Why to be a member of the Airshow Society

First, let’s do some background explanation.  Until 2013, the only members of the Abbotsford International Airshow Society were the Directors. It had been that way ever since the society was first formed in 1966. It was formed originally for the specific purpose of putting on Canada’s Centennial Airshow in 1967, and it was expected to be wound up after that event. But instead, it was re-constituted a little and continued under the auspices of the AFC and Chapter 85 of the EAA. Then in 1969 it was re-constituted again after the EAA dropped out. From 1969 to 2017 the Board officially comprised 14 members of the AFC and 14 others. However, after the financial collapse at the end of 1997 there was rarely (if ever) a full set of non-AFC Directors, and there was no real mechanism to appoint them.  So in 2013 we addressed the problem by offering the possibility of membership to anyone interested.  The main target group were the hundreds of volunteers who put countless hours into the event every year, but who never really had a voice in its direction. They, as Members would then elect the non-AFC Directors, and could also stand to become Directors themselves. This served the dual purposes of establishing a mechanism to appoint Directors, while also giving the Members a voice in the Society’s direction. Around 140 new members signed up, and both purposes have been realized in practice. 

We also decided to create a Membership Committee and to provide direct member benefits, beyond the right to stand for election and the right to vote. Pre-2020 there were visits to aviation museums south of the border, a Member Challenge Coin, and various other events. At present, all members can collect a free custom-made airshow mug, and in January we had a great on-line event with Jodi Roeger. On Feb 18th there is another such event with Capt. Dan “Delouse” Deluce, the 2021 CF-18 Hornet Demo Team pilot. 

These direct benefits far outweigh the annual cost of dues. We set the dues at the nominal level of just $10/year, because the desire for members is not about collecting money. The membership program costs more than the total dues collected.  Ideally, we would like to see most volunteers become members, take an interest in how the Society runs, and consider becoming a Director. All Directors are now subject to term limits, so there is a need for a healthy turnover of Directors, who will bring in new ideas and impetus to the whole enterprise. 

The AFC was directly responsible for starting the airshow in 1962. It has always been a driving force in the direction, management, and operation of the airshow. We still directly appoint 3 out of the 11 total number of Directors. At present 4 of the 11 are AFC members. During the show, the AFC is completely responsible for the aircraft static displays and for the campground. In normal years, the AFC receives very significant income in return for this.  Many AFC members also volunteer in other essential roles, particularly the fencing teams. The AFC also runs the Broken Prop restaurant for campers, with all net proceeds being retained by the club. The mutual importance of the airshow to the AFC and vice versa is huge.  

AIAS membership is a natural choice for AFC members. 

The application form is at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1a55baBwaVvPBHm4r8CSbhti7cuj0App0/view 

Steve Stewart
Chair AIAS

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