Transport Canada Gets An ID Lesson
Transport Canada should perhaps brush up on aircraft identification. The aviation agency has finally acknowledged that a Bell CH 136 Kiowa is not a "copy or direct equivalent" of a Bell Jet Ranger. And while that distinction probably wouldn't even make a decent Trivial Pursuit question, it certainly made a lot of Kiowa owners happy, because it meant they could register their military-surplus helicopters for recreational use. The helicopters had been grounded by a rule meant to protect the market for civilian manufacturers. Our saga begins with the Canadian Armed Forces selling off 45 surplus Kiowas recently. They were snapped up quickly, some by retired military pilots who had flown them in the service. But Transport Canada (TC) has a rule aimed at preventing bargain-basement military-surplus aircraft from being used by commercial operators when there are equivalent certified aircraft available. TC ruled that a Kiowa is the same thing as a Jet Ranger and the choppers stayed grounded until the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) flew into the battle. COPA staff took the time to figuratively dismantle both types of helicopter and they found that Kiowas and Jet Rangers use only about 10 percent of the same parts, mostly hardware. The helicopters have different engines, rotors, transmissions, doors, windows, avionics, seats, fuel tanks, landing skids and exterior dimensions. The Kiowas are now eligible to fly for recreational, non-commercial use.