Category Archives: Member News

RSVP to the AFC Annual General Meeting

We are preparing for the Annual General Meeting that will be taking place next month on Wednesday 9 October. Please note that this is the only meeting where it is members only; no guests please.
Dinner will be starting at 18:30 with the meeting itself beginning after that, somewhere around 19:30.
Bob Bryan once again will be catering our excellent (and I mean excellent) AGM dinner, but we need to know roughly how many people will attend so that we have enough food and not waste too much.
Please RSVP in the comments below so that Bob knows how many will be attending.

Celebrating $250,000 raised and 1000 medical flights for Hope Air¹s Give Hope Wings 3 week NW Expedition

Thank you family and friends, YOU helped get this DONE!

Asking people to give towards a cause they may not be familiar with, and who already give so much, to open up their pocketbooks, and give again for something that is on our radar, is pushing my comfort limit.

BUT……YOU……all said yes to helping this Canadian NGO, Hope Air, help Canadians fly to their medical appointments & treatments who are from rural areas.

I am so thankful to have met a few of these courageous individuals on this trip who have used Hope Air in their times of need. Many of them would not have gone through with their treatments had they not been able to fly to and from their faraway homes.

I’ve been blessed to have expanded my wings….literally…on this Adventure, and want to thank all those cheering leaders who said yes, you can do this Lise. It was really a “personal best” for me!

Photo credits to Bob Leroux, fellow aviator and friend from the Abbotsford Flying Club.

Bob & his wife Val, came out to capture Hope Air’s GHW in Pitt Meadows both on June 2nd and upon our memorable return July 5th. Thank you Bob.

Airport Day June 2nd

  • Dave McElroy: Chief Pilot Wings 1 RV6 & Coordinator of 2019 NW Expedition
  • Rani Tolton: GHW Volunteer Flight Crew, Leg One
  • Steven Drinkwater: Wings 3, Chief Pilot C140
  • Lise Ash: Title Sponsor & PIC Wings 1 RV6
  • Ian Porter: Wings 2, Chief Pilot Pipistrel Virus

My total gear for 3 weeks away. No high heels in this packing job.

Title Sponsor Langley Sportsplex

 My rudder extensions, a full 5 1/2”

My family, cheering leaders, send off and welcoming committee.

Quilt on the arrival back.

1st picture taken by Bob as Dave slid back the canopy and we officially completed the mission safe & sound at 3:10 pm July 5th.

Cheering Leaders!

Thank YOU again.

I am working on a short Power Point presentation highlighting some key moments, so watch for it coming soon.

News in brief

Zoltan is the first club member to successfully finish his check ride in our Glastar. Congratulations.

He said he loves the plane!

Ken McKeen in action this morning pruning the tree in front of our clubhouse

With CGGMA out of commission, we flew a three ship formation over the Canada Day Parade parade this morning, as was requested by the Abbotsford Airshow. Rene flew lead in his Pacer, Bevan was on the right wing in his RV7A and Dave Wall was on the left wing in his Q2

Wings and Wheels 2019

Dear Wings and Wheels Volunteers,

I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to you – this year our Wings and Wheels event went off quite well!  Despite the rain and the fact that the “Fly-In” was more of a “Taxi-In” your high spirits, welcoming hearts and “can-do” attitudes turned it into a fun, cozy and smooth-running event!  We provided a safe and secure place for the wings and the wheels, a hearty breakfast for fifty three guests and some enchanting entertainment.

There are just too many people to mention – and I’m terrible at remembering, so please forgive any of my memory lapses.  Firstly, I’d like to express a special thank you to Ed Boon.  Despite wanting to hand off the Wings and Wheels event two years ago, he’s put in a great effort and made things work.  We had lots of great help from Ruth, Steve, Mark and Lorenzo on the preparation and setup in the weeks leading up to the event.  Holes were filled, fences erected, stages set up, critical equipment secured – not to mention the planning, marketing and other thinking that went into the endeavor.  On the day before Wings and Wheels there was a huge set up effort.  During the event itself, one of my secret activities (while the eggs are cooking away) is to step back and observe the hum of activity that goes on while we’re hosting an event.  It’s spectacular!  I saw Murray, Jan, Barb and Val buzzing away in the kitchen and the dining area.  Clark was handing out sausages with Val helping.  Murray presided over the settings, making sure that condiments, juices and syrup kept flowing.  Meanwhile, in the kitchens, Bob ran the cooking operation with an eagle eye and a ready laugh to keep people encouraged.  Bob Leroux and Adrian were everywhere, snapping photos and documenting the action!  The hardcore troopers, Aug and Kevin were out on the field directing the vehicles and aircraft into position – it was cold and wet work on this rainy May day!  Inside, Dirk and his wife Susan took money, sold tickets and kept a tally on incoming customers.  I heard many positive comments from the Mayor and his graceful wife, Velma about the caliber of our club – in particular it’s members; they said we represent the spirit of welcome and adventure that embodies the Abbotsford Community.

Pictures of the event can bee seen on the AFC Facebook page here.


Overall it was a great day – and it was thanks to the skill, dedication and hard work put on by our volunteers.  Thanks to you all!

Millie Watson Recognised by the Airshow Society

At the Members’ event on Saturday May 4th, Millie Watson was presented with a personalized Abbotsford International Airshow jacket.

Millie Watson wearing her new jacket and standing in front of B25 ‘Grumpy’ of the Historic Flight Foundation

After the 1963 show, ‘In keeping with its Constitution, the AFC gave a donation to the Mission City Cadet Squadron to assist in the building of a glider. The club also provided a scholarship to enable a member of the Abbotsford Air Rangers to take a Private Pilot’s Course. This scholarship was awarded to Miss Millie Watson of Mission City.’ ‘No one is more delighted than Mrs.H.Tarasenko captain of the Abbotsford Air Rangers. “It is a wonderful thing the Abbotsford Flying Club is doing” she told The News. “Not only is the club granting this flying scholarship but also instructing three other Abbotsford girls in the ground course. This should enable them to get their Leading Air Ranger badges”.’  Girls taking part in the ground school were Pat Warwick, Myrna Kvist and Valerie Carter.  Millie joined the Rangers in September 1963, and there were 10 girls in the group

When this picture was taken, Millie had logged five hours flying. She had started training on February 1st 1964

Millie completed the requirements for her licence in just 35 hours (which was the minimum required at that time), plus 20 hours of ground school.

Mildred Watson (second from right) took her Air Ranger friends Diane Cherry, Donna Taylor and Susan Small for a ride when she made her first passenger flight. Looking on is Tony Cosgrove, her instructor.

She then joined the AFC and has been a Member ever since, being made a Life Member in 2001?  As well as being an airshow volunteer, Millie also became the airshow’s very first employee. She had arranged to spend the summer of 1964 working at Eatons, but then the air show committee asked for her help and offered to match the pay she had expected from Eatons. Her main work was to book hotel rooms by phone, from one end of the valley to the other, and so far away as Victoria. She continues to volunteer with the airshow, and is currently the official Archivist for both the AFC and AIAS

Pool tournament winners

Robbie and Kevin Lacroix defeated team Chris Palmer and Murray Webb in the third and final game. It ended up in a nail biter when Murray sank the eight ball and the cue ball in the same shot.

The trophy was handed out by last year’s winners, Bevan Tomm and Richard Bauch.

Your winners! Robbie and Kevin!

The AFC ‘Flying Incentive”

by Steve Stewart and Millie Watson

While working on our Airshow History Project, we came across some information on how the club’s ‘Flying Incentive’ used to work. It was a scheme that encouraged members to fly by subsidizing the cost. The scheme started well before the club actually owned any aircraft, and it was fairly well defined, which meant that its cost to the club could be monitored. In 1967 each qualifying member was limited to 20 flying hours, and the incentive value ranged from $2.50 to $3.50 per hour. As the table shows, this was a significant contribution to the normal cost. Aircraft could be rented from either Abbotsford Air Services or from Skyway Air Services, and it appears that Skyway also gave its own discount of 10% to club members. The net result was that a Cessna 150 could be flown for as little as $7.50 per hour. Members had to apply for the incentive at the start of each year, and in order to qualify they had to be signed off as having passed a test flight, and they were expected to have supported club activities and attended meetings (missed no more than three in previous year). The cost of the subsidy was billed directly by the provider to the club.

For 1968 the regular hourly rates at both schools appear to have increased significantly. For example the Skyway rate for a Cessna 150 went up to $12.00 from $10.00, and the AAS rate increased to $13.00 from $10.50. The club responded by increasing the value of the flying incentive to a flat rate of $6.00 per hour, which meant that the net cost to qualifying members for a Cessna 150 was just $6.00 from Skyway or $7.00 from AAS. These rates all sound incredibly low from our perspective of over 50 years later.

We can attempt to put the rates into the context of what people earned and what other things cost.

In BC the minimum wage in 1968 was just $1.25, whereas it is now $13.85.
A new 1967 Cessna 172 Skyhawk cost US$12,750. Now a new 172 is over $400k
The first Airshow full-time manager was hired in 1969 at a salary of $12,000
Statistics Canada indicates that $100 in 1968 would buy about the same as $700 will buy now.
In 2019 the AFC hourly rate for our Cessna 172 is $150 (and in this context we should note that this is significantly less than cost)

So overall, it appears that the cost of flying really has gone up much faster than other things. However, its true affordability would need a much more thorough analysis of how disposable income has changed.

We can also provide some context regarding how the finances of the club looked back then. 1967 was Canada’s centennial year, and the 1967 airshow was a step change from previous shows. In 1962 the AFC derived a net of $255.43 from the show. This rose to $900.00 in 1963 and continued to rise steadily each year. But in 1967 the net AFC income from the centennial show jumped to $6,103.35, which was equivalent to about half the price of a new Cessna Skyhawk. StatsCan would suggest a present equivalent income at over $40,000. In 1968 the club netted $4,500 from the regular airshow. After that, the airshow income to the club increased in steps that went to $7,000 in 1970, then $10,000 in 1975, $12,000 in 1980, and $17,000 in 1981. The peak number was $47,468 in 1989. From 1969 onwards the club had the entire responsibility for producing the airshow, so the money was well earned. The airshow income enabled the club to buy its first aircraft in January 1969 (a Cessna 150), and it also financed the flying incentive.

By 1972 the incentive value was being paid as a rebate to the member, who had to submit receipts. Its value was $5.00 per hour, for up to 15 hours, and it could be used for any aircraft rental, including club aircraft.

By 1974 the club owned two aircraft, and the rules for 1974 affirmed the need to be checked out on both types every year. Interestingly, there was some concern about lack of attendance at meetings, and the qualification for the flying incentive was only 50%. The January 1974 Newsletter provides some statistics for 1973.

Those of us that have been studying the club’s more recent flying hours will see some of the same patterns that still happen. In particular, 33 members flew club aircraft, half of the active pilots only made 10 flights or less, 5 pilots only flew twice, and 6 pilots only flew once.
Is any of this relevant to our present operations? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is interesting. Certainly it shows that some things change over time, but other things stay the same, and some things come back in cycles. The AFC is still an essential part of producing the airshow, even though our part is less than it was, and the income we derive from it is much less in real terms. Back then, the airshow was the main income source for the club, but now our hangar lease arrangements mean that they will probably remain our largest income source for the next 25 years.

We still subsidise the cost of flying club aircraft, but we have lost the ability to clearly track the per-hour value of that subsidy, and it is not specifically identified as being an incentive to fly. We do still fly our aircraft far less hours than we could, and flying them more would lower the per hour fixed costs. Sometime soon, after we have had some experience with the Glastar, it will be appropriate to once again look at aircraft costs, hourly rental rates, and levels of subsidy, and maybe we can once again achieve the clarity that was part of the club’s original approach.

Give Hope Wings

Hope Air helps to relieve the stress of travelling to healthcare so that patients can focus on what is truly important – their health.

Hope Air is a national charity that arranges free flights for Canadians in financial need who must travel to healthcare far from home. Since its establishment in 1986, Hope Air has arranged more than 130,000 free flights to healthcare. This has impacted countless Canadian families over the years.

For so many Canadians, the journey to better health doesn’t start at the door of the hospital.  Getting to an appointment can mean a drive of over 12 hours each way, a long and sometimes painful journey for someone who is seeking treatment for serious illness.  A flight to medical care reduces travel time so that Hope Air’s Clients can get to their appointments comfortably and get back home to their families faster.

“We’re not an airline, we’re a lifeline”

Give Hope Wings

In June / July 2019, Give Hope Wings takes to the air again with a three-week, 12,000 km flying expedition across British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska. The flight is comprised of three aircraft owned by Dave McElroy, Steve Drinkwater and Ian Porter. This is the second major Give Hope Wings expedition to raise awareness and funds for Hope Air, Canada’s iconic charity which provides free flights to Canadians in financial need who must get to health care far from home. But Give Hope Wings – The Northwest Expedition is much more than a fund-raiser: It’s an idea stemming from the passions of four pilots, these three men plus Lise Ash – all four of whom have passions for generosity, flying and camaraderie.

In early 2018, Dave and two other partners flew around South America as Give Hope Wings, raising over $500,000 for Hope Air. In September, soon after Dave had presented this remarkable story to a crowd at Abbotsford Airport, he was approached by Lise, a recently minted pilot. She asked if Give Hope Wings was considering another flight and pledged her support as a major sponsor if this were to come to pass. Bingo: Give Hope Wings – The Northwest Expedition was born. Since that time, Steve and Ian have joined the project with their aircraft, and this exciting expedition is now well along in its planning: logistics, operations, website, fund-raising, etc.

The crew are now also actively canvassing for Volunteer Flight Crew Members – generous Hope Air Donors who want to “pay it forward,” share this great adventure and experience the penultimate bucket-list adventure. This is a chance to explore huge parts of North America’s northwest corner from a comfortable, high-visibility seat which is only available in a light aircraft. What an experience!


Our very own member, Lise Ash is working very hard on this project and can use your support! Please visit her fundraising page at


AFC St. Patrick’s Day Limerick Contest

The AFC St. Patrick’s Day limerick contest was held at TGIF on March 15th
The winner of the original composition category was Murray Webb with this:-

“ An old aviator named Campbell
Spun out on a sidewalk and fell
He now wears a sling
On his busted left wing
And his flying has gone all to hell”

second place went to Chris Palmer with this:-

“ I once fell in love with a blonde
But found out that she wasn’t too fond
Of rough rides in my Yukon
Which she threatened to puke on
Demanding we land on a pond.”

The previously published category was won by Chris Palmer, who offered this:-

There was a young maid from Madras
Who had a magnificent ass-
Not rounded and pink
As you probably think,
It was grey, had long ears, and ate grass.