By Rod Lawrence
One wag suggested we had 20 times more aircraft this year than at last year’s fly-in. That sounds good until you find out that due to poor weather only one brave soul flew in last year.
The weather this year proved good enough to entice over 20 aircraft and 86 visitors to enjoy our 4th annual June Spring breakfast fly-in. The great fixins were prepared by Wendy and her crew at the Reece’s Corners Restaurant (open year-round and a great place for a fly-in meal).
Some cumulo-nimbus clouds to the north though made us wonder if some people might have been prudently scared away from making the trek to the grassstrip airport 20 kilometres east of the Sarnia airport. Thankfully though, those clouds stayed well to the north and the skies eventually cleared up.
Honourable mention for furthest pilot must go to Jan Has from Holland visiting friends here for five weeks. Jan flies a lowwing Robin (pronounced with a French accent as Ro-ban) from Pijnacker, 10 minutes from Rotterdam airport. His three sons in Europe are all private pilots as well so flying is certainly in the family blood.
Honourable mention for the plane with the most character was the twin-VW engine powered aircraft designed and built by 76-year-old Ron Riley.
Selling breakfast tickets were long-time members and pilots Russ Walker and John Percival. John started Sarnia’s COPA Flight 7 back in 1968. He’s been licensed since 1956, longer than many pilots today have been alive. Russ got his license a year or so after that. They remember the cost as being about $200 plus $150 for the instructor. Lesson here: if you want to get your pilot’s license just do it – it isn’t going to get any cheaper.
It’s nice to see that flying is not just for the boys. First-time flyer, 24 year old Chantal White was all smiles after Bill Canton took her up for a bird’s-eye view of Sarnia and the Bluewater Bridge. “I want to go back up”, she said, when asked how she enjoyed it. Rumour has it that she’s going to be enrolled in a groundschool pretty soon.
Well-known and loved Ormie Middleton, previous owner of the Skyview airport from 1957 to 2009, enjoyed a coffee with some of the pilots. It was a perfect day for sitting at a picnic table to enjoy a coffee and friendship.
More pictures than can be shown here were taken so if you’d like to see more, you can visit Sarnia COPA Flight 7’s Facebook page and view the other pictures taken that day.
On behalf of COPA Flight 7 many thanks to those who came out and helped make this day a great success. See you at our Fall Fly-In at Sarnia Airport. Check the COPA calendar for the date.