I have not posted much in the last few years, preferring to lurk in the internet shadows and follow the adventures of others. I still answer questions quickly in PM sent through the web site. The 2005 CH601HD rests quietly in the hangar its systems "mothballed"..... ignored the past 2 years. Like an unfaithful boy friend my fancy had turned to another aircraft. A 1976 Citabria GCBC a friend with too many aircraft was generous enough to loan me. I learned to handle the evil "tail wheel" gear, the challenge was fun....and different.

"Because I am a Pilot" my medical health is monitored closer than the average person. Three years ago Transport Canada became "concerned" about my heart, and a in particular my heart murmur caused by a birth defect of the Aortic valve. Having never had an issue resembling a heart attack I was offended and challenged every test placed in front of me by Transport Canada and got my medical restored. The best part of this is I established an out patient relationship with Ottawa Heart Institute. The OHI would check me over annually (like you do your aircraft) and let me know if I was okay to fly. 

On Dec. 07, 2019 I flew the Citabria on wheels, in the 1st snow of the winter season. On Dec. 11, 2019 my annual visit to the OHI I was told I need the valve changed out ASAP or I would suffer a heart attack. On Dec. 14, 2019 I had a very mild heart attack, the sort of thing you would pass off as just getting winded because of advancing years.... being aware in advance of the event I paid attention. I was rushed to the hospital and proper care stabilized me prevent damage to the heart. Dec. 18, 2019 the OHI Cardiac Intervention Team placed 2 stents in an artery on my heart that was blocked 70%. I feel GREAT  I can walk the distances I did prior to my heart attack and feel better doing it. On Feb. 27, 2020 I go to the Ottawa Heart Institute for open heart Aortic valve transplant surgery. (had to wait for stents to heal)

Because I'm a pilot and my health is closely monitored. This is a good thing. The future of my pilot medical looks bright, its not due until June and by then the condition that so concerned Transport Canada will no longer exist. (0-timed Fuel Pump installed on Annual of Pilot).

Fly safe


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Comment by Bob McDonald on February 17, 2021 at 6:55am

February 2021 a Canadian Aviation Medical Examiner (CAME) did an in-person medical exam. I presented him with a stack for medical documentation (like STC's on an aircraft). Now we wait for Transport Canada to approve me as fit for flight. Since Transport Canada is all "working from home" I am optimistic on the approval but not the duration of time to make that decision.

Comment by David R. Powell on February 16, 2021 at 6:58pm

Bob, I am glad to hear of your health being restored as we all will get closer to the day we have that 1st issue (if we are lucky, we get there). I was reading about your penetrating skis for the Zenith 701. Would it be possible to get a copy or email of the plans?  Would love to build a set. We finally have some snow in Tennessee!  Thanks               Dave Powell  powelldavid@wk.net   

Comment by Bob McDonald on December 7, 2020 at 8:34am


I'm doing great. Clean bill of health from Ottawa Heart Institute. No damage to heart and recovery progress better than normal. Echocardiogram reports "Implanted valve is socketed well, and performing as per design". I'm a very lucky guy. As soon as the Transport Canada Medical Examiners start seeing pilots in person vs. virtual over the phone I will get my medical renewed hopefully by the New Year. 

Comment by Normand Lambert on December 7, 2020 at 7:31am

Hi Bob,

Hope you feel better and things continue to improve.Be safe and see you soon up there !

I didn't fly this year due to the Covid thing and a cracked glycol radiator that took forever to have replaced.

It is back on the plane but they made it larger and won't fit the lower cowl. Time to rethink its location and maybe redo the lower cowl. Winter is upon us thinkering times.

Be safe.


Comment by Bob McDonald on October 6, 2020 at 5:52pm

Its been 6 months after my surgery. "I finally feel like my old self". My high blood pressure caused by the defective aortic valve is now "text book normal" and my at rest heart beat has dropped 25-30 bpm. Recent echocardiogram shows no damage to my heart, and "the implanted valve is socketed well and performing within design parameters". I am almost 90% recovered with just some lingering sternum pain if I cough or sneeze violently. I can't lift as much weight as before the surgery, but I can carry 5 gallon gas can up a hill. I have submitted my latest evaluation from the Heart Institute to Transport Canada in the process to validate my pilot medical again.


Comment by Ralph Gregus on October 6, 2020 at 3:20pm

hey Bob, glad to hear you got your health back. I've been watching diet to keep away from the bad stuff as well as possible and hopefully not clog up the main artery. Keep up the flying. Thanks for the 750 instruction time. Have flown "Redbird" these years since then and had some fun. Now looking to sell my plane and move on. Best wishes to you and your wife.

Comment by Bob McDonald on March 6, 2020 at 1:27pm

I came home the Ottawa Heart Institute yesterday. The 3 1/2 hr operation to replace my aortic valve last 8 hrs which had my family quite stressed. Two full valve installs.... "Quality Control" on 1st install made the 2nd a full sternum cut install. I got a good install and am home with my camp cook wife). "Happy Happy Happy" Even got the serial number receipt for the new valve warranty. 

Comment by Paul Sanders on February 8, 2020 at 6:52pm

Great to hear from you, you were a huge help in getting my build over the line when I was totally stuck, have missed your posts. Sounds like you are in perfect hands and wishing you a speedy recovery.


Comment by Perry Delano on February 7, 2020 at 10:21am

Hi Bob,

That is good news!


Comment by Jimmy Young on February 6, 2020 at 6:51pm

Best wishes and prayers for you and your health, Bob. 

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