Category Archives: Club News

AFC History 1967 to 1979

AFC History 1967 to 1979

By Steve Stewart

We pick up the story of the AFC in 1967.  By far the most significant event of that year was the Centennial Air Show, which was an unmitigated success in every respect. It has been fully described in our Airshow History, and it is also AFC history.  The only slightly negative thing we can find in the records concerning that show, emerged later, when EAA Ch85 asked to be part of the 1968 show. They specifically stated that they did not want to be responsible for car parking, so we can surmise that this had been one of their responsibilities in 1967, and that they were not happy with it. But, other than that minor quibble, we can only restate that the 1967 airshow was a fantastic show in every respect. It was the biggest public event of the Centennial year; it was a fully national and international event; it attracted hundreds of thousands of guests; it injected significant money into the region’s economy; and it put Abbotsford firmly on the world map of international airshows. Both the AFC and EAA took just over $6,000 from the net revenue for their own club purposes, and each re-invested $17,500 back into the airshow organization. These were huge amounts compared to the funds they previously had available.  Just over a year later the EAA would pull out of further involvement, and demand repayment of its investment. That money is what, in part, enabled creation of the EAA Northwest Fly-In, which became the Arlington Fly-in. So, although the split was acrimonious at the time, there was an ultimate good and positive result.

The airshow would continue to go from one success to another, although there were some years not as successful as others. And the continuing flow of revenue from the show was what enabled and fueled some of the developments we will look at in the AFC. But first we should consider their developing relationship.

********************

Back then, there was universal recognition that the airshow was the creature of the AFC. It was the AFC that was recognized by COPA, by AOPA, and by the federal government in 1970, as having created and developed the airshow. The legal status of the airshow was as a not-for-profit society, with its own board of directors. Those Directors were also the only Members of the society. Four things tied the AIASS to the AFC.

  • The AFC directly appointed 14 of the 28 AIASS Directors, and at times the AFC sought to instruct those Directors on what line they should take.
  • Since the departure of the EAA, the AFC was the only investor in the AIASS, and thus had a claim on all its assets.
  • The AFC was identified as the Sponsor of the AIAS. This term carried strong proprietary implications at that time. It did not mean the type of sponsor that simply provides funds in return for recognition or naming rights etc.
  • The AFC took on the entire task of producing the airshow, and was paid an agreed fee each year in return. This was termed the ‘Production Grant’.

However, the legal relationship was not really as clear as we might have hoped.  In particular, the term Sponsor was not defined.  A general consensus of opinion believed that the AIASS constitution and Bylaws could not be changed without express agreement from the AFC, although this not appear anywhere in the bylaws themselves. And there was a belief, backed up by a legal opinion obtained in 1979, that the AFC would be liable for AIASS debts. There was also concern in the AFC about who were the other 14 Directors of the AIASS, and how they were being chosen.   But for the most part these concerns were just hovering in the background, the AIASS operated as a separate entity, and issues were worked through, rather than being clinically analysed and resolved.  The only mention of the airshow in the AFC bylaws was introduced in 1969, and it required that the AFC President be one of the airshow directors appointed by the club.

There was general consensus that the success of the airshow itself was a good thing for both the AIASS and the AFC.  Right from the early days of the club there had been two reasons for wanting to put on an airshow. One reason was that it could raise funds. But the other was that everyone just wanted a show.  The financial aspects are nice, and are necessary for success, but the second reason is what really builds interest, brings out volunteers, brings in the public, and gets the local community to support the event.  This is as important now as it ever was.  Having an airshow is one of the defining characteristics of the AFC, of CYXX and of Abbotsford.

The mechanism by which the AFC benefitted financially was an agreement whereby the club was paid a Production Grant each year in return for all the volunteer hours put in to producing the show.  After the unpleasant wrangling associated with the departure of the EAA at the end of 1968, it was soon agreed to settle the amount of the grant early in the year, rather than making it a function of the show’s financial performance. That said, there were years when the show actually lost money, and the agreed production grant was a financial burden. In 1976, the AFC paid back $1,500 temporarily, to help with cash flow. From 1970 to 1974 the Production Grant was $7,000.  It was raised to $10,000 for 1975, to $12,000 for 1980, and to $17,000 in 1981, staying at that sum through 1985.  After paying the Production Grant to the AFC, the AIASS Financial Statements indicate net losses for 1971, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1984 and 1985.   But in between there were some very positive years, and by 1981 the AIASS cash equity had grown to over $250k, after having started at $35k in 1968.   The AFC never asked for a return on its initial investment.

Unlike the airshow annual net revenues, the AFC income stream from the Production Grant did not fluctuate. It was this reliable Production Grant that enabled the AFC to budget each year for what it would spend on aircraft, buildings, flying incentives, socials and community outreach. But the money did have to be earned, and every member was expected to help earn it, by volunteering their time both before and during the show.

Each year, an overall summary of how many members put in how much time, and which listed all the areas of activity and responsibility, was provided by the AFC to the AIASS, in order to support the agreed value of the Production Grant.   It could be backed up by detailed records of who had volunteered for how long, exactly when, and what they did.  This detail was used by the AFC internally, to determine eligibility for club programs such as the flying incentive.

********************

Treasurer Sandy Bazen described the financial success of the 1967 show to the AFC members in December. Almost immediately, at the January 1968 meeting, a ballot was taken regarding the purchase of an aircraft; which passed by 24 votes in favour and 11 votes against. The budget for 1968 showed an allocation of $3,500 for the purpose. Glenn Matthews chaired the acquisition committee, and eventually, once the purchase was made, the whole process was written up well in a newspaper report.  The first aircraft considered, in February, was an 85HP Champ, which would require hand swinging of the propeller. An offer was made, but did not work out.  In June, Matthews went to look at a 90HP Champ, and John Spronk went to see a J3 Cub in Vernon.  There is an unfortunate gap in the Minutes for six months, so we have no further details other than the newspaper report,  but we know the eventual upshot was the purchase of FNSC, a 1961 Cessna 150B, from Abbotsford Air Services. This was an aircraft that many members had already flown and were familiar with.  It had taken almost a year to settle on this aircraft, and it entered service with the club in January 1969. However, as President Joe McWhinney commented, it was only one aircraft, and the club’s 70 members expected to continue relying on AAS and SAS rentals for most of their flying. Aircraft ownership has been part of the AFC operation ever since the purchase of NSC.

One of the issues to be resolved was how much to charge for flying time. The solution adopted did not undercut either SAS or AAS, and it also provided cheap flying to members. Members could fly either the club’s own aircraft or rent from AAS or SAS. The club’s hourly rates were lower than either rental operator, but if a rental C150 was flown, the club paid the difference in rates, so the final price to a member was the same for all options. Quite reasonably, members were expected to take NSC, if it was available, instead of a rental C150.  This applied to all members who qualified to fly NSC. Qualification required a ride with a check pilot. In fact, there were five different rates, with the lowest rate (E) being for members who had joined before 1966, and the highest rate (A) for the newest qualifying members.  We still have the roster of who was approved to fly NSC, and at what rate, in 1969. It shows 19 pilots, 8 of whom joined before 1966 and who paid the lowest hourly rate. The rates were posted in the clubhouse, but were not recorded in the surviving paperwork.

The Flying Incentive also continued in operation, and this paid members to fly. The amounts of incentive available, how quickly it was being used, and what flights qualified, were all under constant review.  Student pilots had to have completed their first solo to be included.  It also included aircraft owners – in October 1967 it was decided that owners could claim up to 2.5 hours value back-dated to March. This was one of the first things agreed as soon as the financial success of the 1967 airshow started to become apparent. (Other decisions at that same time were to take St.John’s Ambulance people for plane rides at the club’s expense and to sponsor the Air Cadets.)  In 1967 the incentive had cost the club a total of $1,394.31 and was almost half of the total budget. For 1968 the incentive was settled at $6 per hour for up to 20 hours, and $2,150 was budgeted, from a total budget (not including the aircraft purchase) of $3,780.  Every monthly meeting included a report on how fast the incentive funds were being used up. The incentive was very generous.  In 1967 a C150 could be rented for $10/hour from AAS or $10.50 from SAS, and the club incentive reduced these numbers by $2.50.  In 1968 the C150 rental rates increased to $13 and $12, but the club incentive was increased to $6.  It is not surprising that the monthly reports often showed the incentive value being used up faster than was planned.

We don’t have a record of what the hourly rates were for NSC,  but in August 1969 the Executive noted that it was not flying as much as expected. The reason was put down to the low rates available from AAS, which were made even more affordable by the AFC flying incentive. Their response was to lower the NSC rate. They also lowered the cost of a check ride in order to encourage more members to qualify.

Unfortunately, we have no surviving minutes from Jan to Oct 1970, but at some point the club decided to buy another aircraft, and this time chose a Cessna 172.  This was FVBU, a 1966 Cessna 172H, and its purchase price was $8,750.  In December the rental rates, for new members, were noted as $15/hour for the C172 and $10 for the C150. For more established members the rates were $13.50 and $8.50.   The five rate levels had been reduced to just two. It was also noted that the C172 cost $14/hour to operate, and that NSC was not paying its way. From Nov 1970 to Oct 1971, NSC flew a total of just 100 hours, whereas VBU flew 200 hours, and as a result the decision was made to sell NSC.

During 1972 and into 1973 the club discussed purchase of another C172 and there was a motion to purchase a 1960 Cherokee 180 for $10,500, but this would have required a loan of $2,000 at 9%, and the motion was defeated.  In Jan 1973 the club was looking at another Cherokee, available for $11,123. It came to visit in March, and by April the club had bought it. This was FCBO, a 1964 PA-28-180.

The aircraft were parked outside at AAS, and in 1974 this cost $100/year for each plane. Intake plugs were not always used, and birds built nests around engines. And CBO was leaking. There was discussion about moving the aircraft indoors, and about building a four-place hangar, but nothing came of it. A similar proposal had been discussed in 1970-71, and it came up again in 1975.

Aircraft repairs and maintenance had become a significant item in the budget ($5,991 in 1975). The aircraft cost significantly more to operate than was collected in rental receipts (shortfall of $2,840 in 1975).  This probably contributed to the scaling back of the total value of the flying incentive.  However, the club had more than enough money coming in from the airshow. In 1975 the production grant was $10,000 and the club also netted $1,653 from film sales; membership dues only contributed $2,376 to the club’s total income. Aircraft maintenance, radio equipment, and the flying incentive were the large expenses in the budget, with clubhouse, lease and other costs being much lower.

One aircraft ownership opportunity, that the club declined, was an offer from Conair in 1976 to sell a Cessna 337 Bird Dog to the club for $30k and then lease it back for two months in summer for $6k.

In January 1977 a discussion was held regarding the idea of buying a third aircraft, but members agreed that they preferred that the money be spent to provide more subsidy to two aircraft.

Later in 1977 there was renewed discussion on upgrading the aircraft, and in September, $10k per aircraft was voted for this purpose.  But in fact VBU was replaced instead of being upgraded. It was sold to club member Lucky Hooieveid. VBU’s replacement was GHXT, a 1975 Cessna 172M, which the club would keep until December 2015. It was purchased for $10,750 plus taxes.

Early in 1978, CBO was also replaced, by GIEV, a 1976 Piper PA-28-151.  And in May the executive voted a flat rate of $20/hour for aircraft rentals (HXT and IEV), regardless of membership term.

The flying incentive had changed every year, and its continuation was always subject to a definite decision at the start of each year. In the early years it was often targeted at specific fly-outs, and qualifying pilots were expected to take other members with them as passengers. As time went by, it became a more general way to simply subsidise members’ flying. At one point it applied to rentals from any source, but was usually limited to just AAS and SAS. SAS closed its training operation at Abbotsford in 1969, so only AAS was involved for some years, but applicability was extended to Coastal Pacific Aviation when they started as a flight training centre.  While it existed, the funds budgeted each year were significant, but they did fluctuate. There is no mention of the flying incentive in the minutes or financial statements from 1976, or from later years.  The executive had discussed its discontinuation back in May of 1975, and made the decision in October, but do we do not have an explanation for why it was discontinued. We might surmise that the club had decided to focus its flying subsidies onto the club’s own aircraft rather than facilitating members to fly rental aircraft.  However, one thing that did continue as club policy for many years, did still facilitate rentals from AAS and CPA. When the club’s own aircraft were already in use, members could rent equivalent aircraft, and the club would pay the difference between the rental hourly rate and the club’s hourly rate.

All the aircraft accounting was not a trivial task, and from 1974 it came with the compensation of one hour per month free flying. There was a suggestion that other jobs might attract similar compensation. An interesting aside is that until 1968 the President had received an honorarium of $50 each year, but this was discontinued from 1969 on.

The club’s aircraft were not always used responsibly.  In 1970 a member was disciplined for flying NSC with a passenger in the right seat, plus two kids somehow standing in the back.   In 1973 it was noted that some members were using VBU for hire, and that this was illegal. This concern was minuted again in 1979. Also in 1973, a member was expelled after a long executive discussion regarding his use of club aircraft.

********************

Another major development in 1968 was that the club acquired the building which would become its permanent home, so far. This was the old firehall, the first building completed when RCAF Abbotsford was built during the war. It had not been used as the firehall for some years. The big doors in the east wall were boarded over and a lean-to extension had been added along that wall. But the garage space was still used as a garage, with access for smaller vehicles via doors in the north wall.  SAS was interested in the building, but in March, the airport manager, Harold Luesley, gave first refusal to the AFC.  The club moved in some time after the 1968 airshow.  Meetings were held in what is now the bar and lounge, and the garage continued by that name.

The winter of 1968-1969 was particularly cold, and the building needed a new furnace, which would cost $950. The clubroom needed curtains, and the floors need to be waxed.  Chairs were all to be labelled as belonging to AFC, but this did not actually happen until 1970, when they were given out on loan to the municipality. In early 1969 the Air Rangers were given permission to use the building for their meetings. And a janitor was hired at a cost of $12/month.

Up to 1970, the clubhouse was used by the Matsqui Police as a communications centre during the airshows, and from 1971 it became the base for handling airshow cash.  Before that, a workbee had been organized to clean up the garage, and it was estimated that $400 would pay for it to be remodelled.

Airport buildings did not originally have electricity meters installed, but naturally, they became required as buildings were leased. The club took until 1971 to have a meter installed.

The original 1968 rationale was that the building would cost about $1,050/year, and the membership dues were fixed at $15 on the basis that with 70 members they would pay the cost of the building. In fact the total costs, including the lease, property tax, janitor, insurance, utilities and renovations turned out much higher – $2,041 in 1969, and rising to $3,856 in 1979 .  A discussion in Jan 1978 re-affirmed the concept that annual dues should cover the costs of the clubhouse, and the 1979 financial statement does show 100 members each paying dues of $30, plus 15 new members who each paid $60 initiation, for a total dues revenue of $3,900.

The renovations and new facilities included a shuffle-board and a cigarette machine for the lounge in 1971. The exterior was painted in 1972.  The fireplace was built in 1975    In 1973 the garage renovation was still just a plan, and its estimate was now $1,000. The kitchen was renovated in 1976, and new chairs purchased. A patio door was installed in 1977, a patio was built, and a horseshow pit created.  1978 saw new curtains, and new carpets in the washrooms, and necessary renovations were estimated at $7k to $8k with the roof as a priority. A new sign was installed outside in 1979, the exterior was painted again, and 12 cedar trees were planted around the patio. In November the meeting room (formerly the garage) was renamed in honour of Butch Merrick.

****************

The club’s affluence and acquisition of assets (aircraft, cash and clubhouse), its steady income from the airshow, and its hugely subsidized flying and social possibilities, were enviable things. They were generally perceived as having been built up over the years by the dedication and work of members who had developed the airshow from nothing to its recognized international status. Membership was valuable, and from 1968 on, this spawned a number of developments and trends.

Previously, anyone wishing to join the club simply had to complete the application and pay the dues. From 1968, applicants were first required to attend an interview with the entire executive, who then decided on the merits their application. They were then required to pay an initiation fee, in addition to their annual dues. The initiation fee was considered a buy-in to the assets that had already been accumulated by the members. For 1968 the annual dues were $10 and the initiation fee was $15. By 1976 they were $20 and $30, and in 1979 they were $30 and $60 respectively.  It also took time and effort for a new member to work into the full privileges of membership. The effort was the volunteer work required to help produce the airshow – without enough volunteer hours a member could not qualify for the next year’s flying incentive.  The time element was reflected in the hourly rates for club aircraft being higher for newer members, and also in that new members could not qualify for the flying incentive until they had been a member in good standing for one year.  Good standing also required attendance at general meetings, with only a limited number allowed to be missed. In 1973 six of the meetings could be missed, and this was reduced to three for 1974.  In time a bylaw amendment fixed the attendance requirement at two thirds of the general meetings. Even so, meeting attendance was often very low. Sign-in sheets were introduced in 1972, and again in 1973.  From 1974 a roll was called at every general meeting, and members would be fined 25c for lateness or not wearing their name badge. The roll call and fines were started again in 1977.

There was a sense in which the existing members did not want to offer membership too easily to new applicants, and also a sense that membership should not be shared with too many people. This gave rise to the first suggestions of limiting the membership numbers — that 75 might be a good place to stop.  The membership roll had been fairly stable around 70 to 80 members for some years, but it started to grow, and in 1976 a decision was made to limit the roll to 100. This prompted the need to examine exactly who was on the roll, who had paid their dues, and who was in good standing. The result showed a total list of 120, but some members were considered as not being active in the club. However, it took until late 1977 to settle on a list of names to be struck from the roll. In the meantime, new members were admitted quite regularly anyway, despite the agreed cap of 100. In fact, there was a motion in Nov 1976 to raise the cap to 125, but it was defeated. At the same time, the new policy naturally created the need for a waiting list. Applicants could be interviewed and approved, but they could not become a member until a place opened up. They also had to pay a $40 application fee, which would be credited to their account when they were admitted.  It should be noted that the membership cap never achieved the status of being a bylaw – it was simply an agreed policy. However, it was taken seriously in subsequent years, and it wagged a bylaw into existence, which greatly affected the dynamics of membership.

In particular, it created the need for a new grade of member – Associate Members, and a bylaw was approved in Oct 1977. The new membership grade was intended to accommodate airshow volunteers, and those on the waiting list to become full members. At that time, the membership roll had been pared down to 102 names, and there was a significant waiting list (already 19 names in Feb).  The first step transferred 7 names from full membership to associate membership. These were members who were no longer flying or active (or not very much), and were deemed to no longer need the benefits of full membership – or who the club no longer needed as full members. This opened up seven places for those on the waiting list. The executive took active control from here on, regularly dropping members, specifically choosing who to admit from those on the waiting list, and rejecting some applicants when interviewed. In Feb 1978 eight more members were dropped from the roll, eight replacements were chosen from those on the waiting list, and two new applicants were rejected. The expectation of associate members was that they should be active in the club, while waiting patiently for a full membership slot to open. In 1979 they were given name badges.

In May of 1979 the executive looked at whether the membership cap could be removed, and there was a proposal to raise the cap to 115, but this did not happen.  In spite of the cap remaining in place, in 1979, a total of 37 new members were admitted and 16 new associate members. The cap had brought some rigour to the task of maintaining the membership roll; but it had created a need for significant administrative effort; it must have caused the loss of many members; and it had created two classes of member – those with all the privileges, and those without.

While considering membership classes, we should also mention Life Members. The first was John Spronk. When Skyway Air Services closed their flight training operation at Abbotsford in early 1969, John’s position as CFI ended. He was soon offered a position with Pacific Western Airlines, and this required a move to Edmonton. His contributions had been central to the development and success of both the flying club and the airshow, and in recognition of this, he was made a Life Member of the club. Perhaps the expectation was that his would be a permanent departure, but after two years in Edmonton acquiring all the necessary ratings and seniority, he was able to move back to Abbotsford and to the club.  In 1973 there was some discussion regarding his right to vote as a Life member, but his status and privileges were, of course, confirmed.

The second Life Member was Butch Merrick, and this decision happened in May of 1976. He was presented with a plaque in November. Butch was a founding member of the club, holding Membership Card Number One,  and had made huge contributions of volunteer effort to both the club and the airshow. Unfortunately, he died suddenly in January 1979, and later that year the club’s meeting room was named in his honour.

***********************

Throughout this whole period, the fly-outs, fly-ins, socials, banquets, dances, general meetings, work bees, committee meetings, and airshow activities, etc etc continued unabated.  And the club supported a number of worthy community causes.

The club had organized the airshow preview event in June of 1968. It was a good month for a fly-in, and in time, Father’s Day fly-ins would become a regular event, with pancake breakfasts and spot landing and flour bombing contests. Butch Merrick was always on hand to organize the food. In early 1974, John Spronk was planning for the fly-ins to include an annual air race, but that particular idea was abandoned by April.

Fly-out participation was high; encouraged by the flying incentive and low hourly rates. Crossing the US border was less inconvenient than it is now. A total of 108 people planned to make the trip to Renton in April 1968; using four aircraft, a number of cars, and a bus.  US flyouts also included Roche Harbor, Blakely Island, and Olympia.  More frequent trips were made to destinations in BC.  In addition to the organized fly-outs, Sunday mornings became the time to show up at 8.30am, and then launch on spontaneous fly-outs to wherever seemed like a good destination at the time. In May of 1973 there was even a motion that the club aircraft be specially reserved for this every Sunday morning, but it was defeated. Perhaps they didn’t really need to fly-out anyway – at one point in 1974 Butch Merrick was cooking breakfast regularly every Sunday, for whoever was there at the club.

Not every social, banquet or dance was well attended, and sometimes they were a net cost to the club. The issue of beer in the clubhouse appears in the minutes a number of times. In 1969 it was decided that the club needed a liquor licence for its Saturday night events.  At one time it was decided that the bar would only be open on meeting nights. At another, it was decided that there would be no alcohol allowed in the meetings and that the bar would be closed during meetings. The bar was always an honour system, and more than once there was a shortfall from the funds that should have been there, which in 1974 resulted in a decision that beer should be discontinued.

The club maintained its community relations by sponsoring organisations such as the Air Cadets, and events like Miss Abbotsford. The Miss Abbotsford competition was a longstanding annual commitment. Various local organisations, the club included, sponsored a girl to enter, paying for her expenses. The club entries always visited the club to meet members. The eventual competition winners were treated as celebrities at the airshow every year. Numerous deserving groups were taken for airplane rides at the clubs expense, these included the St John’s Ambulance members, a Junior Hockey team, Job’s Daughters, airshow volunteers, and trainees from the Wildwood Training Centre. In 1968, members had to be reminded to not make commitments on behalf of the club, such as free rides. The club also provided bursaries for students at Selkirk College, BC Vocational Institute, and Trinity Western.

 

*********************

A B C D
1 How many terms as President did John Spronk serve? 1 1 2 3 4
2 What year were the trees (the hedge) planted behind the club? 2 1968 1942 1979 1991
3 How many trees were there originally? 3 32 24 12 6
4 How many trees are there now? 4 32 24 12 6
5 What year did John Spronk become the club’s first Life Member? 5 1961 1967 1969 1979
6 Who was the second Life Member? 6 King Hussien Don Nikkel Butch Merrick Gordy Cockriell
7 To whom was the club’s first Cessna 172 (VBU) eventually sold? 7 Bob McFarland Lucky Hooieveid Wayne Cave Dick Heke
8 Who was the first Manager hired to run the airshow administration? 8 Doris Matthews Ron Thornber Ian Smith Harold Luesley
9 Who was Treasurer for 1966-67 ? 9 Doris Mathews Sid Collins Sandy Bazen John Mor
10 By 1979, how many aircraft had the club purchased? 10 3 4 5 6
11 How many aircraft did the club still own in December 1979? 11 1 2 3 4
12 What was the membership cap number agreed in 1976? 12 75 100 125 150
13 What year was the grade of Associate Member introduced? 13 1962 1968 1976 1979
14 From 1968, how many airshow directors were appointed by the AFC? 14 7 14 21 28
15 What was the name of the annual payment made by the airshow to the club? 15 Campground Payment Sponsor Dividend Production Grant Investor’s Payback
A B C D
16 Which club members were not expected to volunteer with the airshow? 16 Directors Women None Members in good standing
17 What was the name of the payment made to members who flew rented aircraft? 17 Flying Incentive Flying Subsidy Renter’s Subsudy Pilot’s Payback
18 What type was the first aircraft considered for purchase by the club in 1968? 18 Cessna 150 J3 Cub Cessna 172 Champion
19 In 1969, how many different aircraft hourly rates were charged to members on the basis of seniority? 19 2 3 4 5
20 What was the name of the first civilian flight training unit at Abbotsford? 20 Skyway Air Services Sumas Air Service Abbotsford Air Services Coastal Pacific Aviation
21 What year was the Short Stranraer flying boat rebuild finished at Aerovive? 21 1970 1962 1967 1975
22 What year did the Golden Centennaires perform at the airshow? 22 1958 1967 1971 1978
23 What year did the Golden Hawks come to Abbotsford? 23 1958 1961 1967 1973
24 When was the fireplace completed in the clubhouse lounge? 24 1969 1963 1973 1978
25 What was the original purpose of the building we use as a clubhouse? 25 Mess Hall Fire Hall Guard House Officers’ Club
26 How many original wartime buildings are still standing at the airport? 26 3 4 5 6
27 In which building was the original Terminal, which came into operations after the airport was transferred to civilian use? 27 Building 1 Building 2 Building 3 Building 33
28 In what year did Lady Baden Powell hold a Girl Guide Rally at the airport? 28 1948 1956 1966 1972
29 In 1979, what were the club’s annual dues, and what was the initiation fee? 29 $10 and $20 $20 and $60 $30 and $30 $15 and $25
30 Who was Miss Abbotsford in 1967? 30 Gloria Swanson Carol Sim Linda Swanson Lana Turner
A B C D
31 Who flew Miss America at the airshow in 1970? 31 Bob Hoover Captain America Bud Granley Dib Dibnah
32 Who opened the airshow in 1974? 32 Richard Nixon Pierre Trudeau Hussein bin Talal Ayatollah Khomeni
33 What year in the 1960’s was there no RCAF presence at the airshow? 33 1998 1964 1967 1969
34 Who is best credited with inventing the now common term City of Abbotsford? 34 George Ferguson Henry Braun Chuck Dennet Matthew Begbie
35 Where were the first airshows in what is now the City of Abbotsford? 35 RCAF Abbotsford Parajump centre Lundstrom Farm Mill Lake Park
36 How many Founding Members were there? 36 10 17 25 40
37 Who is currently the second most senior member of the club? 37 Millie Watson Murray Webb John Pawlovich Don Richardson
38 In what year was Conair formed? 38 1969 1971 1973 1975
39 Who was the first DoT Airport Manager at Abbotsford 39 Phil Gaglardi Harold Luesley George Miller Harold Porter
40 What was registration of the aircraft bought by the club in 1977 40 VBU CBO HXT IEV
41 Where was the inaugural meeting of the AFC? 41 Building 2 Armouries Abbotsford Air Services Fire Hall
42 What year did the RAF send two Belfasts to transport the Short Stranraer back to UK? 42 1962 1970 1975 1986
43 What was the name of Art Scholl’s dog? 43 Elevator Snoopy Aileron Deadweight
44 How was the airshow billed in 1965? 44 Abbotsford Air Show Rotary Air Show Centennial Air Show Abbotsford International Air Show
45 How many days was the 1964 airshow? 45 1 2 3 4
46 What was the club’s purchase price for HXT? before tax 46 $8,500 $10,750 $11,250 $16,800
47 From what year was the AFC President required to be an airshow director? 47 1962 1967 1969 1975
48 What year was the first extention to what was then runway 06-24? 48 1945 1958 1970 1981
49 What was the last year that John Spronk performed in the airshow? 49 1966 1969 1974 1979
50 Which club member was part of the Canadian skydiving team for the 1964 world championships? 50 Hank Hamm Doris Giles Dave Giles Doris Matthews

 

AFC Centennial Cairn Project

AFC Centennial Cairn Project by Steve Stewart
Just over a year from now the AFC will have achieved 60 years of existence. We should celebrate this milestone positively. This is a good opportunity to look forwards rather than just scraping about in the mud of the present and recent past. We should look forward another 40 years to the club’s first centennial.

Call me a simple-minded behaviourist engineer if you like, but I don’t think that unity can be achieved by arguing about differences.  However, one thing that can help is to successfully complete a shared project, and that is what this proposal calls for.

Any of you that have read about the airshow cairn and time-capsule will be aware of some of the defining properties of that particular project –  it marked an important event; it was done with an eye to the future; it used rocks flown in from around the world; and it worked.

We should celebrate the club’s 60th anniversary by building another cairn. We already have some of the required ingredients:  it is an important event; it can celebrate our renewed forward-looking attitude; we have a nice piece of concrete to use as a core; we have material for another time-capsule; and we have the ability to collect rocks.

The piece of concrete is something we unearthed last year while working on the hangar compound paving project.  It is one of the original foundation posts for one of the wartime buildings – perhaps the officers club, which became the Armouries and is where the club met in the early days.  It happens to be exactly the right size and shape to act as a core for a stone cairn of the same design we just opened a few weeks ago. Its history will link the earliest days of the airport’s existence through the decades and into the future. Lorenzo and I have been thinking about that piece on concrete for a while, and our experience opening the airshow cairn confirmed why it had suddenly emerged from the earth after so many buried years. The very force of destiny itself was at work.

We should collect rocks ourselves – from trips we fly ourselves – from wherever we fly to.  But this time we should keep a record of which rock was brought from where, by who. Every rock has its own story.  I believe that there was a story for every rock in the airshow cairn, but no records have survived, and the only one we can identify is the one from the original London Bridge. This time, let’s not lose that information. In fact, let’s include it in the time capsule.

The contents of the time capsule should describe the club, where it came from, its history, and where it will go in the next forty years. It’s a story worth recording, and worth continuing into the future. Not every detail or episode is good, but overall it is a record of solid achievement, service to the community, and celebration of aviation, while also providing valuable opportunities to Members to advance their own aviation careers and interests in a community of like-minded individuals.

This is not a financially expensive project- the cost will be just the cost of some concrete and cement. What it will require from participants is rocks, with their background stories, and a commitment to be part of building something solid and positive, which will last for many years into the future.

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

President’s column August 2020

Dear Members, August has been a difficult month, but it can also be taken as a reminder of how lucky we are.  Our community was rocked by the sudden and tragic loss of our fellow pilot Erissa Yong-Wilson in an aviation accident.  The Abbotsford Airshow was supposed to have been this month, but due to the global pandemic has been cancelled.  First Flights has been cancelled due to ongoing COVID concerns.  Nevertheless we soldier on – we will remember our fallen fellows and we can rest assured that there will be other Airshows as well as ample opportunities to inspire the next generation of aviators to fly. AFC President Seal

Our invoices for annual dues go out this month and you may be surprised to find that there is a twenty percent reduction for this year.  Since flight operations were affected we have discounted membership by that amount.  We’re also offering a deferral program for those of us who may be struggling in this difficult time.  A FAQ is included if you need more details.  How are we able to do this, while other clubs have to raise annual dues to cover COVID costs?  The simple answer is thanks to our talented treasurer Kevin Mickleby and visionaries like Tom Grozier and Steve Stewart who set up the hangar corporation.  Kevin particularly has been able to pull us out of the financial peril our club was in two years ago.

Although we didn’t get to participate in an Airshow this year, we did carry on with the Time Capsule ceremony.  There’s an article in the newsletter about that as well.   I was honoured to participate and impressed by the hard work of research put in by Steve, Millie and the elbow-grease Lorenzo used to make sure the ceremony went smoothly on the day.  My favourite part was standing by Millie while perusing the contents of the capsule.

There’s going to be a “Wings and Wheels” celebration next weekend, though it’s just a drive through, for safety reasons.  Unfortunately, we are going to have to cancel the September pig roast as well.  I would still like to hold a dedication ceremony for the John Spronk bench, with his widow Patricia in attendance; perhaps we can do something in the same style as was employed for the time capsule ceremony.

Safe flights and stay healthy,
George Aung Thin,

President, Abbotsford Flying Club

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

Member Dues Reduction 2020/2021

Dear Members,

You may have noticed that we’ve granted a 20% reduction in dues for the upcoming year 2020/2021.  We understand that these are tough times and that following the advice of the Provincial Health Authority means that restrictions on the use of the clubhouse.

We have already had a few e-mails back from members reflecting a wide spectrum of feelings on the matter, so here are some questions you have asked along with some answers.

Why are you spending so much?

We are able to portion out 20% of annual dues because of the income from the Hangar Corporation.  The vision, will and persistence of the members who set up YXX is paying off and keeping us in good financial health.  Many clubs are having to increase their dues owing to the fact that COVID protocols cost more and restrictions mean less income.

Why are you only giving me so little?

Based on Flight operations having been closed for two months, we calculated that a 20% reduction would be a fair amount.  We have a lot of fixed costs that need to be paid (see “What do my dues actually cover?”, below) and we don’t know how long the Pandemic will last.  Some have likened the Pandemic to a marathon, but marathon runners have said that marathons have a set, known end.

When will the club house be open to members again?

We will be guided by the Provincial Health Authority on this.  Board members are querying Provincial health resources to find out what we can do.  Keep in mind that 1) we don’t employ serving or cleaning staff who are bound to follow WorkSafe BC legislation 2) we are a club of volunteers 3) we don’t know how long these restrictions will last.

What do my dues actually cover?

In the simplest terms, the dues cover membership.  Income from various sources such as airshow activities, which include dues, cover our expenses.

So what are our fixed cost expenses?

  • Building – lease costs, heating, water, hydro, Telus (currently off), garbage, miscellaneous supplies
  • Administration – Accounting, member expenses (fuel), collection of member dues
  • Aircraft – Maintenance, repairs, insurance, registration, hangar costs

Why deferrals for hardship cases?

Not all of us are avoiding the impacts of COVID restrictions.  In special cases, and to preserve the membership, we are offering to defer membership dues.  Deferral does not mean that we are losing money or “subsidizing” younger peoples’ memberships, because the amount will still be owed.  The understanding is that there is a future time when they will be employed again and able to pay their fair share.  Providing support to all of our members in their time of need means that they get aid and assistance when they need it most. This also builds stronger sense of community culture within our club.

Thanks for your interest in this subject.  Please know that we’re doing our best to deal with a largely unknown situation in uncertain times.  Safety is a paramount concern and without knowing when this situation will draw to a conclusion we must act to sustain the club and care for its members.

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.