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It’s a fact that old scaredy-cat pilots need constant ego re-enforcement as recently bold square-jawed heroes.
In the glory days, one simply hung a prop over the bar. Relaxed silver haired chaps in blazers and club ties regaled awed students with dubious stories on how it got there. "Ho yes! …That fell off Frank’s 1928 Handley Page Bat during a slow roll over the clubhouse back in 19-whatsit! Didn’t it George?"
Sadly, such clubs have pretty well gone, now it’s more like… "Ho yes! Need experience for your private? …Sign here for the low level night mountain check."
It’s tough to maintain that hero image when living in a cardboard box, as Big Jerry describes our place. Alright our friends with dens and rumpus rooms, brimming with silver plated engine bits, DC-3 ashtrays, magnificent wall pics of sporty fighter planes and such… It’s a matter of space.
Sigh! We make do with a psuedo mantelpiece over a mock fireplace, whose electric log fire was ousted by piles of airplane magazines long ago. No one visits anyway! So my careful placement of nostalgic items for best effect must battle The Mary’s constant battle against Tony Clutter. Sigh. But life goes on, and my tiny corner of airplanedom persists.
The grand centerpiece is a magnificent Stearman retrieved from the back lane garbage when the all-new Mary threw out my favourite picture ‘Winding Road by Barn’, discovered for $1.99 at Woolworth’s many years ago.
Memorobilic motor-sport and sailing stuff are now overwhelmed by pilot ego stroking stuff. Below the Stearman is my precious COPA retirement plaque. The Mary’s bright red Trophy, won at the NATA ‘Bomb’ Competition at ENW ’94, near Chicago, presides over everything. Other good stuff is either, on a shelf at Delta, or safe under the bed.
The hero portrait was by a Ray Mercer for a 1972 Mac Parry article in B.C. Affairs Magazine. Mac published a number of positive pieces on Personal Aviation, and is now the Vancouver social commentator. Too bad our social events don’t have quite the cachet of a new restaurant opening! …Double sigh.
WINDOWS TO THE PAST
Driving along 4th Ave. under Granville Bridge recently, between a Rolls Royce in a shop window, and the Vespa Scooter Dealer, I spotted a SeaBee on a wall! As a self-appointed airplane art connoisseur, I investigated.
The Autumn Brook Gallery, is run by Robert Kwon, himself an artist, whose amazing red leaved trees took me back vividly to those filling my windshield during a Harvard forced landing by Sylvan Lake many years ago.
The SeaBee was a large ‘retro’ oil painting ‘The Kennedy Years’, by Virginia Ivanicki, of beautiful people lounging a 60’s beach near their ‘Camelot.’ And more! Absolutely compelling realistic Warbird art graced the walls, and more exciting yet, was how the artist posed the aircraft!
Artist Ivanicky uniquely captures their moment in history by literally flying them through the halls of time. She depicts vintage warbirds clawing their way both into, and out of, the past, by having them fly through, and within aging grandiose stately buildings. It’s a wondrous concept.
I was desperate to know this artist. Gallerian Kwon said "Well Google her, she has a website! She’ll be pleased at your interest." So I did. Her ‘Art Port Designs’ is a studio loft in a rambling artist’s community on Parker Street, Vancouver, where she creates period pieces celebrating vintage cars.
Surprisingly, she knew no actual Warbird or aviation people, so I invited her to the Delta Breakfast, where her portfolio created a mini sensation, astounding everyone with the quality of her work. By day’s end, she was thrilled at offered rides in a Warrior, a Stearman, and a Harvard!
She muses… "How does one fall in love with a machine? Easy! Flight is probably man’s crowning glory here on earth! Warbirds represent the epitome of passion, excitement, achievement and magic!"
Right on! She is already booked for EAA Arlington 2008! Her web page is www.ivanicki.com
PARTNERS IN THE PARKS
Metro Vancouver Regional Parks hold an annual ‘Thank-you’ luncheon for the volunteers who assist Park’s Staff to run things. There are numerous MVRP (ex-GVRD) parks, so it’s quite a gathering, hosted each year by a different region who give tours round their particular projects.
Delta Airpark Caretakers Gerard and Sharon Van Dijk, The Mary and I attended, and chose to visit Colony Farm, a one time penal colony. Mary was fascinated by the amazing ‘theme’ variety of garden plots, apparently driven by national origins.
Various awards were presented later at dinner, and we were particularly pleased to see Parks Superintendent Frieda Schade at the podium.
Frieda is special to us as Delta’s first GVRD boss, guiding us through those nervous early years. She was delighted to see us, and praised our continued efforts as a Partnership operation.
Our present boss, Mitch Sokalski was away, but Parks Manager Ed Andrusiak told Mary The Leaders’s ‘Love is in the Air’ story was welcome P.R. for all parks in the community, which gave us comfort.
COPA’s WILSHIRE SPEAKS
COPA B.C. and Yukon Director Terry Wilshire briefed the Boundary Bay Flying Club on the progress and frustrations of advocacy for Personal Aviation, with Transport Canada, local, provincial, and federal governments.
He told of encouraging success at saving small airstrips in Quebec, Banff and Jasper. Language proficiency standards don’t appear to present a problem for most, but the 406 ELT situation is far from satisfactory. Please read and act on the COPA HQ appeals as requested elsewhere in this paper. Terry is also the Chairman of Delta Heritage Air Park.
AIRCREW ASSOCIATION MEET
My Billy Bishop Legion friend, Eric Mold, introduced me to the Air Crew Association at Crescent Beach Legion recently. As I was only briefly a hero pilot, and never fired a gun, I’d felt unqualified for such an exalted group. However, as Eric wrote, "…It’s now time to sally forth into the amusing careers of our postwar lads!"
It was all very social, ably presided over by Jack Meadows, RAF ret’d, DFC, AFC, AE. My old Chipmunk friend from Pitt Meadows, Ted Havens runs the Library and 50/50 draw supporting Air Cadets. I found myself seated with Lanc and Halifax pilots, who actually flew over my house in Hull, Yorkshire, en route to war in WW 2.
I told them of the Halifax bomber that taxies today at Eastmoor, near York, of the grilled cheese sandwich in the restored tower, and original NAAFI meals in a re-incarnated Nissen hut
It’s hard to believe that my ex-RCAF instructor friend Al Scott and I go back 55 years since I was an RAF NATO Trainee at 4 FTS Currie Field, Calgary in 1953. He bought a brand new C-120 in 1946, and spent years in Calgary selling aviation insurance, before coming to Vancouver to start the very successful Scott Locks. After retirement he edited the Boundary Bay Flying Club Newsletter, PropTalk for a time. He lives with his wife Eileen in a mobile home park at White Rock.
So I guess that’s all… Fly Safe now!
Tony Swain, an Old COPA Guy.