Category Archives: Blog

Vernon Flying Club Monthly pancake breakfasts

See poster below from Vernon Flying Club for their monthly pancake breakfasts.

If you haven’t been before, Vernon is a very nice little airport with friendly people!

Vernon Flyin poster 2020

Vernon Flying Club / COPA Flight 65
Fly-In Pancake Breakfast Fourth Sunday of each Month (except December!)

0900 to 1100 hrs.
6210 Tronson Rd, Vernon, BC
$10.00 for Large (2 pancakes, 3 sausages, scrambled eggs)
$ 7.00 for Small (1 pancake, 2 sausages, scrambled eggs) (Kids under 6 eat FREE)

Includes coffee or tea & orange juice plus whipped cream & fruit Thank-you for supporting this fund-raising effort!

February 23, 2020
March 22, 2020
April 26, 2020
May 24, 2020
June 28, 2020
July 26, 2020
August 23, 2020
September 27, 2020
October 25, 2020
November 22, 2020

The AFC’s Buildings: An Historical Summary

The AFC’s Buildings
An Historical Summary

by Steve Stewart

The AFC was created in November 1961. Its first meeting was in the waiting room of the
Terminal Building (Hangar 2). The second meeting in January 1962 was also in the terminal
waiting room, but by April 1962 the meetings were in the Armouries building, which had
previously been the officers club for the RCAF. The Armouries were finally demolished in the
1980s. They occupied the same location as is now occupied by the southern half of the AFC
hangar building.
The meetings continued in the Armouries through to April 1964; then in May they moved to a
clubroom that had been secured in Hangar 2, above the Terminal reception lounge. But by
August they had moved again, to a dedicated clubroom located in the southeast corner of
Hangar 3 which was operated by Sumas Air Services. This was an excellent, airside location,
and it remained unchanged until 1968.

Where these people are shown standing, in front of the AFC meeting room, is now enclosed by an extension that was added to Hangar 3 some time since the 1960s.

In early 1968 the airport fire services moved to a new building, thus leaving the original fire-hall
vacant and available. The AFC has occupied this building ever since. The meeting room was
created from the original fire-truck garage. A lean-to storage extension had already added to
the eastern end where the original fire truck doors were, and big bay doors put into the front
(see pics). Various storage ‘sheds’ have been added at the back. A significant extension was
added which now accommodates the pool room. And the patio was also added at the rear. The
interior bears no resemblance to how it was originally.
The clubhouse became an essential part of airshow operations, and it took on a variety of roles
during the show, including being the centre for communications, traffic control and security
operations. Right through to 1997 the AFC had entire responsibility for the show’s operations,
and all volunteer activity was co-ordinated through the building. However, when the show was
re-aligned to 07-25 for 1992, the building’s location became less central to operations during
the show. Since 1999 its main role has been to accommodate the Broken Prop restaurant.

This picture, looking west, is from the 1967 airshow. The fire-hall (now AFC clubhouse) is to the right. The Armouries building is just to the left of the centre of the picture. And the old Tower, which was replaced in 1980, is on the left. The big building in the middle (Hangar 2) contained the airport terminal facilities and DoT offices, and from late 1968 the airshow office.

This picture, looking west, is from the 1967 airshow. The fire-hall (now AFC clubhouse) is to the
right. The Armouries building is just to the left of the centre of the picture. And the old Tower,
which was replaced in 1980, is on the left. The big building in the middle (Hangar 2) contained
the airport terminal facilities and DoT offices, and from late 1968 the airshow office.
At some point the club acquired ownership of the clubhouse building, but the land was leased
from Transport Canada, and the lease was renewed regularly. Then, in 1997 the airport was
sold to the City of Abbotsford, but this did not appear to have any immediate effect on the club.
As recently as 2004 one of the club’s strategic goals was to obtain a long-term lease for the
clubhouse land and also for the hangar land. It turned out that the City had other plans.

Butch Merrick outside clubhouse – either 1968 or 1969.

The AFC hangar building was built in 1991/92. Construction cost about $220k. A large part of
the capital was raised from members who wished to have their own hangar space, and they put
up $12k each. The expectation was that in time those hangars would be acquired by the club
for use as rental hangars. This would happen naturally as members moved on and no longer
needed the space, at which time their interest would be bought out by the club. The club put
aside a capital amount to cover this expense.

The clubhouse, thoroughly covered with ice. Probably winter of 1968-1969.

Then, in May 2007 both leases expired — for the clubhouse and for the hangars. This time there
were no routine renewals. But the real coup de couer was that the City lawyers had realized
that upon lease expiry, there was no obligation to renew, and moreover, that the buildings on
the leased land automatically vested to the airport. This left the AFC stripped of its buildings
ownership, and with no leases. And it also meant that those hangar occupants who had helped
finance the construction now needed to be paid out. That payout cost the club over $140k. We
had finally paid for the hangar building, but its ownership had vested to the airport.

The airport naturally offered to rent both buildings to the club, but at an annual cost very much
higher than previous costs, and far more than we were able to pay. Finally a more reasonable
rental agreement was reached for both hangar and clubhouse, and the club sub-rented hangars
to their occupants. But there was no security because the agreements could be terminated with
just 90 days notice. At the time the airport wanted to keep the whole GA area and west side
available for a big dream tenant, so the club was told to look at possible new construction
either at the north end of 01-19 or with access off Walmsley road. The airport’s big plans were
not well thought out; the big dream tenant did not appear; and fortunately things eventually
In 2011 the airport agreed to also rent to the club the other two older hangar buildings they
had taken (vested) from Jake Friessen. (He had built those hangars back in about 1980, but he
walked away rather than continue dealing with the airport) The club added these buildings to
its hangar rental operation.
In 2015, new long-term (25 years) leases were agreed for both the clubhouse land and the
hangar compound, and the agreement included purchase of all the buildings from the airport.
This is when YXX Hangars was created. The hangar agreement also included a requirement for
approximately $300k capital improvements during the first ten years. That requirement has
already been met.

And that is how we got to where we are now.

During the airshow weekend, sometime in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. THe AFC clubhouse is on the right

Possible Airshow time capsule message of greetings from U.S. President Richard Nixon, August 1970

The following text has been reconstructed from historical clues, and may well represent the message from Richard Nixon in 1970, and sealed in the time capsule to be opened on August 7th this year. 

By Steve Stewart

“My fellow Americans” Greetings from Richard Nixon 37th President of these United States of America, and from History. In 2020 I trust that History is still well taught, and that for all of North America and the Free World, the godless threat of Communism from the Soviets and from Red China and from Cuba has disappeared as thoroughly as did European Imperialism, German Nazism, and Japanese Imperialism.

I greet you all as Americans because I believe in the great tide in the affairs of men that carries human progress forward, under God. These United States in 1970 are still locked in battle against communism in South East Asia and other places, as part of our great struggle that has lasted over decades, and has taken many forms. But we see the light towards which we travel. We, the free peoples of the world, have chosen to ride that tide of history at its flood, and it will take us, and all humanity, onwards to a brave new world, that has such people in it as love their fellow man.

The North Vietnamese have realized the need to negotiate, and we expect a peace with honor soon, which will bring our boys home. They will be welcomed back into the bosom of America as heroes who have done their part.  But for you, dear readers in 2020, that is already history. You will also know what happened next, and I pray that we will be successful with the next steps in our plans. We will make a direct approach to the leaders of Red China, and in this we are being guided and helped by our great friend Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. We will start in a small way and work up slowly, and in time we hope that China will be welcomed into our great community of nations and once again be part of that global interchange of ideas, people and things which characterizes our way of life. Our dialogue with the Soviets in Moscow has never completely broken down. The talks to limit strategic weapons are very promising, and in time their numbers might be actually reduced. Nobody should live with the constant threat of imminent and sudden destruction which has already overshadowed a generation of humanity. Communism can not be beaten by military efforts alone. It is an evil system that thrives on fear and conflict. But it is an empty and hollow system, and it will collapse from within.

Our vision is for a better world – protected not just from war but also from the self-inflicted evils of hippie culture, drug use, materialism, atheism and selfish consumerism. Just a few days ago I signed into law a new agency to protect our world from those who damage and use up its resources in their quest for personal riches, with no thought for future generations. Once again, we aim to start small and gradually build. When you read this, I hope the Environmental Protection Agency will be an established arm of government, as respected as is the Presidency itself. The resources of this planet are finite. Our space programs have made us all dramatically aware of that, and the biggest challenge for this generation is to preserve our planet for the good of all mankind.  I am particularly concerned by our dependence on oil, which, as it is depleted will lead to unprecedented rivalries for its control.  Here in North America we import our oil because it is cheaper than developing our own plentiful resources. It might take some crises of supply to raise its value and make it worth extracting our own. In this I include Canada. (I hope that by 2020 the borders between Canada, the current United States as they now stand, and Mexico are no longer of significance, that trade and people can pass freely throughout this great continent, and that we stand united as a continuing beacon of a hope that has been realized; a recognition of our shared prosperity and values. I started by greeting you all as fellow Americans, because truly we are, and the visions of our founding fathers I hope by now are realized.) Canada’s oil resources are vast, but difficult to extract and distribute. I know that Mr Trudeau wants to develop them for the benefit of all Canadians. But we need to use up our oil reserves less rapidly, process and distribute them more cheaply, and raise their value to make the effort worthwhile.

It has taken me many years to reach my present office. My second year in office is still only half complete and there are many other things to achieve as well as those already mentioned. You, readers in 2020, will know how things have turned out – where we were successful and where we failed.  I have pledged to not shirk from the tasks ahead, and to do my utmost to carry them through, whatever it takes. We have already achieved valuable goals, and started towards others. Not all will be achieved in just one term.  It will take time to deal with the Soviets and with Red China, and for the fruits of our environmental initiatives to appear. I have a long view of history, it is the only valid view – a man should not be judged on just one thing, but on his total record.  I will stick the course, and I know that we will need to return this administration to office to complete a second term. That is not our focus at present, but it will start to become so next year. For a President, a campaign is a distraction from the core job, but this is our democratic way and it keeps us accountable to the American people. Many dedicated people will eventually work on that campaign, in many capacities, some more visible than others. We will monitor progress, while continuing to work on the things that matter most, for which we were elected. I have unquestioned confidence in our people, their abilities, their motivations and their dedication.

Today’s event celebrates the creation of Canada’s first National Air Show. But it was not created by an edict of national policy. Canada is the true north, strong and free, an equal partner with the US in NORAD, and we share the value of individual and community enterprise. This show was created by the people of Abbotsford. They, and the people with whom they shared the vision, created the show from nothing, in less than ten years. The United States has helped. Aviators from Washington state have always been involved, and our Navy, Air Force and Coastguard almost every year. The United States is proud to be associated with this community. Over that same decade we have had aerospace projects of our own, to which Canadians have made essential contributions. Just one year ago the Apollo missions placed a man on the moon and returned him safely to Earth. We stand at the dawn of a new age of Discovery and Enterprise; a challenge to boldly go where no man has gone before. Our industries have developed unparalleled missile defenses. And our civilian aviation has developed aircraft of such capacity that the eternal dream of flight shared by every man can now be realized.  I look forward to an age when ordinary men and women can travel regularly and in safety across the oceans of this world, to further the bonds that bind us together – the old world and the new. We gladly acknowledge the presence of the RAF at this show: the British, with whom we share so much, and to whom we owe so much. Their Concorde project flew last year and I know that all Americans will welcome that beautiful and amazing aircraft once it enters service. The Russians are its first rivals, and there will be others, but few are likely to look as good as Concorde.

In 1970 we can not imagine how the world will look in 2020 and how it will engage with aviation. No-one in 1920 could imagine the world as it is now, or how aircraft have developed. Perhaps you will all have electric flying cars. Perhaps there will be world peace. Perhaps the iron curtain and bamboo curtain will just be memories. And perhaps you will have forgotten the names of Nixon and Trudeau. War and defense have been a spur to aviation, but it is not aviation or the other capabilities of our armed forces that cause war. War is created in the soul of man, through ignorance, and want, and greed, and the lying promises of evil men. But it also creates heroes; who dream of using the technologies created by war, to end war and in the pursuit of peace and prosperity. That would be the dividend of peace. I was born into a poor Quaker family in California, but I am proud of my Navy service, and I am just as proud of every man and woman who serves to protect the rights and freedoms we all enjoy, and we are proud that some of them are at this air show. I know that Canada will continue to welcome them and other Americans, in the spirit of a shared love of flying. Until the generation of our fathers, to fly was just a dream, and had been since the beginning of time. This show celebrates that dream, and brings it closer, within reach, and into reality. I hope that the aims of those that created this air show are still held dear in 2020, and that, although your aircraft may be completely different from those we now know, you are still making aviation possible for ordinary men and women, and inspiring the dreams of children not yet born.

Let me sign off by expressing my hope that you, all future Americans, remember my terms as President kindly. I hope in future years to look back with pride on our achievements. Finally, I hope that you now live in a caring world, more free of hunger, want, war and threat of war, than ever before in history; that you acknowledge and respect what we hope to have achieved; and that you take continuing inspiration from the American belief in Truth, in Honesty, in dealing with Reality as it is, in our love of Peace, our Acceptance and Tolerance of all peoples, and in the true Democracy that established and continues to guide our great nations.


Richard Nixon


37th president of the United States of America


To be sealed on August 7th 1970 for fifty years, and opened on August 7th 2020

Robbie Burns night at the AFC

On January 24, 2020, we gathered for a festive evening to celebrate the life of the charismatic Scottish poet and romantic lyricist, Robert Burns, who was born on January 25th, 1759.

Several club members wore appropriate Scottish attire and the Scotch Whiskey was flowing generously to lighten up the spirts.

We were treated to a Bag Piper, Stu McIntosh, from Cascade Aerospace, who was on hand to “pipe in” the Haggis. The Address to the Haggis was read with great expression and flair by Chris Palmer. Shortly thereafter, the Haggis was served with “neeps and tatties” (Turnips and mashed potatoes), gravy and other edible goodies.

For the pleasure of the ladies present, Dianne Beaton later read poems written by the flamboyant lover, Robbie Burns.

We were entertained later in the evening with The Bag piper, Stu McIntosh, and our own Highland dancer, none other than Bobbie Lacroix. It was quite an enjoyable evening shared by many club members and guests.

President’s Column, January 2020

Hello, Dear Club Members and Readers, and welcome to a new year!  Welcome, in fact, to a new decade.  We find ourselves once again in January, the time of year when ascetism and mindfulness take over from the hot-buttered-rummy indulgences of December!  It is a time of thoughtfulness and contemplation, when we are wont to make resolutions for the year – and possibly the decade – to come.AFC President Seal

This is going to be another banner year for the Abbotsford Flying Club.  Among the usual things to look forward to this year, such as First Flights, Wings and Wheels and the Airshow, there are new things to look forward to.  Larry Runnals has committed to organizing members to put on a campground for Geocachers.  Our experiment with GSBS is continuing – I am personally looking greatly forward to qualifying on that aircraft and taking her for a whirl.  Our maintenance staff have recently found a few deficiencies with SBS, but have it well in hand to correct them so she’ll be up and running soon.  We also have a very talented and capable Board this year – working with them has been a pleasure so far and I expect will continue to yield positive results.  We’re looking at setting up a Strategic Asset Plan – the first step of which is to discuss what we value at the club.  I recognize that there can be disagreement at our club – but what better way to come together than having some discussions where we discover the things that we all hold dear?  Tom has written a magnificent article outlining how our constitution, bylaws, written practices and traditions fit together to govern our club.  I have found it enlightening and educational as I’m sure you will.  Also this year, the time capsule buried at the airport terminal will be dug up.  If you’re like me, you’re burning with curiosity as to what the contents of the capsule may be.

Every year the Chinese zodiac has an animal of the year, Pantone selects a “colour of the year”, and Oxford selects a word of the year.  I would like for the Abbotsford Flying Club to have a word for 2020 – convivial.  It is defined as friendly, lively and enjoyable.  Someone who is convivial is cheerful and friendly, easy to get along with.  The root of the word is, loosely translated, “easy and pleasurable to live with”.  It goes so much farther than mere, “tolerance” which may be survivable, but doesn’t necessarily lead to cooperation.  Convivial, to me, means that we look out for each other and take care of each other’s needs – in a friendly and encouraging manner.

Every day we make ourselves: while I was growing up this was a common thing that my Mom would say to me and my siblings.  She always said it in the New Year and at other random times.  It’s particularly alarming to hear that saying when you’re a teenager lounging around in your pajamas.. “am I making myself into a lazy slob or a decent human being? – Aaack!”   On the surface, she was saying that every day your actions define who you are.  But I’ve come to realize that what Mom meant was way deeper than that.   It’s a message of hope and renewal.   “Every day we make ourselves” isn’t just a tactic to guilt you off the couch and do something productive – it’s a message of hope because it means that as long as you have days you have ways to change yourself and make yourself into something new.  It’s the message of the New Year – you may not be happy with how things are today, but YOU can resolve to make changes for the better.  And you start today; Everyday.  For me, I’d like to make the club into a place where people enjoy convivial relationships, fly awesome aircraft, share fulfilling adventures and good decisions are made for the club well into the future.  What would you like to make the club?  Because … every day we make the club.

Happy New Year!