‘General’ Aviation

A new study shows the use of business jets and other small aircraft is more about companies trying to gain efficiency and improve the bottom line than about providing a luxurious perk to those at the top of the corporate ladder. The industry wants to dispel many misconceptions about how and why companies use general aviation.

(from Wired)

I’ve been a General Aviation pilot for over 20 years. I fly for enjoyment and occasionally to get from A to B. The focus of ‘Business Aviation” has been the jet – but the reality it that the small single and twin engine propellor aircraft are used by everything from the small construction company to major hydro and communication companies. Especially in British Columbia where driving distances are vast – travelling as ‘a crow flies’ takes a massive amount of time off getting somewhere. As the wired article points out only a small fraction of communities have scheduled air service. If you live in the lower Mainland, Victoria, Kelowna, Prince George you probably have some choices, less so for Prince Rupert, Smithers, Dawson Creek, and Cranbrook. If your in Nelson  or Quesnel you’ve got a significant drive head of you before you can even get to a scheduled air service.

Now there is no reason to expect that scheduled service can get everywhere. When you have to travel to some locations, costs are going to be high, including chartering a small aircraft if that is cheaper than a 12 to 16 hour drive.

General aviation has two challenges. The added security continues to put more and more restrictions on where you can fly and the amount of paperwork required. The latest example is the massive areas of the lower mainland which will be restricted during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The restrictions extend to include Naniamo, most of the Gulf Islands and into the northern San Juan Islands.

The second challenge is keeping small airports operating. There was the notable case of the City of Chicago bulldozing Meigs field . Small aviation fields are considered a nuisance, and when land values rise, pressure to ‘develop’ can be overwhelming.

Aviation, like boating, hiking, snowmobiling, gets you out to experience areas of our planet you may not get to any other way. Its not a charity, and no one should feel that GA pilots are hard done by, but it shouldn’t be considered a luxury pursuit for the idle rich.

Other National Days of Note

Following the recent post on Canada Day and Independence Day, I thought it would be useful to post some details of other national celebrations.

  • Bien Phu Victory (May 7) Vietnam celebrates victory over the french army May 7, 1954
  • Algeria celebrates 1 November as start of the War of Independence in 1954 that caused the retreat of French forces.
  • Syria celebrates 17 April Independence Day as the retreat of French forces in 1946
  • Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican defeat of French Army May 5, 1862
  • TRAFALGAR DAY celebrates British Defeat of French Navy October 21, 1805
  • L’Escalade is a Swiss day to celebrate the defeat of Duke of Savoy (allied to France) Dec 11, 1602

And, of course:

  • July 14th is Fete Nationale (Bastille Day) where the French celebration of the defeat of the French Military by a bunch of peasants in 1789

While not really National holidays;

To Celebrate the September 7,1812 Russian Victory over French Army at the gates of Moscow was Tchaikovsky wrote a pretty catchy tune in 1882. Not Very originally named “The 1812 Overture”

Also while creating a 1965 Celebration of the Battle of Waterloo one British Parliamentarian thought to ask:

HANSARD: HC Deb 02 June 1965 vol 713 c218W

72. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why he invited the French Army to take part in the celebration of the battle of Waterloo.

Mr. Mulley

No such invitation was issued.”

Probably just as well, would have been one of those ‘one bitten, twice shy’ kind of moments. They don’t call it “Meeting your Waterloo” for nothing.

Also, When Asked the Germans responded “Days to celebrate beating the French, if we did that we’d never get any work done, those Mercedes and BMWs don’t build themselves!”

What’s On in Victoria?

Victoria is a wonderful place to live but, in my experience, not always an easy place to get to know. I was here for 3 years before I even figured out major events such as Symphony Splash and Feast of Fields. In the last couple weeks I’ve had been two additional experiences.

One was trying to find out when the Victoria Day Parade was (Stop – Even I got that the Victoria Day Parade happens on Victoria Day). Meaning what time did it start..

The second was seeing a sign in the middle of Oak Bay Avenue for the Oak Bay Tea party. Which I had no idea was happening this weekend.

In the first case I couldn’t find the parade start time with a lot of searching. In the second I didn’t think to look. Both convinced me I needed another information source.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some  great sources out there like; Calendar of Events (linked from City of Victoria), Events Calendar (tourismvictoria.com), and Harbourliving. What was missing for me was a way for this information to get in my face. I wanted a way to have these events show up in my desktop, on my iPhone, and in the daily reminders that ‘bing’ on a daily basis.

While I would love someone to step up and provide a solution,  this week I tried to build something to solve this problem. In the short term, I’ve rolled up a solution with Google Calendar that I’m sharing at www.meetupvictoria.com. We’ll see how it goes.

“In death we are all equal”

In Wimereux Cemetery not far from the grave of the Lt Col John McRae lies the graves of nurses killed during bombing raids of the hospitals.

After hearing of the death of Captain Nichola Goddard, my thoughts ran to standing in Wimereux by the grave of Sister Lucy Duncan being suprised by the thought of women dying in the Great War. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to put these two thoughts together because in a story on Captain Goddard in the Globe and Mail included the following timeline

1914-1918: Enemy action during the First World War kills 29 Canadian military women.

1988: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders the Canadian Forces to achieve complete integration within 10 years.

2006: First Canadian woman in a combat role killed in battle.

We can not think war and sacrifice is either long ago or far away.

To quote a Jewish Phrase “In death we are all equal”
Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard, 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery