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Airspace Changes in Canada. Visual Flight Rules, Mara BC Example

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Fred Wilson
Joined: 10 Dec 2014
Posts: 45
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 09:26 am    Post subject: Airspace Changes in Canada. Visual Flight Rules, Mara BC Example Reply with quote

Article copied from Safety Articles http://www.hpac.ca/pub/?pid=48
- The HPAC is about to get a new website, so I am salvaging what I think is valuable.

Visual Flight Rules

There are some misconceptions about where we can an cannot fly as Hang / paragliders, which tells me that there are still a lot of pilots who have not written their HAGAR.
Actually, the skies are pretty open to us and I hope this article encourages many more of you to write your HAGAR and to start making more and better use of FIC and Tranport Canada System Safety's services in Canada.

I would like to thank the following individuals for their assistance in writing this article: Real examples of the Civil Service in Canada, with the emphasis on the word "Service."

. . .Geoff Graham, Civil Aviation Inspector for Transport Canada, Air Navigation Services and Airspace
. . .Dave Dixon, Transport Canada Civil Aviation, Recreational Aviation Branch

There have been a few noteworthy airspace changes in Canada (Transport Canada is accomodating increasing numbers of
VFR and IFR air traffic) that may affect your flying sites, so its a good time for a review and some pleasant news.

As examples I will identify a few sites near my home in the Okanagan.
Since I do not know the precise location of your flying sites, it is important for each and every club in Canada to obtain a copy of

. . .the VFR Navigation Chart for your area; and
. . .a copy of the current Enroute Low Altitude Chart for your region.

These two charts combine to provide you with all the information you need. You might also find the Designated Airspace Manual useful, download at NAV Canada's website.

You can buy VFR and En route charts from local airport flight schools or from a fellow pilot - Roger Nelson at Maptown Toll Free 1-877-921-6277

The VFR Chart is important
a) for us as we investigate Airspace changes and classification; and
b) for all pilots in general because it shows the base of Class E (HAGAR Required) airspace (where applicable); where the VFR Air Routes,
IFR Victor Airways and Airports are; and CYA "Special Use Airspace" areas (many of which are designated for our use.)

The En Route Chart provides information we need about Victor Airways: the MEA's (Minimum Enroute Altitudes used by IFR air traffic.
To find Victor Airways which affect your flying sites (Class "E" below 12,500', Class "B" airspace above 12,500' ASL) l
ook for the black box marked "V' with a two or three digit number following.
To find the MEA of these Victor Airways, look along the Victor airway and you will see a number printed along the line: Example: 9,000' is the base altitude.

So I will talk about sites here at home in the Okanagan Valley and use them as an example of what to look for.

Sicamous used to be completely uncontrolled airspace. That meant Class G (uncontrolled airspace) went all the way up to 17,999' ASL.
The new base for Class E airspace at this flying site is now 8,000' ASL.

More Importantly.
Just south of Sicamous is the Okanagan's famous Mara flying site. Its just north of the Enderby VOR
(the turnpoint used by virtually all air traffic flying to or from Vancouver and all other BC Airports.) So it's a busy place.

The Enroute Low Altitude Chart states that the MEA of the Victor Airways (Class B Airspace) is 9,900' ASL.
That means the HIGHEST we can fly at Mara is 12,500' ASL feet and flying above 9,900' is "risky business" albeit permitted
- IF your have filed your HAGAR. (These are aviation's "highways in the sky" for VFR and IFR traffic.)
(Note: The law requires a transponder to fly in class B, C, and D airspaces in designated areas, and requires aéronautical radio contact in class B, C and D.
Unless a prior agreement and a NOTAM in our favor was issued.) Furthermore, Class E airspace applies from 2200' AGL, following land contour, up to 12.,500' AS.

IMHO: anyone who flies in Class E Airspace without filing their HAGAR puts our entire Insurance Program at risk.
Anyone who flies up above the MEA (Minimum Enroute Altitude) of a Victor Airway (Class E) without filing their HAGAR is likely to be paté on someone's windscreen.
IFR traffic is separated by altitude, distance and speed by Air Traffic Control. They are NOT looking out the window for jarrheads and space cadets.
If the unthinkable happened, who, having not filed your HAGAR, would then then be 100% responsible?
If the unthinkable happened, what sort of federal regulations and restrictions (not to mention Public Relations fallout) do you foresee for the sport?

We have let a slack attitude slip into the "Safety Culture" of our sport.
"It's never happened before so therefore it will never happen in the future, least of all to me, so its A-OK to fly in controlled airpace without filing your HAGAR (our "flight itinerary.")"
Either we step up to the plate as a group and absorb HAGAR as one of the fundamental components of our flying culture,
or accept that we may one day pay the consequences via heavy handed government intervention.
YOUR help raising awareness of this at YOUR sites is what's needed to get this message across.

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