The Carlyle Flying Club is celebrating 60 years of aviation in the area and they're inviting the community to join them for a day of flying, fun and food.
Both the Carlyle Flying Club-and the Carlyle Airport-soon to be officially renamed the E.J. (Ted Brady) Regional Airport- are celebrating six decades.
“We have a lot planned,” says airport manager and Carlyle Flying Club member, Duncan Brown. “We'll have aircraft flying in throughout the day, and aerobatic performer Brent Handy is booked to perform. He's an ex-Snowbird and is now an instructor at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Moose Jaw. He'll fly and then he'll be around after his show to talk with people. We'll also be selling raffle tickets for a chance to win one of two plane rides with him.”
“We've also requested two modern training planes from CFB Moose Jaw to do a fly-by. After the pilots do the fly-by, they'll land and display their airplanes, so people can get a view of the aircraft close-up.”
“Three vintage World War II training aircraft will also fly in from Brandon for our anniversary day, too,” adds Brown. “Brandon was one of the training bases during the Second World War and these aircraft-from the British Commonwealth Air Training Programme-were used to train Allied pilots from throughout the Commonwealth in Canada. These planes were painted bright yellow and the three vintage aircraft that will be coming to Carlyle that day are a Harvard, a Cornell and a Stinson.”
“We've also invited a parachutist from Moose Jaw and we'll have short take-off and landing performances by some of our local guys, as well as a sky-diving performance. Sask Air Ambulance will also be there, displaying one of their Medivac planes.”
“Weather permitting, we'll also be offering tethered hot-air balloon rides on-site, courtesy of SIGA,” adds Carlyle Flying Club President, Brad Walker. “There will also be an automobile Show 'n' Shine next door at Carlyle Motor Products and for young families who attend, One Church will be bringing a few of their bouncers.”
Two of the Flying Club's most popular traditions will also be upheld this year, with a slightly different format.
“Instead of our Fly-In Breakfast, we'll be hosting a Fly-In Lunch, with pork on a bun and salads. That will be served from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m.,” says Brown. “The Moose Mountain Air Cadets will be helping us out with that and proceeds from the lunch will help to benefit their program and also, airport improvements.”
“In addition to the planes that are flying in for performances, local pilots and pilots from other areas will be flying in for the day,” says Walker. “At our Fly-In Breakfast, our club usually give members of the public airplane rides. This year-because there will be so much going on at our anniversary celebrations-we'll take bookings from people that day-Saturday, June 25-for rides the next day-Sunday, June 26.”
Brown-who has written a brief history of the Carlyle Flying Club says: “We hope some of the remaining founding members are able to be in attendance that day.”
Brown writes: “The Carlyle Flying Club was founded in 1956 and the founding members were: Jack Mills, Ed Stockton, Russell Stockton, Jack Marshall, Les Hewitt, Harold Brown, Howard Humphries, Vern Clubb, Billy Mills, Alec Dodds and Bill Ramsey.”
In addition to honouring local aviation history, events of the day will also pay tribute to longtime resident and former Mayor of Carlyle, Ted Brady, as the airport is formally re-named the 'E.J. (Ted) Brady Regional Airport' during an afternoon ceremony and sign dedication.
From its beginnings in 1956-with two grass runways on 45 acres of land-the Club has upgraded the airport to its current runway length of 3,653 ft., with the latest 500 ft. expansion added in 2014. In 1984, the Club turned the airport over to the Town of Carlyle, and through the decades, the Carlyle Flying Club has produced many new pilots and managed to fund the airport via corporate and private donations, lease fees and provincial grants.
“Funding for the airport is not on the backs of the taxpayers,” says Walker. “And that's something we're really proud of.”
“Since 2010, we've had several projects going on out here,” adds Brown. “In 2010, we resurfaced the main runway, and in 2014, we extended it by 500 feet. In excess of $1.25 million has been spent and another $200,000 in kind.”
“The airport is a real community asset,” says Walker. “Medivac planes land here and we have pipeline survelliance aircraft and corporate aircraft coming and going, in addition to civilian aircraft. There are also spray planes coming in and we also have firefighting aircraft and helicopters from in and out of the province that use this airport as a refuelling stop, so there's definitely an economic benefit for the town and area.”
“We're certainly looking forward to our 60th anniversary celebrations,” says Brown. “And we encourage everybody to come out and enjoy the events we have planned.”
“You can look at some cool airplanes and have an enjoyable afternoon,” says Walker.
“We welcome people of all ages to come out and celebrate 60 years with us.”
The Carlyle Flying Club's 60th Anniversary Celebration takes place Saturday, June 25 at the Carlyle Airport. Lunch is from 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and aeronautic performances are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. To learn more, visit www.CarlyleAirport.ca or the Town of Carlyle website at www.townofcarlyle.com.