Flight lesson update, or rather lack thereof

I was hoping that by now I’d be posting about my flight test and my success. That was the plan, but unfortunately plans don’t always go the way you uhhh plan them to.

You see, I was getting ready for my first cross-country at the beginning of November. It was a cool, clear, sunny Sunday morning when I woke up to get the latest METARs/TAFs and finish up the planning. Around 7 AM, Kenny calls me to give me the news: Tradeport has locked Peninsulair out.

Peninsulair, my (now) former flight school, had had issues with Tradeport previously in the year. The dispute was over the rent on the property Peninsulair operated on. Frankly, the rent was the least of PenAir’s worry:

  • Lack of advertising and marketing.
  • Airplanes literally falling apart around the pilots.
  • Of a fleet of six or so planes in working order, only 1 was night-flight acceptable (i.e. the necessary avionics were in place AND functioning).
  • No commercial training program.


It’s easy to point out the failures of a failed company. There are always enough fingers to do the pointing and really it doesn’t help any with hindsight being 20/20 and all. PenAir did have a few things going for it as well:

  • Only flight school in Hamilton.
  • Only flight school in the area accessible by public transportation (see my earlier post).
  • Operating out of an international airport giving its students much radio practice in a (sometimes) busy airspace.
  • Perfect location for sightseeing flights: 1 hour to downtown Toronto and back or to Niagara Falls and back not to mention the beauty of lake Erie’s shore

From In the sky and around CYHM

Unfortunately, none of this helped and in the end Tradeport had its way. There is a lengthy discussion on AvCanada defending Peninsulair and putting the blame on Tradeport for those interested.

After all is said and done, it comes down to this:

  • Peninsulair is out of business. There are rumours of possible buyers, but even so, PenAir’s days at CYHM are done.
  • I am looking for a flight school to finish off my remaining lessons: cross countries, diversions, instrument time.

My options as they stand now are Spectrum Airways at CZBA (Burlington Airpark) and Brantford Flight Centre at CYFD (Brantford). Both are within an hour’s drive but therein lies the problem: I don’t have a car. Buying a car for the two months or so it would take me to finish off the lessons I have left doesn’t really sit well with me.

Until I find a place to fly out of again, Flying Dan is grounded. In the mean time, enjoy my previous flight lessons posts.

Link List
The Hamilton Spectator – Locked out…and looking for help
The Hamilton Spectator – Lease woes buffet flight school
AvCanada – Peninsulair locked out at CYHM by Tradeport!
Brantford Flight Centre
Spectrum Airways

2 Comments

  1. Don’t know if you’ve found a new school or not, but I was a student at Brampton and they are pretty good. The aircraft are all in top condition – something I don’t find at Buttonville.
    I got very frustrated in Ontario with the winter weather situation. Having to book an aircraft 2 or 3 weeks in advance and then getting weathered out was a pain and added expensive hours to the training programme.
    I was doing a lot of travel – I was spending a week each month in Florida – and I took advantage of that by getting my FAA medical and TSA clearance. Once done, I was able to find a great flight school in Ft Lauderdale (NS Aviation) with excellent staff, great planes and completed my FAA license. Transport Canada only requires a written test after that and I now have 2 licenses in my pocket.
    The rules are different so you need to really repeat ground school, and you’ll spend a couple of extra hours in the air getting used to the changes. BUT the prices are great and the weather is wonderful. You want to go on Wednesday? OK.
    In the end, because of insurance rules, I did my solo on Wednesday, my 2 stop cross country on Thursday and my flight test on Friday.
    On a recent visit I took a couple of friends for a flight one Sunday morning. We went down the beach from Ft Lauderdale to Key Biscayne, over the bay to Homestead and then back up the backside over the swamp. Got flight following and had an incredible time.
    If you are having wether issues, the price alone makes the trip to Florida worth it!

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