Category Archives: President’s Column

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

President’s Column – October 2019

AFC President Seal

George Aung-Thin

Here we are on what may be my last column. Thanks to you all for an excellent year and a lot of good memories.

I remember, as a boy, reading about the National Geographic Explorer’s club. It was loaded with brave, erudite members. They met and discussed their travels and adventures. The décor of the building was itself the product of many explorations, adventures and great experiences. I remember wanting to be a part of something like that. From then on, I sought to educate myself and find adventurous things to do. I have always loved flying, as I’m sure many of you also do. I went through years of flying kites, air cadets, gliders, hang gliders, kite boarding and finally powered flight. And now, although I’m not in the same club as Sir Edmund Hillary, I find myself in a place that is just as good – if not better!

Our flying club has adventurous members who fly great distances for charity, to explore places like the Caribbean and simply to stretch their skills and grow as aviators. And unlike the National Geographic Explorer’s club, we have members of all persuasions and types – regardless of their age, ethnicity, sex or social status.

I’m proud to be a part of the club and I am honoured to have served this last year as your President. I give my thanks to you all and hope that we move forward together in the spirit of adventure!

Yours truly,
George

AFC President Seal

President’s column, September 2019

September is here already – my kids are back in school and it feels like a new year is rolling out in front of us.  The same is true for our Flying Club.  We have a pig roast to look forward to later this month and next month is our Annual General meeting where we get to partake of a sumptuous feast.  Autumn is, indeed, a time of harvest and reflection.  What better place to reflect on the year than here, in this column?  But first, I must start with a message of thanks and appreciation to all the membership: I thank you for the trust that you have placed in me and I hope that I have lived up to your expectations.

Airshow

We had a very good turnout for Airshow this year: I’m proud of our volunteers and I’d like to say thanks to each of you for the time and effort that you have invested in our club and in making the Airshow work.  There are too many people to name here, but I’m hoping that some pictures get out showing the various activities that went on at Airshow.  I’d like to express a special thank-you to the Airshow captains!  Without your leadership, events like the General Aviation display, the fly-in camping, the Broken Prop and the Campground would not happen.  Thanks also to Ruth Wiebe: she did an excellent job marshalling the Captains.  Ruthie skillfully coordinated the efforts of each group and was an effective liaison with the Airshow.  We’ll be hearing their reports at our September general meeting.

During the Airshow I managed to take time away from my duties in the campground to circulate around the various events.  I was delighted to find members working, having fun and enjoying each other’s company.  I relished taking part or even just observing those little moments of camaraderie and shared goodwill – it’s the kind of thing that keeps our club vibrant and attractive.

Year in Review

It’s only appropriate to start a reflection of the year with a big “thank you” to those who served on the Board.  I am in awe of the talent, skill and energy of the people I’m serving alongside.  I am honoured that they are part of this journey and I am grateful for their service.  Special thanks to Augie Rinz – great job as Secretary, Aug! Without your organizational skills, experience, knowledge, thoughtfulness and tact, I’d be lost.

Our successes are largely due to the talent and perseverance of the people on our Board and other volunteers who have helped out.  It’s only proper that a reflection on our success should start with them.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Membership: our number of members is back in a healthier range where it should be. Amarvir Sundher – or as I know him, “the man with the plan” has done a great job in attracting new members and retaining our current members.  He built a strong membership committee and has been using social media effectively to raise the profile of our club.  Most tellingly, reasons for leaving the club have shifted from “I’m tired of Club ‘stuff’” (where stuff means “something which has first passed through the digestive tract of a bull”) – to more life-related reasons like having to move out of town.
  • Financial Health: The Abbotsford Flying Club is fiscally healthy again thanks to the skill and a massive effort from our Treasurer, Kevin Mickelby. We scraped pretty close to getting into the red this year because of the position the board inherited, but through careful management of our assets we stayed out of trouble.  Most importantly, the money that was re-directed last year from the aircraft engine reserve has been restored – our aircraft are secure once again.
  • The Stuff No One Notices … Until They Do: Brian Appaswamy and Warren LeGrice, along with Duncan Poynton, Andy Halychuk and Ton DuCroq have kept the aircraft and the building running smoothly – while making tough choices to help us from running out of funds. The clubhouse and the aircraft are fundamental parts of our club operations and without them, we wouldn’t have a club.  Thanks guys!
  • Aviation: the great experiment with GSBS has gotten off the ground. The team here was amazing – Tom Timm ran a committee to give us assurance on viability, Bevan put in tons of work hours getting the aircraft ready, Warren put on effective ground school training, Dustin made arrangements for people to “qualifly” and Bob Leroux found some critical items to ensure legality.  Thanks to you all.  Personally, I was delighted to get to know Ken McKeen over the course of the GSBS saga – in addition to providing his expertise and work hours, his calmly applied logic and thoughtful approach made sure that everything went smoothly.  Ken McKeen, I am honoured that you have joined our club and I look forward to getting to know you better!
  • Although the hangar corporation is a separate entity from the club I would like to acknowledge their team, which was led by Steve Stewart. There were many operational challenges which were well handled, such as windstorms etc.  But most of all, I am awed by the demonstration of skills you exercised to deliver the roof replacements and the paving.  These things wouldn’t have happened without the leadership, vision and perseverance of Steve and Kevin Mickelby who secured the funds, negotiated the project and oversaw its completion.
  • Club culture: we’ve had to recover from a couple of years where meetings consisted of what I call the “Cycle of Indignation”. A lot of our members avoided meetings for this reason alone.  This year, after changing the meeting format, we’ve managed to calm some of the strife of the past by focusing more on the presentations and saving club business for after.  I’d like to thank all our Board members for their efforts to model behaviours that allow for the club to be a place of welcome, fairness and fun.

On a personal note, I can tell you that the journey I’m taking as your President has been one of learning and growing.  I’d like to thank you all for your support, your ideas and your constructive feedback.  My focus this year has been to repair the damage that was done over the last couple of years – I can acknowledge that this hasn’t been a complete success; though we have certainly taken some steps in the right direction.  My overall approach is to focus on the positive and find lessons in the negative.  I believe that a club our size should be run using data based decisions rather than emotional reactions; this is why you see me presenting metrics on flying hours and membership, defining the scope for committees and clarifying roles and responsibilities.  I also believe in accountability which, in simple terms, is to treat people like adults.  For example, when it comes to remaining a member in good standing, each member has the obligation to pay their dues on time and attend two thirds of the general meetings.  Nothing short of paying on time will satisfy the former requirement, but an attestation from you that you have attended the required amount of meetings is sufficient to meet the latter.  Communication has certainly been an area of growth for me this year!  I have been working to run better meetings, say things in a way that gets the point across clearly without raising ire, and write coherent columns for the newsletter.  I thank you for your patience in this and welcome any help you may offer!

There is still good work left to do – Warren LeGrice’s has an excellent initiative for implementing a Safety Management System, I want to establish an Asset Management program to guide us in our decision making for our assets (aircraft, buildings and property) and I also want to “build our bench”.  It is my belief that mentoring and nurturing talents in people works better to build future leaders than harangues and disparagements.

Our election is coming in October, please remember: come to the AGM and vote!

Yours truly,
George

President’s Column: June 2019

I remember when I was sixteen my parents took us on a vacation to Cuba.
When we got there it was wonderful – sunshine, beaches, ocean, seafood, coconut-water and other delicious tropical fruits. My parents told me the rum was really good, but didn’t let me have any. Anyway, I remember saying to Dad, “wouldn’t it be great if we owned a place here?”. He looked at me and for a moment then asked, “What would that change?”. At times like this, when he was asking me to  think beyond my reckless teenage drives, he would take on the  aspect of a wise Buddhist monk. “Well, Dad, it would mean that we  could come here every year.”, I replied. “But surely, son, that is only a matter of committing to come back again”. He went on to point out that being in this wonderful place had nothing to do with owning it. He asked me if I was enjoying myself, and I had to admit that I was. At the time I gave it little thought, but when I look back I realize that he was teaching me about the importance of being present and enjoying the moment.

Reflecting on the flight I took with Kevin and some friends to Texada Island just the other day, Dad’s point really hits home for me. We had a spectacular flight, rode bikes on lonely roads, enjoyed a wonderful meal with good friends and adventured our way back home. To get there by car would have meant hours of driving, three ferries and the costs of accommodation. We truly have a wonderful proposition at our flying club. Seeing it through the eyes of our non-flying guests really drove it home.

We all talked about owning aircraft – and it is a viable option for some – but when I think about it, flying the club aircraft is perfect for me at my time of life. Our talented Treasurer has recently done some financial analysis regarding the cost of ownership. Aircraft ownership, before literally getting off the ground – is in the range of fifteen thousand dollars per year. That doesn’t include the cost of purchasing the aircraft or the ongoing costs of hourly flight. The Club proposition is even more attractive when you consider the fact that we have a diligent team of people looking after the maintenance, financing and care of the aircraft. I have often fantasized about owning or home-building, but the fact is, with two tween-aged kids and a busy career I’m lucky to get the lawn mowed and our oil changed in the family vehicle. Because of the excellent assets of the club, members are able to fly to exciting destinations with only the requirements of currency to be met.

Whether you choose to own an aircraft, fly the club planes or even a bit of both, the most important thing to remember is to get out there and fly for fun!

President’s Column

Not much to report this month except to say that we are all looking forward to the upcoming Wings and Wheels event coming soon. Planning is ongoing and as always we can use some more help. Please see Ed Boon for details.

Also I am considering strategies for increasing volunteerism on activities that are beneficial to the club and would like your input.

Most of the issues with GSBS are resolved and the Certificate of Registration is imminent. We are closing in on having it ready to fly…. just a little more work and testing needed. Thanks to Bob Leroux for pointing out paperwork issues and to Bevan and his team of helpers for their ongoing hard work.

Please see the posted report from the Amateur Built Aircraft Policy committee. Your comments and feedback are welcome! We’ll be voting to enact recommendations at our next Board meeting. Thanks to the committee for doing the research and their considered writings.

The Safety Committee has posted their proposed policy amendments – please take a look and add any kudos, comments, questions or concerns. They have worked hard to come up with some innovations for safety and their work is appreciated.

As a first step towards an AFC Safety Management System, Warren took the IMC club through ground-school-style IFR training exercises.

Prepair coming to CYXX in March – I hope to see you there!

President’s Column – February 2019

February Presidential Column

Dear Members and Readers,

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

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

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

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

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

Yours truly,

George

President’s Column – January 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Yours truly,
George

President’s Column – December 2018

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yours truly,
George

President’s Column – March 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ken Campbell
AFC President

President’s Column – June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ken Campbell