On the 28th of February I stood at Columbia Gardens airport with my daughter and granddaughter gazing into the rain clouds, hoping the Pacific Coastal 340 Saab would be able to land and whisk my two precious ones back to Vancouver.
Suddenly it appeared out of the clouds as it so frequently does and safely complete its mission.
Of course this was very marvellous for me to witness. I reminisced about the tremendous development that took part by various people of vision to pull our 1945 vintage short gravel runway out of the past into the present.
I had my first flight in 1947 in a Tiger Moth by a visiting pilot. I was immediately impressed and began flying lessons on the eleventh of May 1947 in a Cessna 140. Because I was also learning to be a machinist I was able to take part in the maintenance of the aircraft we flew. So I became a part-time employee.
One day early on a small twin-engine American aircraft landed and taxied up to our hand pumped gas pump.
As the pilot emerged he said I have to go! Where is it? I pointed. He said “Sonny; that is an outhouse! Do you realize I’ve flown my aircraft across the USA and turned up here! This is my introduction to Canada!’ I said as politely as I could, Welcome to Canada! Thus began my introduction to the people who fly their own planes!
So you see we had a long way to go. The airport belonged to the Municipality of Tadanac. They supplied us with a truck and a corrugated roller so we could roll the snow in winter and use skis on the aircraft. They also repaired the fences to keep the neighbour farmers cows off the runway.
The gravel did a fair amount of damage to the leading edges of the tail horizontal stabilizers so we were glad to see the first asphalt.
With all of these marvellous adventures, imagine my dismay to have the visionless editor of the Trail Times attempt to shoot down the city council’s offer in flames (City’s extra cash creates spending dilemma, Trail Times Feb. 28). Real progress can be had at one of the most promising areas of the city.