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Flight Time Vs. Air Time Personal Logbook

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What do u think of the ombudsman idea? They r pretty powerful and quick. Seein as how tc is never going to respond to you again. I think you should. I would also print out this discussion on vertical. Just in case it get shut down. There r massive differences between regions, that is well know. Cheers

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Unlike provincial government, the federal government does not have ombudsman overseeing all departments. Some do, but I don't believe TC does. They rely on informal complaint mechanisms and reports through CASO (since they disbanded the CAIRS system - TCs own SMS...ironic).


There's also the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada process which a stakeholder can initiate if TC refuses to issue an "Aviation Document" or cancels and Aviation Document.


If you're wondering: there is case law to support the fact that a COM or COM amendment is considered an "Aviation Document". Brian Jenner and John French fought that battle years ago and the Tribunal Ruled that a COM was indeed an "Aviation Document"....Brian and I discussed that quite a few pages back in the forum.


There is also the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner who you can report complaints to when you feel there are violations to the "Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sectors ". I do believe that this is a matter of ethics and integrity and is contrary to the "Statement of Values" and "Expected Behaviours" in the Code. Google the code and have a look if you're interested.


As was discussed with the TC AOHS report of a "danger to employees" which was submitted: we feel knowingly allowing this confusion to continue is "unethical" and demonstrates a complete lack of integrity.


All are avenues that we would consider in due course (along with several other informal mechanisms).

Currently the busy season is here and I've got a full plate with other duties. We've postponed implementation of recent Corrective Actions to PVI findings until Mr. Szwalek has more to share...so I guess it's ok if you don't close PVI reports these days as well....hey isn't that what the recent ORNGE TSB report said happened there too??? Must be a problem in his region.


I hope everyone else is busy...well, maybe not everyone lol



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I guess this interpretation of Air Time equaling FLIGHT TIME also might explain why the aircraft we just purchased from "out west" has 600+ more hours in the JLB air time column than on the TC approved Jenkins air time counter which is installed.


To be honest that's a new one to me. I've heard the Flight Time = Air Time. but Air Time = Flight Time? the definition for air time in CARs is quite clear. It's clearly only meant to be time "in the air" (temps dans les airs). While I can understand that the Flight Time definition lead to confusion, I don't see how anyone could argue the definition of Air Time.


Again, no real issue if an operator is aware they are applying a higher standard (when it comes to component replacement and maintenance), then there is no issue. If that is the case, then you guys out west must be doing that much better than us out east; operating like that comes at a significant additional cost, for very minimal safety gains.


If this is being done because TC is advising that it is the minimum regulatory requirement...then there is a BIG problem.

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  • 1 month later...

Heres the reply I received from Mr. Szwalek to the true or false question (flight time = time in operation). Also included on email were:

Aaron McCrorie, Michael Stephenson, Dave Laamanen, Jennifer Holmes, Dave White, Robert Freeman, and President of HAC, Fred Jones

I guess they can't answer a true or false question; sticking with the Flight Time = Air Time interpretation.


Good afternoon


At this time I have no further information to provide on the matter of air time vs. flight time for skid-equipped helicopters. The information you were provided is the most current interpretation from headquarters.


The matter is due for review at the national level, however it is not on the agenda at this time. It will be reviewed when time and resources allow.


Please note that no further correspondence will be forthcoming from the region on the matter until such time as there is new information to share.





Joseph M. Szwalek

Regional Director Civil Aviation

Directeur régional Aviation civile

Ontario Region / Région de l'Ontario

July 6/16 Reply sent to all included on Mr.Szwalek's email as well as Andrew Larson (TC AOHS HQ), Mary Pollock (TC AOHS) and Lisa Wittion (TC AOHS)

Good afternoon Mr. Szwalek,


Understood. You clearly have no interest in correcting a well-known compliance/safety issue in the Canadian Helicopter Industry. Thats unfortunate; We will continue to discuss this issue with or without your participation.


We are merely trying to have what Transport Canada refers to as "open and clear discussion". It's a simple true or false question; everything required to answer the question can be found in the 2 definitions provided, yet you refuse to respond. Why is that, sir?


I suspect its because you know your recent interpretation is flawed and contains false statements about compliance requirements. As such, we are ignoring the recent interpretation you provided entirely.


Recent TC AOSH and ESDC interpretations of in-operation is as follows: a helicopter would be considered to be in-operation the entire time its engines are running and blades are turning, for the purposes of taking off.


In my opinion, clearly, Flight Time = Time in operation (based on the regulatory definitions). Yet you claim Flight Time = Air Time (while providing no regulatory references to support your claim). If Flight Time = Time in operation, then the only way for that to be true is for air time to be the entire time the engines are running and blades are turning, for the purposes of taking off. Very few operators (if any) are operating this way and it would be extremely costly to do so. Its also contrary to the Manufacturers expectations.


Ill also take this opportunity to advise that we have delayed implementation of a recent PVI finding Corrective Action Plan (which was accepted by the region) until we receive clarity on the matter; by the sounds of things, that wont be anytime soon. This CAPs root cause analysis, clearly identified one of the main root causes as confusion originating from within TC. I'm curious to see if TC will just close this one like our last PVI findings (without corrective actions being implemented or any real follow up). A recent TSB report seems to indicate that this is a problem in your region.


Other TSB reports/watchlists have also identified the following hazard:

Transport Canada does not always provide effective oversight of aviation companies transitioning to safety management systems, while some companies are not even required to have one.

With the following solution:

Transport Canada must effectively monitor the integration of SMS practices into day-to-day operations. Moreover, SMS practices need to be adopted by all companies.


In this instance, you have an operator who has proposed Corrective Actions such as: implementing Quality Assurance on company records containing Flight Time and Air Time. To do this, they need clarity and action from the regulator. Without it, the Quality Assurance is completely ineffective and pointless. Just as this confusion renders much of TCs own surveillance INEFFECTIVE.


Im sure you are aware that QA is part of phase 4, in TCs originally planned phased-in implementation of SMS (for operators like us). Your recent approach to regulating and managing safety is not only contrary to TCs national objectives, but it is actually interfering with an operators ability to implement effective QA (and ultimately a functioning SMS). This is exactly why you have failed so miserably at implementation.


I'm sure you are likely aware that we have already reported this "danger to our employees" to TC AOHS department. I have attached our e-mail report in case you havent seen it. We will continue to raise this safety concern through reports of this danger to our employees and passengers (to ESDC labour program, TSB and any other means we feel appropriate). We will also raise the issue with the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. As we advised Lisa Witton in recent e-mails, we feel that allowing this confusion to continue is unethical.


We will also raise our concerns that TC has no interest in discussing compliance requirements with operators and pilots who simply want to comply. That is the real safety issue here.


We will also continue to use any means possible to raise awareness about this issue (and TCs handling of it). Im sure its no coincidence youre responding today. Are you the @JosephSzwalek who is following me on Twitter? Again, Im flattered.


Weve also have had recent discussions with Elan Head of Vertical and Skies Magazine. Apparently they will be doing a story on this well-known industry wide problem in an upcoming issue. Stay tuned. Ive compiled a great deal of data from industry respondents such as pilots, manufacturers, TC inspectors (former and current), TSB directors etc. Many have responded to the recent questions that you refuse to answer; the data is very telling.


I should also advise that several of our very large clients have expressed concerns with this confusion as well (it generally comes up when they send their auditors in). They take safety as seriously as we do and are generally open to discussion about such issues. I suspect you may hear from them in the near future as well.


Maybe youve also noticed that the Vertical Forum Online has almost 61,000 views as of today; not bad considering there is +/- 4200 commercial/ATPL helicopter licences in the entire country.


What confusion, eh Joe?

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  • 2 weeks later...

July 7, 2016 email to Joe Szwalek and all others included on the July 6 email in the previous post:


Good Morning Mr. Szwalek,


Might I suggest that if TC is at all interested in compliance, the latest interpretation should be distributed through a policy letter to the helicopter industry, pilots and TC inspectors nationwide. Simply cancelling GAPL 2005-02 in 2011 (with no explanation) clearly was not enough to ensure compliance. Likewise it appears that the fact you have entered the most recent interpretation National Aviation Safety Information System (NASIMS) seems to have had little, to no effect. Until that occurs we shall continue to operate as we see fit.


The letter should clearly state that Flight Time = Air Time in all cases where flight time is used in the CARs, including but not limited to: personal logs & licensing requirements under part 4, flight time limits under 700.15, duty limits under 700.16 and training requirements. Once TC does this I will advise my pilots to use air time as flight time. This would include monitoring Flight Time limits. On most jobs I should be able to get 200+ hours (in operation) out of my pilots within 30 days, significantly reducing my crew requirements (and costs). In some cases we may be able to double the amount of hours a pilot can spend "in operation".


At the very least, I hope we can agree confusion exists. Since Flight Time is a CARs 101 definition it applies to all helicopter operations (not just commercial). Logging flight time and air time accurately is the pilot's responsibility, not their employers. It is extremely difficult for an employer to get pilots to change their logging practices without clear direction from Transport Canada.


I would also suggest TC inspectors need to start enforcing it as such; this is not occurring, and it leads to further confusion.


Flight Training Units would need to provide 100 hrs of air time for a commercial licence under your interpretation. This is not occurring at most FTUs; oddly enough this is the only legitimate reason I've ever heard for maintaining the Flight Time = Air Time interpretation (because Canada's helicopter licensing requirements are lower than ICAO). If this is the only reason, then I suggest TC has handled to situation very poorly. This also points to the ethics and integrity issues I mentioned in my previous email. Neither the Aeronautics Act, nor the CARs provide Transport Canada the authority to apply different interpretations of CARs definitions and/or regulations on different operators as they see fit. In actuality, the regulations impose on regional authorities the obligation to issue or amend documents based on compliance with CARs (as written).


I did not receive 100 hrs air time in 1996 and student pilots today still aren't. Furthermore, pilots entering the industry are learning very early in their career that flight time does not equal air time. To demonstrate what I am talking about I have attached a reply to my multiple choice questions from long time TC inspector Richard Pearce. Not only did Mr. Pearce conduct my commercial licence flight test in 1996, but he was part of a PVI team who inspected our records as recently as 2013. Mr. Pearces responses indicate that he believes the CARs definition for flight time should be interpreted as per the ICAO definition for helicopters (from the moment blades start turning for the purpose of take-off, until blades are stopped). Of course, Ive already provided you with Mr. Lavern Ross response which also indicates that Canadore College FTU also uses the ICAO interpretation (as per GAPL 2005-02)


It also appears to me, that if this the interpretation TC is going to apply, then the definition of in operation in Part 2 of the Canada Labour Code should be re-written. Im no expert on legal interpretation, but Im pretty sure that interpreting 2 regulatory definitions (which are virtually the same) differently, is contrary to the basic rules of interpretation.


Have a Nice Day,

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Freewheel have you ever considered contacting ICAO HQ to tell them TCCA licences no longer conform to Annex 1 licencing standards.


I assume the only reason they issued GALP 2005-02 was to conform with ICAO annex 1 personal licencing standards since TC has not listed any differences to Annex 1 flight times last I checked. You actually have letters of there official interpretation from individuals at TC of what they now consider flight time and air time which is different than GALP 2005-02 and annex 1.


Its crazy because in that letter they wrote states there is confusion, but I guess canceling it was much easier than dealing with the mess.

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Freewheel have you ever considered contacting ICAO HQ to tell them TCCA licences no longer conform to Annex 1 licencing standards.


I assume the only reason they issued GALP 2005-02 was to conform with ICAO annex 1 personal licencing standards since TC has not listed any differences to Annex 1 flight times last I checked. You actually have letters of there official interpretation from individuals at TC of what they now consider flight time and air time which is different than GALP 2005-02 and annex 1.


Its crazy because in that letter they wrote states there is confusion, but I guess canceling it was much easier than dealing with the mess.

I have not specifically reported it to ICAO HQ, however I have sent them some emails. More recently I sent them the email survey with the 2 multiple choice questions that also explained the situation. The email survey can be found a few pages back. It's the same one that many including Former inspector Pearce responded to.


I've also brought this to the attention of several at TC. The first time was in my CAIRS in 2011. Director of Standards Jacqueline booth had this to say when responding as the accountable manager assigned to my CAIRS report:


My question:


I also understand, that member states of ICAO must file differences in regulations with ICAO. To my knowledge no differences with respect the CARs and ICAO standards with regards to this issue have been filed


Jacqueline booths response:


As you pointed out the ICAO definition of flight time is not identical to the meaning of flight time within Subsection 101.01 (1) of the CARs. Many of the ICAO member states have individual phrases within their Regulations that are not identical to the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS). This occurs for many reasons. Unless a member state adopts the SARPS verbatim these subtle inconsistencies between the regulatory phrasing will continue to exist.


Differences are generally filed when the individual Member States regulations are not included, are missing, or not in compliance with the international aviation regulations. Where the definitions are not identical but are similar to those contained in the ICAO Annexes, a filing of a difference is not required. In many cases Canada has included definitions in the CARs that are not included, or are not exactly the same as the ICAO definitions. One example where similar definitions cover the same meaning or intent is the ICAO definition for flight duty period and the CAR definition for flight duty time. These two definitions have the same meaning but are calculated differently.


Her entire response to several concerns raised is also posted earlier in this forum.


I also received a recent response (from the Directors General office) that also touches on ICAO. Funny thing is, I had simply asked my POI a basic yes or no question about whether I could tell a pilot to use air time in his flight time records as he approached 700.15 flight time limits. He advised he had been told to Forward all question on this subject to Ottawa. He said standby for reply from Ottawa. 2 weeks later I got a 4 page letter explaining their position...but...no answer to the "yes or no" question.


I'll likely post all of it in good time...don't want to flood you with nonsense all at once. Plus I like to give them a chance to respond. TC moves slowly.

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Email sent to my POI August 18/16


Also included on email were:

Joseph Szwalek,Aaron McCrorie, Michael Stephenson, Jennifer Holmes, Dave White, Robert Freeman, Andrew Larson, Mary Pollock, Lisa Witton, Janice Berling and President of HAC, Fred Jones




I currently have a pilot who is about to reach his CARs 700.15 - 30 day limit for flight time, however he has been logging his Flight time as the same as time in-operation in accordance with the Canada Labour Code and the recent interpretation by Transport Canada Aviation Occupational Health and safety department.


He is moving crews and his aircraft is in operation about 8 hrs per day. He spends quite a bit of time on the ground with multiple landings and take-offs between start and shut down. I am about to tell him that he should be using Air Time in his flight Time records for a skid equipped helicopter in accordance with Joseph Szwaleks recent interpretationmeaning only the time he is in the AIR. This will allow him to stay on the job for significantly longer.


Can you confirm that this is in Compliance CARs?


I believe Headquarters and Mr. Szwalek have advised it is, but given the industry wide confusion I thought it would be prudent to confirm before advising the pilot.


Thank You,


Initial response from my POI received August 23/16:


I have been directed to forward all queries regarding this topic to Ottawa , standing by for their response.



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[quote name="Freewheel" post="154872" timestamp="1473381020"


Initial response from my POI received August 23/16:


I have been directed to forward all queries regarding this topic to Ottawa , standing by for their response.




Reply to POI from our Accountable Executive Aug 23/16:


I thank you for your assistance with this matter it is greatly appreciated. The sooner you can get an answer the better as we are about to change all the pilots records and keep him flying longer as per the Regional Director of Civil Aviations (Joe Szwaleks) recommendation (see attached letter of direction).


With that being said it is of great concern to me that out of all the people ccd on this e mail in Transport Canada we are not able to get a clear definitive answer on such a basics question. Even better yet many of the individuals on this e mail are pilots themselves.

Based on the response received thus far one could not help but to conclude that no one really knows how to log time at Transport including their own pilots???


As a TC inspector does this not concern you?


As the Accountable Executive, I am required to ensure all operations and crew working under our AOC remain compliant at all-time. How am I supposed to ensure this occurs if all the people from Transport ccd on this e mail cant provide a simple yes or no answer? Maybe transport needs an Accountable Executive ? Ah thats right there already is one but he doesnt care.


I cant image trying be an Inspector at Transport Canada in todays day and age. Best of luck in getting our response from Ottawa.


We will keep this sting of e mails on file and insert it into our crews pilot file to support our reasoning for altering his records.



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