Please accept this donation to the special action fund. We recently returned from a pleasant trip to Nova Scotia in our Comanche, and our membership in COPA enabled us to save at least double this donated amount in hotels and car rentals.
En route, we visited Niagara Falls and chose the Russell Aviation strip south of Niagara Falls. There is no fuel there, but we enjoyed some of the greatest hospitality in Canada from Fran and the staff. The weather forced us to leave quickly, but Gary had offered the quick tour of the warbirds. We will go back for that alone.
We enjoyed flight following from all centres once we got out of Western Canada. For some reason they are too busy for VFR pilots most of the time- and Winnipeg terminal is constantly short staffed.
Winnipeg FIR had no information regarding a discrete transponder code to cross U.S. airspace between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. Departing Brampton, Ottawa, and Debert we were given a code to use for the duration of the flight. Maybe that's normal for Eastern Canadians, but new for us flatlanders in the West.
We chose Debert, 15 miles outside of Truro, Nova Scotia as our destination because at the time there was no parking fee, fuel is just 1.40/litre, and National Rentals picked us up and delivered us back to the airport. Great hospitality and conversation.
We encountered some marginal VFR weather on the return over Northern Maine, and Boston was very patient and helpful with us and others trying to avoid a $5000 landing in the U.S.
This was not our first trip to the Maritimes, but did involve more planned stops and different experiences in the system. It would be good if Nav Canada would see fit to provide a consistent level of service across this country.
This flight was VFR, but I will make sure I have renewed my IFR for the next extended trip. Thanks to COPA for helping maintain a system we can all use.
ed. by Kevin Psutka: It is good to receive feedback about the value of a COPA membership and we are thankful for Don's donation to the Special Action Fund at this critical time in our history when the issue of federal jurisdiction is before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Comments regarding Nav Canada level of service are important for me as I deal with them as a member of the NavCan Advisory Committee. I encourage all members to do the same and to also send their comments, including positive feedback and suggestions for improvement, directly to NavCan's address for this purpose firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know from my experience with this feedback mechanism that NavCan does respond. You may not always agree with them but at least they have a formal mechanism for receiving and responding to customers.