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The AFC’s Buildings: An Historical Summary

The AFC’s Buildings
An Historical Summary

by Steve Stewart

The AFC was created in November 1961. Its first meeting was in the waiting room of the
Terminal Building (Hangar 2). The second meeting in January 1962 was also in the terminal
waiting room, but by April 1962 the meetings were in the Armouries building, which had
previously been the officers club for the RCAF. The Armouries were finally demolished in the
1980s. They occupied the same location as is now occupied by the southern half of the AFC
hangar building.
The meetings continued in the Armouries through to April 1964; then in May they moved to a
clubroom that had been secured in Hangar 2, above the Terminal reception lounge. But by
August they had moved again, to a dedicated clubroom located in the southeast corner of
Hangar 3 which was operated by Sumas Air Services. This was an excellent, airside location,
and it remained unchanged until 1968.

Where these people are shown standing, in front of the AFC meeting room, is now enclosed by an extension that was added to Hangar 3 some time since the 1960s.

In early 1968 the airport fire services moved to a new building, thus leaving the original fire-hall
vacant and available. The AFC has occupied this building ever since. The meeting room was
created from the original fire-truck garage. A lean-to storage extension had already added to
the eastern end where the original fire truck doors were, and big bay doors put into the front
(see pics). Various storage ‘sheds’ have been added at the back. A significant extension was
added which now accommodates the pool room. And the patio was also added at the rear. The
interior bears no resemblance to how it was originally.
The clubhouse became an essential part of airshow operations, and it took on a variety of roles
during the show, including being the centre for communications, traffic control and security
operations. Right through to 1997 the AFC had entire responsibility for the show’s operations,
and all volunteer activity was co-ordinated through the building. However, when the show was
re-aligned to 07-25 for 1992, the building’s location became less central to operations during
the show. Since 1999 its main role has been to accommodate the Broken Prop restaurant.

This picture, looking west, is from the 1967 airshow. The fire-hall (now AFC clubhouse) is to the right. The Armouries building is just to the left of the centre of the picture. And the old Tower, which was replaced in 1980, is on the left. The big building in the middle (Hangar 2) contained the airport terminal facilities and DoT offices, and from late 1968 the airshow office.

This picture, looking west, is from the 1967 airshow. The fire-hall (now AFC clubhouse) is to the
right. The Armouries building is just to the left of the centre of the picture. And the old Tower,
which was replaced in 1980, is on the left. The big building in the middle (Hangar 2) contained
the airport terminal facilities and DoT offices, and from late 1968 the airshow office.
At some point the club acquired ownership of the clubhouse building, but the land was leased
from Transport Canada, and the lease was renewed regularly. Then, in 1997 the airport was
sold to the City of Abbotsford, but this did not appear to have any immediate effect on the club.
As recently as 2004 one of the club’s strategic goals was to obtain a long-term lease for the
clubhouse land and also for the hangar land. It turned out that the City had other plans.

Butch Merrick outside clubhouse – either 1968 or 1969.

The AFC hangar building was built in 1991/92. Construction cost about $220k. A large part of
the capital was raised from members who wished to have their own hangar space, and they put
up $12k each. The expectation was that in time those hangars would be acquired by the club
for use as rental hangars. This would happen naturally as members moved on and no longer
needed the space, at which time their interest would be bought out by the club. The club put
aside a capital amount to cover this expense.

The clubhouse, thoroughly covered with ice. Probably winter of 1968-1969.

Then, in May 2007 both leases expired — for the clubhouse and for the hangars. This time there
were no routine renewals. But the real coup de couer was that the City lawyers had realized
that upon lease expiry, there was no obligation to renew, and moreover, that the buildings on
the leased land automatically vested to the airport. This left the AFC stripped of its buildings
ownership, and with no leases. And it also meant that those hangar occupants who had helped
finance the construction now needed to be paid out. That payout cost the club over $140k. We
had finally paid for the hangar building, but its ownership had vested to the airport.

The airport naturally offered to rent both buildings to the club, but at an annual cost very much
higher than previous costs, and far more than we were able to pay. Finally a more reasonable
rental agreement was reached for both hangar and clubhouse, and the club sub-rented hangars
to their occupants. But there was no security because the agreements could be terminated with
just 90 days notice. At the time the airport wanted to keep the whole GA area and west side
available for a big dream tenant, so the club was told to look at possible new construction
either at the north end of 01-19 or with access off Walmsley road. The airport’s big plans were
not well thought out; the big dream tenant did not appear; and fortunately things eventually
In 2011 the airport agreed to also rent to the club the other two older hangar buildings they
had taken (vested) from Jake Friessen. (He had built those hangars back in about 1980, but he
walked away rather than continue dealing with the airport) The club added these buildings to
its hangar rental operation.
In 2015, new long-term (25 years) leases were agreed for both the clubhouse land and the
hangar compound, and the agreement included purchase of all the buildings from the airport.
This is when YXX Hangars was created. The hangar agreement also included a requirement for
approximately $300k capital improvements during the first ten years. That requirement has
already been met.

And that is how we got to where we are now.

During the airshow weekend, sometime in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. THe AFC clubhouse is on the right

Robbie Burns night at the AFC

On January 24, 2020, we gathered for a festive evening to celebrate the life of the charismatic Scottish poet and romantic lyricist, Robert Burns, who was born on January 25th, 1759.

Several club members wore appropriate Scottish attire and the Scotch Whiskey was flowing generously to lighten up the spirts.

We were treated to a Bag Piper, Stu McIntosh, from Cascade Aerospace, who was on hand to “pipe in” the Haggis. The Address to the Haggis was read with great expression and flair by Chris Palmer. Shortly thereafter, the Haggis was served with “neeps and tatties” (Turnips and mashed potatoes), gravy and other edible goodies.

For the pleasure of the ladies present, Dianne Beaton later read poems written by the flamboyant lover, Robbie Burns.

We were entertained later in the evening with The Bag piper, Stu McIntosh, and our own Highland dancer, none other than Bobbie Lacroix. It was quite an enjoyable evening shared by many club members and guests.

President’s column December 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, dear Abbotsford flying club members!  Well, this will be my last column of the decade, ha ha!  There are many things to look forward to this month, you can sign up for a pool tourney in the New Year, there are a myriad of Christmas parties and events, including our very own special Christmas edition of the TGIF and I’m personally looking forward very much to Lise Ash’s presentation on her Give Hope Wings flight.  Her Northern escapade embodies the spirit of adventure and exploration that are at the very core of aviation and kindles the heart of every pilot.AFC President Seal

As I look forward to 2020 I think to myself – it’s got to be a sign!  20/20 means perfect vision and I want this to be something we work on this year.  With Abbotsford airport developing quickly around us, it is important that we know who we are.  What is important to us?  What do we value?  Who do we want to be in the future?  These are things that we consider as a first step to develop our Strategic Plan.  We have set up the Board so that we can focus as a leadership team on working with all members to develop our plan.  Here are the basic, progressive steps for developing a comprehensive Asset Management Plan.

  1. Identify our Club Values
  2. Set up a Club Policy – you may know these as a Vision and a Mission – based on values
  3. Identify Club Assets – what are the things we use to derive value? For example, our aircraft, our building, our limited partnership.
  4. Evaluate each asset for value delivered – what do we get out of it and what does it cost?
  5. Align the value delivered with the policy – Is it delivering what we actually want to have at an acceptable cost?
  6. Set the strategy for each asset using the above
  7. Based on all of the above, a “strategic plan” can be created for all of our present and future assets.

There’s a lot to absorb, here, but we’ll go through what these activities are and what they mean at a future planning session.  At our January meeting I’d like to take some time to work with you to get an idea of our values.  We are setting up an online area for your input – we would like to hear from you.  What makes the club worthwhile for you?  How can we do more to get more of those valuable experiences, relationships or opportunities?

Above all, I hope that you have a good time this month – but also remember to stay safe.  Please remember to have alternate transportation or a designated driver if you are going to drink.  The slip and trip season is officially started so please walk carefully and wear footwear appropriate to the season.  And remember: if the weather is marginal, consider that you have the rest of your life to fly so you needn’t take an unnecessary risk today.

May you all enjoy a joyous and mirthful holiday and I hope to see you all soon!

Yours truly,

Laying the foundation for the John Spronk Memorial Bench

On Friday November 29 Chris Palmer brought the rental concrete mixer to the club at 0900 hrs. Under leadership of Lorenzo and the assistance of Murray and Duncan, bag after bag of premix was poured into the mixer and with the added water, poured into the form. Lorenzo estimated they would need 25 bags of premix, when in fact they used 24 bags. In less than 90 minutes the project was completed. After setting for a few hours, Lorenzo put the finishing touch on the surface with a broom. It looks great. It is covered up and they have a little heater going to make sure the concrete cures properly.

Abbotsford Remembrance Day Flypast

Here we are over Victory Square in Abbotsford.

Lead  aircraft is Adrian in the club’s Cessna 172, right wing is Gerry Crapo flying the Glastar and left wing is Bevan Tomm in his RV7A.

Following close behind but not in same formation were former members Rene Robertson in his Piper Pacer and Dave Wall in his Quickie Q2

Thanks to Heather for the photo and big thanks to the participating pilots

AFC Pig Roast and Luau 2019

The AFC pig roast was held Saturday September 21

Lorenzo and Murray hard at work

Chef Lorenzo started the charcoals at 10am. The porker was done to perfection by 5:30

Murray prepping more BBQ pork!

We had about 60 people in attendance and most were decked out in Hawaiian shirts and leis.

Needs some beer!

We charged a $10 per head fee to cover costs of the whole pig, briquettes,

Almost done!

Caesar salad,buns,baked beans and some decorations.

Expert carving at work

People were also asked to bring an appy or dish or dessert .

Luau lineup

They stepped up big time with an amazing assortment of Luau inspired dishes.

Luau lineup

Ken Campbell brought his blender and concocted delicious and healthy tropical fruit smoothies. (OK- they were pina-coladas )

Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make this a great event.: Cheryl, Jan,Jeanette, Leanne, Lorenzo and many more.

Cheers, Murray