Freshly-soloed Cornell pilot Goran Jakovljevic (just call him Gord) is all smiles.(Photo HF)
Less than a week to go before the yellow birds pack up and take up a heading of 090 degrees; lots of time left and lots of things left to do.
The calendar of events has been set in stone for some time now, and can be viewed at www.yellowings.ca, under the heading “Calendar.” We officially kick off our tour in Woodstock, NB, where the Premier, MLA and Mayor will speak at a dinner in our honour on Sat, July 14th. From there we go to Fredericton, Halifax, then Greenwood, where we finish off the month of July. August sees us in Moncton, Havelock, Debert, Miramichi, Yarmouth, Saint John, and Summerside. We foray into September by visiting Stanley, back to Saint John, and finally St. Stephen before racing home just in time for the Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa Air Show Sep 15 and 16th.
The roster of which pilots go in which airplanes is a constant work in motion; we are currently on version 5 of the schedule, and will no doubt be into the double-digits before the tour gets under way. I liken it to a delicately balanced game of Jenga – one small change can make the whole thing come crashing down. Or at least that’s the noise it makes in my head.
Luckily the aircraft present less of a challenge, as they are all serviced and ready to go. The Harvard, Finch, Cornell and Tiger Moth have had their annual inspections completed and are fresh from a recent oil change. Thanks to the foresight and planning of our maintenance team, this should help minimize required maintenance on the road.
We are in the process of slotting in drivers for our big, happy, yellow van (if anyone is interested, please email email@example.com), and will soon start loading it up with tshirts, caps, water bottles and other quality merchandise, as well as extra oil and a few spare airplane parts.
The routes have been mapped out and studied, with highlighter markings criss-crossing my Halifax VNC. We then dove deep into the CFS to make sure that each stop met our requirements in terms of runway length and condition. We also checked out all the potential alternate fields.
Each stop has been planned, and details such as fuel, hangar space, hotels and event plans must be sorted out prior to our arrival. It is no fun arriving in a new town after a long day and finding out that neither you nor the airplanes have anywhere to sleep.
Pilots are being trained as you read this, with a veritable training bonanza taking place this weekend. Just today, we had two talented pilots go solo: Chris Cormier in the Tiger Moth, and Goran Jakovljevic in the Cornell. As tradition dictates, they both received a post-solo dunking.
Dave O’Malley douses Chris Cormier, while I simultaneously shake his hand and step away.
(Photo Wayne Giles)
Not one, but two buckets of ice-cold water awaited Goran after his Cornell flight. Director of Maintenance Guy Richard and Dave O’Malley had the honours.
So the pilots, airplanes and van are ready, and all the little, but important, details are coming together; GPS’s are up to date, Claw kits have been organized, canopy covers lie in waiting, prop banners and maps are hidden in a secret location under my desk, and the AC-U-KWIK has been located. Now to just charge my iPad, pack some socks, and we’re ready to go!
Stay tuned for more Yellow News coming soon.