Airport’s backyard party stirs neighbourly interest

By C.K.Marek


After a successful Community Open House at the Oshawa Municipal Airport in June, 2009, celebrating the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada, the city’s Airport Advisory Committee (AAC) had, as one of the tasks in its 2011 Work Plan, to plan and run a similar event. As chair of the Work Group that was struck, I saw our mandate as twofold.

First, we’d arrange to showcase some of the many facets of aviation and aeronautics at this, the 2010 ‘World’s Most–Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport’ and one of the top 30 airports in Canada. Not everyone sees easily the contribution that well maintained General Aviation infrastructure makes local and national economies and to the quality of life of Canadians, whether active in the industry or not.

Second, we’d hope to interest and excite young and old alike with activities and displays highlighting areas of aviation-related opportunies and challenges: the joy and privilege of taking to the sky; the need of new pilots and technicians for Canada’s civilian and military industries; business and personal travel; research and development; disaster relief and remote area humanitarian applications; airport operations and management; and some of the available training paths to become involved.

I’d like to thank my five co-work group volunteers: Manny Rosario (fellow AAC member), Andy Armstrong (community), Gord Mahaffy and Doug Raine (Flight 70), Jim Morrison (RAA) and my aviation aficionado friend, Louisa Corby, who contributed so many ideas and dedicated so much personal time to organize for, advertise and set up the event and who kept busy on June 25th seeing that the exhibitors, attendees and show details were taken care of.

We appreciated the guidance of co-workers, Steve Wilcox (TAAS APM) and Dan Riddle (TAAS ops manager), of other airport and city staff, and of Oshawa ATC. We had a wonderful team of airport tenants, many COPA Flight 70 and Oshawa RAA members and Georgian College students who willingly assisted in both glamourous and mundane ways.

Kudos go to Skyway Café for the excellent pancake breakfast and barbecue lunch.

Many visitors cited radio announcements by KX96 from their airport broadcast location in the week leading up to and on the day of the Saturday June 25th Open House as enticing them.

Others excitedly arrived after seeing the several low and slow passes of the C-17 from 8 Wing Trenton, of the Great War Flying Museum WWI aircraft and of the local Pitts Special, in anticipation of getting to see these aircraft up close for free! Still others responded to posters in various community locations, web notices or to the newspaper ad.

We extended written invitations to representatives of three government levels and were pleased to see His Worship, Mayor John Henry, several municipal councillors and city staff drop by.

As you can see by the photos, it was a pleasure to have the aviation photography team Eric and Bernadette Dumigan join us.

Thanks go to our many exhibitors from near and far: field reps - Corporate Aircraft Restoration, CFA and DFC flight school for airplane rides, EAI and tenant aircraft, Durham Police helicopter Air One, Aviation Supplies, TAAS airport maintenance equipment; also - the Oshawa Fire Dept., MAAC reps from Whitby Aero

Modellers, Oshawa Radio Controlled Club and Scugog Float Flyers (coordinated by Flight 70’s John Alford); Bill Lishman flying in with his Air First Aid Trike and cargo kit, Dave Woodhouse and company flying in with RANS-S6 Coyotes on amphibious floats, Remax setting up for tethered balloon rides that had to be nixed due to weather; Canadian Forces recruiting and aircraft, Scientists in School’s Stan Taylor with propeller, hovercraft and balsawood glider make’n take activities, RAA wing rib building make’n take, CWIA’s Sherry Kremko and Louisa Corby facilitating the successful completion of a three-hour Aeronautics Badge by 18 Girl Guides from Oshawa, Port Perry, Whitby, Cobourg, Brighton and Trenton; Eddie’s Ice Cream; displays by Gullbusters, Leslie Page of the 99s,

Canadian Women In Aviation (CWIA), Lindsay Sytsma of Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), WO2 Smith with F/Sgt Mckintosh and Lt Col (ret’d) Gilbank of 151 Lloyd Chadburn Air Cadet Squadron and Oshawa Airport Lions Club.

Consensus by organizers, exhibitors and visitors alike (this’ll be no surprise to many of you readers) - the intermittent showers and gusty breezes couldn’t dampen or cool the enjoyment had by all.

In an effort to maintain good relations, thrilled with the chance to share our passion, to inform and educate, the Oshawa aviation community and friends were happy to host this ‘backyard party’ and see the enthusiasm and interest stirred in the 1,000s of neighbours who attended!

Join us all summer at 18:00 on Wednesdays for barbecues at the RCAF 420 Wing and the first Saturday of September when the Military Museum has its Open House and the RCAF again hosts a barbecue from noon until 3p.m. See for these and other meeting details.