Not much to report this month except to say that we are all looking forward to the upcoming Wings and Wheels event coming soon. Planning is ongoing and as always we can use some more help. Please see Ed Boon for details.
Also I am considering strategies for increasing volunteerism on activities that are beneficial to the club and would like your input.
Most of the issues with GSBS are resolved and the Certificate of Registration is imminent. We are closing in on having it ready to fly…. just a little more work and testing needed. Thanks to Bob Leroux for pointing out paperwork issues and to Bevan and his team of helpers for their ongoing hard work.
Please see the posted report from the Amateur Built Aircraft Policy committee. Your comments and feedback are welcome! We’ll be voting to enact recommendations at our next Board meeting. Thanks to the committee for doing the research and their considered writings.
The Safety Committee has posted their proposed policy amendments – please take a look and add any kudos, comments, questions or concerns. They have worked hard to come up with some innovations for safety and their work is appreciated.
As a first step towards an AFC Safety Management System, Warren took the IMC club through ground-school-style IFR training exercises.
Prepair coming to CYXX in March – I hope to see you there!
While working on our Airshow History Project, we came across some information on how the club’s ‘Flying Incentive’ used to work. It was a scheme that encouraged members to fly by subsidizing the cost. The scheme started well before the club actually owned any aircraft, and it was fairly well defined, which meant that its cost to the club could be monitored. In 1967 each qualifying member was limited to 20 flying hours, and the incentive value ranged from $2.50 to $3.50 per hour. As the table shows, this was a significant contribution to the normal cost. Aircraft could be rented from either Abbotsford Air Services or from Skyway Air Services, and it appears that Skyway also gave its own discount of 10% to club members. The net result was that a Cessna 150 could be flown for as little as $7.50 per hour. Members had to apply for the incentive at the start of each year, and in order to qualify they had to be signed off as having passed a test flight, and they were expected to have supported club activities and attended meetings (missed no more than three in previous year). The cost of the subsidy was billed directly by the provider to the club.
For 1968 the regular hourly rates at both schools appear to have increased significantly. For example the Skyway rate for a Cessna 150 went up to $12.00 from $10.00, and the AAS rate increased to $13.00 from $10.50. The club responded by increasing the value of the flying incentive to a flat rate of $6.00 per hour, which meant that the net cost to qualifying members for a Cessna 150 was just $6.00 from Skyway or $7.00 from AAS. These rates all sound incredibly low from our perspective of over 50 years later.
We can attempt to put the rates into the context of what people earned and what other things cost.
In BC the minimum wage in 1968 was just $1.25, whereas it is now $13.85.
A new 1967 Cessna 172 Skyhawk cost US$12,750. Now a new 172 is over $400k
The first Airshow full-time manager was hired in 1969 at a salary of $12,000
Statistics Canada indicates that $100 in 1968 would buy about the same as $700 will buy now.
In 2019 the AFC hourly rate for our Cessna 172 is $150 (and in this context we should note that this is significantly less than cost)
So overall, it appears that the cost of flying really has gone up much faster than other things. However, its true affordability would need a much more thorough analysis of how disposable income has changed.
We can also provide some context regarding how the finances of the club looked back then. 1967 was Canada’s centennial year, and the 1967 airshow was a step change from previous shows. In 1962 the AFC derived a net of $255.43 from the show. This rose to $900.00 in 1963 and continued to rise steadily each year. But in 1967 the net AFC income from the centennial show jumped to $6,103.35, which was equivalent to about half the price of a new Cessna Skyhawk. StatsCan would suggest a present equivalent income at over $40,000. In 1968 the club netted $4,500 from the regular airshow. After that, the airshow income to the club increased in steps that went to $7,000 in 1970, then $10,000 in 1975, $12,000 in 1980, and $17,000 in 1981. The peak number was $47,468 in 1989. From 1969 onwards the club had the entire responsibility for producing the airshow, so the money was well earned. The airshow income enabled the club to buy its first aircraft in January 1969 (a Cessna 150), and it also financed the flying incentive.
By 1972 the incentive value was being paid as a rebate to the member, who had to submit receipts. Its value was $5.00 per hour, for up to 15 hours, and it could be used for any aircraft rental, including club aircraft.
By 1974 the club owned two aircraft, and the rules for 1974 affirmed the need to be checked out on both types every year. Interestingly, there was some concern about lack of attendance at meetings, and the qualification for the flying incentive was only 50%. The January 1974 Newsletter provides some statistics for 1973.
Those of us that have been studying the club’s more recent flying hours will see some of the same patterns that still happen. In particular, 33 members flew club aircraft, half of the active pilots only made 10 flights or less, 5 pilots only flew twice, and 6 pilots only flew once.
Is any of this relevant to our present operations? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is interesting. Certainly it shows that some things change over time, but other things stay the same, and some things come back in cycles. The AFC is still an essential part of producing the airshow, even though our part is less than it was, and the income we derive from it is much less in real terms. Back then, the airshow was the main income source for the club, but now our hangar lease arrangements mean that they will probably remain our largest income source for the next 25 years.
We still subsidise the cost of flying club aircraft, but we have lost the ability to clearly track the per-hour value of that subsidy, and it is not specifically identified as being an incentive to fly. We do still fly our aircraft far less hours than we could, and flying them more would lower the per hour fixed costs. Sometime soon, after we have had some experience with the Glastar, it will be appropriate to once again look at aircraft costs, hourly rental rates, and levels of subsidy, and maybe we can once again achieve the clarity that was part of the club’s original approach.
Hope Air helps to relieve the stress of travelling to healthcare so that patients can focus on what is truly important – their health.
Hope Air is a national charity that arranges free flights for Canadians in financial need who must travel to healthcare far from home. Since its establishment in 1986, Hope Air has arranged more than 130,000 free flights to healthcare. This has impacted countless Canadian families over the years.
For so many Canadians, the journey to better health doesn’t start at the door of the hospital. Getting to an appointment can mean a drive of over 12 hours each way, a long and sometimes painful journey for someone who is seeking treatment for serious illness. A flight to medical care reduces travel time so that Hope Air’s Clients can get to their appointments comfortably and get back home to their families faster.
“We’re not an airline, we’re a lifeline”
Give Hope Wings
In June / July 2019, Give Hope Wings takes to the air again with a three-week, 12,000 km flying expedition across British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska. The flight is comprised of three aircraft owned by Dave McElroy, Steve Drinkwater and Ian Porter. This is the second major Give Hope Wings expedition to raise awareness and funds for Hope Air, Canada’s iconic charity which provides free flights to Canadians in financial need who must get to health care far from home. But Give Hope Wings – The Northwest Expedition is much more than a fund-raiser: It’s an idea stemming from the passions of four pilots, these three men plus Lise Ash – all four of whom have passions for generosity, flying and camaraderie.
In early 2018, Dave and two other partners flew around South America as Give Hope Wings, raising over $500,000 for Hope Air. In September, soon after Dave had presented this remarkable story to a crowd at Abbotsford Airport, he was approached by Lise, a recently minted pilot. She asked if Give Hope Wings was considering another flight and pledged her support as a major sponsor if this were to come to pass. Bingo: Give Hope Wings – The Northwest Expedition was born. Since that time, Steve and Ian have joined the project with their aircraft, and this exciting expedition is now well along in its planning: logistics, operations, website, fund-raising, etc.
The crew are now also actively canvassing for Volunteer Flight Crew Members – generous Hope Air Donors who want to “pay it forward,” share this great adventure and experience the penultimate bucket-list adventure. This is a chance to explore huge parts of North America’s northwest corner from a comfortable, high-visibility seat which is only available in a light aircraft. What an experience!
The Abbotsford International Airport’s pile of cash continues to grow after the city-owned facility posted a $3.8 million profit in 2018.
It’s not bad for an airport bought by the city for just $10 – that’s not a typo – two decades ago.
Year-end financial statements show the airport’s operating profit jumped by 60 per cent last year. The money has been put into the airport’s capital reserves which, as it stand, are “more than sufficient to cover our future capital plans without the need of incurring any debt,” according to the report by Myra Webb, the airport’s finance manager.
In recent years, the airport has posted operating profits of a little more than $2 million. But revenue increased dramatically last year, coming in $800,000 above what was projected, thanks largely to more passengers.
Passengers leave a Swoop Airlines flight at the Abbotsford airport. The airport expects to post record profits next year thanks to higher passenger numbers. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News
YXX expects another jump in passenger counts in 2019, and officials have predicted that it will top the one million mark for the first time. That is expected to increase the facility’s profits for years to come, according to budget documents.
The city’s budget predicts the airport should make around $4.5 million for each of the next five years.
All that money goes to the airport’s reserves, which currently stand at $18.9 million. The money is used to pay for capital projects, like the recently completed terminal expansion.
But while the airport is set for the short- and medium-term, Mayor Henry Braun said those reserves will be needed for future major projects.
“We have some significant investments to make in the future,” he said
“We are just looking out over the horizon to the next 20 years, so while $18 million in reserves sounds like a lot of money and it is, relatively speaking, that’s not a lot of money for where we’re going and where this airport is going to go over the next 25 years.”
Those costs could include moving the control tower, an idea that has been floated by transportation authorities in the past, he said. And the next terminal upgrade could cost tens of millions of dollars, he said. The city has long said that all such capital projects must be funded by the airport itself.
For now, though, the airport has plenty of money.
YXX plans to spend around $5 million on a new bag room over the next three years. When that is done, the terminal will be big enough to accommodate as many as 2.5 million passengers each year before it needs a further expansion, airport general manager Parm Sidhu told council last month.
Another $10 million will be spent over the next five years to replace or upgrade various buildings, roads, taxiways, and pieces of equipment.
But even with that spending, the airport should be able to add millions of dollars more to its reserve funds. Interest on the money in the two funds brought in more than $400,000 last year.
Abbotsford Airport was bought from the federal government for $10 in 1997, on the condition that it remain an airport and that the city itself not contribute any money beyond that small initial purchase price.
Five years earlier, the airport had lost more than $200,000, and Braun hailed Matsqui and Abbotsford mayors Dave Kendall and George Ferguson for seeing the potential in the airport.
“Those two gentlemen and the board are what made this happen,” he said.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. This interesting interview with Neil Armstrong from 2011, a year before he passed, shows what humility and grace looks like from a person who accomplished so much. Well done, Neil.