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On behalf of the Ottawa Flying Club board of directors, I would like to personally thank all the volunteer pilots who came from various airports such as the Rockliffe Flying Club, our own private owner pilots, club members and students, ground crews, set up team and especially organizers for their contribution of time to the 52nd Annual Fly Day held this past Saturday, October 2. This event could not have been a success without the help of so many selfless volunteers who donated their time.
The weather was almost perfect and approximately 330 people had the pleasure of seeing the Fall colours of Ottawa from the air and helped raise almost $10,000 for the Ottawa Rotary Home.
A special thank you to this year's organizer David Alexander and his team.
See you all next year for Fly Day 2011.....
Ottawa Flying Club
On the weekend the OFC had another successful Fly Day, and Vintage Wings made an ever popular visit with their Tiger Moth and Harvard. In support of the event, Vintage Wings offered up a short ride around noon before they had to leave for Smith Falls. It was decided to sell the rides to raise funds for the Rotary Home – I was the lucky winner / buyer of the Harvard ride.
The ride started with an introduction to John Aitken, Vintage Wings pilot – John is a career aviator who learned his craft in the RCAF flying the CF-101 Voodoo. Following a short walk around and history lesson on the Harvard we moved on to getting strapped into the rear seat.
Getting settled into the back seat involves buckling up the parachute and 5 point seat belt – John reminded me however that we would not really be flying high enough for the parachute to be useful anyway! (I assume this is not the standard briefing, especially for non-pilots!)
Next we did a run through of the dual controls – although the aircraft is intended for solo flights from the front seat only, all the controls are available to the pilot seated in the rear. For an aircraft built in the 1950’s the craftsmanship and design is incredible. Sitting in the aircraft it is obvious that the crew at Vintage Wings take pride in their work
The quality of the restoration is excellent, no detail, however small, is overlooked. Brisk cross winds from the north lead us to runway 32, as John is admittedly cautious with the airplane. John did the traditional S-turns down the Quebec taxiway for forward visibility that revealed the only apparent anomaly with the airplane – a noticeable shimmy in the tail wheel. John explained that on hard turns the wheel shimmies under the stress of the side loading.
Following a run up in the Charlie taxiway we were rolling on runway 32 – the tail comes up quickly and we were in the air. A quick turn right followed to keep us south of the traffic from 04. Right down wind for 32 and I hear on the intercom “do you want some stick time?” – John didn’t have to ask twice. The airplane is very smooth and responsive, and having a chance to be at the controls, albeit brief, was a delight.
The aviation community in Ottawa is truly privileged to have an organization like Vintage Wings on its door step, preserving the history of Canada’s contribution to aviation.
Flying can be romantic. During our recent Fly Day, Chris Day arrived at OFC with his girlfriend, Tanya Kewley and purchased tickets for a ride in a plane. In a conversation with one of the OFC Staff, Sue Nichols, Chris whispered that he would like to propose to Tanya during their flight and asked if they could get a flight alone. With the high volume of people at OFC, this wasn't going to be possible, but word got around about the pilot and his proposal. Pretty soon, the visitors from Vintage Wings got involved. Rob Fleck spoke to Dennis Mockford who had brought a Norseman, and Dennis agreed to provide the flight.
Tanya was told they had won a door prize and would get the chance to fly in the historic Norseman aircraft. Meanwhile, Chris was busy trying to organize the actual proposal. It is hard to describe the noise in the Norseman but LOUD comes to mind. Conversation, even with headsets, is difficult, and a shouted proposal wouldn't be very romantic. Chris prepared a sign, writing the proposal on the back of a poster.
The couple boarded the plane with Tanya still thinking this was a prize flight. Dennis and his co-pilot Edie Tomaso started the big engine and the Norseman thundered off for a circuit. All of us on the ground, held our breath.
During the flight, Chris unrolled his poster and showed the back to Tanya. Initially, she didn't see the words and questioned, by expression, why Chris was looking at the poster. Then the recognition that there was writing on the poster. And then the emotional shock of what the writing said. Joy. Tears flowed. Tanya cried. Edie cried. Tayna said yes. Chris gave her a ring.
Back on the ground, the newly engaged couple shared the joy.
Chris and Tanya, best wishes and warmest regards from the Ottawa Flying Club.