After we left, the club had a pig roast, a comedian, a singer (Elvis
impersonator, heard him warming up, quite good) and other entertainment
in the evening. Folks camped near the clubhouse, and I guess some
pilots unrolled their sleeping bags inside for the night. The next
day I'm told there was a pancake breakfast, and the club invited
the general public from the town of Nanaimo to join them to see
flight demonstrations and ground events.
The only dark cloud over the event is one that we have been hearing
more and more about across North America these days: insurance.
The new airport manager apparently required an insurance policy
that cost $3000, which is a big nut for the club to cover, and prevented
the planned flour bombing and short field landing competitions.
A few days later, a club member told me the club had lost money
on the event. I hope they find a way to overcome this obstacle,
I think the event is good for the town, good for the airport, and
great for visiting pilots like myself.
They have a lot of community support for this event, most of the
door prizes were donated by local merchants I think. It is great
to see a small community so involved with its airport. Nanaimo is
a great place to visit, and Liza and I plan to be back again, just
to enjoy the spectacular scenery and friendly folks, not only at
next years fly-in, but possibly later this summer, just as a fun
Oh, and one final note. Some of you have asked about clearing Customs
post 9/11. It is a bit different than it used to be. Before 9/11,
Liza and I were GATE approved, and with CANPASS, it made border
crossings in both directions effortless. We hardly ever saw a Customs
agent. On this trip, we were told that every flight is met by an
agent in Canada now, no more random samples. On the return trip,
of course the GATE program is suspended. We cleared Customs in Nanaimo
on the way in, and Bellingham on the way out, and it was effortless
both ways. In Canada we got a lot of questions, but no search. The
agent doing the questioning was obviously being trained by his partner,
so that might have made him a bit more rigorous than usual. On the
way back, the U.S. Customs agents in Bellingham were actually friendly
and helpful, and the clearance was quick. I thought maybe I was
coming back into the wrong country, because they were as nice as
the Canadians, which has not been the norm in my past experience.
We wish we had attended the entire fly-in, and if bureaucracy and
insurance don't kill it next year, we'll be back for the whole event!
Thanks very much to Frank Benvin for being such a great host, and
thanks again to Gord and his two sons Frank and Bill for helping
push our airplane in and out and in and out and in and out
More pictures from our flightline tour...click for larger:
Seems like there was a Cardinal Fly-in too This
airplane would be easy traffic to spot
There were many Cardinals...
Pilot with proper marital attitude
What a beautiful, beautiful place. Can't wait
to go back...
(Previous page.) More pictures on
club web site.