Category Archives: Member News

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

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.

Francis Kendall graduation

For those who have been around the club over the years are sure to know Francis Kendall.

Francis has graduated with his Dogwood Diploma. He also earned the North Otter PAC scholarship and the Langley School District Inspiration Award. This is awarded to students who Inspire and exudes the school district’s core values of Excellence, Integrity, Community, and Courage.

Well done Francis!

President’s Column, June 2020

Dear Members, welcome to the month of June!  We are now open again for flight operations, in a limited capacity.    We’re calling this a “soft opening” because we’ve just opened up the flight operations.  This means the aircraft, flight room and the washrooms.  Pilots are allowed to fly with members of their household or an instructor provided both pilot and instructor are wearing masks.  For more details, please refer to the information in the newsletter.  The bar is not currently open – we’re waiting for go-ahead from Provincial Authorities to do so.   Shout outs to the volunteers who have been making this happen.  You’re striking the balance between keeping us safe and getting us flying.   I am personally hoping that we can enter into Phase III opening protocols where we can start allowing members to congregate again.  You can do your part by staying safe and following the restrictions to keep that infection rate low!

Great news – IUK is back in service and with some nifty new instruments – two Garmin G5s and an ADSB in/Out transponder for flights into the USA. Many thanks to Brian Appaswamy, Zoltan Kondakor and Luciano Nisi who have made this possible by setting up training and information on the website.AFC President Seal

In other good news, and in anticipation of better times for the future, I’ve set up a date for our Fall Pig Roast.  In fact, we’ve renamed it the “AFC Member Appreciation” Pig Roast.  The date is set for September 5th, Labour Day, and if you’d like to volunteer, let me know.  We can start planning in earnest as the Provincial Health Authority eases restrictions.

Zoom has established itself as a regular part of our lives nowadays.  I’d like to express a great deal of thanks to our Secretary, Augie Rinz, who has been holding things together and managing the details.   There’s a lot of work involved and he makes it seem easy – even under pressure he remains cool and polite.

On that note, this is a reminder that our General Meeting this Wednesday the 10th – attendance is not mandatory, but it should be a bit of fun so please consider zooming in.  Last week I made a presentation to the members of R.A.A. Chapter 85 on the story of the AFC Glastar purchase on Zoom.  It was very well received and they are willing to reciprocate when we get set up for presentations again.  They can tell us about their Cruzer or any number of interesting things, I think.

I don’t know about you, but a meeting with a presentation and club business seems like it could be a long affair and more than you may care to commit to.  I’d propose having a separate Zoom meeting just for presentations and another at our regularly scheduled timeslot for club business.  I would like your thoughts on this since it’s your meeting too!

Time remains, as ever, a precious commodity, so I thank you for taking some of yours to read this newsletter.

Sincerely,
George Aung Thin,

President, Abbotsford Flying Club

PS: As you may or may not know, Millie and Steve are documenting our History at the Abbotsford Flying Club for the purpose of writing a book – which is as yet untitled.   They have asked past Presidents for their stories and I have been jotting down some thoughts.  I am sure that our stories will have depth, in terms of how far back our history goes – for this we rely on our venerated long-term members.  But I’d also like our stories to have breadth, by which I mean that I’d like to hear a wide cross section of stories no matter how new they are – this is where newer members can add their stories to the history of the AFC.  You’re a part of it now, after all and I think your voices are just as relevant too.  Therefore I invite any of you who have stories of the club, of Airshow, volunteering or even flight experiences to send your tale to Millie or Steve.  Do  you have a story from volunteering at the Airshow in the Campground, setting up fences, getting a ride as a result of the GA display or cooking at the Broken Prop?  Did you fly the aircraft or marshal people at our First Flights for Kids?  Did something particularly funny happen around the campfire during Wings and Wheels?  Do you have a fond memory of our AFC Member Appreciation pig-roast BBQ?  Was there a particularly interesting occurrence at the TGIF – like the Robbie Burns celebration?  Twenty years from now you may look back at it as a fond memory of your own past.

An AFC Christmas Story

I remember when I first joined the Abbotsford Flying Club in 2011.  In those early days, Randy Kelley, Steve Stewart and others were leading the club, impressing me with their gravitas and the depth of their history at the Club.  They were the titans of the day, regaling us with tales of past flying shows and engaging in jocular jests about Fleet Canucks with other members.  I had just finished my interview with Bob Bryan, a welcoming soul who I later found out had been a President of the Flying Club before.  Our interview went long, but I was having a good time and I was honoured to have introduced him to Chai Tea latte – we’re still good friends to this day.  Stephen Head was my “sponsor” back in those days – I was thankful for his kindness and his gentle ways.  He introduced me to a few members and shared some stories as well.

Back in those days, I had only just gotten my pilot’s licence.  My two children were five and three.  At the earliest stages of parenthood, we measure things with how much (or little) sleep we get.  The age of five and three had me sleeping fairly well, with only a few interruptions to the night’s sleep two or three times a week.  Now, of course, my kids are 11 and 13 and they’ve recently learned how to successfully diagnose and fix their bicycles.   Back then, however, I was required to be the weekend entertainment guide if I was to give my wife any kind of appreciable break from the pressing duties of motherhood.

Anyway, Christmas time was rapidly approaching and on weekends I was forever struggling to find things to do with the kids.  We dressed them up as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” and quicker than you could say, “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” we were out the door!  I had heard that there was going to be an appearance at the Club from Santa himself.  There, I thought to myself, I could find some entertainment for the kids and a bit of piloty-type conversation with some fellow club members.  I hadn’t read the details, though – and in such an omission I had erred.  The instructions told parents to bring along a wrapped gift that Santa could give to their child as an early Christmas present.

Oblivious, I walked into the club, sans-gift and let the kids loose to play with all the other kids there.  They had a great time and wouldn’t have noticed if they didn’t get a gift.  When Santa arrived in the sidecar of a motorcycle, my children were awestruck.  They were so happy just to see the Jolly Old Elf that they could have been happy with that.  Unbeknownst to me a friendly bunch of “Christmas Elves” from the club had quickly done rounds of the club, gathered up some odds and ends and assembled a very nice little package of gifts that Santa could give the kids.  What class!  What grace!  I thought to myself, “this is indeed a welcoming place”.