Category Archives: Club News

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.

“Welcome to Matsqui, Home of the World Famous Abbotsford International Airshow”

“Welcome to Matsqui, Home of the World Famous Abbotsford International Airshow”

By Steve Stewart

It is common knowledge that until Abbotsford and Matsqui merged in 1995, Abbotsford Airport was not in Abbotsford. It was always in Matsqui. And that means the Abbotsford Flying Club was in Matsqui and the Abbotsford International Airshow was in Matsqui. This always seemed like an odd twist to reality, and it gave rise to signage on Highway One for traffic approaching the Mt Lehman road exit, which proclaimed the welcome used as a title for this piece. We are left wondering why the airport was not simply called Matsqui Airport when it was first built.

The explanation we have heard is that the Village of Abbotsford was simply the closest built up area to the airport, so the Air Force named their new station Abbotsford, without bothering to check where it actually was. It is true that the Village of Abbotsford is closer than the Village of Matsqui, and maybe the Air Force was distracted and busy with other concerns at the time, but it does seem unlikely that they would be so sloppy. They must have known full well that they were building in the District of Matsqui, and that the Village of Abbotsford was not involved.

This is a soil survey aerial photograph. The RCAF conducted huge amounts of aerial survey work in the 1920s and 1930s. The north-south road on the right is now Gladwin road. Harris road runs across the middle of the picture. The airstrip is north-south in the lower left quadrant. Matsqui Village is off to the right. (from The Reach archives)

The reason that the new RCAF station was not called Matsqui may have been because there was already a Matsqui Airport, and it had existed for over ten years. It was located on the Lundstrom farm in Gifford, on the south side of Harris road, one and a quarter miles west of Matsqui Village. Two of the Lundstrom brothers had been inspired by Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight to build their own aeroplane. First they built a large barn to use as a hangar and base for aircraft construction. Then they built the aircraft. And they also built a runway – grass, as was normal at that time.  Then they held airshows. There had probably been earlier barnstorming visits by aviators to the area, but these airshows were the first organized airshows in what is now Abbotsford. And they were very successful.

The airstrip is north-south as indicated. Matsqui Village and Gladwin Road is off to the right. (Google Maps)

The Lundstroms’ achievements were quite remarkable given the era in which they were working. Soon after they started towards their vision, there came the Wall street crash. Then there were the hungry thirties. Unemployment in the Fraser Valley was huge. Labour camps were set up. There were marches. Then, in 1935 the Matsqui dykes gave way and the prairie was flooded.  But somehow the Lundstroms’ airfield remained in use, and in February 1939 a Flying Club was formed, based at what was called Matsqui Airport.

No photo description available.

Joseph and Robert Lundstrom intend to fly in the near future in the airplane, pictured above, which they built as a spare-time job on their father’s farm on Harris Road, Matsqui. Construction weas carried out under strict government supervision and took two years. They built the hangar with a solid concrete floor three years ago, then started on the ‘plane. When the photograph was taken this week by A., Bafton-Canning of Abbotsford the youths were preparing to put the finishing touches on the airplane. They are sons of Mr. and Mrs Daniel Lundstrom and were both born at Matsqui. From the Vancouver Sun, 12 July 1932

We can find no further mention of the flying club or the airport after June 1939. No doubt they disappeared during WW2. But when work started on RCAF Station Abbotsford, the existence of Matsqui Airport would have been well known.

 

 

Jumping forward to 1961, the year the Abbotsford Flying Club was formed – the new club’s name was a natural choice, given its location at Abbotsford Airport. Then our airshows started, and although the 1962 airshow was called the Rotary Air Show, for 1963 it became the Abbotsford Air Show.

1965 was the next important year in this story. An airshow episode was prophetic of what would happen thirty years later. At that time Abbotsford was still a village, just about one square mile, and centred around Essendene Avenue. It had just one traffic light. It was dwarfed by the District of Matsqui to its north and west, and the District of Sumas to its south and east. Both districts had been formed long before the creation of Abbotsford.

The star of the 1965 show was undoubtedly the brand new USAF Lockheed C-141 Starlifter. It was making only its second public appearance, having been at the Paris show two months earlier.   It was so popular that the name ‘City of Abbotsford, BC’ was painted on the side by Chuck Dennet, sign-painter and a founding member of AFC. Sid Collins had urged him on. Chuck was also responsible for Advertising, and this direct action approach was brilliantly successful. Later, a press release by the USAF and Lockheed confirmed that the name was ‘expected to remain on the aircraft as it travelled the world airlifting men and supplies for MATS’ (the Military Air Transport Service).

Chuck Dennet at work on the Starlifter

This was the first ever use of the name ‘City of Abbotsford’. It publicised the City of Abbotsford (which would not exist until 1995) around the world. Was it a statement of faith, or just a publicity stunt? The answer does not matter, because we have the press release, and we have a photograph of Chuck still only part way through the painting. The City of Abbotsford is proud of its brand, but do they own it?  Is it really the property of the AFC?

Fast forward again, to 1994. Years earlier the District of Sumas and the Village of Abbotsford had merged to form the Municipality of Abbotsford. The next merger would be of Abbotsford and Matsqui. But what would be the name of the new city?  Matsqui was much bigger, and senior in years. There was strong support for Matsqui, and it was clear the merger would shut down the Abbotsford administration buildings, with the new city administration based in the City Hall recently built by Matsqui on South Fraser Way in Clearbrook.  Matsqui is a Sto:Lo word meaning a stretch of higher ground. What could be more natural than to continue with the well-established and unique name?  A vote was held and Abbotsford won, by a wide margin.  The newspapers already knew the reasons for the choice, and the explanation was both simple and clear. The name Abbotsford was associated with the Airshow, and the Airshow was the single biggest factor in defining the community identity. Unfortunately, many people associated the name Matsqui with the prisons just south of the freeway.  It was no contest.

So the Airshow had defined the community, and given the name Abbotsford to the new City of Abbotsford.  And it had presented an image of that vison thirty years earlier, back in 1965.  Now, the name is second nature, the debate of 1994 is mostly forgotten, and the debt owed to the airshow unacknowledged.  But if Matsqui had not already had an airport back in the 1930s, our story may have been different.

Early years of the AFC

Early years of the AFC

by Steve Stewart

The inaugural meeting of the new club had been on November 14th 1961. There were over 24 people in attendance; a President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and directors were elected; and the next meeting was set for December. For the first few months, the meetings would continue to be held in the waiting room of the Terminal Building (Hangar 2).  On December 12th the meeting ‘was attended by about 35 members which was a very good turnout considering the ‘white weather’ of that day, the business went off very well and afterwards a really interesting film was shown on high speed flight and plane designs. All in all it was a very good meeting.’  Films on aviation subjects were a regular feature of meetings. Everyone was keen to learn. Although there were a number of experienced pilots in the new club, a lot of the founding members were still working on licences, and their progress was reported regularly. The January 1962 Newsletter reported that five members had soloed since the previous meeting,; Bill Shandley had also passed his written test for PPL, and Ted Koppen was ‘the proud possessor of a spanking new private licence.’. There were also seven new members.  Monty Shore was not a new pilot, but his news, early in 1962, was that he had become one of the few people ever to fly the AeroCar.

It didn’t take long for the idea of an air show to come up. How it happened is described elsewhere. But suffice to say, by March, the decision had been made. The AFC, with some funding and help from the Rotary Club, would launch an event that would become world famous, and grow in ways that no-one could have anticipated at the time. From March through to August the joint committee of the AFC and RCA met repeatedly to hammer out details, send invitations, arrange insurance, fencing, food, etc etc. and as the date approached, more and more members became directly involved. It would be an all-out effort for the club – everyone did something to help ensure success.

In the meantime, winter had ended, the weather had improved and members were ready for fly-outs. The first ever fly-out, in May, was to Hudson Island. This appears to be a privately owned island, 2,500 feet long with a 1,900 foot gravel airstrip. It is just south of Thetis Island.  The next trip was to the Penticton Air Show in June. An entire package deal was arranged – a single payment of $16 covered air transport, accommodation, food and the show. It was less than a year since John and Patricia Spronk had moved from Penticton, and the visiting club was well received by their hosts. In our archives, we still have three minutes of video from the trip and the show.

June was also notable for the departure flight of the Supermarine Stranraer from Abbotsford, of which we again have some video. Glenn Matthews, and possibly other members, had worked on the aircraft while employed at Aerovive.

By May, the club meetings were being held in the Armouries building. This was the old Officers Club from RCAF days. It became the Skyline Club, and would become the venue for many memorable evenings during future airshows. In May the club held a dance. And they would have another in November.

The story of the first airshow is told elsewhere. It was a great success, and that paved the way to have another in 1963. It also brought a net sum of $255.43 into the club.  This was a significant amount at the time. Right from the start the airshow was international, and attracted as much participation from Washington aviators as from those in British Columbia. The stars had included Mark and Grace Hoskins, both flying Ryan monoplane trainers. Jack Brown, publisher of the Northwest Aviator, was also a major supporter. In November a flight of three Cessna 172s took members to Seattle on a mission to thank the Hoskins’ and Jack Brown.

The club’s visibility and activities had attracted a continuous stream of new members throughout the year. The membership roll in December amounted to 70.  At the AGM John Spronk passed the chair to newly-elected President Bill Shandley.

After its initial surge, the membership roll stayed at something less than a hundred throughout the 1960s. But of course not everyone attended meetings regularly – only 25 out of 70 had showed up for the 1962 AGM in December. And membership dues could be paid any time to the end of March. The target for 1963 was 100, but by May the paid-up number was 68, and it rose to 83 in June.  A similar situation prevailed early in 1964, with only 29 people at the March meeting, a newsletter membership circulation of 100, and only 53 paid-up.  By June the paid-up number rose to 75, but meeting attendance was still low, and there were newsletter appeals to support club activities.

For the first few years membership was open to anyone who applied, but by 1968 applicants had to get through an interview first. Some years later there were moves to set a maximum limit on the number of members, and to only admit pilots.  This would eventually lead to the idea of Associate Members.

It’s understandable that not all members attended all the meetings or supported all the activities – because there were so many. In 1963, in addition to the monthly meetings and everything that had to be done for the airshow: there was a fly-out in March to Seattle again, involving seven aircraft; Chuck Dennett and Bernie Bennion flew to Mexico and back; members attended fly-ins in Comox, Twin Harbors, Ancortes, and others; There was a navigation contest and breakfast fly-in organized for June, but the weather was awful and only the breakfast happened (attendance 160); a corn-roast in August; a dance in December; three members bought aircraft;  members continued to gain qualifications; and in September, J. Beshuisen departed in Cessna 150 NSC to Florida and possibly Bahamas. Hurricane Flora changed his plans. The newsletter reported him in Texas and heading home, and described his trip as great example of inexperienced pilot in light aircraft being able to undertake long trips. Flora was one of deadliest hurricanes in recorded history, so he had made a good decision. However, June had already seen the first fatality of a member. Robert Ford had joined September 1962.  His death was described as ‘very unfortunate accident’ in the newsletter. The DoT report card is very brief, and appears critical of his decision to fly into weather over Allison pass – stall during attempted 180 degree steep turn, three fatalities, aircraft destroyed.   On a more positive note, 1963 was also the year of the green club jackets. They cost $13.91 including taxes, and could be picked up at Bennion’s Pharmacy.

The 1964 newsletters indicate a similarly packed schedule of fly-outs,  visits, a spot landing contest , the Pendleton air races, Halloween party, etc etc  and the newsletter started to cite the one-time popular radio show ‘Let George do it’ (it was a private-eye drama that ran from 1946 to 1954.) Members were asked not to just ‘let George do it’.  There was lots to do, partly because by April the club had secured its own room in the terminal building above the reception lounge. It needed decorating, furniture and signage. Then for August there was a more permanent move to a room provided by Sumas Air Services for a rental of $30 per month. This was great location, with direct access to ramp, and a view across to Mount Baker. The single key was held at the Tower. It would be the club’s home until the move to the old fire-hall in 1968.

The fly-out for breakfast to Victoria in September was the first ever subsidized flight – it introduced what became known as the ‘flying incentive’. Pilots could be reimbursed 25% of their cost.

Some other 1964 events of note included: Doris Giles was selected as one of four women and five men for the Canadian team at the world parachuting championships in West Germany; Millie Watson completed her private pilot training under the scholarship provided by the club; there was a new airstrip built on Savary Island; the BCAC started to offer its aviation map of BC at a price of $5; the fully aerobatic Citabria was available at a Canadian price $5,250 inc fed sales tax; the federal government planned to increase duties again on all aircraft not manufactured in Canada; the Rotary Club pulled out of further airshow involvement, but their place was quickly filled by the EAA Chapter 85, which became equal partner with the AFC.

The club was clearly forging ahead on all fronts, and we can surmise that the collective vision was expansive. Nothing has survived of discussions around the vision for the club. However, we know from newspaper reports, that the vision for the airshow was being boosted continuously. Moreover, the airshow was an operation of the flying club, with the same people being involved in both. So it is safe to assume a similar expansive approach. This is supported by the range and quantity of new activities the club took on, and it is indicated explicitly in the Constitution that was approved by Victoria in June of 1963.  The club’s new Constitution went much further than what the club was already doing.  The ‘objects of the Society’ included everything from owning, leasing and operating aircraft, facilities, airports, hangars, depots, etc to promoting aviation in general, raising money in every possible way, and providing training. Everything listed was to be for the mutual benefit of all members. The only constraint mentioned in the ‘objects’ was that training would not include ab initio training. This constraint was significant, because the club had already become a member of the Royal Canadian Flying Clubs Association. It signified that the club would not be like many other flying clubs, where their main purpose was specifically to train new pilots. To have included such an object would have put the club into competition with existing flight schools at the airport. Abbotsford Air Services had been extremely supportive to the club’s formation and to the airshow. John Spronk was their CFI until the end of 1963, when he moved to Skyway Air Services. Herb Porter, the owner of AAS was one of the club’s founding members. Barry Marsden of SAS demonstrated water bombing regularly at the airshow. In fact, the club maintained excellent relations with both AAS and SAS, with members using their rental aircraft for the majority of club flying – even after the club bought its first Cessna 150 in 1968.

For the first few years the club’s finances were quite modest, and despite the aspirations to own and operate fleets of aircraft, airport facilities etc, the income streams were limited to annual dues, airshow revenues, and incidental revenues from other events such as pancake breakfasts.  But the only fixed expense commitment (from August 1964) was the $30 per month rent on the club meeting room, and as required by the Constitution, the financial resources that were available, were spent to the benefit of members and to promote aviation in general.  In 1963 the club earned a net revenue from the airshow of $900, and immediately spent most of it to support a glider being built by Air Cadets, and to provide an Air Ranger pilot training scholarship.  In the years prior to the 1967 Centennial airshow, the club’s revenue from the show never rose above a thousand dollars.  For 1966 airshow revenue was $471.46, and at the end of the year the club’s total equity was $4,690.93, all as cash in various forms.

In 1964 the club had started to subsidise the cost of members’ flying.  The idea was to encourage pilots to participate in club fly-outs, and to take other members with them.  The Board would announce that a certain fly-out would qualify for a particular level of subsidy, and afterwards the pilot could submit their receipts in order to receive a partial re-imbursement.  The qualifying criteria could also include attendance at a preceding general meeting.   In March 1967 the program became more general and was dubbed the ‘flying incentive’.  The discussion on this had started a year earlier. For 1967 each qualifying member was covered up to 20 flying hours, and the incentive value ranged from $2.50 to $3.50 per hour.  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 to qualify for the incentive at the start of each year. 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. The dollar amounts and hours would change each subsequent year as necessary.

The club and its finances were changed forever by the 1967 centennial airshow.  Its annual airshow net income jumped from hundreds to thousands. The $6,103.35 received at the end of 1967, enabled purchase of the club’s first aircraft, at the end of 1968. Also in 1968 the club moved into the old fire-hall.  And the previously happy airshow partnership with the EAA would break down in acrimony.

Times were changing. Acquisition of a significant annual income, aircraft, and other assets, would lead to developments and issues that simply didn’t exist previously.

Aircraft wash station supplies

Thanks to Ryan Grendus of the AFC Hangar Committee for putting together our new aircraft wash station. Please do not use the brushes for the underside (Belly) of the aircraft as the oil and contaminants will damage the brushes and they will be unusable after that. Please only use the brushes for the main surfaces.

The club will do some research into proper degreasing chemicals or solutions to clean the underbelly of the aircraft. If anyone has ideas, please let us know.

We are proud of the aircraft we have and appreciate that we have members helping us keep them clean and in good shape.

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”.

Gradual re-opening of the AFC Clubhouse and resumption of Flight Ops

Great news! The Board has decided to open the club to restricted flight operations effective immediately.  At this time, only the flight operations room, washrooms and aircraft hangar will be open for use by approved club members. The reminder of the club will remain closed.

You must do the following before you will be allowed to book and fly club aircraft:
  1. Watch the AFC Aircraft COVID-19 Sanitization Procedures.
  2. Read the AFC Aircraft Operations COVID-19 Procedures.
  3. Read the AFC Aircraft COVID-19 Sanitization Checklist.
  4. Read and sign the the AFC COVID-19 Waiver.
  5. Send a photo (or scan) of the signed AFC COVID-19 Waiver to flightsafety@abbotsfordflyingclub.ca.  Photos can be done with your mobile phone.
Once the above steps have been done and the signed waiver has been received, you will receive confirmation allowing you to book and fly club aircraft once again.

These restrictions are for the safety and protection of you, your family and other club members.  The Board will consider opening up the club as the COVID-19 situation evolves and upon further direction by the health authorities.

If you have any questions relating to the procedures, video or flight currency, please contact flightsafety@abbotsfordflyingclub.ca.

The Board appreciates your patience and understanding during these trying times. We all miss flying and socializing and look forward to when things are back to normal.