Alexander Holburn

Crash After a Single Engine Take-off in a Piper Aztec is not an “Accident”

On August 24, 2009, the Canadian pilot of a twin engine Piper Aztec flew from North Carolina to Southern Ontario.  To clear customs, the pilot made a stop in Brantford, Ontario.  After the Canadian Border Services Agents did not arrive, the pilot decided to fly the short remaining leg to his farm.

The pilot started the left engine, but had difficulty starting the right.  He shut down the aircraft and attempted to find the problem.  Eventually he determined that the right engine was not going to start.  He considered his options and decided to attempt a take-off with only one engine.

The pilot started his take-off roll.  After the wheels of the aircraft lost contact with the ground, the asymmetrical …

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Montreal Convention Delay Claims Must be Reasonable

A Halifax passenger booked with Air Canada to fly from Halifax to Beirut, via Montreal.  The flight segment from Montreal to Paris was cancelled due to a maintenance issue.  Air Canada scheduled a replacement flight which left Montreal later than the originally scheduled departure time.  To compensate for the delay, Air Canada offered the passenger an upgrade on the Montreal/Paris segment of the rescheduled flight as well as $1,300 in flight vouchers.

The passenger rejected Air Canada’s offers and elected instead to book flights with another carrier which arrived in Lebanon sooner than the rescheduled Air Canada flight.  In order to secure those flights, the passenger had to travel business class.  The passenger sued Air Canada for the full cost …

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British Columbia Aviation Council 2012 Conference and Silver Wings Banquet

Congratulations to the British Columbia Aviation Council for another successful Silver Wings Awards Banquet!  This year, the Banquet took place at YVR’s South Terminal and was hosted by Jaeger Mah, the winner of the Vancouver International Airport’s Live@YVR contest.

As always, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Council’s annual industry awards and aviation student scholarships.  Industry award recipients included West Coast Helicopters, the Vancouver Airport Authority, Canadian Rockies International Airport (Cranbrook) and Conair Aviation.  The winner of the Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award was Lynne Denison-Foster for her many years as a leading aviation educator at BCIT.

This year’s Ernie Alexander Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Sean Samuel (pictured above) of BCIT’s Airline & Flight Operations Program.  Sean …

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Foreign Carriers Must Comply With Canadian Privacy Laws

A Canadian resident sought information from KLM about its policies and practices relating to the management of his personal information as a passenger.

The airline was slow to respond and ultimately provided a minimal response.

The passenger complained to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada that KLM was in breach of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”).

Notwithstanding KLM’s foreign incorporation, the Commission took jurisdiction over the complaint on the grounds that there was a real and substantial connection between the complaint, the parties and Canada.  In particular, the complainant was a Canadian resident; KLM offers services within Canada; and the complainant originally booked his flight from Toronto.

In its defence, KLM asserted that its …

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Airline Customer Service Issue Creates Liability Under the Montreal Convention

Mr. Gontcharov travelled by air from the Dominican Republic to his home in Toronto.  During the flight, he complained to the flight attendant that he was cold and requested that she either turn the heat up or provide him with a blanket.  After a second request, the flight attendant told him the blanket would cost ten dollars.  This discussion escalated into a confrontation so that when the aircraft landed, Mr. Gontcharov was escorted off the aircraft by two local police officers.

Mr. Gontcharov sued the airline alleging that he had come down with severe bronchitis following the flight and had suffered psychological injuries as a result of his “wrongful arrest”.

Claims arising in the course of international carriage, are governed …

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External Inspection of an Aircraft: No Violation of Charter Rights

The pilot of Rockwell Aviation SR2 Thrush Commander crop duster aircraft was charged under s. 7.3(1)(e) of the Aeronautics Act with willfully operating an aircraft that had been detained by Transport Canada.

During the course of the trial, the pilot claimed that his right to be secure from unreasonable search under s.8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had been violated when the Transport Canada Inspectors inspected the aircraft and ultimately placed a notice of detention attached to the controls of the aircraft.

The pilot claimed that any actions taken by the Transport Canada Inspectors regarding the aircraft were done without a search warrant and without the pilot’s permission.

The Transport Canada Aviation Enforcement Inspector indicated that he …

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The Runway End Safety Area Debate

A runway end safety area (RESA) is a clear graded area at the end of a runway intended to reduce the risk of damage to an aircraft which overruns the runway.  ICAO Annex 14, Aerodrome Design and Operations, prescribes a standard international RESA of 90 metres for runways coded 3 or 4 from the end of the runway strip and recommends a RESA of 240 metres where practicable.

When the standard RESA was introduced in Annex 14, Canada determined that it was impractical to comply with this standard and filed with ICAO a “Difference” stating:

“Canada does not provide runway end safety areas …”

That position reflected Transport Canada’s concern that the geography of many Canadian airports would not …

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Pilot Sentenced to 9 Months in Jail for Dangerous Operation of an Aircraft

A young pilot from Saskatchewan has been sentenced to 9 months in jail and has had his licence suspended for two years in connection with an incident that occurred at the Fort Good Hope Airport, NWT, on May 10, 2010.

Parker James Butterfield was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of an aircraft after the wing of the Cessna 207 that he was flying struck a co-worker, William Bleach.

Bleach was standing by the side of the runway filming while Butterfield performed a low pass.  A wind gust caused the aircraft’s wing to dip and strike Bleach in the head.  Bleach later died from his injuries.

In October 2011, Butterfield pled guilty to the lesser charge of

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Being Tall is Not a Disability

Being tall can have many perks: a better view at concerts and sporting events and the ability to reach objects on the high shelves at grocery stores.  But being tall also comes with its challenges:  not being able to comfortably sit in aircraft seats with limited leg room.

But is being tall a disability?

Malcolm Johnson, who stands 6’7½ ”, filed an application with the Canadian Transportation Agency pursuant to Subsection 172(1) of the Canada Transportation Act, S.C., 1996, c. 10 (the “CTA”) against Air Canada with regard to the additional fees charged for economy class seats with extra leg room. 

Mr. Johnson argued that, because of his height, he could not sit in a “regular seat” without endangering

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As the Fur Flies: Airlines Ordered to Amend Pet Policies

A recent Canadian Transportation Agency decision has ruled that Air Canada, Jazz and WestJet need to amend their policies with respect to the carriage of cats as carry-on baggage in the aircraft cabin.

The decision resulted from a complaint by three passengers who all suffer from severe cat allergies. Although some of the complainants asked that all animals (other than service animals) be prohibited in the cabin, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) only decided the issue with respect to cats as the complainants were only allergic to cats, and not other animals.

In a previous hearing, the CTA ruled that the complainants’ allergies were severe enough to constitute a disability. The next question for the CTA was whether the current

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