Once again I took the 9 hour flight to Vancouver, stood in line at Avis for 45 minutes, then waited another 50 for my car to be found (they were not trying harder that day!) then with the sat nav lady telling me where to go followed the tortuous system out of the city and onto the Trans Canada Highway. 90 km later I was knocking on Ivan Pettigrew’s door in Chilliwack for a welcome cup of tea after 23 hours of travelling.
My Kawashini “Mavis” had flown a few times at Longham (1) about 6 months ago, and was then packed in a box to travel as excess baggage. I assembled it in Ivan’s workshop (2) and after replacing the forgotten hatch and buying the forgotten extension lead we took his caravan to the flying site at Skway Lake where he very generously allowed me to stay for the week. The van was parked 20 metres from the lake shore and 50 from the grass strip (3) and joined a number of other fliers, in particular Jim (parcityflier) and Jerry (JerryB) who were excellent hosts and kept me coffee’d up.
Jet-lag woke me at 5am, so I got up and wandered around. I saw an animal swimming around in the lake and took a few pictures, unaware that I had caught it lashing its tail in the water as a warning that I was there. It was a beaver (4). At 5:30 it was light enough to fly and the water was glassy smooth. Mavis was connected up (5) and she lifted off and flew as if the previous six months had been a dream. The dark green trees on the hill opposite caused some concern as the camouflaged model all but disappeared from view, but after a few circuits the wobbly feeling in my knees went away and I could enjoy the flights. The 2 cell 2200 mAh battery gives an easy 10 minutes of air time (I took three: one in the air, one waiting and one charging). By 10am the wind picked up to 20 kts and I retired to get some breakfast and some sleep.
That was the pattern of the first three days: flying early then some sightseeing then perhaps flying in the evening as the wind died down. But at the weekend the wind stayed away and we had two full days of calm or light wind. About 40 people came to the fly-in and most of them flew during the event. The biggest planes were a third-scale Tiger Moth (6) and Sopwith Pup (7) and Decathlon. The first two were built by Ron Dodd, the contest director and the last by Geoff
Needless to say, Ivan flew almost continually, although he left his bigger models at home this time. LakeMaster (8), Grasshopper (9), DH Dragonfly (10) and KZ4 (11) appeared. I was allowed to fly all but the Dragonfly.
One of the most ambitious models to arrive was a Burgess-Dunne seaplane (12) by Ken Stuhr. Ken is not one to shrink from such projects and this model was large and (as usual) untested. It floated well and all the way to take-off and flight looked as if it was in the groove...alas, it stalled and splatted back onto the water, unscathed but lacking essential bits and pieces of rigging. And I told him it should have had some washout, like the real thing!
On eclipse day I left Chilliwack for Comox, home of Frank “von” Jaerschky. On the way I stopped at the Canadian Museum of Flight at Langley, where they have a restored Handley Page Hampden (13), causing me to miss the eclipse completely. Frank is an old friend whom I met on the internet while he was building my design Airco DH2 and he and his family have hosted me on a number of trips. During my stay we went to Seattle, where we toured the Boeing factory, visited the Future of Flight museum, the Museum of Flight and the Flying Heritage Centre. While there we fell in with Ken of Burgess-Dunne fame and had a tour round his own museum at his house. You have never seen so many model aircraft in one place: some admittedly were foamies, but the vast majority were his own design, superbly built and finished (14 - 16)
After climbing Mt Washington (1500m) OK, OK, by chairlift, I finished off a memorable visit by flying Mavis at the Comox Valley strip and losing it into the brambles, where it suffered more gouges and survived a mauling by a black bear.;-). She is now fully restored and waiting for more flights when the wind drops.
Finally, a word for the BMFA. As usual, I got the flying insurance covering letter from them allowing me to fly in Canada and the US. While on their website I discovered that I could also get travel insurance at a much reduced rate because I was travelling for the purpose of attending a model flying meeting. This saved me lots of money - thanks BMFA and the Underwriters.