Pilots to Pilots



To all British Columbia and Yukon COPA members, My sincere thanks for the Appreciation Award presented to me by my fellow Director Tim Cole at the Delta Heritage Airpark on Sunday December 12. I will continue to enjoy and value my association with COPA as your Director for as long as I am able, and wish you all good health and safe flying.


B. C. & Yukon Director



I have just finished reading your January issue of COPA Flight and found this to be a particularly good issue. I took a personal interest in Kevin Psutka’s product review of the Spidertracks device. I especially like his opening paragraph, “…regardless of what the government may require, I want to carry something else to improve the prospects… in the event that we go down.”

I have flown CanForce SAR operations across Canada. I have decided that people rarely get into trouble during daylight hours on sunny summer days. SAR crews are routinely asked to fly at night and in miserable weather. In fact they often have to fly into the same weather that may have just caused a pilots unfortunate situation. Believe it or not the folks in SAR are human too. They don’t like flying around in bad weather any more than you do. So the less time they need to spend “murking about,” the better it is for everyone!

I followed the political debates and I know what the government dictates regarding ELTs. I also know how disheartening it is looking for a missing aircraft when the ELT fails.Anything pilots can do to help themselves will also help SAR and ultimately get them out of the woods quicker. We all know how fast technology is changing. Just because the Government refuses to adopt new technology as quickly doesn’t mean that we as pilots cannot. In the end, I suppose it depends on how much money we are willing to spend and what level of risk we are willing to accept.

Kevin also states “DND is committed to ELTs… and does not permit their (JRCC) staff to learn about other devices or develop procedures for using information from them.” I would like to assure your readers that the folks working in the Joint Rescue Control Centres (JRCC) are aware of the new technologies. Even though the source of geographical position may not be government approved, controllers are certainly not going to ignore any information that might help them solve their cases sooner.

Aircraft can cover a tremendous distance in a short time which creates a huge search area. Whether a position is obtained from SPOT, Spidertracks or an ELT, the controller will do their best to determine the validity of the information and react accordingly in order to reduce the search area and time to affect a successful rescue.


Ed. The long debate about mandating 406 ELTs continues and when this edition of the newspaper went to press no revised regulation had been released, so ELTs broadcasting on both 406 and 121.5 are encouraged by the government but not mandated.

COPA has been seeking a compromise solution that will both maximize compliance and provide the best probability that an alert will be received and accident locations will be found with minimum delay and risk to the searchers.

Our compromise position remains that ELTs should continue to be required but that aircraft owners who elect to not equip with 406 be permitted to retain their older ELTs as long as they remain serviceable And that they be encouraged to carry additional devices, a tracking service, file and stick to flight plans, keep an knowledgeable person in the loop about your travel plans, listen out on 121.5 whenever possible etc to maximize their prospects for being found.

And for those who elect to equip with 406, they too should be encouraged to carry something else to address the ELT shortcomings. It is reassuring to hear from someone on the “inside” that JRCC staff are aware of new technologies but I am concerned that their reluctance to embrace the new technologies may result in delays to aircraft being found. COPA continues its effort to advocate for embracing the new technology.

- Kevin Psutka



A year ago sled dogs were found abandoned, tied up and left to their own devices to survive or die out there in our Canadian North.It took the efforts of some concerned animal lovers and they rescued those dogs with the help of the public. Now those dogs have the best lives possible with their adoptive families.

Knowledge of their efforts became widespread and they were contacted to help save the lives of many more dogs from our Canadian North. NWT Dog Rescue was born with a mission to save as many dogs as they possibly can, no matter the obstacles they face.

This is a rescue ran by only two individuals, Jennifer Mulrooney and Patty McGivern. With the support and guidance of fellow animal lovers, they have saved almost 100 dogs from the perils of the cold, harsh environment of the Northwest Territories.

Their efforts set up a system in Inuvik and Yellowknife where the dogs are being flown down to Edmonton and placed in a no-kill rescue in Calgary, Pawsitive Match Rescue to find their forever homes.

Transporting the dogs had to be done by air due to the locations of Yellowknife and Inuvik. Canadian North and First Air stepped up to help, offering the transport of three dogs a month. They have helped make an impact on the lives of so many dogs over the last year. As word has gotten out that this rescue helps these northern dogs other towns such as Hay River have requested their help as well.

Buffalo Airways will transport the dogs from Hay River to Yellowknife on their journey to the south. But payment is needed from Yellowknife to Edmonton.

That is three dogs a month from two towns, plus the dogs transported to Yellowknife from Hay River. How do they get to the south from Hay River? The Hay River SPCA will help with the transport costs, but it will cost them dearly for sure. What about the other dogs waiting for their chance to come south?

There are many more than the three dogs a month needing our help.

How can you help? Anyone with private and commercial planes who can help bring these dogs south as far as Edmonton will be saving a life. We need your help now before our funding runs out and we start losing these precious dogs.

We need transport for them, and not just once but many times for many dogs. Can you help us save lives by offering free cargo space to a kennel carrying a dog, or would you like to financially sponsor a dog to come south to save its life?

Would you be willing to help in the future, fullfill our dream of getting equipment and people up to Inuvik for a spay/neuter clinic?


PATTY MCGIVERN and JENN MULROONEY www.pawsitivematch.org