Canadian Pilot Risks Planes To Fight Fees

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In Canada, where aircraft owners pay a $60 yearly fee to the privately owned airspace manager Nav Canada, an Ontario pilot is fighting the charges -- and could lose his two homebuilt aircraft because of it. Otto Stanat says he never uses Nav Canada services because he always flies from uncontrolled fields and never strays far from home. So, two years ago he decided not to pay and, with the bill now at more than $400 (including interest and late-payment charges, plus next year's charge), Nav Canada is getting impatient. Stanat says Nav Canada has threatened to seize his airplanes and put liens on his property. "I'm in a state of depression," Stanat told The Canadian Press. The Canadian Ultralight Pilots Association claims there are plenty of recreational pilots who support Stanat. "He isn't the only one complaining about the fees," said President Kathy Lubitz. Nav Canada spokesman Louis Garneau wouldn't talk about Stanat's case specifically but confirmed that in extreme cases aircraft can be seized. He likened the fees to car licenses. "You pay a license fee for your car ... whether you drive it or not. When you employ navigation aids in the sky, you use Nav Canada's services." He also noted that Nav Canada is reviewing service charges.