Category Archives: Member News

President’s Column – October 2020

Dear Members,   Here we are at the end of my second – and last – term as AFC President.  My thanks to all the members for your faith and support in granting me the honour of serving for two terms.  I know that at times it has seemed somewhat fractious but to anyone who would consider serving: I can tell you the strife is small beer in contrast to the rich experience and rewarding lessons of serving on the leadership team for the club.  For me, just knowing that the club is there is sufficient reward.

I’ve met some really cool people, gotten to know some members a lot better and had some really amazing experiences.  In particular, I’ve been really impressed by the women in our club this year.  Ladies, you’ve demonstrated your spirit of adventure in aviation and drive to build skills and done some wonderful volunteering.  We need more like you!

It’s just too hard to pick a single favourite experience I’ve had as your President – so here are some top ones:  The Airshow last year was amazing; I really enjoyed learning how the campground runs.  This year we had a heartwarming moment when we hosted Patricia Spronk for the dedication of the John Spronk Memorial bench.  I was especially honoured to participate in the opening of the time capsule; writing the message to go in the next capsule for 2070 was cause for a great many reflective moments for me.  Many thanks there to Steve Stewart and Millie Watson who did an incredible amount of research and, of course, Lorenzo, who helped Steve with the explorative search for the capsule.

I’d like to extend a special thank-you to the members of my Board.  Kevin, Tom Timm and I won’t be running, but the remainder of the Board members will be volunteering again.  If you have enjoyed being at the club over the last couple of years and would like to continue in the direction of “flying, friendship and fun” I would urge you to vote them in again.

To Dirk Sieber, who served as VP, it was really great getting to know you – your insight, good judgement and friendship have meant a lot to me.  To Kevin Mickelby, who served as Treasurer, we simply couldn’t have done this without you; you have my eternal thanks and that of the club – you skillfully managed to move the AFC out of the red and back into the black.  Augie Rinz, you have been a fantastic Secretary, fast, efficient, competent and you were a great help when I needed someone to bounce ideas off of.  For the Directors – Amarvir, it has been a pleasure to see you mature into the role; your care and diligence on the membership file has reaped rewards evidenced by a cohort of excellent new members – I think that no matter what endeavour you pursue you will prevail!  Luciano Nisi, you’re definitely one of the most dedicated and safety oriented people I know.  I know that we’ve sometimes had our disagreements but through it all I’ve never forgotten your good intentions and all the hard work you’ve done!  Tom Timm – your insight and sober second thought has been invaluable!  I didn’t know you well before but I’m certainly richer for serving with you; you are an extremely competent person in possession of a keen mind and a wicked dry wit!  Tom Grozier, you have always had my admiration and regard – and now it has only grown.  You’ve had a hard road in 2020 – I hope that this coming year is better; you and Kevin Mickelby are the two best Treasurers we’ll ever have.  Lastly, I’d like to thank Brian Appaswamy, although he left the Board he has shown integrity and character by continuing to maintain the club aircraft throughout some of the most hectic flying days of the year!

Safe flights and stay healthy,

George Aung Thin
President
Abbotsford Flying Club

Lise Ash joining Give Hope Wings again!

Our very own Lise Ash is once again joining Give Hope Wings for another adventure.

In June 2021 there will be a coast to coast expedition. Please click this link for more details

https://givehopewings.ca/2021-expedition

Give Hope Wings Coast to Coast 2021

Give Hope Wings Coast to Coast 2021

CTV Toronto has uploaded the story about Lee & Marilyn and Hope Air/Give Hope Wings:

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/canadian-charity-provides-the-gift-of-flight-for-those-in-need-1.5124425

(TORONTO – August 6, 2020) A group of pilots is organizing a fundraiser to help Hope Air – a charity that provides free flights and accommodations to patients in financial need – by flying across Northern Ontario and Quebec this fall to raise thousands of dollars.

The Give Hope Wings expedition runs from September 30 to October 4 and aims to raise $100,000 to provide 400 flights to help people in need who must travel hours away for surgeries and appointments. Their expedition will also raise awareness for people in Northern Ontario and Quebec in need of help. Flights are especially important for patients who live in Northern Ontario and Quebec who would have to drive or take a bus for several hours each way to reach specialists. Last year, Hope Air provided more than 13,000 travel arrangements to help Canadians. To date, previous expeditions have raised a total of $770,000 to fund more than 3,000 flights.

For this third annual expedition, the pilots will take off in Burlington, fly to Sault Ste. Marie and then stop in Timmins and Sudbury. They will then fly east to Quebec City and across the Saguenay River. Hope Air will hold media events in Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and Sudbury with social-distancing measures in place and local patients will be available for media to interview.

Lee Arsenault loves to fly over the skies of Ontario and volunteers with Hope Air to fly patients. He’s leading the pilots on this expedition to help others. “I remember flying a child in Sudbury that was five months old but only weighed 10 lbs. due to birth complications. I will never forget how appreciative this young mother was for a free flight. It is moments like this that make our missions flying patients so rewarding.”

“Thousands of families are helped every year through our work, and we want to continue and help even more people. This expedition is an opportunity for us to do so,” said Mark Rubinstein, the CEO of Hope Air.
Hope Air is also recruiting for additional pilots who are interested in joining the expedition. More information is available at givehopewings.ca. Those who are interested in donating can visit here.

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About Hope Air
Hope Air is Canada’s only national charity providing free travel and accommodations for Canadians in financial need who must access medical care far from home. Since its inception in 1986, Hope Air has provided more than 150,000 travel arrangements for patients regardless of age or medical need.

For people living on a low income in small and rural communities, distance and cost are very real barriers to them accessing vital medical care. Hope Air is a unique and essential part of our Canadian healthcare system. Without the access Hope Air provides, our national system of universal healthcare coverage would fall short of its promise. Hope Air has been chosen as one of Canada’s best 100 charities by Maclean’s magazine, MoneySense magazine and Charity Intelligence based on efficiency, transparency and need.

For more information, visit hopeair.ca.

About Give Hope Wings
Give Hope Wings is the largest volunteer-led fundraiser in Hope Air history. A squadron of pilots circumnavigates different parts of the world to raise money for Hope Air and support Canadian patients who have to travel for medical care. There have been two expeditions to date: the South American Tour in 2019 and North-West Expedition in 2019. Give Hope Wings has raised a total of $770,000, providing more than 3,000 Hope Air medical access flights to patients in financial need with free travel to medical care far from home.

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.