When the club was started in 1961, I was still a kid in Manchester and hadn’t even started school yet. So I never met most of the original club members. But I did meet some of them eventually – nearly 50 years later. They were obviously quite old by then, but 50 years earlier they had occupied responsible positions in the newly formed club. One of our first Presidents, John Spronk, was still in his thirties at the time. This group of people started the flying club, and a year later they started the airshow. Then in 1966 and 1967 they really got the airshow going to celebrate the centenaries of BC and then of Canada.
I think it is time that we made a definite effort to lower the average age of the people responsible for running things in the club. We all have a stake in the future of the club, but some of us are older than others, and our stake will simply not last as long as that of others. So it is logical that the club’s strategic direction for the future should be directed by those Members more likely to be around to keep things going.
We have at least one very valuable part of the strategic plan already in place. It is the lease relationship for the hangars with the airport, which will last until March 2045. We are putting in everything necessary to provide the best hangars we can, and this will benefit us by keeping the hangar tenants in place, all the hangars rented, and a reliable rental income coming into the club. Hangar tenants deserve to get a good product in return for their rental payments. This reliable income is a huge asset for a club. It can be used to pay for new building and airplanes. So we need to make sure we preserve the excellent arrangement that has been set up for this.
2045 is a long time from now, but I expect the club will still be here. What will it look like? What will we have achieved between now and then?
We need long-term strategies around the club’s other activities and interests – the clubhouse, growing the membership, aircraft ownership, events, etc. At present we do not have any such long-term strategies. Some of the things we do are good, and there is no reason to change them. But some things are not so positive, and continuing to do more of the same will not reverse undesirable trends, so there are some things we need to do differently.
I believe that the expertise and talents to find more effective ways of thinking are already present in the club. They reside mostly with Members who have not yet got involved with running things.
This month is May – the month when I will form the Nominating Committee for the Board that will take over in October. I need to hear from Members who want to have a say in the future of the club – Members who have ideas about how we should do things, and are willing to help make things happen, without fear of change. If this is you, please contact me. Or if you have ideas about which other members you would like to see involved, let me know who they are, and we will talk to them directly. As we all know, it can be difficult to find candidates for the Board, but is in everyone’s interests to help identify good candidates, and then elect them.
Steve Stewart Immediate Past-President and Chair of the Nominating Committee 604-556-8260
Volunteer help is needed, especially immediately at 8 am (was 7:30 last year) to get the car parking lines going. Also during the day assisting arrivals and departures. It is casual and easy to do, not an all day commitment. Contact Ed for details.
This event happens rain or shine. Food is purchased and we are fully committed.
Wings ‘n’ Wheels
Abbotsford Flying Club (CYXX)
Saturday May 26th 08:00 to 15:00
All welcome – Rain or Shine
Airplane, Car and Motorcycle awards
Grass area parking around clubhouse
Early arrivals and camping available Friday
Free and friendly event, no registration
Free coffee 08:00. Brunch 9:30 to 12:00 $8
Live music. Cash Draws, Awards 12:30
On Thursday, April 19 we flew to Canadian Forces Base Comox, home of the Royal Canadian Air Force 19 Wing to see the Snowbirds and the CF-18 Demo aircraft practicing for the 2018 Airshow season. Valerie and I were in the Turbo Arrow GPSE, Steve Stewart and Alistair Beaton were flying the club’s Cessna 172 GGMA and joining us was Cessna 172 FIIU from the Canadian Aviation College in Pitt Meadows flown by two of their students. The visit to CFB Comox was arranged by Alistair Beaton through his connections with the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.
With the forecast weather looking good I filed a flight plan on-line with Nav Canada the night before and contacted Comox Wing Operations by telephone to obtain our PPR number (Prior Permission Required) for our planned arrival at 07:30. Flying to a military airport is a little different than normal operations to all the other destinations that we frequent so following all the correct procedures is very important. The flight was uneventful in good smooth VFR conditions, landing straight-in to their 10,000-foot-long runway 30. After taxiing in and parking at our assigned spot we were met by our escort, Capt. Evan Southern, a Cormorant pilot. A big thank you to Captain Southern who took us around Canadian Forces Base Comox, touring 407 Squadron operations and their CP-140 long range patrol aircraft, seeing the Snowbirds and CF-18 practice their 2018 airshow routines and then touring 442 Squadron and their Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo two-engine turboprop aeroplane, their Search and Rescue aircraft.
It was a full practice day for the Snowbirds and CF-18, and practice for me and Valerie with the cameras. We were using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7, a Nikon D90 a with 18-105mm lens, and a Nikon D7100 with an 18-140mm and a 70-300mm lens. The weather had been very good for flying as the high thin overcast gave a bright hazy day, but that gave challenges for good photography. From where we were positioned on the airport, quite a distance from the runway and show line, we were shooting mostly into the sun and since a major part of photography is about lighting, capturing the images was sometimes challenging. Although we had a smooth flight to Comox, the light surface winds at Comox were blowing from the show line directly toward us so that meant the smoke from the Snowbirds lingered above the airport and affected image quality, especially with the backlighting of the sun. The cameras can take care of the technical details with features like auto-exposure and auto-focus so it became somewhat of a practice session for us getting more familiar with all the camera settings, framing and panning.
I hope you enjoy the photos; they are all available on my Facebook page in the album “CFB Comox – 2018”. One special picture is with Lt. Co. Mike French, the Commanding Officer of 431 Air Demonstration Squadron (Snowbirds) in front of Snowbird #1 with our Canada Flag that was carried across the country on our Canada 150 journey last summer. For me, that’s a keeper.
There was a full halo around the sun and that usually indicates that you should expect rain within 24 to 48 hours, and sure enough, the possibility of rain was in the forecast for Friday and rain began to fall that afternoon.
When it was time to leave we were expedited on our departure as the CF-18 had already started engines for their afternoon practice. Valerie and I were able to takeoff and we headed to Courtney for fuel, however Steve and Alister, and the two others, were taxiing a couple of minutes behind us and were not permitted to takeoff until the CF-18 had finished its routine. After re-fuelling at Courtney, with the least expensive fuel in the area, we headed back to Abbotsford where we met up with Steve and Alistair for an after-flight “beverage” at the club. It was a wonderful day for all and we are anticipating an exciting and safe 2018 airshow season. We wish the Snowbird Team and the CF-18 Team all the best for 2018 and look forward to seeing them at the Abbotsford International Airshow in August.