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The Mary goes Gabriola

 

 

The Mary relaxes in our ‘rustic’
cabin at Page’s Resort
on Gabriola’s Silva Bay.

 

Local Air Cadets try out a real
CAF F-18 for size!
Photos courtesy Tony Swain



"Hi, how’d you like to try
my hat?" This demure
young lady politely
declined. Fancy guys
with big cars
don’t impress her!

 

 

Builder Beat Meyer of Vancouver
sits proudly by his Seafire
Amphibian at the Boundary
Bay Annual Air show.

 

Legendary show pilot Bud Granley
waves to a thrilled young fan after
winning the B.Bay Air Race.



A delighted Peter Schlieck shows off
the 135hp Diesel in his Cessna
Centurian at the ZBB show.

 

 

George Kirbyson and passenger
Doug Moan tuck the Museum’s
Harvard 2 close to Vic Bentley’s
Harvard 4 photo plane during
Langley’s Round Engine Fly-In.
Photo courtesy John Trendell

 

Airpark Chair Terry Wilshire and
caretaker Gerrard Van Dijk
decommission the old clubhouse,
prior to building restoration work.
Photos courtesy Tony Swain



Delta Heritage Airpark Chair, Terry
Wilshire, addresses Delta Council
during the Rezoning Public
Meeting. Mayor Lois Jackson
listens intently at far left.

Click pictures to view larger images

Summertime, and the lazing is easy… Te daaa… So The Mary suggested time out from our retirement sweat-shop and rent our long ago rustic Honeymoon shack at Yellow Point.

Good thinking! Take her mind off a new carpet. But they were booked solid. Call back in a couple of weeks. Darn!

Anyway, after some Googling argy-bargy, we found our old yacht club had a fancy Sail-in dinner coming up at Silva Bay on Gabriola Island. Way to go! As the Hon. Club Founder we’d turn up un-announced, and demand food. Memory said an early flying friend ran the resident floatplane service.

The nearest rustic cabins were next door at Page’s Resort, which ‘Gloria’ advised was just a short stroll through the woods. The perfect hidey place. We could spy on boats entering the bay.

Sadly, the Air Service knew not my friend, so it was plan ‘B’, the Mazda, the freeway, two ferries, and the Gabriola rural route, bemoaning "Could get a nice little strip on that golf course." No use without an airplane however.

By plane we could fly to Nanaimo, bus to town, cab to Gabriola ferry, and have Page’s pick us up. Plane travel severely cramps luggage decisions, but plan B allowed free reign to The M’s ‘wagon train’ mentality!

On arrival, Gloria’s genial fella, Ken, showed us our rustic cabin, snuggled in trees, close by the bluff over the Bay. The Mary was delighted… A proper wood-burning stove! Just like her Mom’s, long gone in the mists of time.

Canadians yearn the hardy life…fishin’, trappin’ and choppin’ wood. New Immigrants caught the dream, and wrote home about mythical cabins in the Rockies.

However, in our real rustic cabin at Silva Bay, it was extremely daunting firing up a crackling log with a mere 20 matches. To fend off the elements, all we had were multiple adjustable baseboard heaters, a thoroughly modern kitchen and bathroom, instant hot water, and a huge fridge. Imagine!

Our cell didn’t work, and no telly! And we’d left our vintage five inch Baycrest Emergency TV at home. Pah!

It was idyllic! The M slept, cooked, read, and fed logs to her darling stove. I watched Tofino Air’s skillful Beavers thread in and out of the bay, from YVR South, just 20 minutes across the Straits from the Flying Beaver Café. Arriving guests spoke highly of the Pilot’s en route Alpine yodeling.

Gulf Yacht Club members were astounded when we showed up for dinner, me sporting my historic home-made 1965 Commodore’s Cap! My little speech received modest applause, considering precious few knew us. And even those wanted the story on dear old Bessy… Sigh. We came here to forget!

Thanks to a timely cancellation, after Gabriola we drove down to Yellow Point Lodge, with real rustic beach cabins, proper wood stoves, bracing bathroom treck through the forest, et al.

Playing the old folk bit to the hilt, we were assigned a genuine rustic cabin, with every modern convenience, overlooking Stuart Channel and the De Courcy, Ruxton Island chain, where notorious Brother Twelve had his commune back in the thirties.

It’s pretty civilized now, and De Courcy’s Pirate’s Cove is a snug marine park. My friend Brian has a cabin on Ruxton which we viewed with wonky binocs… In Calgary, his Dad and Stan Green, built a Sopwith Pup.

Yellow Point rings a bell for meals, and cheerful university students serve delicious food six times a day. In 1969, I rented a big Cherokee at nearby Nanaimo Airport, and took the entire young staff for sightsee flights around this spectacular area. That’s 26 people over three days! Great fun.

After a few halcyon days, we took reverse Plan B home, and finally relaxed in our cozy Kitsilano flat.

 

BOUNDARY BAY SHOW

The ZBB Annual Air Show is like a village fete, and easy to attend for senior folks. The familiar acts please the crowd, and with many performers local, the chance to show off to ones friends is a welcome opportunity.

Delta RAA member Beat Meyer sat proudly by his magnificent Seafire amphibian, a 20 year project, that would be a sensation at Oshkosh.

For years we’ve poked fun at mythical diesel airplane engines, but LO! …Peter Schliek of Halcyon Aviation had a 135 HP Diesel, bright and shiny in a Cessna 172R Centurion.

There were Pacific Skydivers, Aurora fly-bys, vintage fly-bys, Renny Price’s Sukhoi Acros, The Fraser Blues routine, et al.

John Mrazek’s Harvard Acro routine, growling about with that wonderful old Wasp, makes me pine for old Bessy. This intensifies during the Demo Air Race. Four Harvards roar around the course, the lead changing constantly… then Poof!… Marazek’s PussyCat II streams smoke.

Apparently after ingesting duct tape from the crafty leader, Bud Granley. Magic Mrazek nurses PussyCat down safely, as Reno Racers McMann and Granley go neck and neck. Mike Langford’s stock Mark 4 can’t maintain the pace, and Granley wins. See you next year!

 

ROUND ENGINE MEET

The Canadian Museum of Flight at Langley hosted Round Engine planes last Saturday, and sadly, there are few still around. However, enthusiasts were pleased to drool over four Harvards, the museum's Waco AQC-6 (CF-CCW), Bruce Guest's Fairchild 24W (CF-CCO), Doug Anderson's Stinson Gullwing, a couple of Nanchengs and a Murphy Moose.

Lucky Museum volunteers John Trendell and Doug Moan got coveted Harvard rides with Vic Bentley and George Kirbyson, the former Ray-Ban Gold Acro pilot.

 

ROUNDHOUSE RE & RE

Till 1970, the local EAA come RAA Chapter met in Corrie’s Koffee Port at Delta. Then, after some years helping with the Abbotsford Air Show, they built a clubhouse similar to the portable schoolrooms of the day. This efficient ‘roundhouse’ design allowed a nice panoramic view of the Airpark.

For 35 years this facility served the Airpark well, housing numerous club meetings, socials, parks tours, etc. However, tempus fugit recently, and time came for some serious repair. Experts opined this easier if the building was dismantled first. So the usual local volunteers tackled the job, the better to inspect, repair, or evaluate options.

 

AIR PARK REZONING

Rezoning Public Hearings are a complex time for everyone. Delta Council’s report had 13 pages of Recommendations, Purpose, Background, Site plans, Policy, Discussions, attachments, et al.

Metro Vancouver Parks sought to normalize the Air Park’s zoning to bring it in-line with existing and future use of the property as a Regional Park. It has operated as such since 1995 and as an Airpark since the 1960’s.

Sixteen Air Park volunteers attended the Public Hearing, and during an evening that heard numerous other applications, they learned what a difficult job it is to be on council.

Delta Heritage Air Park Chair, Terry Wilshire, the B.C. COPA Director, addressed council in favour of the application, citing DAPCOM’s objectives of operating as a unique recreational facility in harmony with the neighborhood and the environment, in a safe and sustainable manner, and to provide a center for heritage aircraft and recreational aviation organizations, whilst encouraging the public to visit and experience real ‘Grass Roots’ aviation.

The majority of these activities would be carried out by dedicated stakeholder group volunteers.

Council questioned Metro Parks Area Superintendent Mitch Sokalski on these matters, and Councillor Scott Hamilton spoke of the fine job presently being done by the park users. Before calling the question, Mayor Lois Jackson commented she’d been following such Air Park discussions since she was in mini skirts!

The rezoning passed unanimously, which surprised those present, considering the years of sometimes-noisy debate.

Terry commented this was a welcome endorsement of our efforts to operate the Air Park, and boded well for our future partnership with Delta Corporation and Metro Vancouver Parks.

So there you go! Fly Safe now!

Tony Swain, an Old COPA Guy.