43rd annual Air Race Classic 2019
Submitted by Carol Cooke
Flight 23 was contacted about a year ago by North Bay Airport management informing us about an upcoming air race that was scheduled to have North Bay as one of the timing stops on the 2300 n.m.course in June 2019. The Air Race Classic is made up of all female 2 or 3 person crew, and this is 43rd consecutive year, and first time coming to Canada. A meeting was called by airport management with all who would be involved (fuel, FSS,Flt 23, Northern Heights Aviation). Flight 23 offered to take a lead role, with Fl. Captain Bill Carswell volunteering to be “Stop Chair, and Co-Captain Grant Bailey “Head Timer”. Copious literature was received from race central over the next months,(and there were mandatory webinars to attend) mainly outlining timing procedures. It was stressed that the only thing for sure would be the aircraft would pass the timing line at the airport. We had no idea if any would even land, let alone stay overnite. We also had no idea WHEN they would arrive, so Grant set up a schedule covering 3 hour shifts over 3 possible days (wed noon - fri 3pm) - which was no easy task as each shift had to have 4 volunteers. We also found out that 51 teams were registered this year. The timing line was ascertained and forwarded to race central for their approval. We couldn’t make many plans other than timing, but stop chair would be set up in Northern Heights to greet any who did land and where washrooms, and internet would be available.
The Sunday prior to race start, all the timing volunteers gathered at airport and we had a volunteer pilot (Ron Cooke) fly the race line at the prescribed altitude and configuration (lights on, wings level, straight line) so the volunteers could see exactly what they would be looking for on race day.
Once the race started, we all watched the map page on the air race classic website to check their progress and ascertain their likely arrival time at North Bay. (all aircraft had “spot” like equipment for showing their track). They all had to land in CYAM for customs, so this gave us an additional heads up.
Wednesday afternoon we saw 2 a/c leaving CYAM enroute CYYB. The afternoon timers watched the sky intently, and listened on the radio for the appropriate radio calls. When the first arriving racer announced “inbound for fly by and landing” we sprung into action to judge the approach, get the EXACT time across the line, and Bill raced to nearby Subway to purchase subs, and then be on hand to greet them. First 2 aircraft landed, had lunch and departed on their next leg, -after flying their departure timing circuit. All aircraft were timed arriving and departing (exception being if they announced “fly by to continue”, then just one time was recorded). An hour later, 2 more aircraft were inbound for landing. Process repeated, and they told us they were staying overnite, so volunteer driver took them to local hotel, and arranged for pickup the next morning. By this time there was another inbound, and we knew by the lateness of the day, they also would be staying overnite. We were feeling pretty good. 5 aircraft had actually landed at North Bay!!
Thursday morning brought bright sunshine to North Bay, BUT a large low pressure system in southern Ontario made it apparent that any who came to CYYB today - would be staying, as race rules dictate only landing at predetermined airports, and all racers must remain in vmc conditions. Bill ordered large quantity of subs that Bonnie Rae Bailey picked up closer to lunch time. As we watched the race map throughout the morning, we saw more and more racers heading north to customs and then eastward. The race terminus was at Welland on Friday, so that’s why most of them chose to proceed on Thur with the good weather in the north, to get as many miles as possible behind them, even though there was a strong head wind at all altitudes. Flight 23, and CASARA volunteers came out of the woodwork, as the day progressed, and by the end of the day, 29 aircraft were parked and tied down (volunteers helped with tie downs too), all the racers had been fed lunch, and volunteers had driven all who required rides to local hotels. We were supposed to provide info for car rentals, but we didn’t think that showed appropriate northern hospitality. A few who spent 2 nights did chose to rent cars and look around the area.
Bonnie Rae sent confirming texts to drivers, and race participants with their pick up time Friday morning. Friday morning was also very busy, as we had 29 racers doing their departure timing fly by, as well as 20 flying inbound for timing and lunch. We knew no one would be staying though as Friday was perfect weather day with northerly winds to help their handicap. All racers had flown a rectangle course a few weeks previous, and this helped determine their handicap. Each racer was racing against her self. A lot of the participants are from University flight schools across the USA, and it was interesting to talk to girls from Nashville, Colorado, Texas, Michigan etc. Most of the participants were young, except the 90 year old flying with her granddaughter (it was her 18th race). Only one team from Canada. Most had never flown in Canada before, and they had nothing but good to say about FSS. and how easy it was to fly here. Many of the girls stated that one of the hardest things for them, is to fly full speed 200 ft above runway elevation. Rules state participants have to be between 200 and 400 ft a.g.l. when doing their fly by. What a great experience for them doing all the flight planning, using weather (especially winds) to their advantage, as well as flying in a foreign Country. In all we had 45 aircraft land, the last one departing at 6 pm Friday, (race deadline was extended to dusk Friday).
It was lots of fun for the North Bay Flying community as we came together to show northern hospitality.
Special thanks to Dave and Nate at Northern Heights for providing maintenance as required, and allowing participants and volunteers to take over their hangar from dawn to dusk; Weisflock Aviation for basing fuel truck at Northern Heights and fueling very efficiently; FSS for providing excellent friendly, professional help to the racers; Kelly Hewitt for helping establish timing line, being the go-between the airport, and the volunteers, dealing with news agencies and giving reporters access to FSS as well as participants; Hank Dielwart and Emil Jansen for marshaling and parking aircraft for 3 full days; Bill Carswell, and Grant Bailey who put it all together; and all Flight 23 members who came out to help with timing and transportation. It was a great experience and we hope the Air Race Classic committee doesn’t wait too many years to race back to Canada.
The "Canuck Flyer"
Well folks, YOU DID IT!!!
I was a bit concerned today that the combination of inbound/outbound taxiing aircraft, combined with aircraft fuelling, pedestrian traffic, etc. was going to present some new challenges to prevent bottlenecks on Apron 3, but it all went off very smoothly thanks to the “Ramp Rats”, Hank and Emil along with Charles and others who helped. Similarly, at the timing line today, they had to deal with the whole timing “gamut”, keeping track of which racers were coming, going, or flying through. This was a task fraught with danger for mixing up aircraft, callsigns, radio calls, and more. You folks got it sorted early, and it worked!
The last racer left about 18:30 - Grant has the exact time () - and it was a great success from all accounts. Thanks go to all of you for your time, patience, co-operation, initiative, and all of the other things that are required in undertaking support to an event like this. You all did our COPA Flt 23, and the City of North Bay proud in the eyes of our American aviation colleagues.
Finally, we had some help from people outside of our COPA Flight. Volunteer shuttle drivers, timing line help, fuelling support, FSS personnel, BAYSAR, Comsatec with Super mechanics Dave and Nate, and more who stepped up early, and often, to volunteer their help. You all got special mention from all of the visiting racers for your eager support to the race and the racers. I echo their sediments. You all helped ease the burden and helped make this a more enjoyable event for us.
As many of you know, I’m a big believer in youth in aviation. Seeing these confident young women meet the challenges inherent in the intense structure of this race and clearly showing that they had FUN! doing so really warmed my heart. We are all in this COPA Flight to promote getting young people involved. We have achieved that goal over the last four days everyone. Congratulation to all concerned.
Michigan Air Tour 2019 will be held from September 19-22, 2019
Itinerary; click >>>> /UserFiles/ContentPages/MAT 2019 Itinerary.pdf Registration click>>>> /UserFiles/ContentPages/MAT 2019 Registration.pdf
GPS waypoints>>>> /UserFiles/ContentPages/CYYB TO KJXN.pdf
COPA Snowbirds meet up in Florida
COPA Flight 23 – North Bay member Carol Cooke and her husband Ron organized a fly-in at Arcadia airport (X06) in Florida on February 14 and invited their American and Canadian pilot friends who were wintering in the area.
Having spent several winters in nearby Punta Gorda, the Cookes observed a series of improvements to the camping area at Arcadia airport, remarking that it would be an ideal place for a fly-in. It boasts a covered picnic area, a gas grill and smaller charcoal barbecues, running water, a firepit and places to pitch a tent. The area is located behind an FBO, where tie-downs, washrooms and showers are available.
The FBO had a van available for those who preferred to drive into town for dinner.
Not all their flying friends had their planes with them and in the end only eight aircraft showed up, but many others drove in. COPA members from Alliston, Kincardine, Lindsay, Muskoka, North Bay, Picton, Parry Sound, Smith Falls and Waterloo, all in Ontario, were among the 40 people who showed up.
According to Carol Cooke, it might become an annual event.
Fly-Out to Killarney airport on Sept.29- 2018
Submitted by Carol Cooke
The weather forecast all week - one day calling for showers - the next day calling for sunshine, so we didn’t know what to expect Sat morning. Forecast was for clear, but drive up to airport was in mist and light rain. However, by 10 it started to clear, and at 10 30- 3 aircraft from the Flight headed off to Killarney, where they met up with 1 from Sault Ste Marie, and 4 from Southern Ontario, so it ended up being more of an Interprovincial Air Tour get together than a Flight 23 outing. It definitely wasn’t sitting on the dock weather, and many of the group were glad to take the drive into town offered by Ross from Herberts, others took the 2 km walk. Unusual to not have a big line up at the order desk (although a bus load of seniors were just leaving when we arrived, and some hikers arrived just as we were leaving, so the season isn’t over yet at Killarney). The fish was delicious as usual, and we can hardly wait to go back next season.
Part of the flight line VENTURE MODEL 20, "The Egg", awful fast..no kidding!
Terry and Edward from Sault Ste-Marie Piper Malibu
Can you spot Grant's Cessna 150 ? On short final aboard Capt.Ron's Skylane.
Getting ready to head back to the airfield. Friendship among people .
Flight 23 BBQ & Flying Proficiency awards held at Fred Culin seaplane base hangar.
Stan French Cessna-172 on floats Mark Wilkins Cessna-182 on wheels
Stan Nichols Memorial BBQ 2016
STAN NICHOLS MEMORIAL BARBECUE
We have had our Flight 23 June BBQ's for years, but last year - in memory of Stan, the Flight Executive decided to hold Proficiency Landings as part of our annual BBQ. We knew that Stan would get a kick out of this challenge to improve piloting skills, as well as have fun. Continuing last years format - both wheel and float landings will be judged. Stan French and Ron Cooke won last years (Stan the wheel landing; and Ron the float landing). They will NOT be eligible to fly in the same competition as last year (but Stan can fly floats, and Ron can fly wheels)
As you can tell by the movie above, we all had a great time at the Memorial Barbecue. 40 some people came out for this special occasion including guests from Huntsville, Mattawa, Guelph and South River. Thanks to all that helped make this a fine memorial for Stan Nichols. It was a special day with Jean Nichols in attendance amongst friends and neighbors.