Category Archives: Member News

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”.

The Cairn and the Time Capsule

The Cairn and the Time Capsule

A practical approach to physical history by Steve Stewart and Lorenzo Simeon

The story that has come down to us from 1970 was summarised in our(with Millie Watson) recent book:

The presence of Prime Minister Trudeau and six members of his cabinet in 1969 was already adequate indication that the federal government recognised the importance of Abbotsford to Canada’s aviation and aerospace aspirations. In his opening speech, he had explicitly described the show as being Canada’s showcase to the aviation world. The phrase was repeated in a letter received from Don Jamieson in December. He went on to say ‘I would therefore suggest that you name your air show next year as ‘Canada’s 1970 National Air Show’’.  With this endorsement, the show officially became the country’s national air show.  Minister Jamieson said ‘I would endorse this exhibition as being an excellent occasion for any Canadian or foreign company to display its aviation products and services’. To mark the development, Glenn Matthews designed a new airshow insignia, a limited edition airshow coin was minted (original price $2), and a souvenir postcard produced (10c). As well, at Don Jamieson’s suggestion, a project was started to erect a stone cairn.   Rocks were flown in from every Canadian province and  ‘every quarter of the globe, including the USSR’, pieces of the old London Bridge and rocks from the Matterhorn. A copper time capsule buried in the cairn contained messages from Prime Minister Trudeau, opposition leader Robert Stanfield, other Ministers, and President Richard Nixon. Dedication would be at 1pm on August 7th, the first day of show, by Jamieson and Fraser Valley East MP Jerry Pringle. The cairn and time capsule were scheduled to be opened after 50 years, on August 7th 2020.

The cairn was originally located just outside the airside entrance to the customs office of the terminal, which in 1970 was located in Hangar Number Two. Since then, over the past 50 years, as terminals have been built, moved, redeveloped and relocated, the cairn has been moved at least three times, and it no longer stands on its original base. The language used to describe the time capsule’s location was not precise. Was it in the cairn itself, or buried beneath it? Had they parted company at some point? Back in February, we invited Justin Trudeau to officially open the cairn and the time capsule – which seemed fitting, given his father’s role in their creation. He has not replied yet. However, we needed to be certain that we can open the time capsule on cue on August 7th.

In December we removed the plaque from the front of the cairn, removed cement and concrete from behind it, and failed to find the time capsule. The plan was to come back in March, but that was foiled by external forces. Lorenzo Simeon and I returned to continue removing concrete in early May.  We removed rocks from the back, and drilled and jack-hammered from front and back. But our holes joined up, after finding only concrete and steel in between.

The situation was not promising, and August is fast approaching. We arranged to use ground penetrating radar. We contacted a local stone mason in case he could provide insight. We asked Chilliwack airport about how their cairn was constructed. We asked Langley concrete about the pre-cast concrete core, around which the rocks are built. We contacted the Freemasons about the marks associated with the rock from the Old London Bridge.  We asked the national archives in Ottawa to look for records, because the airport was a federal facility and the cairn was built on the instructions of the Minister. And Millie Watson stepped up her campaign to contact AFC Members from long ago. We were prepared to hollow out the entire monument one chip at a time, while leaving its façade intact.  And we were prepared to excavate at the cairn’s previous locations.

But before launching the wholesale jack-hammering campaign, we tried some logic. During the 1970 ceremony, one convenient way to have placed the time capsule (other than directly behind the plaque) would have been to almost complete the cairn, then pop in the time capsule, and finish it off with a concrete cap. So we drilled and jack hammered up under the cap, but we got right past the centre without finding anything.  Bear in mind that we only knew the capsule was made of copper, without knowing its size or shape. There was not much remaining unexplored volume. Our last logical option was to pop off the whole cap and hope for something to emerge.  It did. The cap came off with a copper cylinder still embedded in the cement. It is 10 inches long and 3 inches diameter. The damage from our drilling revealed printed papers inside, but the papers are undamaged.  Who knows what those papers will reveal?

Before August we will reassemble the cairn, with the time capsule inside, so that it can be easily cracked open on the given day.

Later, the time capsule will be replaced in the rebuilt cairn, along with a new time capsule from 2020.  They will not be opened until August 7th 2070.

After the opening, we will publish a fuller story of the cairn, along with the contents of the time capsule. And there will be pictures.

Obit for former AFC member Lorne Nicholson

April 10, 2020
R. (Robert) Lorne Nicholson, formerly of Abbotsford and Mission, BC passed away in Kelowna on April 10, 2020, at the age of 86 years, of natural causes. He was born in Kenaston, Saskatchewan, and moved to the Fraser Valley as a small child. Lorne won the first Soap Box Derby, held in Mission in 1946 and again in 1947 when the winner advanced to Akron, Ohio finals. He was a member of Kinsmen in, Mission, BC, an avid flyer and long time member of the Abbotsford Flying Club and the Abbotsford Airshow Society. Lorne was a Master Mechanic and worked in the Auto Industry until the 1970’s when he went to work for Monsanto, Phos Check Division in Abbotsford. Lorne was predeceased by his ex-wife wife Lynn Chadwick in 2011, and step grandson Kevin Stephens in 2015.
In 1980 he remarried, and he and his wife, travelled extensively and spent their winters in California and Arizona until he was transferred (1994) to California to manage The Monsanto Wildfire Equipment Division until 2000. They continued to live full time in Yuma, working at La Mesa R.V. in the winter and summering in Show Low, Arizona until Lorne’s full retirement in 2008. In 2016 they returned to Canada and took up residence in Kelowna.
He will be proudly remembered and sadly missed by his loving wife, Jacqueline, his children Doug Nicholson (Laura), Pam Nicholson-Blackmon (Randy Neufeldt), Shelley Stout (Jack) and stepchildren Jo-Anne Hollander (Greg), Bill Stephens (Lori), Valerie Stephens and Donna Lee Bargen (Viktor), 25 grand and step grandchildren and 27 great and step great grandchildren, all who dearly loved Pappa.

President’s Column – May 2020

Dear Members, greetings and salutations!  I hope that this edition of the monthly newsletter finds you healthy, happy and safe.

Until the pandemic is over, I would like to start with thanks and praise for all those people out there who are putting their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe.  While I’m out there every night at 7PM, banging pots and pans to show my gratitude.  That and following the restrictions is how I feel I can contribute to our overall safety and wellbeing.  Dr. Bonnie Henry, our Provincial Health Officer, has announced that certain sectors of the economy will be starting to go back to work on a graduated schedule.  In the meantime, I urge members to exercise patience and take care.  Our club may be one of the last “sectors” to come back to full service – we are an organization set up to pursue recreational activity and we have a population that is at a higher risk.  If you’re careful today, you can always have tomorrow.

We’re going to hold a shortened version of a general meeting via the Zoom app – if you’d like a chance to catch up on how things are going and test out the technology it’s a good opportunity for you to try.  We’re still getting used to the technology itself, so I know you’ll be forgiving of any glitches that are encountered.

AFC President SealAlthough our doors are shuttered and the aircraft are grounded, our club is still in good shape.  I’ve had conversations with some members and for the most part they’re doing all right.  If anything, some are busier than ever: working, volunteering or just caring for others.  I’m happy to hear that our members are getting projects done around the house, helping out others, socializing as best they can and even starting little gardens.

At the time of this writing, the Abbotsford International Airshow has just announced that it has been cancelled for this year.  This is a sad blow for us, because I know how much you all love the experience of participating, volunteering and just rubbing shoulders with our pilot community from outside of Abbotsford.  The Airshow is also a major source of revenue.  Despite the lost opportunity our finances remain in good shape – many would heave a sigh and thank their luck. This “luck” was actually the work of past members, Boards, Presidents and volunteers – Visionaries, all – without whom we would certainly be in a worse state.  My thanks to Steve Stewart, Kevin Mickelby, and Tom Grozier in particular as well as many others in general: you have done the club a great service indeed by ensuring its sustainability!  I am honoured to know you and awed by your foresight and dedication.  Members, when these restrictions are lifted you may rest assured that you will return to find the clubhouse and it’s aircraft will still be there for you.

GIUK has had an avionics upgrade:  the dual Garmin G5 (configured as AI and HSI).  Now, IUK no longer depends on a vacuum pump for primary instruments – because now our primary avionics are all electronic!  Also, the transponder in IUK has been upgraded to ADSB in/out in order to satisfy the FAA requirement for flight in US controlled airspace as mandated by NextGen. Now we are able to fly IUK in the US without the transponder restriction. Many thanks to Brian Appaswamy, Duncan Poynton and Zoltan Kondakor for seeing this through.  You can expect to see a Flight Safety presentation on the G5 in the near future.  It’ll be a nice thing to review the manuals and bone up on how to use the G5 while we’re all stuck at home.

Another exciting item is that our Bylaw Review Committee lead by Tom Grozier. This committee is making progress.  Overcoming the social distancing requirements with technology, they are meeting and discussing how best to approach making changes to our bylaws and the particular improvements that are to eventually be put to the membership.  Details concerning their discussions and recommendations will be published in our next newsletter and in a member survey to be sent out in due course.  However, I will say that I particularly like their approach and to updating the bylaws.  In the past, we’ve started with the bylaws themselves and tried to make changes to the existing bylaws without first looking to update the language of our bylaws to reflect the current standards used by other not-for-profit organizations in BC.  I believe that this has always led to imperfect results because … for this we need the help of lawyers!  Tom Grozier and his team have recognized this and they will be seeking the advice and recommendations of a law firm.  It is the committee’s intentions to seek member input to the various bylaw changes being considered. Reporting to the members and the member survey will be based on simple, easy to understand terms in plain English.  Once we’ve received member input to proposed bylaw changes, we will then simply take them to a lawyer for translation into the language required to satisfy legal due diligence.  Thanks to Tom and his committee for establishing such a creative solution for what has been a difficult problem.

Members who have taken the time to read the recent Board minutes will have noted the resolution put forward by Tom Grozier and passed by the Board to temporarily upgrade the status of each Associate Member to that of a Sustaining Member. With the passing of this resolution this membership upgrade temporarily gives each Associate Member the right to vote on club business matters.  I really like this idea, because it means that every member gets to have a say. This motion was put forward by Tom based on the discussions within the Bylaw Review Committee.  They believe, and we agree that it’s in the interests of our club for all members to have the choice and the right to participate in the governance process of our club. One of the Bylaw amendments the Committee believes should ultimately be put to the membership is the merger of the separate Associate and Sustaining memberships into a single membership class. Assuming this Bylaw amendment is adopted, if you are a member of the AFC you will be a member for all purposes. It then becomes each member’s choice whether they wish to participate in the club’s governance process and/or (perhaps) run for election to our Board.  Putting it simply, a member is a member is a member – and any member can vote or run for election.  Equality for all!

Our Flight Safety team, led by Luciano Nisi and with a strong assist from Mark Thibault has already set up a few hangar talks.  Every one of these takes a lot of time and work in the background to ensure that they go smoothly.  Flight Safety is putting on an exciting presentation by an FIC from Kamloops during the regularly planned safety meeting slot this Wed May 6th at 1900 via zoom, this will be an excellent instructional session. We also have a few more topics including one which Luciano will present on in-air activation of ELT, and how effecitve the COPAS-SARSAT system is in locating us. Mark Thibault will be doing a presentation on the SPOT tracker at some point as well.  I’m looking forward to the next few talks.  Great work Flight Safety Team!

Dave McElroy and the Kelowna Flying Club have been putting on his regular Koffee Klatch sessions and sharing them with our club.  I have only been able to make one of them since they’re held during work hours, but I certainly appreciate that they’re sharing these sessions with our members too.

I’d also like to give a shout out to Taylor Belich, Zoltan Kondakor and Cole Forman!  Thanks you guys, for setting up those lights in the hangars.  You did a great job and we’re proud to count such resourceful young men in our membership.  I can now do my preflight in the hangar, without needing a flashlight, thanks to you.

Lastly, I’d like to announce that we’re going to start a lessons learned session – details to be decided – regarding the home-built experiment that was the Glastar GSBS.  It behooves us to examine the purchase, maintenance and sale of the aircraft so that we can capture what went well, what went poorly and what we should continue to do.  I am hoping to invite all who were involved to participate – so that we can get the fullest possible picture.  Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, as Churchill once said; we would be remiss indeed if we didn’t learn from our little experiment, which turned out to be so costly – in so many ways.

Time is a precious commodity, whether you’re measuring it in days, hours, jugs of milk or toilet paper.    Spend these moments with care, patience and mindfulness so that you weather this safely and join your friends at our wonderful flying club when we’re finally clear.

Take care, stay healthy and remember to be kind to yourself as well as others.

Sincerely,
George Aung Thin,

President, Abbotsford Flying Club

 

 

 

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,
George

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

RSVP to the AFC Annual General Meeting

We are preparing for the Annual General Meeting that will be taking place next month on Wednesday 9 October. Please note that this is the only meeting where it is members only; no guests please.
Dinner will be starting at 18:30 with the meeting itself beginning after that, somewhere around 19:30.
Bob Bryan once again will be catering our excellent (and I mean excellent) AGM dinner, but we need to know roughly how many people will attend so that we have enough food and not waste too much.
Please RSVP in the comments below so that Bob knows how many will be attending.