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Come and Meet the Snowbirds at AirVenture!

July 2016 - The Snowbirds will be attending a special “meet and greet” ice cream social at AirVenture in the Canada Tent close to the control tower and the International Visitors Tent. Put 4 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, 28 July, in your calendars and come along to enjoy an ice cream and meet our Canadian heroes of tight-formation flying.

You will be able to see the full slate of presentations in the Canada Tent on the AirVenture app, which just became available as I write this. Just search for EAA Canada. You can also check out our presentation schedule at the Canada Tent here on the EAA website.

There are approximately 30 Chipmunks headed to Oshkosh this year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the type. We can look forward to seeing them on the warbirds line. Apparently nine of these were manufactured in Canada, two in South Africa, and the rest were made in the United Kingdom.

We managed to increase the number of tickets for the Canadian Breakfast event in the Nature Center, which is to be held on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., with presentations beginning at 8 a.m. You should be able to pick up tickets any time the Canada Tent is open. As well as presenting plaques for three Canadians who have made a lifetime contribution to the EAA and to homebuilding in Canada, we will have the pleasure of a talk given by Rick Volker comparing the training for fighter aircraft to flying in aerobatic competitions. He flies a Harvard in air shows, and you can get to know more about his extensive aviation exploits here.

Canadian EAA chapter officers are invited to attend a meeting hosted by Brett Hahn, EAA’s chapter network manager, in the Canada tent at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, 29 July. If you are a chapter officer, please plan to attend this important meeting, which is intended as a learning experience for your HQ support team. So be prepared to bring some ideas and comments to the table.

As the years roll on, we find ourselves celebrating the centennial of various aviation events. In 2003 it was the first flight by Wilbur and Orville. In 2009 it was the first Canadian flight. This year, at Oshkosh, you’ll be able to enjoy a display of 1916 World War I aircraft, including start-up of original engines mounted on restored aircraft, and perhaps even some demonstration flights.

By pure chance your editor was able to witness a free air show with the Snowbirds at St. Thomas Airport recently. Having landed at a friend’s grass strip, I took off headed for home and immediately discovered that I had no airspeed indication. I elected to land, unplanned, at St. Thomas Municipal, just southeast of London, Ontario. I suspected a bug had got into the pitot on landing, and that’s what it turned out to be. Having sneaked into the airport just as the NOTAM became active, I was “forced” to stay and witness the whole air show, and I wasn’t allowed to leave until close to 6 p.m. Special thanks go to Brent, an aviation mechanic at St. Thomas Municipal, who just happened to be in during the air show and lent me his suggestions and tools to fix my problem. The quick fix was to cut the nylon tubes for pitot and angle of attack at the access panel, blow both out with compressed air, and then reattach them with shrink tubing. That tubing needs to be replaced with appropriate connectors, but at least the fix got me home.

Why is Oshkosh so important? It’s the biggest meeting in the world that represents GA, despite its roots purely as a homebuilt aircraft association. It has expanded to a global organization that represents all aviators on a number of topics including innovation, licensing, pilots’ rights, flight safety, and lots more. We celebrate aviation history through our magnificent museum, but even more so through our activities to keep historic aircraft flying and being demonstrated in air shows and tours of North America, like the B-17 tour passing through Canadian airports as I write. It seems like we use superlatives too easily these days, but all the signs are that Oshkosh’s AirVenture will really be the “best ever” for Canadians.

One of my favourite podcasts is the General Aviation podcast, Uncontrolled Airspace. I was surprised to hear a discussion about their negative thoughts regarding privatization of the air traffic control (ATC) system in the United States, since they often beat up on the FAA, given the opportunity. It wasn’t clear that they knew of the Canadian privatized ATC system. They were associating the idea that privatization meant that big money would get priority regarding live traffic control. Well our Canadian airspace IS privatized, and it seems to work pretty darn well from this perhaps naïve VFR pilot’s perspective. Nav Canada seems to have been set up really well as a not-for-profit private corporation that has successfully managed to produce ATC products that are now licensed in several other countries, in addition to managing the often-underestimated level of traffic in our skies. Flying is expensive, but I think I get pretty good value for my $78 a year for ATC services. What do you think?

Please join me in welcoming and thanking a new writer as a contributor. Nadya Baspaly wrote a very nice article about the recent air show in Manitoba. You’re certain to agree that she writes very well, and we hope she’ll consider writing more for us.

If you’d like to meet the editor of this newsletter, don’t miss my presentation in the Canada Tent. I’ll be talking about the joys of crossing the border, in both directions. Last year there were at least as many Americans as Canadians attending this talk, which will be given on Tuesday at 9 a.m. and Thursday at 11 a.m. I’ll try to leave space for a discussion at the end.

Whatever form of transport you are using to get to Oshkosh, travel safely, and if you were not planning on going, you still have time to change your mind! See you there.

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