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Canadian EAA Fly-In Gets Bigger and Better

By Ian Brown, Editor

June 2019 - I thought you’d like to read this full article. There's a link at the end to the original with photos. The article is very nicely written, but unfortunately it's not attributed to an author. As you will notice, he lived in Montreal, but he was camping in Orillia with his wife and kids. The days of the Orillia EAA fly-ins are legendary. It’s great to hear a firsthand account of one. A special note, there are several names highlighted. I'd be interested to hear if any of them are still living. My dear friend Ray Fiset passed away several years ago after 55 years of volunteering at the Oshkosh lost property office in his wheelchair. — Ed.

In Dollard-des-Ormeaux an overloaded DC-8 roars overhead rattling your teeth, and you pause from your work in the garden to shake a fist. In Dorval, a Boeing 707 rumbles through your living room and you lunge at the rattling bottles on the shelf.

In Orillia, as you lay in your sleeping bag, somewhere across the field a Continental is run up, barely breaking the sounds of frogs, crickets, and fireside hangar flying, and you grin. Early the next morning your ear is aroused to the music of a Lycoming. You arise with the same stupid grin on your face. The wife and kids are asleep. You step into the clear, summer air and pump up the Coleman while watching a Miniplane playfully rolling and looping in a cloudless sky.

Soon there is the smell of coffee and you sit, listening to the rattle of pots and unzipping of tents. Someone steps from his tent in pajamas, scratches his belly, yawns, and pads down to the lake for a wash. After a breakfast somehow 50 times better than what you are accustomed to — even though in reality it is precisely the same menu as every other morning — you nearly sprint to the tiedown area. The kids whine because you are walking too fast, but your legs are involuntarily racing each other. There is a Pietenpol being cranked up, and someone has just landed in a Jodel; a Fike circles overhead, and a Volmer is doing touch-and-go landings on the lake. You begin to see familiar faces — Herb Cunningham, Lawrence Shaw, Andre Gauthier, and others. You are torn between heading for an Emeraude or a Tiger Moth, when in comes a Flut-R-Bug, and right behind it a Skycoupe.

There are a Tempete, another Jodel, and a number of Volmers. It is utopia with near irritating inconveniences like eating, sleeping, and going to the facilities. Later in the day, there is a roaring and belching of dust and smoke as the Staggerwing arrives, dwarfing everything in sight. Out hops Ron Uloth and his wife, Sonya, Jean-Paul Huneault, Bill Gaylard, and Ray Fiset, amid an avalanche of sleeping bags and other paraphernalia. It is like old home week! With a couple of thousand strange faces surrounding you, it makes you feel as though you had not seen them in years. Gerard Chaplain is busily stocking up on enough slides to keep our meetings going through the winter. As though in honor of his presence, a factory-built Jodel arrives, complete with a 100-hp or so Potez under the hood. It is hot, and the DOT sign forbidding swimming at the seaplane dock is ignored. The children of aviators are instinctive, however, and the cry of "Plane!" instantaneously clears the ramp for the docking of a 180 or the amphibious land-crawling of a Seabee.

In the evening, the ever-present hangar flying is broken only for a viewing of The Magnificent Men, and then continues into the night. There are arguments, congenial ones, and discussions on building and flying technique. It is a mammoth and typical chapter meeting, more to be said than there will ever be time to say it. There is trading, and buying and selling, and giving and receiving. But, most of all, there is happiness.

The next morning, Sunday, is the day for events. A flyby leads off. Counting the craft on the ground, we estimate seven Volmers, four Jodels, one Emeraude, one Tempete, two Skycoupes, three Fly Babys, two Tiger Moths, two Miniplanes, one Flut-R-Bug, one Fike, one Maranda, one Pietenpol, two Corbens, 50 or so Cessnas, several Cherokees, two Seabees, a score of J-3s, the same number Aeroncas, five Chipmunks, and many others. Not to mention the Beechcraft. An Armed Forces twin-rotor helicopter performs near-aerobatic maneuvers that are unbelievable. Chipmunks demonstrate skillful aerobatics. A Citabria struts its stuff. The Ontario Department of Lands and Forests bombs a haystack fire with precision flying of an Otter. RC models perform aerobatic and dogfight maneuvers in a league fit for pros. But the sun is bright and hot, and the rest of the show is watched waist deep in the lake.

At last the show is ended, and the aircraft begin departing. You experience the mixed-up feelings of emptiness because it is all ending, and fulfillment because it is better than you ever could have expected. You wish, somehow, that you could find someone to thank, but they are all tired and busy, and you have got to get your own show on the road. You feel a little despondent because you never got that ride in a homebuilt, but you never thought that you could see so much so enjoyably in such a short time. There are two things absolutely positive that you decide. You will be back next year, and you will arrive in your own homebuilt.

You can read this article complete with pictures here.

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