Our First COPA Flight 8 Meeting in Five Years!
Flight 8 Meeting
By Cameron Boekhoff
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.