By Don Matheson
COPA 45 Webmaster
Co-Captain Fred introduced the reason for this evening. Gus Chisholm turns 80 today and also celebrates 61 years of active flying. Gus Chisholm assisted Keith Hopkinson in the building of his Stitts Playboy and wanted an aircraft of his own. From the Mechanix Illustrated magazine, he used those plans to build his Baby Ace. He fondly called this plane "Bits and Pieces" as he simply scrounged parts from all parts of Canada and the United States. Son, John, has another explanation for the "Baby" in the Baby Ace. He claims that most of the baby bonus went into this building fund.
All kidding aside, Gus has also restored several aircraft, which once completed were simply "cream puffs" in workmanship. Gus’ favourite aircraft was a 150 Cessna that had the registration C-GUSS.
Gus has won many awards in the past half century of building and flying. In 1999 he won the COPA National Good Show award, which is awarded for outstanding action by an individual in general aviation. Kevin Psutka’s tribute to Gus in that "you are honoured for over fifty years of contributions to aviation particularly with homebuilts."
Carl Millard of Millard Air said, To a great friend of over 50 years…an engineer, a pilot and a great ambassador for Goderich." Well, happy birthday to a founder of this airport.
Ben Van Diepenbeek of ACW reminisced about Gus as a founder of this airport and also Gus sold him two farms but it was not without a lot of figures being brandied about. He also thanked COPA 45 for its work here on the airport.
John Grace from Goderich spoke of Gus’ accomplishments at Sky Harbour Airport and presented him with a gift of Goderich glasses.
Sandy Wellman continued the tradition and spoke of Gus as a past and present employee of Sky Harbour Aircraft. Sandy commented that Gus has probably forgot more than Sandy had learned from Gus.
John Edwards, as a 17-year kid, remembers Gus around the airport as "Dad Chisholm" and how John learned many things about aircraft from him.
Dan Stringer then thanked Gus for his continuing support in aviation after the death of his wife and getting him back in the air.
Harold Bettger brought the house down with his suggestions of a gift for Gus. He then sang a song about the Tim Horton’s coupon book minus the coupons. Gus, Harold and George Parsons were 3 of the original Harbouraires- a Goderich men’s singing group.
Then it was Gus’ turn to reply to the tributes he had just heard. Of course, Gus is never to be outdone and continued with a response that continued with lots of laughter.