The year that was: Fresh breeze at Delta

Tony Swain


We’ve hit the refresh button at Delta as the Boundary Bay Flying Club moves its operations into the comfy Old Coffee Shop. The club’s former home in the old farmhouse is now entirely restored as ‘The Embry Heritage House,’ the new jewel in Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, and will be used for park administration and maintenance purposes.

By moving to the Coffee Shop, the flying club joins airpark volunteers to greet and host visiting aircraft, the traditional activity of flying clubs at grass roots airports.

This new ‘thing’ was celebrated by a wonderful pot luck Christmas Party in ‘The Old Coffee Shop’ a.k.a. The Boundary Bay Flying Club! A jolly good time was had by all.


Thanks to the efforts of John Macready and his volunteers, attendance at November 11th ceremonies by Delta’s Memorial Flagpole, increases every year and families now bring flowers and small wreaths to remember lost loved ones.

It is an emotionally releasing event, which amply recognizes those who sacrificed so much, so that we may live free.

Civilian Instructor Tim Novak led the smart Royal Canadian Air Cadets of the Richmond 655 Squadron. Duty trumpeter, Sgt Asheesh Jagdeo, played a thrilling ‘Last Post’ whose evocative notes have sounded over military eventides and memorial services, for nigh on a100 years. This historic ‘bugle’ call is known by some as “Taps.”

Frank Hartnett read Why Remember? Tim Baker lowered the Flag for the two minutes silence; after which the duty trumpeter sounded the bracing notes of “Reveille.” Tim Novak then read The Ode and Adrian Cooper explained the history of the poem In Flanders Fields.

Larry Thompson and I were once more honoured to lay a wreath for All Veterans, and Ralph Lowe placed his for Commonwealth Airmen.

Then everyone was profoundly affected by the rumbling fly-pasts of the Warbird Flight, and the Delta Pilots Formation.

Delta’s traditional “Personal Contribution” portion then followed, when anyone present may reminisce about family and friends lost in war or voice personal thoughts on the meaning of Remembrance Day.

The ceremony closed with the gathering singing Canada’s National Anthem, led in song by Isabelle Hui Bon Hoa.

The service over, the announcement that lunch was being served in the Old Coffee Shop had everyone scurrying off to enjoy a bowl, (or maybe a slice!) Of Mary’s special hot Remembrance Day Soup.

Due to my official duties, I couldn’t use my little camera, but thanks to many flying friends, we have wonderful images of the various formation flights that flew by the numerous Cenotaphs in the area.


A new twist on “hangar flying” came to Vancouver for a while in early November. “The Hangar Show!” was an exhibition of works by local aviation artists Virginia Ivanicki and Arnt Arntzen, in the Seair Seaplanes Hangar, across from The Flying Beaver Café on YVR’s South Side.

These two artists have admired each other’s work for years, and through the good auspices of Seair President, Peter Clarke, were able to present us a unique aviation art experience in a living airplane hangar.

The Mary and I really enjoyed Virginia’s new canvasses depicting vintage 1940 to 1960’s seaplanes, which she created since being declared Canada’s Top Aviation Artist by the National Aviation Museum in 2009.

Arntzen specializes in crafting contemporary and evocative “Aviation Furniture” from reclaimed aeronautical parts such as helicopter blades and airplane propellers. Both artists, create truly nostalgic aviation pieces to live with for flying people.

With artworks spotted throughout the immaculate Seair facility, the show provided The Mary and I legitimate excuse to go poke about a real airplane hangar. A gorgeous Turbo Beaver, a Cessna Caravan, and the 1,000th round engine D.H. Beaver, G-PCG, under restoration. This was de Havilland General Manager P.C. Garrett’s personal airplane. Philip Garrett was an original student of the Curtiss Flying School in Toronto in 1915, and McKee Trophy winner 1951.

For The Mary and I, the sparkling clean Pratt & Whitney Junior Wasps are truly awesome art indeed.

It was good to see some old friends looking about, Harry Pride of the Boundary Bay Flying Club, Dave Desmon of the Cascade Warbirds, and Ray Roussey of the Fraser Blues, with his two lovely granddaughters.


A report from the field advises that the enthusiastic Harvard Washing personnel at the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association are scrubbing Bessy’s iconic personal paint scheme away! Our secret agent advises that the black pin-stripe around the signature “White Lightning Flash” and the green of the historic Delta Air Force insignia is pretty well scrubbed off. Horrors! What’s to be done? Mayday! Mayday! Is there a Bessy Beauty Salon out there?Sigh!

And so I guess that’s it from us. Happy New Year and everything…

— Tony and The Mary, The Old Copaguys in Vancouver Email: