Have you used ECATS yet?  


If your answer is no, or just a blank stare, then this is a reminder to give it a try.

Earlier this year Transport Canada launched the General Aviation section of their Electronic Collection of Air Transportation Statistics (ECATS).

ECATS for GA is expected to improve Transport Canada’s ability to monitor the level of industry activity and measure its economic footprint. This is part of the department’s commitment to support and promote Canadian General Aviation, both nationally and internationally.

For a number of years COPA has been asking for some initiative like this which would permit Transport Canada to develop an economic footprint for our sector of aviation, and make the statistics available to the industry.

The affect that Personal Aviation has on the Canadian economy can only be gauged by gathering statistics from all of us who are engaged in the activity. So it is important that you and I participate.

For private aircraft it is really very easy to get involved. Here’s what you need to do.

The data is collected for a calendar year and you only need to do this once a year for the previous calendar year. Once you login onto the ECATS Data Collection site it should only take about 15 or 20 minutes to enter your data for the previous year.

You can do this any time after the end of the year but a good time might be when you go to complete the Annual Airworthiness Information Report.

Sit down in front of your computer with your Journey Log and some paper to scribble on. Then connect to the ECATS data collection website: http://www.tc.gc.ca/POL/ecats-cesta/ga-ag (If you forget this just Google “general aviation ecats”).

Once you enter your registration and name you will get a form-fill screen with two tabs – one is Flight Information and one is Financial Information. Start with the Flight Information tab.

It asks for some basic information like where your aircraft is based, then flight information like the number of cross country flights, local flights and out of country flights you did in the year. This should be easy to count up from your log book.

The trick question is “Average Distance Flown in kms.” Don’t try to add it up, just take the total hours flown in the year, times your normal cruise speed in km/hr (1 kt = 1.84 km/hr) then divide by the total number of flights from the previous three questions.

The next question, “Number of Passengers” can be added up by a quick scan of your Journey Log or a scan of your Pilot Log for the same period.

After that they ask for the top 10 airports visited or you can just state the main area that you fly if most of your flying is localized. Then click the submit button.

Now change to the Financial Tab and enter that data. It is even easier. They ask for the amount of fuel used and the amount spent on fuel.

Just multiply your hours for the year by your normal fuel burn rate then estimate the average price you paid for fuel from memory and multiply again. Since most of us measure fuel burn in U.S. gallons don’t forget to convert to litres (1 USG = 3.8 L).

The last three questions are the amount spent on Maintenance, NavCanada fees and Airport fees.

Most of us can remember exactly what our annual cost, and any other significant maintenance bills during the year. So you should be able to estimate these numbers easily, or you might be one of those organized individuals who have it all in one place for easy budgeting. Either way your best estimate is what is needed.

That’s all. Just click the submit button again and you’re done for the year.

Right now the Data Collection site will accept data for 2007 and 2008 so you can provide two years of historical data if you like. The more data they get the better.

So for about 20 minutes a year you can help build an economic footprint of GA and more specifically Personal Aviation in Canada. After a few years we should have some valuable data that will help us get the message out to our governments that Personal Aviation is a significant contributor to the Canadian Economy.

Give it a try. Meanwhile keep your prop spinning.