Category Archives: President’s Column

President’s Column – February 2019

February Presidential Column

Dear Members and Readers,

I wish you a Happy February! Having been born and raised in Ontario I am always delighted by the pleasant weather of the West coast. No more so than in February; when the rest of the country is gritting their teeth and girding themselves against a cold and dreary month, in beautiful British Columbia, we are awakening to green grass, flowering crocuses and a general Spring-like set of conditions. It is for that reason that I have dubbed February the “Spring Teaser”. It’s a wonderful month full of promise.

Subsequent months may bring rain, snow or overcast skies, but the Spring Teaser gives us the inspiration to push through to the season of CAVOK. Fitting, I think, that we have Family Day in February – a time when we can picnic or barbecue and dream up plans for the upcoming Summer.

This month our faithful Safety team will be hosting some events to get us ready. Dustin will be holding a safety Hangar Talk and Warren LeGrice will be putting on a refresher training course – be sure to check out the calendar and reserve a space! Our presentation for the month of February will be Warren taking a look at the Dryden accident and how that was a turning point for the CARS. Speaking of safety – it’s the little things that can get you the worst. Slips, trips and falls may not give you cause for concern, but the consequences of a bad slip or a fall can take you out of the cockpit for a while. Please exercise caution in icy, slippery conditions. February may be the Spring Teaser, but her icy mornings can be hazardous.

Lastly, in the positive spirit of the Spring Teaser, I’d like to share a story with you from one of our members. His story epitomizes the far reaching effects that small acts of kindness can have. He is currently a commercial pilot, with his own aircraft and no real need to belong to the club. But he did join, and for reasons that had to do with his past flying club experience. Twenty years ago he was a new pilot. He found himself invited to join his local flying club. He didn’t have a lot of flying (or life) experience at the time, but he was nevertheless treated with respect and dignity. The club members swapped stories with him, encouraged him to fly their aircraft and never once judged him for the brashness of his youth, the loftiness of his dreams or his lack of experience. He enjoyed a happy, but brief spell at the club before his career took him away from home. He built up a career, a family and a good life for himself in our province. He went on to recount that he kept thinking back to his old flying club, the gentle and knowledgeable members and the warm welcome he received there. He wasn’t in a position where he needed to be part of a club – but he found that he craved the camaraderie of his past club in the old days. So he joined the Abbotsford Flying Club where he is a member who enriches our club with his knowledge, experience and positive attitude.

There are several lessons we can take from this story. Firstly: welcoming acts of inclusion and encouragement of new and/or young members will create an impression that lasts a lifetime. Secondly, the benefits of having a healthy, friendly flying club go beyond the club itself – these benefits can span the entire country! Thirdly, General Aviation is about people: we need not make giant, sweeping gestures to ensure that GA stays alive. All that is needed is a welcoming heart, a spirit of understanding and a willingness to share our club to sustain General Aviation well into the future.

Yours truly,

George

President’s Column – January 2019

Happy New Year, fellow Abbotsford flying club members!  The New Year means different things to different people. For most people, it means resolutions with the goal of becoming a better person.  On my daily dog walks, evidence of this appears in the form of a flock of joggers who I have noticed running around the neighbourhood.

In the past I used to make a resolution every year to fly more, to eat less, exercise more and work at being a better husband and father.  By the time July rolls around, I would have made a few minor changes but typically I’ve settled into a groove and the changes aren’t as noticeable.  For the past couple of years, I’ve just started setting out regular times to reflect on how things are going and work out how to make things better.  The constant approach seems to work better for me and gets me to ensure that I’m balancing my duties and the things I value based on the situation at hand – rather than one I may have imagined back in January.

So what self-improvements does your situation allow for?  Are you going to volunteer more?  Are you going to spend more time with your family?  Are you going to try to make new friends?  The holidays provide a time for reflection, but are you prepared to set up times during the upcoming year to reflect, take stock and recalibrate?

With respect to the club as a whole, we have a lot to look forward to this coming year!  We have our special events like Wings and Wheels, First Flights for Kids, the Airshow and a number of weekly TGIFs (some of which follow a theme).  We have a year of flying to look forward to – weekend flyouts, events at other clubs, air races and our new aircraft to fly.  There are also a number of new members who I’m sure it will be good to get to know over the coming year.

I wish you all the best in 2019 – may you be blessed with blue skies and fair winds for all your flights.

Yours truly,
George

President’s Column – December 2018

Hello, fellow flying club members.  I’d like to start off my first newsletter posting by thanking you for electing me as your president.  I hope that I can serve you, our club members and live up to your expectations.

I would like to also thank the members of my board for their help and support in all matters.  I can assure you that they are all working hard to get oriented to their positions and get started.  We have some fun times ahead, and some hard work too.  There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone…if you want to go far, go together”.  I’m taking this to heart and working to bring you along with any changes we may be making.

For example, one thing we have changed is the agenda for our general meetings.  I’m calling it the ‘reverse-mullet’ approach – fun in the front and business in the back.  Our meetings now start off with an interesting guest speaker, some time to socialize over the break and our board reports at the end.  That way, our guests don’t have to sit through our business meeting and anyone who needs to leave early (say, for work) can do so without missing the speaker.

I’d also like to start a “Getting to Know You” column for the newsletter.  Each month, I’m going to chat with one of our members and write up our conversation.  We have a lot of amazing and interesting people at our club.  Our diversity is our strength, and it’s good to know our stories to continue to build the culture of our club.

I will close with thanks!  Thanks to our members, to our volunteers and our board.   I feel hopeful for our future as a club and I hope that in the coming term we can work together and go far!

 

Yours truly,
George

President’s Column – March 2018

Well spring is here (I hope) and activities around the Club are moving into full swing.

To arrive at this point however, we had to endure some of the worst weather that I can remember, including a significant snowfall in March. Many thanks to Bevan Tomm and my nine-year old grandson for taking the initiative in clearing the taxi-ways and drains using a walk-behind snow-blower and shovels.

Undaunted by bad weather, other Club committees met. Your buildings committee had a work party and a planning session. The aircraft acquisition committee met and also went on field trips to evaluate potential replacements for HXT. Your constitution and by-law committee had their regular Wednesday meetings and wrapped up at the end of February. And the Club’s IMC club had their regular monthly meeting.

Your social committee put on a great kids’ Christmas party, the popular Robbie Burns day event was a hit, pool and darts tournaments are popular ongoing events and our Friday night socials have been well attended. All are encouraged to come out and take part.

There have been a couple of changes to the Board as we have had a resignation from Skylar, owing to personal and work commitments and from Ruth owing to personal and family commitments. The Board elected Clark Closkey to replace Skylar as director of flight safety. Clark is a past president, director, committee chair and currently chairs the constitution and by-law committee. The Board has yet to replace Ruth.

Your executive is working hard to replace HXT as was mandated by the membership. It has been a challenging task, but we will continue to endeavour to accomplish our goal as quickly as possible.

With the recent improvement in the weather, there will be ample opportunity for all members to become involved with the day to day operations, tasks and activities of the Flying Club. We reward our members for their participation in and contributions to the Flying Club by subsidising the flying rates. A trend presently exists wherein the same members volunteer their time to support the Club, doing the work year after year with little to no participation from our newer members. If this trend continues and it becomes necessary to hire trades and labour, it will be necessary to re-address the subsidy policy.

Air Show will be upon us soon and the various fund-raising activities sponsored by the Club will require volunteer help. If you are unsure as to how to volunteer, simply ask any senior member or any director and they will point you in the right direction. The Flying Club is a volunteer organization by nature and it is expected that members will come forward of their own accord. Besides, Air Show is always a lot of fun and it is a rewarding experience.

Ken Campbell
AFC President

President’s Column – June 2017

Summer is finally upon us and the usual flurry of club activities has begun.

The various airshow committees are underway and looking for members to contribute their time and expertise in order that we can maintain a long tradition of producing one of the world’s foremost airshows. Planning is well underway for the AFC campground which is a major fundraiser for the club.

Bob Bryan and his crew are finalizing their menu for this year’s Broken Prop and have issued a call for members to come out and lend a hand. In the last few years we haven’t offered a dinner menu to our campers and it has been requested by AAIS that we reconsider doing so. Your directors- Josh and Skylar, have proposed that the AFC have a beer garden outside the clubhouse as a fundraiser and perhaps we could incorporate a food service as well. In order to do this, we require volunteers to come forward immediately and show your support for the club. Fly-in camping and the general aviation display will also require support from the members as these venues would not exist were it not for the support and guidance of the AFC volunteers. These activities and venues provide the revenue we require to maintain the AFC clubhouse and our flying activities. I strongly urge our members old and new to get involved, have some fun and support the club.

On a more serious note there has been some grumbling about behaviour at our general meetings. I’ve given this a lot of serious consideration and had discussions with other directors and members of the club. It’s now time for my ramble….and here it is. It has been observed that a deterioration in behaviour and respect for protocol and tradition has been a problem for some years now. In my experience this has been a recurring problem since I became a member back in 1985. Some members I’ve spoken to abhor this behaviour while others contend that these sort of highly energised “discussions” are healthy. I’m not sure that personal insults and threats could ever be considered healthy. In fact, the very subject of this discussion could be considered inflammatory and counter productive.

However, I have taken steps and I hope that you, the members, have noticed a marked improvement in behaviour at our meetings and I fervently hope that this trend will continue into the future. I would love to take credit for these improvements, but I can’t, as I don’t believe one person has the ability to alter the behaviour of a large group of type A personalities (LOL). I believe it is a concerted effort by a lot of individuals within our ranks to put the needs of the club before their own personal agenda. I applaud these members and their commitment to the future of the club.

There is also the inevitable change brought about by the evolution of society, that some feel that the old should stand aside and make way for the new and that what “we did” in the past is best forgotten. However, we need to remember our roots and the contributions made and the thousands of hours of personal time donated by our members and their families and give them the respect they justly deserve, even if you don’t agree with their politics. I would also ask that we show our younger members the respect and consideration they, in turn, deserve. I would hope that the new members will see their way to embrace the concept of becoming valued contributors. Your constructive feedback is welcome.

There, that’s my ramble, lets work together for the benefit of all.

Ken Campbell

President’s Column – April 2017

Spring is finally upon us, a time of growth and renewal.  With that in mind we should take a moment to reflect on what has come before as well.

We have recently said our final goodbyes to three people who played significant roles in the growth of the Flying Club that we’ve come to know.  George Ferguson, our former mayor, was a long time friend and patron of the AFC.  It would take far too long to list the many contributions made by George.  His strong support of the AFC, AIAS and aviation in the Fraser Valley has been invaluable.  He will be greatly missed.

We also recently lost two members of the club who can best be described as family.  Shirley Hubbard was the wife of Frank Hubbard and was for many years a sustaining member.  Shirley and Frank were involved in the aviation industry since first meeting during the war in a hospital in the UK and were major, long term contributors to the AFC.  They both worked many hundreds of hours around and for the club.  We will miss Shirley’s tireless work ethic and humour.

Norm Hart was the club’s treasurer for many years and most of our senior members will best remember Norm as the guy who greeted them at the door on meeting night with a smile and a handwritten bill.  As time rolls inexorably on, we must take a moment to remember the contributions made by ALL who came before.

An oft-repeated quote I’ve been hearing around the club lately is “the past is the past and we have to look to the future”.  In response, I would like to quote a famous American philosopher, George Santayama – “If we do not learn from the past, we are condemned to repeat it”.

The AFC has endured and in fact flourished for the last 55 years due to the hard work and decisions, some good and some not so good, made by our members.  But we learned, and to belittle those efforts in any way does both our past and current members a great injustice.

An enduring construct is built upon a strong foundation.  Our founding members built such a foundation but it is only through the continued participation of all our members, old and new, that we can continue to grow.  So please support your club and future growth by getting involved.

Ken Campbell
AFC President

President’s Column – February 2017

It appears that winter is over and we’ve seen a flurry of activity over at the hangars! LOL
Spring and the busy flying season will soon be here and I would anticipate that our pilots are brushing up on their theory and flying skills. Your aircraft safety committee has plans for some “rust removers” in the near future.

Your executive has been working hard to address issues that may affect the long term health of the Club. Some of these include an updated constitution and by-laws, finances, capital funding for replacement of HXT and the future direction of the Abbotsford Flying Club.

The re-formation of a strategic planning committee is to be undertaken, as this committee had already been established under the guidance of past president Randy Kelly. To me, it seems logical to build on this. This committee, with input from the members, would set a path for the AFC in the coming years. Although many of us won’t be around, it would be nice to work towards the 100th year of operation of the Club with a strategic plan to guide us.

Your constitution and by-laws committee, with continuing input from the members, is the first step forward towards achieving this goal, so I would ask for your continued support and input.

On Monday, February 13th, there will be a “drive-out” to the Boeing Assembly Plant at Everett, Washington being organized by Richard Bauch, your fly-out committee chairman. There will be car-pooling from the club early on the 13th and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t been there to take in this marvel of modern technology. There are other fly-out events being planned for the coming flying season and members are encouraged to participate. As always, there are our ongoing Sunday morning fly-outs.

I would like to encourage our members to take full advantage of Club outings, activities and social events. Participation of members, and particularly new members, ensures the positive growth of the Club. New ideas and suggestions are always welcome and I ask everyone to feel free to contact any of your executive or committee members if you have ideas or suggestions. As always, the presentation of new ideas at the monthly meetings is always welcome.

I look forward to hearing some creative and enthusiastic ideas from the membership that could become new traditions or even ideas to re-vamp some existing favourite events. We can only move forward with the input of our membership.

Ken Campbell
President

President’s Column – December 2016

The Christmas season is upon us and things have been relatively quiet around the Club as far as flying goes. We are experiencing unusually snowy and cold weather and that tends to put a damper on our flying opportunities. However, the traditional Saturday morning breakfasts and the Sunday fly-outs are still attracting members who are willing to brave all types of weather and road conditions to uphold the social traditions.

The unusually snowy weather has given our scheduled Christmas events a bit of a challenge. The Christmas TGIF had to be postponed by one week, to Friday, December 16th. All are encouraged to join in as this is always a popular and well-attended event. The heavy snowfall late last week gave the children’s Christmas party on Saturday (the 10th) a festive feel, perfect for the arrival of that jolly red elf, Santa Claus. He was well received by the over 40 people who attended this event. It was a joint effort pot luck event and all the contributions made meant that nobody went hungry. There was some seriously amazing balloon art produced by a visiting clown and it was big hit with the kids. Our thanks go out to Ruth who, with the assistance of many other members and their families, with special mention going out to Deryn, Murray and, Leanne and all those who came out and shovelled snow to make the Club accessible.

The new year marks Canada’s 150th birthday and we can expect that there will be many celebrations, both nationally and locally. Perhaps our Club could host a fly-out to Ottawa for any who may be so inclined. Members are encouraged to come forward with any ideas and suggestions for events the Club could consider to celebrate Canada’s birthday – all suggestions gratefully received and considered.

As the year draws to a close, we are looking forward to 2017. I anticipate the movement to replace HXT will take off early in the New Year and that project will require our attention. I look forward to getting to know some of our newer members and encouraging their participation in the many aspects of the Club – for example, the Sunday morning fly-out. And I would hope that some of our new members will accept this as an invitation to join one of the committees that will be organized in the coming months.

Please accept my best wishes to all members and their families for a safe and happy holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

President’s Column – November 2016

It’s that time again – time for you the members to break in a new Board.  There are some familiar faces and some new ones, but the common thread is that we are all volunteers who are contributing personal time, skills and efforts to manage the Club’s affairs and hopefully provide a positive experience.  Your Board strives to make the Abbotsford Flying Club an environment that fosters camaraderie and friendship.  Be you a flying member, a non-flying member or an associate member, you are all equally-valued.  All that I ask in return is that each of us treat everyone associated with the AFC with dignity and respect and find some way to contribute. This is the foundation the Club was built on and one of the reasons we have been so successful and in existence for so many years.

In the coming year there will be problems to solve, issues to address, and projects to complete, but as they say “many hands make for light work”.  Ruth Wiebe, our Social Director, is planning a variety of socials in the coming months and most notably, Christmas is around the corner and plans are being made.  Please contact Ruth with your suggestions and offers of assistance and help us create some memorable social experiences in the months to come.

Your Flyout Director, Richard Bauch, is pre-planning the coming year’s fly-outs and I am sure he would appreciate volunteers to help plan destinations and/or act as flight leader on some of the interesting flyouts he has in mind.

Josh Sandford, your newsletter “go-to guy”, will be looking for input, contributions and suggestions for topics of discussion.  The newsletter is an opportunity for members to tell others of their aviation adventures or just to tell us of any milestones (anniversaries, birthdays, accomplishments, etc.) in their lives.

Chris Palmer, your Vice-President, is the Club’s Program Director and is asking for input as to what the members would like to see in the future with regards to programs or seminars.  Dirk Sieber is your Membership Chairman and is there to assist you as a resource person for any questions you may have.  Brian Appaswamy returns as the Club’s maintenance director and is the person to approach regarding anything to do with the aircraft.  Skylar Pridham is the Club’s new Aircraft Safety Chairman.  Skylar brings with him knowledge and experience that will be of benefit to the Club and its flying members.

Several committees have already been established but are still looking for members willing to contribute a little time.  Clark Closkey is chairing the Constitution Review Committee.  Deryn Graham is your Building Committee chairman and has a full slate of projects that need to be addressed this year.  Murray Webb has graciously accepted the Bar Committee portfolio even though he is recuperating from recent surgery.  We are currently seeking an individual or individuals who would be interested in taking on the hangar maintenance responsibilities.  Also in the works is an Aircraft Acquisition Committee to investigate the purchase of a new aircraft in the future.

This year we hope to continue with our First Flights for Kids program, Ed Boon’s Wings and
Wheels, as well as our ongoing commitment to the Abbotsford International Airshow.

In the coming year I look forward to enthusiastic volunteerism, lively and open discussion and creative solutions.  Let’s all work together to make the Abbotsford Flying Club the best it can be.

Ken Campbell
President

President’s Column – October 2016

steve_stewartThis will be my final Newsletter contribution as President. It has been a busy year for the Board, and it won’t finish until we hand things over at the AGM. There have been a great variety of issues to deal with. We have made good progress on some fronts and less on others. There will be no shortage of things to occupy the new President and Board. Two particular highlights of the past year have been the continued healthy recruitment of new Members, and the really good program of speakers at our monthly General Meetings. I believe these things are connected, and I am sure they will continue.

As well as me, there are three other Board members who are not seeking re-election. They are our Vice-President Duncan Poynton; Treasurer Kevin Mickleby; and Secretary George Aug Thin, and I want to put on record some statement of appreciation for what they have contributed to the Club during their time in office.

Duncan has been on the Board many times previously, in various roles. He is a reliable contributor to decision making and to getting done whatever is needed to keep the Club running the way it should. His most frequent previous role was as Aircraft Maintenance Director, and he has continued to back up Brian as necessary. Another role that he has performed for some time is to be responsible for hangar maintenance. He has done everything from repairing many things himself, to organizing official inspections, showing hangars to new tenants, and to obtaining quotations for major repairs and upgrades. His title for the past year has been Vice President, and that gave him particular responsibility for organizing speakers at our monthly meetings. I have already mentioned how well this has worked out. One of the first things this Board did was to aim to publish a complete program of speakers for the year. This was a joint effort by all the Directors, and we did achieve it. However, it was Duncan that made the program actually work. There were many changes to cope with, including some last minute cancellations. His ability to move things around and find solutions resulted in the program that was delivered, and as an added bonus we have a number of speakers already lined up for the coming year.

Kevin took over as Treasurer from Tom Grozier and has done an excellent job. We have indeed been very fortunate in our Treasurers. Our finances are in excellent shape and our procedures and controls work well. At the AGM Kevin will provide Members with a full financial statement for the past year, as well as some projections for the future. But he has not restricted his contributions entirely to ensuring the Club’s financial wellbeing. He has also taken a leading role in many discussions and initiatives, particularly in organizing the hangar operation. His rigorous approach and realistic attitude has re-focused many discussions and contributed to numerous good decisions. The Treasurer’s job is very demanding. It does not admit delay or anything less than a professional approach. Kevin has filled this role extremely well.

George has been a very effective Secretary. The way that he types up complete minutes actually during the meeting, and then posts them to the website almost immediately after the meeting is amazing. And he does this with almost no errors or omissions – I don’t think there has been any need for corrections even once this past year. He also passes on a constant stream of messages via email – many of which come from or through me. What you probably don’t know is that he doesn’t usually send things out the boring way I write them. He usually improves them, makes them easier to read, and even adds cartoons. An effective Secretary is an extremely valuable asset, but I doubt he is planning a career change any time soon.

I have made no attempt to fully communicate how much we owe to Duncan, Kevin and George. They were all already on the Board when I took up this most recent term as President, and they had done many valuable things in previous years as well. I can only write of what I know myself, and that is more than enough to ask you all to join me in thanking them.

I have also made no attempt to mention our other Board members. To get an individual mention in the Newsletter they will probably have to wait until they decide to stand down. They have all contributed greatly to the work of the Board over the past year, and their support and advice has been essential to my attempt to fill the role of President. I will miss our meetings and discussions. But I am sure the new Board will get along very well without me.

steve