Flight’s Fly-In Barbecue Just keeps Getting Better

John Woudstra


COPA Flight 121 in conjunction with Challenge Aviation hosted the 11th annual fly in barbecue for Ottawa Valley Flyers and all else who chose to join in. Last year I reported that it couldn’t get any better. Well, guess what? It did!

This year was the biggest and best yet with 51 aircraft reported on the field and an attendance of some 150 people.

Needless to say with a blue sunny sky And calm winds, everyone was driven out of the nest to fly.

The first attendees to arrive and get the ball rolling were Alain La Marche and Pierre Cote from Gatineau in Alain’s Puddlejumperequipped Challenger II. From there I lost track since the inbound traffic was steady for the balance of the Morning and the focus changed to controlling the inbound aircraft and ensuring safe handling of ground traffic.

We closed the pattern at 11 a.m. for a fly past of Classic Wings’ L-39 jet trainer, a true delight for all in attendance. After three or four passes, clean and down and dirty, this pristine sample Of ex-military hardware returned to Smiths Falls where it is based. Not too long afterward Bob Hanson joined the festivities in his Robinson Helicopter. Bob is to be thanked for his contribution and willingness to share his fine collection of aircraft at our event. We always anticipate next year to see what will come out of the Classic Wings hangar.

The range of aircraft joining us had the Challengers far outweighing the numbers. Close to 30 samples of this fine aircraft joined the party. Those flying in on floats picked perfect conditions to bring a passenger along.
Samples of Kitfox aircraft in varying colors also graced us with their presence along with a taste of Rvs.

Over the past year a number of serious builders have tackled the Zenair 750 as a project that would allow for more speed and side by side seating. Angus Watt and Bob MacDonald recently completed their projects and are boring holes in the sky with every chance they get. Two fine samples of what can be accomplished in a reasonable time frame with dealer help as well as working with a fine quality product to start with.

Both versions are the same yet very different in how the owners have configured them for their own specific needs. Conrad Watters is about to begin his project in late September and is looking forward to his retirement project we expect him to participate in next year’s event.

Henry and Yvonne McKinley I believe would have won farthest flown in their amphibious Cessna 172 with home base in Honey Harbor. A diversion to Kingston for some sailing and a stop off at Carleton Place were perfect. Fortunately the 172 is equipped with a 180 horse Lycoming which allowed for clearance over the trees on departure.

We all watched the various amphibs depart with their exceptional climb rates (just kidding). I’m sure the cockpit view was much better than that of 2,000 feet away from the ground. It did give us something more to talk about as each one cleared en route with no issues.

Now that I think of it maybe Patrick Vinet (Puddlejumper floats) in his Challenger II may have rivalled the distance record. Patrick flew in from St Jovite. It doesn’t really matter since we awarded no prizes and thank them both for making the trip to join us.

I must send my apologies to Patrick Gilligan, COPA vicepresident of operations, who I understand did fly in in his RV, but somehow I seemed to have missed him completely. I suppose with the crowds and activity and being a social butterfly someone had to be left out. I know he got his usual hugs and welcome from other members of the club so I won’t feel too bad.

On a final note, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the volunteers responsible for marshalling aircraft and safe ground movement as well as those who assisted with the set up and ensuring we had all of the supplies and equipment required for the event.

I understand a couple of runs to the local Independent to supplement our supplies were required so everyone could be fed and watered. A special thanks again to Claude and Joan for their organization and contribution to the event. I am led to believe Joan has decided to retire so we have a year to organize our thoughts and ask her for consultation on next year’s event.

We’ll just have to work twice as hard to ensure we can live up to the expectation. Thanks Joan and Claude for all you hard work and contribution to the success of this annual event. Not sure we can top this year but we will try. See you next year.

John Woudstra is the president of COPA Flight 121 - Carleton Place Flying Club.