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Bureaucratic delays restrict Ultralights in Southern Ontario

 

A change in airspace classification is causing a significant flight safety issue for all Basic and a small number of Advanced Ultralight aircraft (AULA without required equipment as per CAR 605.14).

All low level airspace in a defined area in Southern Ontario, previously Class G, non-controlled airspace, was designated Class E controlled airspace on Oct. 22, 2009. This area encompasses Windsor to the South West, Sault Ste Marie to the North West and Kingston to the South East.

Two floors above sea level are in force, one at 2,500 feet ASL in the southern portion and 3,500 feet ASL in the northern defined area. This reconfiguration was needed to fill in the gaps in Class E for IFR aircraft, reducing some procedural limitations on instrument flight rules operations and enabling expanded use of more efficient RNAV direct routings in this low level airspace.

For more information on this airspace change, go to:

http://www.navcanada.ca/ContentDefinitionFiles/Newsroom/ServiceProjectAnnouncements/2009/an1002a_en.pdf

These new Class E floors in certain areas will restrict Ultralight flights to 600 feet AGL or lower in some areas. Class E, VFR weather limits all aircraft to three miles visibility, one mile from clouds horizontally and 500 feet vertically, leaving only 100 feet or less for ultralights!

It was recognized during the consultation period that this airspace change would create a safety issue for ultralights because of regulation CAR 602.29(1)(c) that prohibit BULA and a few AULA. So, a regulation change was promulgated to permit BULA and AULA in class E.

DELAYS…

In 2000, CARAC accepted and CARC approved regulatory change of Notice of Proposed Amendments 2000-221 and 2000-228 and new regulations CAR 603.78 and 605.115 allowing equipped BULA & AULA in Class E, however these regulations have been stagnating in Regulatory Affairs for years. It is not expected to be finalized into regulations until summer 2010.

This outstanding issue was brought to the attention of Transport Canada by COPA as the airspace classification change was being developed last year and we were told that the revised regulations were “in process.”

Following the recent revision to the airspace, an urgent request for immediate action was sent by UPAC President Kathy Lubitz, agreed and strongly supported by COPA’s President Kevin Psutka to resolve this issue by implementing an exemption until such time the new regulations become law.

COPA’s President also suggested that it should be possible to cut through the lengthy exemption development process because the bulk of the work including risk assessment was already accepted by CARAC and CARC 10 years ago.