By Deryck Brown
The plaque presented to the participants at the Picton Annual Father’s Day fly-in was intended as an acknowledgement of the recent Anniversary of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of which the Picton airport had played a small part.
Construction of the Picton airport was started in the summer of 1940 and the facility was used briefly as the RCAF’s No. 1A Manning Depot, starting in November 1940, but this usage was discontinued in March 1941 in preparation for the opening of the RAF No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School, in April 1941.
Most of the buildings from that era, hangers, Barrack buildings and Messes, still remain and some can be seen in the background of the photos.
This year the weather was cooperative and we had close to a record turnout. The final count was 75 or 76 aircraft, number 76 came in at about 11:50 a.m. and, technically, breakfast service ends at 11:00 a.m., so I doubt that they got breakfast, although they could be counted. The reason I said “Almost a record” was I seem to recollect 77 on a previous year.
The furthest person came from Duncan, B.C. (Not all in one flight), most came from Ontario; Midland, Ottawa, Eldorado, Stirling, Kingston, West port, Peterborough, Smith Falls, Oshawa, Selby, Pembroke, Desoronto, North Bay, Cobourg, Lindsay, Tamworth, Embrum, Newcastle, Tottenham and Carp, one from St Hyacinthe, Quebec and one from New York State.
Their means of arrival varied from helicopters, powered parachutes and trikes through the homebuilt and the Piper and Cessna ranges, plus Fleets and Aeroncas to elegant antiques like the Cessna 195. One came in a DH Beaver which is powered by a 600-horsepower PZL engine.