By Barry Martin
One of the twin Comanches during the tour of PEI.
Visiting General Aviation aircraft to the Charlottetown airport this past summer was noticeably down compared to the last few years. Except for the August 22 weekend when COPA Flight 57 held their Comanche fly-in. It also helped that it was the only nice weekend in the month of August.
Dico Reyers, the coordinator of the fly-in, sure knows how to pick a weekend. As mentioned in the preliminary notices in COPA Flight, although we called it a Comanche fly-in, all types were invited.
A couple of years ago, we hosted a Beech fly-in, also open to all types, so this year there were a few good natured comments on which fly-in was most popular, the Piper or the Beech. It would be unfair for me to comment as I fly a Piper, but maybe next year we’ll call it a Beech/Piper fly-in (Beech being listed first only because it comes first in the alphabet) and see which type comes out on top.
This could also be a challenge for the other types to show their popularity. Dennis, a repeat visitor to these fly-ins arrived to the Beech fly-in in a Grumman and the Comanche fly-in in a Cessna.
Considering the price of fuel and the distance to travel, we had a quite a good turnout with participants from as far south as West Virginia and as far west as Kelowna, B.C. There were also participants from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
There were single and twin Comanche’s, other Piper’s, Cessna’s, Citabria’s and a few amateur built’s. Some were here for a few days and some just dropped in for our famous Saturday morning breakfast or our Sunday barbeque.
The weekend started with a meet-and-greet at Jake’s located at the Charlottetown Yacht club. I know, a fly-in meeting at a yacht club, but we were sitting outside under the glide path for runway 03. And they did serve oysters.
This was a great way for everyone to get to know each other as most were strangers, for the first few minutes at least. By the end of the evening, you would think that we were all life long buddies.
Saturday morning we were back to the Skyplex (yes, at the airport) for breakfast and then an aerial tour of the eastern and central parts of PEI. A total of 10 planes participated with Dico’s Twin Comanche leading the way, with myself in the right seat acting as tour guide. This gave a great opportunity for some air to air and air to ground shots.
We toured to the eastern end of the island to view the wind mills, then along the north shore to the Cavendish area and across to view the fixed link before returning to Charlottetown.
Saturday evening saw the group heading out to the New Glasgow Lobster Supper to help them celebrate 50 years in the lobster supper business. As everyone waddled out after dining on the all you can eat fresh rolls, seafood chowder, PEI mussels and deserts, not to mention the lobster, it wasn’t hard to figure out how they could stay in business for 50 years.
Sterling MacRae, co-owner of the Lobster Suppers and also a pilot, gave anyone interested a tour of the lobster pound where the lobsters and mussels are kept until invited out for dinner.
When Jim, a Cherokee Six driver from Kelowna, saw the notice in COPA Flight about the $50.00 lobster suppers, he just had to make the short hop across the country to get one. He certainly was not disappointed.
On Sunday, we were back at the Skyplex for a noon hour barbeque featuring sausages and hamburgers. Brent Taylor was kept busy running the barbeque since there were unsubstantiated rumours that I might over cook the hamburgs a little.
Jim commented that it was the best free hamburger he ever had. What some people will do for a free meal.
Afterwards, some of the participants headed home while others stayed around to enjoy the Island and the rest of the Maritimes for a few more days. A great weekend and many new friends.