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Captain’s Message August 2023
Good day everyone. 
In case you missed it, the recent COPA E-Flight edition had a nice write up of the CPE6 90th Anniversary Celebrations. Congratulations to Gary Blanchett and Jordan Gorlick for their initiative and hard work in celebrating this milestone. Fundraising proceeds were split between South River Flying Club and Flight 23. Your Directors met after the event and elected to donate the Flight 23 portion to COPA National for use by the COPA Flight Safety Foundation and the Neil J Armstrong Scholarship Fund. The write up was as follows:
• COPA Flight Spotlight – On the weekend of July 8-9, 2023, COPA Flight 23 teamed up with the South River/Sundridge Flying Club to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the operation of CPE6, the South River/Sundridge Airport. The two groups hosted a joint fundraiser, and COPA Flight 23’s proceeds of this fundraiser (just over $1,000) was donated to the COPA Flight Safety Foundation. Thank you to the South River/Sundridge Flying Club, Dave Jenkins, and members of COPA Flight 23, including Gary Blanchett, Jordan Gorlick, Bill Carswell, Luc Beauchamp, Grant Bailey, Ron Cooke, Carol Cooke, Charles Pepin, Al Rivet, Ron Miner, Donna Miner, and many more”



                                                               Annual June 2023 Bbq

Flight 23 Busy Weekend
Sat June 24 - our afternoon started when 50 of us gathered at Canadore Aviation College auditorium to hear Greg Lathangue talk about his adventures flying Dash 7’s in Afghanistan. At the time Greg flew the DeHavilland Dash 7s for Voyageur Airways based in North Bay.

The Dash 7’s - although not military aircraft were equipped with armour plate, attack sensors, automatic flare deployment making them an excellent platform to operate in wartime situations.
Combined with their STOL capabilities and the ability to operate out of less than perfect runway conditions made them a perfect choice to provide support for the Dutch military on a contract basis. Greg gave an excellent presentation and we thank him for taking the time to put together the slides & amp; videos for COPA Flight 23.

We then reconvened at Miller Aviation hangar for our annual Flight 23 bbq. Thanks to Ron and Nancy for hosting. As per our tradition the Flight provided steak (which were delicious) and baked potatoes, the appetizers, salads and desserts were pot luck. We have a few new (younger) members of the Flight, and we were glad to welcome them and get to know them.
Covid certainly put a damper on recent year’s activities, and it was heartwarming to have a good turnout and get caught up with some friends not seen in a few years.

One of our members from Mattawa was flown in by his newly licensed son - and it was exciting to hear about their recent flying adventure to the west coast and also the arctic. The trip was in May and it was a father, son, daughter flight with all 3 of them taking turns flying the Cessna 182. Very rewarding for Mark that both kids have their licence.

Northern Ontario Director Grant Bailey updated us on COPA National and reiterated the importance of all pilots maintaining their National membership.
Local instructor Andy Smith presented one of his students Jeff Beath with first Solo Certificate.
Jeff purchased a Cessna 172 locally last summer and we have been watching his progression to become a pilot. The goal is to have C-FTTV on floats very soon again.
This was the first year in recent memory our bbq hasn’t been at the Trout Lake Seaplane Base, and it was quite nostalgic, as the status of the base is questionable with the recent sale of the property.
Sunday was also a big day. We had decided earlier in the Spring to host a fly in breakfast to let the local pilots know that North Bay airport once again has an on-site restaurant. Flight Deck Cafe serves excellent food - at pilot prices!! The 2 sister owners (Shelley & Tracy) are juggling the restaurant hours to coincide with Air Canada’s ever changing schedule, so make sure you call prior to flying in.

Sunday’s forecast was bright sunshine BUT the forest fires in northern Quebec & Ontario changed the actual condition to less than 1 mile visibility, so for our fly in, 4 aircraft arrived for breakfast, only 1 landed. We had enough drive ins to make it worthwhile for the restaurant and all agreed it is a super flight (or driving) destination.
The Flight plans flyouts to South River for the Airport’s 90th Anniversary July 8-9 and also a group flyout to Killarney later in the summer.




                          Fall Potluck Report- October 15, 2022

On Saturday,  October 15, we started our Fall Pot Luck event with a fantastic tour of the Canadian Forces Museum of aerospace Defence at the CFB 22 Wing Base in North Bay. The curator, Beth Aitcheson provided a guided tour of the treasure trove of Air Defence artifacts, memorabilia, and displays ranging from WW1, and WW2, through the Cold War era to present day. Everyone agreed that we should have allotted more time to tour this venue and everyone vowed that a return visit was in their plans. For those who have driven past and seen the museum on the way to their airplanes, make plans to stop and pay a visit. Regular hours are Saturdays 1000-1600 hrs. Other times by appointment. Check out this link:

You won’t be disappointed!
After the museum tour, we all enjoyed delicious food and good company at the Miller Hangar. Thanks to Ron Miller for making it available! 
    Static T33 cockpit - Maverick, there’s someone on your tail!
   At the Potluck dinner   



                    South River/Sundridge Flying Club Fall Air Rally

 On Saturday, October 1st, the South River/Sundridge Flying Club hosted a ‘Fall Air Rally’. Six aircraft participated, including two Cessna 172s, a Zenair, a 185 amphib, a Mooney and Cherokee 140. Each team consisted of a pilot and passenger who were also pilots themselves. The event began at South River with coffee and muffins for the teams as they completed their flight planning and organized for the day ahead. After a quick briefing which covered the rules of the rally, general safety considerations, weather and NOTAMs for the route, the teams were provided with a ‘Knowledge Test’ as well as a series of questions to answer for each leg of the rally. At 11:00 the teams departed for Lindsay. The flight was beautiful. The air was so smooth the planes could practically fly by themselves. Some of the teams fueled up when we stopped there, others picked up the dessert which Lindsay is most famous for, butter tarts! By 13:00, most of the teams had departed for Parry Sound. Flying above Lake Muskoka was like something out of a painting with the red of the sugar maples on the islands and the shades of blue on the water. When the teams landed at Parry Sound they had the opportunity to see the progress of their new runway presently under construction. After socializing with a few pilots based there, the teams took to the skies once more for the final leg back to South River to enjoy the wrap-up BBQ and awards. Congratulations to Mary Norman and Mellisa Gulley for placing first, Bob Whitehead and Pete Bonell placed second with Jason Rosewell and Jacob Stapleton in third. Based on the smilessmileylaughyes, laughter and memories made, the rally was a shining example of the comradery of general aviation. Precisely what makes organizing events like these so rewarding.

Submitted by: Jordan Gorlick 








  MNR Forest Fire Alert base tour at CYYB 

About a dozen Flt 23 members took the opportunity to Tour the MNR Twin Otter, used for fire suppression, and the AeroCommander used for traffic control during a fire. These aircraft are based here during the summer. As well as auxiliary bases here at North Bay and Muskoka, MNR has main bases at Sudbury, Dryden, and Timmins. All bases are set up to minimize the travel time to reach the fires, as the object is to have the aircraft as close to any fires as possible.

Our tour guide was Kevin Denston - who grew up and still lives in North Bay and is thrilled to fly for the MNR and be able to fly from his home airport. Kevin’s first career was a physiotherapist, but after his father purchased an introductory flight for him when he was in his mid 20’s - he was hooked. He got his p.p.l. and instructors licence and worked for Sudbury Aviation for a few years instructing on floatplanes primarily. He knew the key to getting hired by MNR was lots of float time hours, so he built his hours, and 8 years ago got his “dream job” with MNR. He flies the Twin Otter, Bombardier 415 Water Bomber and Beaver, but the Twin Otter is his favourite.

Thanks to Kevin for sharing lots of stats about this remarkable airplane and spending time with Flight 23 members today.








 Fly-Out to South River Sundridge Air Park then to Mattawa grass strip.

Aug 13, 2022 turned out to be a perfect day for COPA Flight 23’s Grass Strip fly out to South River and Mattawa, ON. Participation was excellent with airplanes coming from far and wide! The North Bay organizer’s classic airplanes (TriPacer, Wagabond, and Vagabond) were joined by a Cherokee Six from Timmins, C 182’s from Rockcliffe, Edenvale, Elora, and Mattawa, a C-172 from Oshawa, a Luton Major from Mattawa, and a Lake Amphib from Hamilton. The event started at CPE6 (South River) with coffee and delicious cinnamon rolls, muffins, and rhubarb cake. Some landed on the grass while others chose the new pavement option in South River. After socializing for an hour everyone headed NE to CMA2 Mattawa - a beautiful grass strip airport that most had not flown into before. The calm day meant we landed on 24 and took off on 6. A TriPacer from Midland joined the event there as well as a couple in a C 172 who were camping in South River. Everyone brought their own lunch and lawn chairs for what turned out to be a great social fly-out event.

Thanks to airport owners Dave Jenkins and Mark Wilkins for welcoming us at their airports. Jordan Gorlick (new ppl. and summer student) working at CPE6 was very welcoming. Two of the pilots brought their sons who are both working on their ppl. Nice to see young folks getting into aviation.

Carol Cooke







                                       Al Rivet beside C-FJVX Vagabond following restoration laugh



June 20-2022 BBQ

Flight 23 members and guests were happy to gather once again and enjoy a delicious steak / potluck meal. laugh  

Thanks to all who contributed for a pleasant evening by the lake.yes







       Fall Pot Luck social -2019        

As usual LOTS of scrumptious diverse food - from Charles (and Huguette’s) pumpkin soup, to Bill (and Arlene’s) roasted turkey breast - complete with cranberries, and gravy. Al brought his delicious baked beans - 2 pots this year - we had a taste test of his usual pressure cooked beans, AND (new this year) baked beans in his “one pot”. Both were excellent!! BBQ sausages , black bean casserole, meatballs, meat casserole, Caesar salad, and jellied salad rounded off the main course, and of course no meal would be complete without Ron’s homemade bread!! Dessert was a nice mixture of fruit, date squares, gingerbread cookies, and treats from the bakery in Sturgeon Falls (thanks Denis). 

Thanks to everyone who brought food at the "hangar kitchen tables".

Lots of airplane (and other) conversation throughout the evening. Gerry was busy taking a multitude of photos of Ron’s PA18 - to help with his new Super Cub (Smith Cub) build project.

After dinner Captain Bill made announcements - thanking Ron and Nancy for the use of their hangar; thanking Charles and Huguette for volunteering at the International Plowing Match in Verner; also thanking Charles for all the time he has spent keeping the website up to date, and posting lots of timely info on the website. Bill also thanked the pilots (16 in total) who went through the aggravation of getting v.s.c. checks in order to fly kids in the C for K program this year. We had enough pilots to fly the usual number of kids at both Mattawa and South River.

Then Al presented plaques from the summer landing proficiency competition. Wheel landing plaque to Ron Cooke C182, and Float plaque to Claude Bourgoin Maule M6. Both get to keep the large plaque with all winners listed from 2015 for the next year; the smaller plaque with photo of pilot and aircraft is their’s to keep as a forever memento. In that Claude couldn’t be with us this evening, Denis offered to deliver.

Denis showed a video of his (and Ron Miller’s) Flying trip to Sutton River a few years ago.

Another great get together of members of Flight 23 sharing camaraderie and good food.




 Killarney Flyout on September 21, 2019

Writeup and pictures:
courtesy of Yvan Kristensen.
Yvan has been organizing a Thursday fly out lunch all summer (staying within 100nm of Guelph). Decided to add a Saturday fly out to Killarney, and we co- ordinated it together.
There were 4 aircraft from Flt 23 attending (Armand, Margot Despres, John Hemingway, Gary Blanchette/ Eric Schlieper, and Ron, Carol Cooke). 4 aircraft of flying farmers, and the rest were Ivan’s lunch fly out gang. A good time was had by all, and it was a beautiful day.

Although with a haze layer topped at about 7000ft. it was a still good flying day for our run to Killarney for their famous Fish and Chips. Clearly this is a popular destination as there were 20+ airplanes came and went between noon and 3pm. With that many people and planes is was a bit difficult to keep track but most of the people and planes belonged to people on my email list.

Here is a link to pictures from Killarney >>>  https://ivankristensen.smugmug.com/KW-Guelph-area-Lunch-Fly-out-Group/Killarney-Sept-21st/

Writeup and pictures are courtesy of Yvan Kristensen. Thank you Yvan.



    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 (surprise) - 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.




Results of the ARC 2019 can be viewed by clicking the link below.


Air Race map progress data via .>>>>  https://airraceclassic2019.maprogress.com/


 Thanks to all the volunteers who were able to attend the June 16 practice timer event and big thanks to Ron and Carol Cooke for providing the airplane and doing the flying.


       Thank you for supporting the 2019 Air Race Classic

Please accept our sincere gratitude for your role in making the 2019 Air Race Classic a memorable experience for over fifty teams, numerous volunteers and countless individuals who followed it in print, online or were lucky enough to see some of the action.

Without the combined generosity of time, money and elbow grease from individuals like you, Air Race Classic could not sponsor an annual cross country air race.  We thank you and each person who came together to make the racers feel welcome, attend to their needs, and assist with the flybys.  

We applaud the enthusiasm you brought to the task of sharing our excitement.  The feedback from those we reached has affirmed our mission of education and awareness for women who aspire to fly.  Together, we generated publicity to a larger than usual audience with a message to young and old, male and female.  With your help, the sky is not the limit to fulfilling dreams.

With kindest regards,
Lara Gaerte, President 

Air Race Classic, Inc

Click to view Thank you card>>>>>>/UserFiles/ContentPages/ARC Thank You 2019.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 yes                         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 laugh.

Flight 23 BBQ- Stan Nichols Memorial 2018 & Flying Proficiency awards held at Fred Culin seaplane base hangar.

               Stan French   Cessna-172 on floats yes                                           Mark Wilkins   Cessna-182 on wheelsyes

Stan Nichols Memorial BBQ 2016



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.