1969 was an important year for aerospace, aviation, the AFC and the Airshow.
By Steve Stewart
For AFC and AIAS, the year started in January with the AFC buying-out the EAA Chapter 85 half-interest in the Airshow, which left the AFC as sole sponsor. From then on, the AFC had full responsibility for producing the show every year for almost three decades. The relationship with EAA Ch85 had started in 1964, and had worked well, but by 1968 there was serious conflict, and a parting of ways was the mutually agreed solution.
The maiden flight of the Boeing 747 was in February. This was an aircraft destined to utterly transform the business of air travel, by making it more accessible than could possibly have been imagined at that time. A 747 in Pan Am livery came to the Airshow in August that year and performed a series of low passes along runway 18-36; which would have also involved climb outs and approaches directly over Clearbrook.
A much briefer flash of achievement was the Tupolev 144, the Russian SST. It actually first flew late in 1968, but it had a series of technical problems, and a crash at the Paris Airshow in 1973; and its time in service was short. However, early in 1969 the Airshow society sent a message of congratulation to Moscow, along with an invitation to attend the show. (In fact, the Russians were invited every year from 1965 onward.) The Tu144 did not come to the show, but Mr. Vassili Myshkov, Head of the Soviet Trade Representation in Ottawa did attend, and at the Airshow Banquet on August 7 th , he presented a model of the Tu144 to the AFC and AIAS. That model is still on display over the bar in the AFC lounge.
The1969 airshow was opened on Friday August 8 th by Prime Minister P.E. Trudeau. He was scheduled to speak at 12:50, followed by a fly-past CF5 demonstration at 13:00. They came thundering in at precisely 13:00 – dead on time. Pierre was still talking and had been unaware of their near-silent approach from the west at over 400 mph. When the noise died down, he was heard to mutter “I guess I might as well shut up and sit down”.
The next display was the Boeing 747 in Pan Am livery, and it was followed by a display by two Mini- Mustangs, one red, flown by John Spronk and one black, flown by Scott Nelskog of Edmunds Wa. It resulted in the only fatality in the history of the airshow. After passing each other midfield at high speed and 50 feet altitude, both aircraft climbed out and started snap rolls to the right. Scotty was travelling south, and two thirds into the roll his nose dropped. Only instantaneous correction could have saved him. He hit the runway in a vertical dive and was killed. There were suggestions that lingering wake turbulence from the 747 had been to blame, but this possibility was dismissed by the technical investigation on the basis of compelling evidence. Scotty had a total 618 hours of flying time, including 62 hours on type, but he was relatively inexperienced with aerobatics, having only 12 hours total aerobatic time, including just three hours on type. It appeared that this was his first attempt at low-level aerobatics. The investigation concluded that “.. the pilot in all probability became momentarily confused while inverted and reversed the required control column movement
while attempting to bring the nose up during the roll.” The coroner’s report did not attach blame to any person. The DoT had asked the accident investigator if there were any problems that might be eliminated in future, and he responded with a recommendation that there was scope for more positive control of safety by requiring that pilots performing low level aerobatic manouevres at airshows should be required to demonstrate competence before a Civil Aviation Inspector.
I particularly enjoyed our First Flights for Kids event that went off successfully – flying over 100 children through the Fraser Valley and igniting a passion for aviation within them. Not only is it rewarding to see the joy on the faces of the excited children, it is also wonderful to see the fulfillment and happiness it brings to our club members. We just love to
share our passion for flying.
Our club is very much like that as well. We have members who come and who go in our club. New members come to us through a passion for flight and because they want to share their aviation adventure with fellow aviators. They look for equipment to fly, naturally, but they’re also looking for a community of like-minded people who share their passion.
Sometimes we must say goodbye to members; sometimes because life is taking them elsewhere or sometimes they are shuffling off this mortal coil. I’m writing this just before heading out to Wayne Maure’s memorial ceremony, and I suppose it’s making me think about these Life Events. We are born, we go to school, get jobs, start families, raise our children, retire, have grandchildren and then eventually pass on. Somewhere in there – or throughout it all – we get to fly. It’s the fulfillment of a desire that is a constant in our lives.
Whether members come or go, I would like our club to be a constant as well. For the brief time that we have each other, I hope that we treat each other with dignity and respect, no matter which stage of our lives that we are in.
In the face of members going, let us remember those who we have inspired in our First Flights for Kids event. Let us remember those who we have encouraged with kind words, advice and sentiments of fellowship. Let us be the candles that are used to light other candles and thus bring more light into the world. In so doing, we shall provide a meaningful legacy for all those who have gone before.
Zoltan is the first club member to successfully finish his check ride in our Glastar. Congratulations.
He said he loves the plane!
Ken McKeen in action this morning pruning the tree in front of our clubhouse
With CGGMA out of commission, we flew a three ship formation over the Canada Day Parade parade this morning, as was requested by the Abbotsford Airshow. Rene flew lead in his Pacer, Bevan was on the right wing in his RV7A and Dave Wall was on the left wing in his Q2
By Anna Rusinowsk, one of the Award recipients of the GiveHopeWings NWExpedition 2019
Marine stratus clouds loomed low along the coastal mountains of Pitt Meadows Airport, situated just north of the Fraser River in the lower mainland of British Columbia, as a Pipistrel Virus, Piper Cherokee and RV6 prepared for departure on June 15, 2019. Over the next three weeks a rotating crew of nine pilots will join the Give Hope Wings Northwest Expedition, travelling from BC, through the Canadian Territories, and circumnavigating Alaska in support of Hope Air.
Hope Air is Canada’s only national charity providing Canadians in financial need with free travel to medical care far from home. In 2018, the charity provided 10,346 flights to Canadians in need, 35 per cent of which said they would have cancelled or postponed their medical appointments would it not have been for Hope Air’s support.
The Northwest Expedition was the brainchild of chief pilots Dave McElroy and Lise Ash. Last year, the Give Hope Wings South American Expedition took nine weeks and raised half a million dollars. This year, the team set a fundraising goal of $250,000 which was met the evening of departure.
Joining the first leg, from Pitt Meadows to Fairbanks, is Dave McElroy in his RV6 flown by Lise Ash; Ian Porter, owner of the Pipistrel Virus, joined by pilot Anna Rusinowski, winner of the Give Hope Wings Women Who Fly Award; and Steve Drinkwater in his Piper Cherokee 140, accompanied by volunteer flight crew member Alexis Thind. The three-ship formation flight stopped in Quesnel, Prince George and Fort St. John where members of the community shared their stories of how Hope Air helped them in their greatest time of need.
With the expeditions fundraising goal met, the crew has decided to increase the goal to $300,000. The team will continue to advocate for this incredible charity, spreading the word through their passion for aviation and comradery. Some highlights from the first week include Nahanni National Park, crossing the 60th parallel into the arctic circle, and spotting Beluga whales in Shallow Bay connected to the Mackenzie Delta. Flying over this vast and remote landscape was a humbling and awe-inspiring moment for all involved and we look forward to seeing more as the journey progresses.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the cause. It would not have been possible without you. Keep your eyes out for a full-length article in the next print issue of WINGS magazine where you will read more about the organization and the expedition itself.
To follow along with the journey or to donate please visit http://givehopewings.ca/