Category Archives: Airport

Taxiway wildflowers.

Some members and hangar tenants at YXX may have noticed the wildflowers growing at the edges of the taxiways around the YXX hangars. They are wild flowers but they are not spontaneous colonists. The YXX Hangar operation operated by our club planted them, along with many others.

Last year at this time, the weather was very dry. The hangar operation had completed the taxiway paving project, and filled in all the edges with new soil. They also bought a supply of wildflower seed, intending to sow it all along the edges. But the weather was just too dry, for too long, so they kept the seed for this year.

Back at the end of March, when the weather was as wet as it still is, Steve Stewart sowed that seed everywhere there was bare soil. Maybe the conditions were not ideal, or maybe the flowers got choked out by the grass and the clover. But recently, Steve confirmed that at least some of the flowers have come up in at least eight places. They are most prominent in that little heap of soil at the south end of our west hangar.

Hopefully they can continue to come up and the mowing crew can carefully avoid cutting them down or driving over them.

Enjoy.

The Cairn and the Time Capsule

The Cairn and the Time Capsule

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.

Abbotsford Airport Success

The Abbotsford International Airport’s pile of cash continues to grow after the city-owned facility posted a $3.8 million profit in 2018.

It’s not bad for an airport bought by the city for just $10 – that’s not a typo – two decades ago.

Year-end financial statements show the airport’s operating profit jumped by 60 per cent last year. The money has been put into the airport’s capital reserves which, as it stand, are “more than sufficient to cover our future capital plans without the need of incurring any debt,” according to the report by Myra Webb, the airport’s finance manager.

In recent years, the airport has posted operating profits of a little more than $2 million. But revenue increased dramatically last year, coming in $800,000 above what was projected, thanks largely to more passengers.

Passengers leave a Swoop Airlines flight at the Abbotsford airport. The airport expects to post record profits next year thanks to higher passenger numbers. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

YXX expects another jump in passenger counts in 2019, and officials have predicted that it will top the one million mark for the first time. That is expected to increase the facility’s profits for years to come, according to budget documents.

The city’s budget predicts the airport should make around $4.5 million for each of the next five years.

All that money goes to the airport’s reserves, which currently stand at $18.9 million. The money is used to pay for capital projects, like the recently completed terminal expansion.

But while the airport is set for the short- and medium-term, Mayor Henry Braun said those reserves will be needed for future major projects.

“We have some significant investments to make in the future,” he said

“We are just looking out over the horizon to the next 20 years, so while $18 million in reserves sounds like a lot of money and it is, relatively speaking, that’s not a lot of money for where we’re going and where this airport is going to go over the next 25 years.”

Those costs could include moving the control tower, an idea that has been floated by transportation authorities in the past, he said. And the next terminal upgrade could cost tens of millions of dollars, he said. The city has long said that all such capital projects must be funded by the airport itself.

For now, though, the airport has plenty of money.

YXX plans to spend around $5 million on a new bag room over the next three years. When that is done, the terminal will be big enough to accommodate as many as 2.5 million passengers each year before it needs a further expansion, airport general manager Parm Sidhu told council last month.

Another $10 million will be spent over the next five years to replace or upgrade various buildings, roads, taxiways, and pieces of equipment.

But even with that spending, the airport should be able to add millions of dollars more to its reserve funds. Interest on the money in the two funds brought in more than $400,000 last year.

Abbotsford Airport was bought from the federal government for $10 in 1997, on the condition that it remain an airport and that the city itself not contribute any money beyond that small initial purchase price.

Five years earlier, the airport had lost more than $200,000, and Braun hailed Matsqui and Abbotsford mayors Dave Kendall and George Ferguson for seeing the potential in the airport.

“Those two gentlemen and the board are what made this happen,” he said.

https://www.abbynews.com/news/abbotsford-airport-raking-in-millions-two-decades-after-being-bought-for-10/

AFC Hangar Operation Awarded BC Air Access Program Grant

On July 26, 2018 at 12 noon, at an event on the apron at Abbotsford Airport, the Honourable Claire Trevena Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, announced this year’s grant recipients for the B.C. Air Access Program. Twenty three airports across the province are to receive funding. Abbotsford will receive over half a million dollars in support of projects at Chinook Helicopters, Andre’s Welding and the Abbotsford Flying Club hangar operation.

The full list of airports receiving fund is included in the BC Government press release at this website below:

BC Gov’t. News Release – Air Access Grant

The Abbotsford Flying Club has operated hangars at CYXX since 1991. In 2012 the size of the operation was tripled by taking over two additional buildings from direct airport operation. Since then the AFC has rented hangar space to over 60 tenants and tie down space for ten aircraft. There is always more demand for space than we have places available.

The current lease started in March 2015 and will run for thirty years. Our operation is expected to continue to offer general aviation aircraft space at CYXX until at least 2045.

To ensure this long-term viability, our strategy has been to invest up front into improving the facilities as soon as possible for all tenants and users. We have already put back over $200k into replacing hangar roofs, gutters and downpipes, repairing doors, and other general maintenance.

The next major project will be to re-grade our entire taxiway system, add new improved drainage, and repave completely. This is the project that will be enabled by the BC Air Access Program, and we gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Provincial Government.

The Air Access Program is an investment in the aviation infrastructure of British Columbia. This project will provide a direct benefit to our hangar tenants, and will benefit general aviation by helping to assure the continuing strong presence of general aviation at CYXX. A healthy general aviation sector is an essential basis for the growth of commercial aviation and aerospace activity in Abbotsford and in BC.

This initiative is directly in line with the constitutional aims of the AFC, which include the promotion of aviation in general, the provision of aviation facilities, and to operate aircraft. Very soon after its own formation in 1961, the AFC created the Abbotsford International Airshow, which is a showcase for aerospace and aviation in Canada; and the AFC continues as an integral part of the airshow. More recently, in 2009 to celebrate the centenary of flight in Canada, we created the First Flights for Kids, which continues to grow and has now flown over 1,100 kids in their first flight in a small aircraft. Some have gone on through Air Cadets and pilot training and are now commercial pilots, and some have joined the club.

The taxiway project is planned for later this year. It will strip away all existing taxiways and paving on our hangar lease area, re-grade the area entirely, install a number of new surface water drains, and then pave new taxiways, hangar access, and tie-down places.

Questions – contact: Steve Stewart, tel. 604 556 8260,  stejste@shaw.ca

Last day at the Chilliwack Airport Coffee Shop

February 26th was the last day at Chilliwack’s Airport Coffee Shop.

Several club members came out for a final breakfast in Chillwack, most enjoying a piece of homemade pie for dessert.

Judi and here sisters were presented with some flowers on behalf of the club and were wished success with their new location at Langley airport by the Canadian Museum of Flight.

We will all miss their excellent service, good food, warm atmosphere and awesome pie that was such an important part of Chilliwack airport for over 35 years and a major draw for many.

Click here for a video from the Chilliwack Progress, click here for a video and article from Global BC and enjoy some pictures from the club’s attendance below.

 

A New Fly-out, Drive-in Destination

The Chilliwack Airport Coffee Shop has opened a second location at the Langley Airport.

As most are aware, there have been some issues at the Chilliwack Airport so regardless of the outcome, it is nice to see there will still be an outlet for their delicious pies, excellent meals and friendly service.

On Wednesday, August 24th ten folks from the “Dutch Lunch” group got together at the Langley Airport location. Everyone chipped in and we presented Judy with a bouquet of flowers from the “AFC Dutch Lunch Gang” along with a card wishing her good luck with her new satellite location.

Judy pointed out there is plenty of airplane parking across the taxiway next to the Conair Tracker on display. Their hours are from 8 AM to 3:00 PM and the restaurant is located just north of the Museum for anyone driving in.

– Bob Robertson

Coastal Pacific Seaplane Training

Coastal Pacific Aviation is a proud corporate sponsor for the BC Floatplane Association and is pleased to announce the addition of a C-185 amphibian aircraft for seaplane ratings.   The C-185 amphibian was selected for training because the aircraft is widely used in the bush industry and amphibian floats gives the student an advantage when pursuing careers in the float industry.  The premier course includes a one to one 3+ hours power point ground school, all books, direct student to instructor booking, and 7 hours in the aircraft.  The course has been priced competitively at $2877.00 plus tax for the rating.  Training beyond the 7 hour rating is also available.  Pilots who complete their training will also receive a 1 year free membership to the BC Floatplane Association.

More information can be found by contacting Coastal Aviation directly.