By Bill Wilkie
On May 3, Vernon Regional Airport was again the site of the annual “Rust Remover” recurrent training session for pilots.
Hosted by the Vernon Flying Club and COPA Flight 65, the Transport Canada mandated training has become an annual event in Vernon with more than 170 pilots from across South and Central B.C. attending the day-long refresher symposium.
While most traveled by car, we had the honour of guiding 25 visiting aircraft to complimentary parking spots on member’s hangar ramps.
Activities commenced Friday night with a “pot-luck social” at the VFC clubhouse for those from the local area or having flown in to join the festivities. Registration for the event started early the next morning at the VFC clubhouse and was accompanied by coffee and doughnuts. Attendees received their welcome packages and then moved to the Kal-Tire hangar that was generously made available to serve as the event’s training venue.
To satisfy the Transport Canada requirements, Rust Removers can cover many aspects of recurrent training topics such as flight law, airmanship, weather, medical issues, etc. In addition, each year’s scope is expanded to expose the attendees to subjects that are new, of general interest, or are a bit controversial in nature.
Afterwards attendees received a log book sticker confirming attendance at the Transport Canada sanctioned recurrent training seminar.
First on the agenda was “Survival Techniques” presented by local outdoor survival expert Pete Wise who colourfully demonstrated the use of recommended survival equipment and described what one should carry in the cockpit to enhance survival in the event of a forced landing in hostile terrain. The topic spanned the time from the initial MAYDAY call, through ground survival, to time of rescue.
“Vision Considerations When Flying” was the subject of Enderby Optometrist and VFC member pilot, Dr. Lawrence MacAuley, whose comprehensive and well delivered presentation included MOT requirements, pros/cons/impacts of various vision corrections, color vision, ocular conditions, hypoxia, and sunglasses selection.
After the lunch break, Peter Saunders of the Ottawa-based Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) gave a short briefing on the CBAA and its involvement in its Safety Management System (SMS). He described a formalized approach to safety management and suggested how the principles can be applied, in a less formal sense, to the private pilot and his aircraft.
Winding up the all-day session was Greg Down, an ATC supervisor in the Vancouver Area Control Centre, who received the full attention of all present while briefing attendees on Air Traffic Control services available to a pilot during an in-flight emergency.
He also provided a glimpse into the future development of the ATC systems to provide expanded location and direction services for pilots having emergencies or simply needing redirection to known landmarks.
VFC and COPA Flight 65 wish to acknowledge the time and effort expended by the presenters and offer them our most sincere thanks for their professional presentations of timely topics. We also thank everyone who attended the event.
Cost of the two-day function was held down to a minimum due to the generous donation of time and effort by an army of Flying Club and COPA volunteers, COPA National support, and donations of door prizes, presentation equipment, and venues by local individuals and businesses.
VFC and COPA Flight 65 also acknowledge the support of the City of Vernon and the Vernon Regional Airport staff. Working together, they are continuing to foster the Vernon Regional Airport and the Vernon Flying Club, as a friendly stop for private pilots.
YE DAY SETS RECORD
In April they came from miles around to help set a one-day-record for the most Young Eagles ever flown by the Vernon Flying Club.
Created by the Experimental Aircraft Association in 1992 and enthusiastically supported by members of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, the mission of the Young Eagle’s program is to provide a motivational aviation experience, focusing on a demonstration flight in an aircraft. Although the price of fuel has risen dramatically over the last few years, local pilots are deeply supportive of the effort and willingly donate time and money to the venture.
The Vernon Flying Club has been involved with the Young Eagles program for many years and normally would see 15 to 30 children arrive for their introductory flights. Possibly due to an early newspaper article heralding the event, organizer Randy Rauch and staff were surprised when prospective fledgling sign-ups hit 50, climbed to 60 and then soared to 100. By the time the propellers had stopped on flight day, 106 Young Eagles had been given certificates attesting to their airborne experience.
To ensure and enhance the safety of the operation, both pilots and Young Eagles were given a briefing prior to engine start. For the pilots, it included a review of the weather and the course to be followed (both in the air and on the ground); for the Young Eagles, it covered some basic aircraft information and procedures to be followed approaching and departing their aircraft.
Volunteer marshallers directed traffic on the ground and ensured that passengers were conducted to and from their aircraft safely and expeditiously.
One measure of the success of the overall program is that some young people who flew as Young Eagles in the early days have gone on to get their pilots’ licences and have flown Young Eagles themselves! The members of the Vernon Flying Club are proud to be part of this international initiative and plan to continue to be willing participants.