I’m currently looking for a new airport to fly out of. So this weekend I plan on checking out Brampton Airport (CNC3).

Buttonville (CYKZ) is the closest airport to where I live, and I’ve flown out of there for the past 4 years or so. A few issues have made me decide to explore other options:

  • Rental currency rules
  • Costs
  • Eventual closing of the airport
  • Eventual purchasing of my own aircraft

Toronto Airways has a 30 days rental currency rule. That means you have to act as pilot in command (PIC) 1 hour every 30 days in order to continue to rent their aircraft. If you exceed this limit, then you need to get checked out by an instructor to ensure you’re safe. This requirement is imposed by the insurance company that insures the planes.

Renting aircraft from CNC3 is through the Brampton Flight Centre. Their currency requirements are less restrictive. You must have acted as a PIC once in the past 60 days, and flown at least 3 hours in the past 90 days. So depending on your flight times, this could be the same as Toronto Airways (1 hour every month) or you could do two 1.5 hour flights within 90 days.

The cost to fly a 172S at Toronto Airways is $178/hr. Compared with $156/hr with Brampton Flight Centre. Brampton’s fleet is a little more diverse as well. They have a 172RG (which is a “complex” model: retractable gear and variable pitch prop) as well as Piper Super Cub, which is a tail tragger.

I’m confused with the additional fees the Brampton Flight Centre charges. They have a “membership” charge of $25/month. Plus the website states they may charge an extra $5/hr for rentals. This means that a two hour flight per month jumps up from $156/hr. to $179/hr. Which matches the same price that Toronto Airways offers.

I do plan on purchasing my own aircraft at some point. I would like to build a rapport with the airport before storing my plane in their hangers. I couldn’t think of a better way than to fly out of the airport before hand for a few years.

I’ll be sure to report back here this weekend once I get all the details from the flight centre.

Update: I posted the spreadsheet I’m using to keep track of my research.

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12 thoughts on “New Home Base

  1. Once you own, would Markham be closer? The distance to the airport can have a big impact on how often you fly — if I lived in the Toronto core, I’d probably bite the bullet and pay the large costs of keeping a plane at CYTZ, just to make sure I actually flew it.

    Here in Ottawa, CYOW and CYRO are both < 30 minutes drive from my house (and both on public transit and within cycling distance). I could rent a hangar at CYRP or CYND, but I'm concerned the extra distance, and lack of non-car access, would make me fly even less.

  2. Markham would be closer. Right now, driving distance to YKZ/CNU8 is about 20 min. To CNC3: almost 45 min.

    My issue with Markham is the lack of IFR approaches. I plan on getting my IFR ticket with my own plane.

    Brampton has a RNAV/GNSS and a VOR/DME approach.

    The situation for GA sucks down here now with YKZ closing. Where are students going to go to practice LOC and NDB approaches? All the way over to Oshawa, London, or Hamilton?

    I have yet to investigate the Island Airport for the simple fact that I think the cost will be prohibitive. But being 15 min away via public transit (or 10 min by car) might just be worth the extra cost.

  3. Transcapital at the east end of the airport should be cheaper than the Porter FBO at the west end, but “cheaper” is relative, of course.

    For a single first-time owner, the Island will probably be prohibitive, but if you had 1-2 partners to share the cost, you’d end up ahead on total ownership cost and have a plane a few minutes away for a quick flight after work. You might also be able to buy sooner.

  4. How are Burlington and Oshawa for GO-train accessibility?

    I’ve flown into Brampton three or four times, and it’s nowhere (even assuming that the city of Brampton were itself somewhere, which I doubt). The airport is halfway between Brampton and Orangeville, accessible only by car (well, or plane).

    Also, as far as IFR goes, Toronto Terminal doesn’t like to let you use the IAF at Brampton because it interferes with Pearson — the one time I arrived IFR, they threatened me with a very long hold unless I agreed to cancel IFR and fly a bit too low (low enough to worry about towers, with only 3-4 miles vis) under the cloud base.

    That said, I’ve always thought the airport itself was friendly enough, and since it’s right at the edge of Toronto’s terminal airspace, it’s easy to get to class G/E for just buzzing around, especially compared to flying out of CYTZ.

    Personally, I rarely buzz around — I consider my plane is a cross-country machine, and I fly at 6,000+ ft specifically to avoid the buzzers — so that wouldn’t be a big issue for me, but it is for most recreational pilots.

  5. By Burlington, did you mean Brampton? In that case its about a 2 hour go train ride for both. Not ideal.

    My days of buzzing around are over. The purpose to fly for me is to get from A->B as quickly (and as fun) as possible. Sara and I go on trips all the time to places like Boston, Montreal, St. Thomas (near London). These are all perfect destinations for a 4 seater.

    I hate to keep harping on Buttonville… It was perfect for buzzing around! Head 10 min north and you’re in class G/E all the way up to 12,500′. (Granted you need a mode “C” transponder). I will really miss that airport when it goes.

    When I do end up buying a plane, it will be in a partnership.

    I should talk to my buddy who works at the Toronto ACC and ask him about flying IFR to Brampton.

  6. I did mean Burlington CZBA – wondering if it’s more accessible by transit. Brampton Airport is way out in the sticks.

    If you can split the costs 3 ways, then the Island probably makes the most sense. Why not have the plane close?

  7. Ahh yeah.. Burlington is worse by public transit as you would have to take a taxi from the train station as no buses serve the airport.

    Having the plane at YTZ would be the best. I’ll let you know what I end up doing (granted, I’m not planning on buying an aircraft in the next 12 months).

  8. I like Markham, its is a great field, but short ( 2000ft) and no hangars are allowed, so it depends on what you are looking for. Sadly Markham is right on the short final approach path to the proposed pickering runway so it is set to close when pickering gets going.

    Oshawa is the next best options but its going to be expensive.

    The Buttonville Flying club did a study on the options for pilots flying out of CYKZ and is now working up a new “Greenfield option” for its members.

    Contact me offline if you want to get details at markwbrooks@gmail.com.

    – Mark

  9. I think Oshawa is your best bet. I would not go to Brampton if you are an experienced pilot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for training and the aircraft are maintained very well but there are a lot of inexperienced students, so the airspace can get very congested. I count out of 5 flights I’ve had out of there, I’ve had 3 close calls. Either someone trying to get off the ground and taxiing onto the runway while you’re on short final, or someone cutting in front of you on base or 4-5 aircraft converging into the circuit (and there’s no tower). The most recent experience I had was a student going the wrong direction on downwind INTO traffic because he couldn’t make out the runway and decided to overshoot on the wrong side.

  10. G: funny you mention that – one time flying near Brampton, I found myself facing two Biplanes coming head-on towards me, apparently unconcerned (given their friendly wing wagging as they approached). Lots of NORDO traffic there under the Toronto terminal area shelf.

  11. G: I’m used to the student traffic. However, I always had a second set of eyes at YKZ tower to make sure that they were doing what they were supposed to.

    The biggest problem I encountered was foreign students who’s accent was so thick, it was impossible to figure out what they were doing.

    I did check out the airport this weekend, and I’m going to write up a post about it. The drive out is a little too far for my liking though.

    They do seem to be expanding quite a bit actually. New hangars, and resurfaced runways. I think to anticipate the influx from Buttonville when it closes.

  12. Blake:

    I learned to fly at CYOW, which has heavy student traffic and a control tower and lots of airline traffic thrown into the mix. I moved to Rockcliffe a few years ago, and found (and still find) the transition to an uncontrolled airport challenging. I was almost angry enough to fight once when a helicopter that had been behind me on downwind cut in front with a short base when I was on final and forced me to go around to avoid the wake turbulence from its rotors.

    The funny thing is that many of the pilots who trained at Rockcliffe are terrified to go anywhere near CYOW because of the radio work, which seems like the easiest part of flying to anyone who trained at a controlled airport like Buttonville or CYOW. New student pilots at CYOW can handle the whole radio dance (ATIS-clearance-ground-tower-terminal-enroute-terminal-tower-ground) long before the instructors will let them try their first unassisted landings.

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