Category Archives: Club News

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

First Flights for Kids 2018 a success!

On Saturday June 16, 2018, the club held its 10th annual AFC’s First Flights for Kids event.

We had nine aircraft participate in our awesome fleet which included the new addition of a turbine helicopter (thanks Ryan!) which added some new interest to the event.

Thanks to all the volunteers and pilots who participated.  We had a good mix of newer members, “not-so-new” members and some “potential-new” members too.  It’s your efforts and generosity that allowed over 140 kids to get their first taste of flight in a small airplane.  To date, the club has flown well over 1000 kids in the last 10 years!  Well done!

Below in the article is a small sample of the awesome pictures taken by our photographer.  Here are links to the entire collection:  Children  ,  Candids.

We look forward to seeing everyone again for next year’s event on Saturday June 15, 2019 !

Cheers,

Mark Thibault & Ron Becker
Coordinators
AFC’s First Flights for Kids

Nomination Committee Update

When the club was started in 1961, I was still a kid in Manchester and hadn’t even started school yet. So I never met most of the original club members. But I did meet some of them eventually – nearly 50 years later. They were obviously quite old by then, but 50 years earlier they had occupied responsible positions in the newly formed club. One of our first Presidents, John Spronk, was still in his thirties at the time. This group of people started the flying club, and a year later they started the airshow. Then in 1966 and 1967 they really got the airshow going to celebrate the centenaries of BC and then of Canada.

I think it is time that we made a definite effort to lower the average age of the people responsible for running things in the club. We all have a stake in the future of the club, but some of us are older than others, and our stake will simply not last as long as that of others. So it is logical that the club’s strategic direction for the future should be directed by those Members more likely to be around to keep things going.

We have at least one very valuable part of the strategic plan already in place. It is the lease relationship for the hangars with the airport, which will last until March 2045. We are putting in everything necessary to provide the best hangars we can, and this will benefit us by keeping the hangar tenants in place, all the hangars rented, and a reliable rental income coming into the club. Hangar tenants deserve to get a good product in return for their rental payments. This reliable income is a huge asset for a club. It can be used to pay for new building and airplanes. So we need to make sure we preserve the excellent arrangement that has been set up for this.

2045 is a long time from now, but I expect the club will still be here. What will it look like? What will we have achieved between now and then?

We need long-term strategies around the club’s other activities and interests – the clubhouse, growing the membership, aircraft ownership, events, etc. At present we do not have any such long-term strategies. Some of the things we do are good, and there is no reason to change them. But some things are not so positive, and continuing to do more of the same will not reverse undesirable trends, so there are some things we need to do differently.

I believe that the expertise and talents to find more effective ways of thinking are already present in the club. They reside mostly with Members who have not yet got involved with running things.

This month is May – the month when I will form the Nominating Committee for the Board that will take over in October. I need to hear from Members who want to have a say in the future of the club – Members who have ideas about how we should do things, and are willing to help make things happen, without fear of change. If this is you, please contact me. Or if you have ideas about which other members you would like to see involved, let me know who they are, and we will talk to them directly. As we all know, it can be difficult to find candidates for the Board, but is in everyone’s interests to help identify good candidates, and then elect them.

Steve Stewart
Immediate Past-President and Chair of the Nominating Committee
604-556-8260
stejste@shaw.ca

AFC’s First Flights for Kids 2017 Report

This year’s AFC’s First Flights for Kids event was held on Saturday June 17.  Our club gave 119 kids their first taste of flight in a small airplane.  The weather was excellent and everything went well.

In addition to our awesome pilots and volunteers, our partners, Coastal Pacific Aviation, Conair, 861 Silverfox Air Cadet Squadron and NavCan tower staff all contributed to the event’s success.  Thanks to everyone!

Next year will be our 10th year and we will be looking once again for club members to come together to provide this experience to lucky children from the community and surrounding areas.

The following links will take you to pictures from the event (with a few samples below):

Thanks again and see you at next year’s 10th anniversary event on June 16!

Cheers,

Ron Becker & Mark Thibault
Coordinators
AFC’s First Flights for Kids

First Flights for Kids 2016

Our First Flights for Kids event on September 10th was a success with 109 kids flown.  After having to cancel the June event due to weather, we all were very thankful for getting the weather we needed for scenic flights.

We had 7 aircraft participating which included AFC’s Cessna 172N, AFC’s Piper Archer, Ken Funk’s Mooney Ovation, Chris Hibbert’s Bellanca Super Viking, Arvid Isaak’s Cessna 182, Rene Robertson’s Pacer and Gerry Visser’s Piper Saratoga.

Everything went very smoothly and the participants all enjoyed the experience according to reports as they departed and from feedback left on our Facebook and website pages.

Massive thanks to all the many volunteers and participants for helping us make this another special day.  Thanks as well to both Conair and Coastal Pacific Aviation for their continued support in allowing us to use their ramp space and classroom facilities respectively.

Here are links to the picture galleries from the event: