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Canada Day, or closely thereto, is Delta’s annual proper Fly-in Day. Our ‘Second Sunday’ monthly pancake breakfasts gradually build to a crescendo of a great open house for interested folk from Delta, Surrey and beyond. All the airpark tenant groups combine to put on a great event.
The RAA, Boundary Bay Flying Club, COPA Flight 5, and individual tenants worked together seamlessly to provide a fun filled day for everyone under the general oversight of the Air Park Committee, DAPCom, and Chair Terry Wilshire.
The volunteer marshals were splendid in their flashy day-glow outfits and orange batons, almost like the Air Force.
About 75 aircraft flew in, old, new, and middle-age planes. There were classic cars, airplane engines, and a fascinating vintage logging ‘Chugga Chug’ Donkey engine. Scrumptious hot dogs, hamburgers, and the final evening Barbeque made a perfect closer.
To everyone’s delight, show pilot John Mrazek, ‘Mr. Magic’ arrived with his mint Harvard 4, ‘Pussycat II’, giving many air-show enthusiasts their first close up of this classic RCAF trainer - it normally being cordoned off in the performer’s ramp.
Some lucky folks got rides with Kevin Maher in Trevor Skillen’s magnificent Stearman. …sigh, what a magical flying experience. A great day all round! Well done guys!
TO CALGARY & EVERYTHING…
Since Bessy the Harvard left home, we get about in our little old Mazda. The drive plan to the COPA Convention and beyond was a bit daunting, as the Mary wanted to visit family at Terrace and Sointula, a 3,500 km drive, plus 600 via B.C. Ferry. This called for an oil change and transmission flush. The car felt better already!
Three days to Calgary… phew… Old Bessy did it in two and a half hours. We stayed with Parker, Lynette McNeill’s hospitality dog, who made us very welcome. His human, Ken, is a COPA Past Chair.
The Convention was wonderful. A terrific success, around 70 aircraft flew in, 750 breakfasts served, and 450 at the excellent banquet. It was great to join my old colleagues in the director’s hospitality suite. Just like the old days.
We really enjoyed watching Dennis Mockford’s vintage Norseman arrive, difficult to photograph the shiny black paint scheme. Delta’s Charley Longstaff’s scale Spitfire was there, undergoing serious re and re by new owner Timothy Wall.
The Friday evening night performance by Rocket Aerobatics’ Fowler and Hansen, was spectacular, and kept everyone spellbound with their pyrotechnic wizardry.
Shawn Wolk brought his dainty Pietenpol Aircamper a thousand miles from Winnipeg. Apparently it is an original, built in 1937. He and Jerry Roehr, Director for Manitoba and Nunavit, shared our table at the Centennial of Flight Celebration Banquet, where we were thoroughly entertained by the Pegasus Performers and historian Stephane Guevremont.
On Sunday, after John Lovelace’s Century of Flight aircraft left for points east, The Mary and I left for points north-west via Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and on…, via the famous Yellowhead Highway.
Much later after a comfy night in the excellent Whispering Pines Motel in downtown Topley, we arrived at The Mary’s in-laws at Terrace for a welcome rest. After some R and R, and some showing around, the M’s nephews Mark and Mike took us for a spectacular two hour jet-boat ride up the Exchamsiks River, running the rapids and all! I even got to drive.
Bit of a shift from rumbling around the sky in good old Bessy. And, always thinking of my floatplane friends, I see no waterdrome there noted on the B.C. Aviation Council’s Air Facilities Map, so don’t try it!
LAST ON… LAST OFF
At Prince Rupert we were appalled to find the Vancouver Island/Port Hardy Ferry booked for the next two weeks! So at 4 a.m. next morning we were in the hopeful wait-list line-up, behind Mike and Alanna Clear, an English couple on a motorcycle saga named ‘Going the Distance’ from Anchorage Alaska, to Cape Horn Chile, whilst Alanna works on her thesis about ‘Love.’
Catch their progress on: www.goingthedistance.org.uk
Being last car on the ferry is both fraught, and a great relief. The spectacular voyage down the B.C. Inside passage takes over 15 hours. We even got to see Ocean Falls, the ghost town of ‘Wings Over Canada’ fame.
Off the ferry late that night, we motored briskly to a room at the comfortable Black Bear Resort in Port McNeil.
Sointula is on Malcolm Island, so to see The Mary niece-in-law required another ferry. We rolled off the ferry to a wild welcome by the entire town with balloons, bunting, music, and the Co-Op Shopping Bag Lady. How did they know we were coming?
But it was the grand finale of the Sointula Co-Op Centennial celebrations! When we arrived, the free burger and hot dog stand shut up shop, and the festival ended! A sudden “Whoop!” And a delighted niece rushed over, with shrieks of delight, big hugs, and everything.
We stayed overnight with Denise the niece, who gave us the big tour. Sointula is a fascinating old Finnish fishing community, and well worth a look-see. My old BCAC Air Facility Map lists a Waterdrome at the T/C Harbour Dock, but with limited accommodation. Best to phone first.
So that was about it for the big trip. Overnight at Qualicum Beach, delicious supper at the Fish Tales Café, then the Nanaimo Ferry to Horseshoe Bay and home. We visited a couple of airports on our trip, Golden, Smithers, Port McNeill, Courtney, and of course Springbank, but at the times we arrived, no-one was home… sigh.
BITS & BOBS
So, who spotted my ‘Deliberate Mistake’ in last month’s column? Tsk Tsk. The pic of Bessy and friends parked in the long Delta grass should read ‘Circa 1973’, not 1953. The year 1953 is imprinted on my psyche regarding Harvards, cos as an 18 year-old RAF Brit cadet pilot, I trained on them at Calgary’s Currie field.
It was a truly great adventure, the experience making Calgary my emotional Canadian home, something I tried to articulate on a live mike I found laying about at the convention during Saturday lunch.
The Mary and I thank all those Pacific Perspective fans who said how much they enjoy our column. Despite the frustrating rules and bureaucracy that engulfs us, we try to show the fun side of flying
Your COPA Board and staff work constantly to ensure whatever rules there are, are fair to all, and applied equably. This is complicated, and very expensive, so if you are able, please consider a generous donation to the COPA Special Action Fund.
Tony Swain & The Mary, a couple of old Copaguys. Email: email@example.com