Local pilot Randy Johnson gives pre-flight instruction to (from left) Dillian Doskoch

Local pilot Randy Johnson gives pre-flight instruction to (from left) Dillian Doskoch

Flying club looks to new heights

The Williams Lake Flying Club is hoping to put as many smiles on as many kids’ faces as possible.

The Williams Lake Flying Club is hoping to put as many smiles on as many kids’ faces as possible.

On Saturday, June 9 the club is hosting a free opportunity for youth in Williams Lake to fly.

Donna Lee Barbour, treasurer with the WLFC, said 11 of the club’s pilots will be at the Williams Lake Airport volunteering their time giving plane rides to kids in their own personal aircraft.

“The Williams Lake Flying Club, we all own our own planes and we like doing this for the kids because it gives them a chance to experience flying,” Barbour said. “Some kids may have never been in an airplane. They might have been in a big plane but that’s totally different from being in a smaller one.”

The event, Become a Junior Aviator, is sponsored by the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA For Kids), which aims to provide motivational aviation experiences to young people.

The WLFC normally hosts the event at Springhouse; however, Barbour said the club is looking forward to this year’s first stint at the Williams Lake Airport.

“They seem really keen on it,” she said. “We went and looked at the area where we’ll be and it looks great.”

Ultimately, Barbour said, the goal is for everyone to have fun.

“We’re going to take the kids up for as long of a ride as we can,” she said. “It’s usually around 15 to 20 minutes from start to end from the time they’re up in the air.”

Last year 78 kids had the opportunity to fly. This year, Barbour said she hopes that number increases.

“We’re expecting between 80 to 100 kids this year,” she said, and noted there will be entertainment and hot dogs available by donation.

Anyone wishing to register and fly, Barbour stressed, must be accompanied by a legal parent or guardian. A registration desk will be setup at the airport.

Planes some of the WLFC members will be bringing and flying include: a Piper Tripacer, seven Cessnas and a Citabria. Club member Roger Patenaude is also bringing two older planes to put on static display — a 1942 Stearman Biplane and a 1944 Beechcraft Stagger Wing Biplane.

The festivities are expected to kick off at 10 a.m. and run until 2 p.m.

If weather is an issue June 9 the festivities will be rescheduled for Sunday, June 10.

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