Organizers of Texada Annual Fly-In are hoping to land another successful event this year on Sunday, July 3.
Held annually since 2007, the Fly-In has drawn large numbers of both people and aircraft to Gillies Bay Airport. Last year’s event boasted nearly 400 spectators and almost 50 airplanes. Other years have seen upwards of 70 planes depending on the weather.
“We’re hoping for the same numbers this year,” said Doby Dobrostanski, a Texada resident who organizes the event along with other members of Texada Arts, Culture and Tourism Society (TACT). “Being that [Texada] is an isolated little place with a small airport, we have a tremendous turnout within the context of being small.”
Organizers also appear to have some friends in high places. Famous pilot, writer, and television host John Lovelace will be in attendance as a guest speaker. Lovelace rose to fame as the producer and host of Wings Over Canada between 1997 and 2007. After selling the rights to the show and stepping down as host, he went on to develop and produce The Aviators, a new series for Global Television.
“He’s a very influential guy in the aviation community,” said Dobrostanski, adding that Lovelace was the lead pilot of the record-breaking Cross Canada Century Flight that saw 100 planes journey from Vancouver to Baddeck, Nova Scotia in 2009. “He’s a big wheel, one of the majors in Canadian aviation for sure.”
After over seven months of planning, the fifth Texada Annual Fly-In is mere days away. The weekend of events gets off the ground on Saturday, July 2 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Van Anda where organizers have planned a night of dance, drama, music, and food. Doors open at 4:30 pm for a 6 pm start.
The evening will include an aviation comedy skit called Terror on the Taxiway, directed by Steve Perkins. Also featured will be the music of Andy Hagen and the Flying Flat-Toolers, sure to get attendees up and dancing. Door prizes will be awarded, along with those for the best aviation costume.
While Saturday promises much excitement, Sunday is when festivities will quite literally take flight. Throughout the day, various exhibits will be set up at the airport, alongside aircraft that have arrived for the event.
Dobrostanski said planes will be coming from Vernon, Langley, Chilliwack, Campbell River, Nanaimo, as well as some other locations around the province.
A Royal Canadian Air Cadet glider will be brought over from Comox and several air and navy cadets will be in attendance for the ceremonial flag party. In addition to real planes, model aircraft will be on display.
Organizers have also planned a host of activities for children, including a wind tunnel and a planetarium on loan from the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver. “It’s an inflatable dome and they project pictures of the planets and the galaxies and all that stuff inside,” said Dobrostanski. “It’s a feature that not too many fly-ins have ever had.”
Sunday’s Fly-In begins with a pancake breakfast at 9 am in the hangar at the airport. A barbecue luncheon will be served at the same location later in the day.
For more information, interested readers can email organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.