Our second meeting was a great success. We were joined by many members of the aviation community, with many more expressing their regrets at not being able to attend. We do hope to see everyone out soon.
We were honoured to have two guest speakers for the evening. The first was Neil Bennett, Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs at COPA headquarters. He updated us on current COPA advocacy and projects including Nav Canada's updating the Montreal airspace to help keep VFR traffic and small airports safe. COPA has also launched a tool to report denials of service of any Nav Canada service. If you are denied service, including entry to airspace, please report it. Each report helps COPA negotiate with Nav Canada to improve safety and service for us all.
COPA also has its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, from 25–27 June 2020. Registration is now open.
Following the AGM, COPA is hosting the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations will hold its 30th World Assembly in Montreal from 29 June–03 July 2020. Registration is open now for this event.
Our second speaker for the evening was Vincent Charron of Outaouais Aviation. He is a long standing member of the local aviation community and operates as a broker on behalf of aircraft buyers and sellers. He went through the process of buying an aircraft from start to finish. Needless to say, it would take far too long to cover the whole process here. From where and how to find the right aircraft, how to assess an aircraft from halfway across the country (the key point being, if you think you have seen enough pictures, both of the airplane and logbooks, you probably haven’t).
Next month, on 11 March 2020, we will have a tour of the Ottawa Tower. Note that out of respect for our hosts, Nav Canada, we have a limited number of spots available for this tour and will occur earlier than our usual meetings. To reserve your spot, please email the Flight 8 Sectratary, including your name, preferred email address and phone number. Please also note that we are required to arrive at 1835 hrs at the security gate for the Tower. Full instructions will be provided by email for those attending.
Lastly, I would like to report on the business side of the flight. Currently, Adam Hunt is operating the Flight 8 website. COPA has offered us a new hosting deal for an updated website which we will work towards converting to.
The flight is also establishing an email list to keep members up to date. To join this list, please email the Flight 8 Secretary with your name and preferred email. If you wish to be a member of the flight, or know someone who would like to join us, have them email the Flight 8 Secretary, too. Please include a full name, preferred email address, and COPA membership number, if applicable. You can also find us on Facebook and on Instagram. Feel free to send photos, events and other content you would like to see shared!
We have many people to thank for helping make our first night back a success. We’ll start with the crew at the Rockcliffe Flying Club, Jason, Pam and everyone else who pitched in to help turn the classroom into our presentation space. I also want to thank the COPA Staff, COPA Flight 8’s former Captain, Mike Shaw and also Webmaster Adam Hunt for his continuing support in helping us get the word out and advertise our first meeting. Thanks also to our attendees, who we would not be here without, and finally we would like to thank our presenter and friend, Doug Tudor, for a fantastic presentation on his 2018 tour of Western Canada and the territories.
It was an evening of laughter, grand stories and I think we might have learned a thing or two as well. Tudor and Euclid Benoit, the owner of C-GEUC, an amateur-built VeeBee amphibian, took a trip across all of Western Canada in the summer of 2018. Benoit had planned this trip for years, when, with only a few weeks to go, his safety pilot was forced to drop out for personal reasons and his backup pilots were all unable to go. Benoit put a general call out, in emails to flying clubs, posts on the internet and, very quickly found Tudor to accompany him.
Tudor travelled to the trip' departure aerodrome at Tillsonburg, Ontario (CYTB). The original plan was to pack up and leave the next morning, but plans were meant to change. The morning weather was forecast to block their route, so the two pilots loaded up immediately and left a day earlier. Travelling up the Great Lakes and along the north shore of Lake Superior, they ran into some weather delays, but nothing a little waiting solve, after all, they had left a day ahead. They continued to travel across the prairies, until another delay struck them. Or rather, they struck it.
Now we’re all big fans of a good grass strip and on that day, with the winds forecast favouring an approach to the grass runway, the VeeBee came in for a landing at Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. But it turns out, some local gophers were not fans of airplanes. They left a sizable hole, perfect for tailwheel removal, and it worked. Stuck on the runway, they called for help. They were met with the usual hospitality found at small airports in Canada. With the help of members of the local flying club and the staff of the tire shop up the road, the VeeBee was mended. I should note this process took a couple of days and Benoit had a reservation for a mountain flying course in Alberta. They booked themselves on a commercial flight, Benoit got his training and they both returned to Maple Creek. Their return flight home on the VeeBee was flown by a pilot who was time building. This pilot had already planned on going, so Tudor and Benoit gave their approval to hitch a ride. I urge you to hear this section of the story in person, because this write up is far too brief.
Continuing on their way, they picked up Benoit’s wife and a friend in Calgary. They finished off with a tour north, passing through famous northern towns, sightseeing along the way. Their return home was through Churchill, Manitoba, where a stop was made to spot polar bears. More were seen from the air while flying south along the coast of Hudson’s Bay. With northern Ontario under their wings, they finished off where they started, with close to 5000 miles covered.
With the 2018 trip in the logbook, they decided they needed to finish off the rest of Canada and 2019 was the year for that trip. We hope to have Doug Tudor back soon to share more stories from that adventure, plus his helpful wisdom for anyone looking to cross one of these great trips off their bucket list.
We hope to see everyone at our next meeting on 12 February 2020 at 1930 hrs at the Rockcliffe Flying Club. Vincent Charron of Outaouais Aviation will be speaking about the process of buying and selling an aircraft. He brings years of experience brokering sales and purchases for a wide variety of clients and aircraft. Time permitting, Charron will also comment on the effects of the current industry personnel shortages on the aviation community. We look forward to seeing you all there.