Mr. Alexander’s flying adventures, click here.

This scholarship will be awarded every year (on the basis of merit and financial need) to a student enrolled in an Aviation or Aerospace program at …

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NY Times Reports Legal Action Started by Qantas Over A380 Engines

The New York Times reported today that Qantas Airways has filed a preliminary action in the Australian federal court.  The action gives Qantas the option of proceeding with litigation if the airline is not satisfied with an offer of compensation from Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the engine.

Click here to view the NY Times article. (*photo courtesy of Tim Beach)…

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