On February 6th, I decided to go flying in my ultralight since the weather was nice for a change. A friend was in his Challenger and I was in mine. We were both flying at 3,000 feet ASL about seven miles west of Barrie heading eastbound toward Kempenfelt Bay. I switched to frequency 123.00 as I always do in this area and announced our intentions to any Springwater traffic in the area.
As we approached overhead of Springwater airport I noticed a fast moving Piper type low wing aircraft approaching from the south east at about 2,000 feet ASL. That would be approx. 1,100-1,200 feet AGL. It continued to head North West and made a track under us and over Springwater airport at near circuit height at a fast speed. It was heading in the direction of Midland/Huronia airport.
There was no radio announcement by this aircraft that it was in the Springwater or Barrie area. There is a hospital heliport nearby and a commercial helicopter was in flight over Barrie taking passengers for a ride during the winter festival. He indicated he was operating at 2,400 feet and lower.
I do constantly look out for other traffic while flying my slower moving ultralight, but I'm extremely concerned with how many faster aircraft are out there that are either not listening to their radio or have the volume turned down and only turn it up when they are going to use it themselves. I'm even more concerned with seeing faster and lower traffic over built up areas.
There are many airports in this area using the same 123.000 or 122.800 frequency when the airports are busy on weekends. This is made even worse with the constant parachute jump traffic at Cookstown and Baldwin. So there is the chance of doubling and missing a call.
I feel that proper radio use with position reporting is not being used much in our area. Accidents like the recent Colorado area Cirrus/tow plane mid-air collision or the Kempenfelt Bay float plane accident a few years ago are reminders of what can happen when aircraft are unaware of each others position or intention.
Ed. The area below 3,000 feet AGL is open regarding direction of flight, but this does not mean that you can simply go anywhere you’d like and not talk to anyone, especially in known busy areas. Besides common sense that would dictate that you should be aware of all aerodromes on your route and avoid them unless you are intending to land, the pilot of the Piper violated CAR 602.96(4) which requires pilots not intending to land at an aerodrome to fly over it at not less than 2,000 feet above the aerodrome. The Aeronautical Information Manual RAC section 5 www.tc.gc.ca/civilaviation/publications/tp14371/rac/menu.htm provides guidance on correct use of radios and monitoring when en route as well as emphasizing the CAR referred to above.