Honouring Three Goderich Aviators -
Sept. 14, 2016
Intro at our monthly meeting:
last spring we were notified by Jack Dueck, from High River Alberta. He is
the Chair of EAA-Canada. EAA wanted to honour posthumously Keith Hopkinson
and Gus Chisholm for their efforts in establishing the homebuilt movement
here in Goderich. Goderich, in the early fifties, was the centre of
homebuilding activity outside of the United States. Marilyn and I went to
Oshkosh this year to accept these 2 awards on behalf of their families.
Tonight we are here to honour 3 Goderich area aviation pioneers. Then as
often the case is also now, the cost of a factory built aircraft did not fit
into the family budget. So obtaining a set of plans, they used their own
labour and skills. Hour by hour, week by week the projects ended up in
several years of work. Ribs assembled onto the spars forming a wing. The
fuselage welded together, controls installed, then hopefully a favorable
inspection by Transport Canada. Or were they even inspected back then?
Fabric stitched on, painting and registration marks attached, and the plane
is ready to fly.
A few years ago at Oshkosh, at the EAA dinner, Paul
Poberezny, who started the homebuilt movement in the U.S. and founder of
EAA, was asked to speak on building his Baby Ace. He said and I quote “you
take some 4130 tubing, weld it together, put some fabric on it and throw
some paint at it. Finished”
To honour Keith and Gus with the completion
of the first and second registered homebuilts in Canada, Paul, then
President of EAA flew to Goderich to acknowledge this outstanding
achievement in this sector of the aviation world.
Now we are here tonight
to remember these 3 aviators that gave Goderich its’ rich history in
aviation. They inspired others around here to begin this same journey. Some
of those builders are here tonight.
Peter Verbeek Jodel Don Ross -
Peter Chandler Jodel Dave Warr – Tri Z
Sid Bullen Gary Baxter-
Fred Bruinsma Cavalier Allan Chrysler Wag Aero Cuby
on Taylor Lambert to present a plaque to Isabel Sully.
Keith (Hoppy) Hopkinson
years ago is when it all began. In 1955 Keith (Hoppy) Hopkinson started a
lifelong dream of building and flying his own aircraft. Since the Second
World War no private aircraft had been manufactured in Canada; a result of
the governments concern of military actions.
Keith was fascinated by a series of articles on building your own
aircraft, published in Mechanics Illustrated, written by Paul Poberezny.
Paul and a group of friends had begun an aviation club they called the
Experimental Aircraft Association. As a result Keith used a set of plans
designed by Ray Stitts of Flabob California called the Stitts SA-3A Playboy,
and over the next eleven months Keith built C-FRAD (which he called "Little
Hokey)", Keith modified the original design by using the nose cowl from a
Piper J-3, the propeller spinner from a Cessna 170, wing struts from a Tiger
Moth, landing gear from a Cessna 140 and wheel parts from a Stinson 108. It
first flew in October 1955.
EAA's founding President Paul Poberezny
and Keith spent countless hours persuading the Canadian Department of
Transport to allow amateur (home built) aircraft to fly in Canada. Through
their efforts they facilitated that registration process. Li'll Hokey is
credited as being the first home built aircraft to fly in Canada since WWII.
It currently resides in the Reserve Hangar at the Canadian Aviation and
Space Museum in Ottawa.
Keith passed away in a tragic aircraft accident
in March 1964.
Where it all began !
Armstrong’s EAA-C response at Oshkosh
years ago when I was this high, I was standing with my Dad on our farm nears
Brussels ON. An engine sound was heard overhead. Dad said there’s someone
riding in that machine. I thought ’that’s really neat’. That was the start
of it for me. I
found out later it was probably heading for Goderich, where the modern day
Canadian homebuilding movement began.
In 1953 I obtained my private pilot training in Goderich around the
time Keith Hopkinson and Gus Chisholm were building their airplanes. So I
was lucky to benefit from their initiative. They inspired me to build my
first Pietenpol AirCamper which I could legally fly when completed. I am
also lucky my 3 sons and one daughter now all have their own airplanes that
I helped them with. It has been a wonderful hobby. The family had had an
annual Pietonpol get together for 21 years. We have no doubt helped get a
few people interested in building their own airplanes.
certainly appreciate getting this recognition, and especially at the same
time as the 2 Goderich pioneer airmen. To whoever nominated me, Thanks. It
gives me great satisfaction at this stage in my life.
of July is AirVenture at Oshkosh Wisconsin, the world’s largest
air show. Oshkosh is all things airplanes and aviation. Each
year rare, vintage, homebuilt and show planes come here to be
judged. An Oshkosh award is very prestigious to have. New
designs from companies are also launched here.
Pilots fly into the field to camp under the
wing yet others fly in and camp in Camp Scholler or the Oshkosh
dorms. Others drive either through Chicago or Sault Ste Marie.
John and Marlene Black take the ferry across Lake Michigan with
the camper and truck. A shorter more relaxing way to travel.
Charlie Murray rode his motorcycle to Oshkosh. Once your
campsite is set up either trailer or tent, it is time to see
what Oshkosh 2016 has to offer. Programs are available to plan
your day’s schedule.
This year the
weather was hot. Most chose to shop the Fly Market early where
selection is best but bargains best later in week. Mornings were
busy with visiting the booths inside and outside the four
hangars. Featured aircraft were showcased in the Shell Square.
The ‘Women In Aviation’ photo was taken in front of an Alaska
Airlines 737 Boering flown by a female crew. Tours through
various aircraft took place here. Often you meet people you have
not seen since last Oshkosh. It is like a family reunion. Other
pavilions like the International Tent and the EAA-C tent are
‘must visits’. There are several lunch booths to have a cold
drink, ice cream or brat.
afternoon is an opportunity to walk the various fields of
aircraft, warbirds, vintage, homebuilts, and ultralights. Then
time to relax, put your feet up in your lawn chair and watch the
daily air show begin. There are parachute jumpers with the
national anthem, spectacular aerobatics and a warbird show
complete with bomb drops. On Wednesdays and Saturdays there is
an evening air show with coloured lights on the wing tips and
fireworks. The finale is the long wall of fire.
Evenings have many choices for dinner and
entertainment. The Theatre in the Woods offers speakers and
award ceremonies. There are banquets for COPA members, Young
Eagles, Homebuilts, International visitors and more. There are
many booths on the field from which to choose foreign fare,
American food, burgers and more.
Special this year was the EAA-C breakfast in which Goderich area
aviators Keith Hopkinson, Gus Chisholm (posthumously) and Jim
Armstrong were honoured. Fred and Marilyn Bruinsma accepted
Keith and Gus’ award. Jim Armstrong and family were there to see
Jim receive his. Jim responded with a speech. OFF members John
and Marlene Black took pictures of the plaques. Over coffee some
spent time catching up on news since the air tours and other fly
Departing the registration site
and driving out onto Poberenzy Drive towards highway 41 leaves
you with a saddened moment knowing that it will be at least
another year before you see these grounds again loaded with
aircraft, tents and trailers and many airplanes in the skies
ready to land on the runways of Oshkosh.
COPA 26 Flies into Goderich Airport -
July 16, 2016
The weather on Saturday July 16 was
sunny with clear skies. A perfect day for COPA 26 to fly to Goderich for
their weekly fly out. Every weekend, weather permitting, members of COPA 26
conduct flights to different destinations. Breakfast, lunch, a visit to an
aviation museum at an airport away from home or a scenic flight over a
picturesque landscape are often good reasons to keep the propellers turning
and our piloting skills sharp. We have a fly out schedule where a different
destination is assigned for every weekend. This past week’s fly out was to
Goderich. This beautiful shore line of Lake Huron never gets old for pilots.
The fly out culminated with a tasty breakfast at the Flippin’ Eggs
restaurant located at the Goderich municipal Airport. Seven fixed wing
aircraft and one helicopter carrying a combined total of sixteen aviation
enthusiasts from COPA 26 touched down at CYGD at around 10 am.
COPA 45 members greeted the COPA 26 pilots and passengers from Waterloo
International Airport (CYKF). Among the group was one of COPA National’s
Directors, Phil Englishman, from Saugeen Airport in Hanover. Pilots enjoyed
the fly out so much that some wanted to return to Goderich to hike or bike
the trail from the airport on COPA 45’s bikes located in the terminal. Some
wanted to bring their dogs and go to the beach. Again the bikes would take
you down the trail, over the scenic Meneset bridge to the beach. Yes
Goderich airport has much to offer including monthly gas draws for
COPA 26 had a safe flight home and thanked COPA 45 for the
warm hospitality they received here.
Luis Menezes ( on behalf of COPA 26)
Our Very First Garage Sale - July 2, 2016
COPA 45 and the
Sky Harbour Modellers held their first ever garage sale on the Canada Day
weekend in our new clubhouse. The weather was perfect. Several aircraft flew
in not only for the breakfast at Flippin’ Eggs but also to attend our garage
sale and BBQ. Members brought lots of excellent donations already priced or
priced them with available stickers and labels at the clubhouse. The table
were loaded with items both townsfolk and cottagers alike would want to
Saturday morning the tables were carried outside to the east side of the
clubhouse which gave more visibility to the air and road traffic. As always
there were the early birds looking for the best bargains. It was a steady
stream of customers and lookers. Mid morning we fired up the BBQ’s in our
pavilion now located beside the clubhouse on a pad of crushed stone. Pilots,
their friends and club members enjoyed burgers and hot dogs for lunch. After
lunch we brought the tables inside the clubhouse but people were still
coming to check out the bargains. More sales were realized before we decided
to stop selling. It was a very successful day for both clubs. It will be
moeny for both groups to use for further events.
COPA Convention 2016 - June 24-25,
members look forward to attending their annual convention the last weekend
of June somewhere in Canada. This year it was in Yarmouth NS. It is one
event to attend the convention but another to fly there and home. Pilots
left on varying days depending on weather and schedules for the Thursday
Kitchen Party or Friday BBQ. Once the aircraft were fueled and parked, rides
were provided by the transportation Committee to the hotel. This group even
gave rides to various tourist stops that delegates wanted to visit. Sure
saved the hassle of taxis and car rentals. Local waterfront restaurants
allowed us to taste Maritime foods. Before and during the convention many of
us toured the Acadian Shores. Point Forchu Lighthouse, Acadian village and
Tusket boat cruise.
Thursday evening we experienced an Acadian
Kitchen party with local foods served by Acadian dressed waitresses and
music by an area band with step dancers. Friday was a day to tour the area
ending with a BBQ at the airport with burgers, mussels, salads and desserts
served to the hungry crowd. Tours were given of the control tower.
After Saturday’s breakfast, the annual general meeting (AGM) was held
followed by an update of COPA’s activities in the past year. Wind turbines
at Collingwood were the hot issue this year. Seminars by Magnes Insurance
and CASARA Search and Rescue were also before lunch. At noon the awards
luncheon saw Fred and Marilyn Bruinsma receiving an award for promoting
aviation and Goderich’s airport. Retiring directors also received plaques.
After lunch more seminars on aviation safety were held. A Maritime Feast of
lobster and haddock with fresh strawberry crepes concluded the convention.
Sunday morning the local flying club hosted breakfast for departing
pilots and passengers. We all enjoyed great Maritime hospitality and
outstanding weather. Over 40 aircraft were parked on the tarmac of Yarmouth
International Airport for the weekend.
Way Up North, North to Moosonee
- June 9, 2016
The lyrics, ‘Way up North’ from Johnny Horton’s song must
have been on the minds of organizers Mike Geoffroy and Lloyd Richards. As
Lloyd says, “This tour is a chance to showcase Northern Ontario,
its’ towns and cities, and landscapes. It is not wilderness, log cabins and
animals.” To us southerners we say, “Flying in this area is mainly trees,
rocks and water and more trees, rocks and water”. The Northern Air Tour was
created to allow the overflow of aircraft that could not be accommodated on
the original Interprovincial Air Tour an opportunity to fly with a group of
aircraft to new airports. This year the tour began at Timmins, home to both
Lloyd and Mike, then north to Hearst overnight and further north to Moosonee
and over to La Sabre, Quebec for a Saturday night rodeo. While in each town
buses, tours and meals must be confirmed. Not an easy task with most
aircraft dependent on fair weather for flying. It requires dedicated persons
like Mike and Lloyd to plan the itinerary.
Bright blue skies on Thursday June 9th awaited 22
pilots to fly ‘way up north’ to Timmins with strong headwinds slowing the
flight. North in Timmins we got out of our aircraft in just 4 degree
temperatures. A receptionist told us that they had snow the day before but
we were not to tell Mike. It was slightly chilly, windy but no black flies.
As Lloyd says, “It is either cold, windy and no flies or warm, calm and
flies. Take your pick!” When Larry Waldie arrived in shorts and sandals Mike
mentioned to him, “This is not northern attire.” Shuttle
vans took us to Cedar Meadows, a wilderness hotel. Once checked into our
rooms, there was a wagon tour through the nature centre that surrounded the
hotel. Moose, elk, deer and a big burly buffalo lumbered up to the wagon for
food from us. Back at the hotel the bus was waiting to take us for a city
tour and dinner. Again on the bus we toured around the gold mine and
returned to the hotel for the night.
The weather on Friday was
cool and windy. A weather briefing followed breakfast. The bus took us to
the airport to get ready to fly ‘way up north’ to Hearst. Here students,
teachers and parents watched us fly in, land, fuel, and tie down our
aircraft. Hearst is 92% French. Lunch was in Commercial Aviation’s hangar
where we were greeted by the Mayor, Airport Manager, press and radio
personnel. Mike and others gave interviews to the news media. A bus took us
to the Companion Hotel. Checked in, we toured the town. While walking the
streets a young hairdresser came out asking us if we were the ones who came
by air to the airport. She was so excited to meet us. We noticed the houses
and buildings ‘way up north’ are built simpler, on less land and little
landscaping. For dinner we walked to the Sawmill Marketplace. Inside was a
loggers’ museum and large dining room. We were served a ‘loggers’ dinner on
blue enamel dinnerware. This meal would satisfy loggers returning from the
bush after a long day of felling trees
and sawing logs. The day ended with our bus taking us to the award winning
Loon Distillery inside the owner’s home. What an education on making your
own liquors and wines. We tasted various vodkas and were able to purchase
some. We all agreed he has a very understanding wife as few of us would want
a still in our living rooms.
arrived with the trip ‘way up north’ to Moosonee a no-go due to low clouds,
gusty winds and rain. While eating breakfast our hotel hosts were making
plans for us. This is ‘way up north’ hospitality at its finest. Francine,
Hearst’s economic development officer, agreed on her day off to open the
tourist office for pictures, shopping and a tour of the adjacent green
technology centre. Enroute to the Lecours Sawmill tour we stopped for lunch
at our favourite fast food restaurants. An off-duty employee showed how logs
are stripped, cut into boards and finished as lumber ‘way up north’. Much
automation exists in this industry today. The tour guide showed us around
the yard where stacks and stacks of lumber were ready for shipment by rail
or truck. Lecours is the only independent
sawmill in Ontario producing more than 100 million board feet of lumber
annually. It employs more than 200 in summer and over 250 in the winter when
logging the bush happens. Third generation owner Ben Lecours states, “His
enterprise has implemented necessary changes over the years to ensure
Lecours Lumber stays competitive”. Another excellent dinner at the hotel.
Saturday night ‘way up north’ is Karaoke Night. Our James Bay group
certainly did not miss this event. With great singing voices, Mike, Jim and
Phil took the mics. We all enjoyed Saturday night ‘way up north’ in Hearst.
Our last morning, Sunday gave us
no better news for flying ‘way up north’ to Moosonee and Moose Factory.
Because of heavy rain, it was decided to scrap this northern flight. The
weather favoured home with 45 to 50 NM tailwinds. We all arrived home in
record time. As Stratford’s Larry Waldie said, “He has never seen his Cessna
172 SSJ fly so fast.” But we also decided that we would do a Moosonee tour
later in the summer ending in Timmins for their monthly breakfast. COPA 45
members Fred and Marilyn Bruinsma, Jim and Jane Farrell, Steve Sirad and
Larry Waldie experienced another great weekend of flying, food and fun ‘way
A Great Way to See Canada - May 26, 2016
Pilots know that a mile of highway
will take you a mile but a mile of runway will take you anywhere. “It is a
wonderful way to see Canada”, says Carole Cook, organizer of the
Interprovincial Air Tour (IPAT). She along with husband Ron has organized
all nine Air Tours. It is not small feat to plan a four day weekend for 50
some aircraft considering weather, meals, ground transportation and venues
to visit while in each city. Jeff Page coordinates airport procedures and
weather for each day. Each year the Air Tour alternates between Ontario and
Quebec. This year an addition of a flight to Summerside PEI was added. The
tour is so popular that it is booked within 24 hours of its’ release.
The purpose of the Air tour is to have pilots
experience flying into airports in which they would not normally fly. It
also shows the towns and cities that the Air Tour visits the value of their
airports. Our group is dedicated to promoting local airports. If one or two
aircraft fly into an airport, nobody thinks much of it but when 40 or more
aircraft land it is a significant presence. Carol Cook says, “To many they
think their airport is just for rich people or is a drain on the tax
dollars. If you don’t have an airport, you lose the benefit of a lot of
individuals visiting your area. Our aircraft are high octane engines for the
local economy.” COPA Flight 45 members that participated were Fred and
Marilyn Bruinsma, Jim and Jane Farrell, Don Jones, Chris McCullough and Ann
Rock, Charles Riley and Larry Waldie. Many of us have been on all nine Air
2016 Air Tour began at Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Airport on Thursday, May26.
Unfortunately due to weather many of the Huron County pilots and passengers
had to leave Wednesday morning as a system of rain were to move in along the
lakeshore early Thursday. Some stayed at Smith Falls and Peterborough and
some flew to Ottawa. On Thursday the rest of the airplanes arrived, were
fuelled and parked behind the museum. After registration our group then
toured the Air and Space museum located on the airfield. The tour ended with
a catered lunch in the museum’s theatre. Here the participants were
officially welcomed by Carole Cook. She then introduced COPA’s new CEO and
President, Bernard Gervais. On behalf of the Air Tour, Carole presented the
first tour plaque to Bernard. It will hang in the COPA National office. Mid
afternoon a bus arrived to take us downtown to the Lord Elgin Hotel where we
were on our own to visit our capital’s restaurants and attractions. Several
of us walked around the Parliament Buildings, the locks and other points of
Friday began with a huge and
delicious breakfast buffet followed by an updated the weather briefing. Two
buses arrived at the hotel to transport us to Rockcliffe to depart for La
Macaza. With our aircraft tied down we had a 45 minute bus ride to the
Holiday Inn at Mont Treblant. Once checked in, lunch was in the restaurant.
The afternoon was spent ziplining, mini golfing and riding the gondola. Many
got together with their friends for dinner at any restaurant on the resort.
The next day Saturday began with breakfast and
weather update. Checked out, we loaded two buses to take us back to La
Macaza for the next leg of the Air Tour to Trois Rivieres. After lunch at
the airport restaurant, Carole presented the second tour plaque to the
airport manager. Back in the airplanes it was a short flight to
Drummondville. Many fuelled here ready for departure home or Summerside.
During refreshments Carole presented the last tour plaque to the deputy
mayor and airport manager. We were told that the town, province and federal
governments are putting 6 million dollars into the airport to bring more
business and corporate jets along with airline travel. What an impact to
their economy. The buses arrived to take us to the hotel. For the 21
aircraft going to Summerside, organizer Lee Arsenault, gave the latest
information about weather, etc.
On the last
day Sunday the weather looked good westward for those returning home but to
the east for those going to Summerside, it was rain and more rain. Only 7 of
the 21 aircraft were able to fly east to PEI. Lee like Carole had
arranged live entertainment, a lobster dinner and coverage by CTV news,
radio and press. Lee flew his Diamond aircraft home to PEI where he was
raised. “It was a really good feeling,” he said.
Some of the aircraft waited until mid afternoon at Drummondville to make
a decision whether to fly east or west. With little improvement in the
weather to PEI we departed for home. Three of COPA 45 aircraft stayed
overnight in Peterborough due to rain over the Lake Huron shoreline (again).
Of course Monday morning dawned bright and sunny and all three aircraft
arrived home at noon.
Another successful Air
Tour in which all the aircraft were able to fly to all the airports listed
on the 2016 tour. Again friendships were renewed, great restaurants enjoyed,
tours taken and time seeing the sights and sound of the cities in which we
were staying. Our name tags certainly let locals know there was a large of
visitors from all over Ontario in town.
Goderich’s Sky Harbour Clubhouse Dedicated - May
was a very successful evening on May 11th 2016 when COPA Flight 45 and Sky
Harbour Modellers dedicated their new clubhouse. The building was the former
weather station at the Goderich airport.We planned to showcase our winter’s
work. Local politicians, town staff and COPA Director Cheryl Marek were invited.
Over 50 sat down for an evening of presentations and dinner.
Once tenants, we discussed and drew up plans for the clubhouse. A donated
kitchen was the basis of the floor plan. Plywood painted gray completed the
kitchen. Appliances, dishes, utensils, and cookware were added. The blue carpet
stayed. Cleaning was all it needed. One washroom was eliminated to become a
storage room. The electrical required much extra work to remove, trace and label
wires ready for the panel. Plumbing was less work. It is a place for both groups
Modeller Darryl Carpenter welcomed everyone, acknowledged special guests and
items donated by local businesses. Politicians and our COPA director were
introduced and given an opportunity to speak. COPA 45 member Marilyn Bruinsma
introduced Eugene McGee who donated to Flight 45 a wooden propeller from a Sky
Harbour Tiger Moth to Fred Bruinsma for the clubhouse. It was in appreciation of
COPA 45 assisting him to move his collection of the war time Port Albert
Navigation School from his home to the county museum in Goderich. Fred told the
audience what the markings carved into the prop meant. Next COPA member Dan
Stringer introduced Isabelle Sully who accepted a picture of
Air Services’ Lear Jet landing at Sky Harbour airport on the 3500’ runway 10-28
with a chute deployed. Business Air Services was owned by her late husband Bruce
A. Sully, also his initials. Her first husband, the late Keith Hopkinson (Hoppy)
built the original hangar and established Sky Harbour Air Services following
World War II. That building burned in October 1964. In the 80’s Bruce built BAS
on the same foundation as the original hangar. Isabelle is certainly a large
part of Sky Harbour’s aviation history.
Conversations continued over dinner. MAAC representative, Bill Fry, gave the
concluding remarks. He commented that other MAAC (Model Aircraft Association of
Canada) groups were looking at COPA 45 and Sky Harbour Modellers’ partnership
and combined use of our airport facilities. We now have a bright building that
can be used for many functions and events.
Aviation Pioneer Passes- Gus Chisholm - Jan 2016
as Gus, Robert Angus Chisholm passed on January 27 at 89. His initials, RAC, was
also the tail letters of his beloved Corben Baby Ace which he built and called
‘Bits and Pieces’. The aircraft was literally built from pieces Gus found or
scronced. Gus spent 2 years 8 months and 15 days building the Baby Ace in his
basement. But first, Gus helped his friend Keith Hopkinson build the Stits
Playboy CF –RAD, which now is home in Canada’s Aviation Museum.
On August 3rd 1958, The Baby Ace flew its maiden flight with Hoppy (Keith
Hopkinson) at the controls. The single seater, 826 lb Baby aced her performance.
For Gus a special moment and dream had come true. As well, Paul and Audrey
Poberezny (EAA President) flew to Goderich to see the plane take flight. The
Stits Playboy and Baby Ace were the first 2 registered homebuilts in Canada.
Best friends, Gus and Keith flew to many airports and the EAA Airshow in 1959 at
Rockford, IL. Gus was very instrumental in establishing the homebuilt movement
and in its’ continuing success.
After the war Gus came to Goderich and worked for many years at Sky Harbour
Services where he earned his Air Engineer’s License. He also earned his private
pilot’s license. A license he held for 62 years. Gus won many awards. In 1999 he
also earned a COPA National Award of Merit for his contribution to aviation.
COPA Flight 45 hosted a “Come Where It All Began” weekend for the 50th
anniversary of the Stits Playboy’s maiden flight in 1955. Pilots and friends
came to celebrate Gus’ achievements at the 2005 banquet. In 2010 Brian
Bits and Pieces to Oshkosh and in October Brian fondly flew the plane back to
its original home, CYGD, where the local COPA Flight held a social afternoon to
honour its builder. In his lifetime Gus owned several aircraft.
In later years Gus was often at the airport giving rides to children under the
Young Eagles Program. He remembers the thrill of his first plane ride and wanted
many to experience that same thrill.
Each year Gus and family would host a fly-in barbecue at his hangar. Son John
said,” Many of us do only that, dream; but my Dad turned his dream into