Category Archives: Member News

COVID 19 Closure of AFC Clubhouse and facilities update

As we all know, COVID-19 is quite stubborn and persistent and the board has been evaluating re-opening the clubhouse and facilites on an ongoing monthly basis.

As of the last board meeting., the board of directors discussed the issue again and felt that due to the persistence of COVID and the inability of the AFC to ensure proper sanitisation during any kind of ongoing operations to reduce the transmission risk, the board is compelled to keep the clubhouse in the current status of only having the option of the washrooms and flight room being open and able to be used for club members.

There is only one exception to this, and that is for CASARA to use the entrance doors to the meeting room for their exercises. We have extensively discussed this with CASARA and Paul Monchamp and they EXTENSIVELY sanitise what they use and touch with demonstrated dilligence and only a select few of their members will be allowed in the clubhouse at any time.

There are also some resources to view for more information: http://covid-19.bccdc.ca/Another good link is https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

Airshow Timecapsule opening ceremony

by Steve Stewart, photos by Bob Leroux

Friday morning we opened the time capsule that had been sealed since 1970.  You all already know the story of the Cairn and the time-capsule from what we wrote a couple of months ago.  So this note is just about the event today.  In fact, you may have seen it live on the Airshow’s Facebook page, or later on Global TV or have even read in the Abbotsford News.

George Aung-Thin and Steve Stewart at the cairn with the new time capsule

The original plan had been to open the time-capsule at 1pm, the same time that it was sealed 50 years ago, and that this would fit nicely into the first day of this year’s airshow and with the ADSE event at Tradex.  But that obviously didn’t happen. However, we still had to open the time capsule.   So, to fit with the current guidelines on gatherings, we scheduled it for 9am, because it would enable the whole thing to happen before the passengers started to arrive for the first scheduled flight of the day. We roped off an area about 60 feet by 60 feet, closed the right side traffic lanes, arranged for the ebus to stop a little way off from its usual location, set up the necessary equipment, had a pretty successful event.   The total number of attendees had to be kept below 50; and that was difficult at the invitation stage, because numbers add up quickly, just from airshow directors, the federal government representatives, City Mayor and counsellors, MLAs, MPs, AV guys, photographers media, etc etc.  When the time came, the numbers were not a problem, and I hope that everyone who really wanted to be there did in fact manage it.

Minister of Nation Defence, Harjit Sajjan and Mayor Henry Braun with other dignitaries

The airshow became the National Airshow at the suggestion of the federal government, which in 1970 was headed by Pierre Trudeau, so it was fitting that we invited Justin Trudeau to be here today. Unfortunately, he couldn’t attend, and instead, the federal government was represented by Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.

Ken Hildebrandt with Bob Singleton

Ken Hildebrandt acted as MC for the event, and after some appropriate speeches, we opened the cairn (which, we had re-sealed temporarily, after having previously gained access and found the time capsule, as described previously).   The time-capsule broke open as I removed it, and then I removed the contents.  There were brochures, an airshow newsletter, business cards, and various messages.  I selected the one from Pierre Trudeau, and it was read out by long-time airshow announcer Bob Singleton, who also shared his memories from when the cairn was sealed back in 1970.

The cairn is located just to the south of the main terminal building. It is made of rocks from around the world

We laid out the contents for inspection, and also displayed the new time capsule that will be sealed in place quite soon.  After the original contents have been examined, photographed etc, they will be re-sealed and placed back in the cairn.  Our wish is that both time capsules will be opened again in 2070.  The new time capsule will contain messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of National Defence, Hargit Sajjan, Premier John Horgan, Mayor Henry Braun, the Board of the AIAS, George Aung Thin,  Parm Sidhu and others. There will also be some airshow memorabilia, photographs of the AIAS Directors and at least one USB memory stick.  It will contain a complete pdf file of the Airshow History Part One that we recently completed, plus all of the back ground material, newspaper clippings, photographs, etc from which that book was generated. I( hope that they can still read USB sticks in 2070.

George, Millie and Steve with the contents of the time capsule

As a practical footnote, for those of you interested in metal fabrication —  the original time capsule is a piece of copper pipe 3 inches diameter and 10 inches long.  I suspect that it may have been an offcut from the copper footrail that runs along our bar in the clubhouse.  I did consider removing another piece of the footrail for a new time capsule. But in fact the new capsule is a bit wider diameter. It is made from the casing of a 105mm howitzer shell, and Ed Boon arranged for a copper cap to machined to cap the end.

The old and the new time capsule

New aviation photography website: https://navpathimaging.com

Many of us know Bob Leroux as an experienced aviator, teacher, mentor who runs NavPath Aviation.  What people may not know is that he is also an avid shutterbug.  Bob has set up a nifty website with various photos and stories on it.  His primary purpose is to share photographs of aviation, but there are some other delightful features on there such as a blog, his personal history of cameras and a heartwarming section where people can talk about their family flying experiences.  You can find it at: https://navpathimaging.com/

The website was launched on June 21 which happened to be Father’s Day. There have been some changes since the launch and some pages on the site are still under development regarding their structure and photo galleries to be added. Also, you will find a Facebook page “NavPath Imaging” complimenting the website.

So why launch on Father’s Day? There is a bit of a “hook” on the ABOUT page. If you find it let me know by leaving a comment on the CONTACT page.

Enjoy the website and happy flying.

Francis Kendall graduation

For those who have been around the club over the years are sure to know Francis Kendall.

Francis has graduated with his Dogwood Diploma. He also earned the North Otter PAC scholarship and the Langley School District Inspiration Award. This is awarded to students who Inspire and exudes the school district’s core values of Excellence, Integrity, Community, and Courage.

Well done Francis!

The Cairn and the Time Capsule

The Cairn and the Time Capsule

by Steve Stewart

A practical approach to physical history by Steve Stewart and Lorenzo Simeon

The story that has come down to us from 1970 was summarised in our(with Millie Watson) recent book:

The presence of Prime Minister Trudeau and six members of his cabinet in 1969 was already adequate indication that the federal government recognised the importance of Abbotsford to Canada’s aviation and aerospace aspirations. In his opening speech, he had explicitly described the show as being Canada’s showcase to the aviation world. The phrase was repeated in a letter received from Don Jamieson in December. He went on to say ‘I would therefore suggest that you name your air show next year as ‘Canada’s 1970 National Air Show’’.  With this endorsement, the show officially became the country’s national air show.  Minister Jamieson said ‘I would endorse this exhibition as being an excellent occasion for any Canadian or foreign company to display its aviation products and services’. To mark the development, Glenn Matthews designed a new airshow insignia, a limited edition airshow coin was minted (original price $2), and a souvenir postcard produced (10c). As well, at Don Jamieson’s suggestion, a project was started to erect a stone cairn.   Rocks were flown in from every Canadian province and  ‘every quarter of the globe, including the USSR’, pieces of the old London Bridge and rocks from the Matterhorn. A copper time capsule buried in the cairn contained messages from Prime Minister Trudeau, opposition leader Robert Stanfield, other Ministers, and President Richard Nixon. Dedication would be at 1pm on August 7th, the first day of show, by Jamieson and Fraser Valley East MP Jerry Pringle. The cairn and time capsule were scheduled to be opened after 50 years, on August 7th 2020.

The cairn was originally located just outside the airside entrance to the customs office of the terminal, which in 1970 was located in Hangar Number Two. Since then, over the past 50 years, as terminals have been built, moved, redeveloped and relocated, the cairn has been moved at least three times, and it no longer stands on its original base. The language used to describe the time capsule’s location was not precise. Was it in the cairn itself, or buried beneath it? Had they parted company at some point? Back in February, we invited Justin Trudeau to officially open the cairn and the time capsule – which seemed fitting, given his father’s role in their creation. He has not replied yet. However, we needed to be certain that we can open the time capsule on cue on August 7th.

In December we removed the plaque from the front of the cairn, removed cement and concrete from behind it, and failed to find the time capsule. The plan was to come back in March, but that was foiled by external forces. Lorenzo Simeon and I returned to continue removing concrete in early May.  We removed rocks from the back, and drilled and jack-hammered from front and back. But our holes joined up, after finding only concrete and steel in between.

The situation was not promising, and August is fast approaching. We arranged to use ground penetrating radar. We contacted a local stone mason in case he could provide insight. We asked Chilliwack airport about how their cairn was constructed. We asked Langley concrete about the pre-cast concrete core, around which the rocks are built. We contacted the Freemasons about the marks associated with the rock from the Old London Bridge.  We asked the national archives in Ottawa to look for records, because the airport was a federal facility and the cairn was built on the instructions of the Minister. And Millie Watson stepped up her campaign to contact AFC Members from long ago. We were prepared to hollow out the entire monument one chip at a time, while leaving its façade intact.  And we were prepared to excavate at the cairn’s previous locations.

But before launching the wholesale jack-hammering campaign, we tried some logic. During the 1970 ceremony, one convenient way to have placed the time capsule (other than directly behind the plaque) would have been to almost complete the cairn, then pop in the time capsule, and finish it off with a concrete cap. So we drilled and jack hammered up under the cap, but we got right past the centre without finding anything.  Bear in mind that we only knew the capsule was made of copper, without knowing its size or shape. There was not much remaining unexplored volume. Our last logical option was to pop off the whole cap and hope for something to emerge.  It did. The cap came off with a copper cylinder still embedded in the cement. It is 10 inches long and 3 inches diameter. The damage from our drilling revealed printed papers inside, but the papers are undamaged.  Who knows what those papers will reveal?

Before August we will reassemble the cairn, with the time capsule inside, so that it can be easily cracked open on the given day.

Later, the time capsule will be replaced in the rebuilt cairn, along with a new time capsule from 2020.  They will not be opened until August 7th 2070.

After the opening, we will publish a fuller story of the cairn, along with the contents of the time capsule. And there will be pictures.

Obit for former AFC member Lorne Nicholson

April 10, 2020
R. (Robert) Lorne Nicholson, formerly of Abbotsford and Mission, BC passed away in Kelowna on April 10, 2020, at the age of 86 years, of natural causes. He was born in Kenaston, Saskatchewan, and moved to the Fraser Valley as a small child. Lorne won the first Soap Box Derby, held in Mission in 1946 and again in 1947 when the winner advanced to Akron, Ohio finals. He was a member of Kinsmen in, Mission, BC, an avid flyer and long time member of the Abbotsford Flying Club and the Abbotsford Airshow Society. Lorne was a Master Mechanic and worked in the Auto Industry until the 1970’s when he went to work for Monsanto, Phos Check Division in Abbotsford. Lorne was predeceased by his ex-wife wife Lynn Chadwick in 2011, and step grandson Kevin Stephens in 2015.
In 1980 he remarried, and he and his wife, travelled extensively and spent their winters in California and Arizona until he was transferred (1994) to California to manage The Monsanto Wildfire Equipment Division until 2000. They continued to live full time in Yuma, working at La Mesa R.V. in the winter and summering in Show Low, Arizona until Lorne’s full retirement in 2008. In 2016 they returned to Canada and took up residence in Kelowna.
He will be proudly remembered and sadly missed by his loving wife, Jacqueline, his children Doug Nicholson (Laura), Pam Nicholson-Blackmon (Randy Neufeldt), Shelley Stout (Jack) and stepchildren Jo-Anne Hollander (Greg), Bill Stephens (Lori), Valerie Stephens and Donna Lee Bargen (Viktor), 25 grand and step grandchildren and 27 great and step great grandchildren, all who dearly loved Pappa.