A couple of weeks ago I took to the skies with Nikki and the friendly Jim Hutchinson, squadron pilot and flight trainer for our local air cadets, 79 Lynton Davies in Port Coborne. Into the blue, we spent a happy hour or so aloft seeing the Niagara region from entirely new angles as we took a flight over Port Colborne.
From our take-off point at the Dorothy Rungeling airport on River Road in Welland, we went South West to Mohawk Point and the lighthouse there before turning East for Port Colborne. After a couple of turns around the city we went East toward Point Abino, another lighthouse way point. Finally, we flew over a section of Brookfield road where an annual memorial was taking place for a cadet that lost his life there in a car accident three years ago. Jim dipped the wings in tribute as we passed overhead: He knew this cadet.
Jim is a highly experienced pilot and enjoys nothing more than getting airborne. His personality makes him a great guide, and his experience as a DJ shines through. He has a wealth of stories to share, and is a fount of knowledge about all things aviation and local history. We can’t thank him enough for taking us up and letting us share the clouds with him.
The Air Cadets
Jim is a proud advocate of the Air Cadet program, which he went through himself. Coming out the other side with his pilot’s license, he has been flying for decades now. He tries to go up at least once a week and gives back to the air cadet community by training the future pilots of 79 Lynton Davies squadron. The air cadet program has taken him and his trainees around the world. Nikki is an ex-cadet and recalls her time there fondly. There are worse ways for adolescents to spend their time. I can definitely recommend this as a way to channel youthful energy. If you know anyone that may be interested, the contact details for the Port Colborne air cadets are in the video itself. Check it out.
In the air, the cold made me keep the window of the single-engine aircraft firmly closed, though Jim said I could open it. Interestingly, it uses a similar twist lock to the old quarter-windows cars had back in the 60’s, when the plane was built. I wanted to poke my camera through that opening to get around the condensation and scratches on the dusty glass, but as cold as it was on the ground, a few thousand feet up it’s way colder. Hand wringing, foot stamping cold. Which reminds me, here’s a Top Tip: Don’t actually stamp your feet inside a training plane unless you want to give the pilot a coronary when you hit the dual pedals. Oh, how we laughed. Well, me. I laughed.
Next time, at Jim’s gratefully received invitation, we will do it in better weather. I look forward to some amazing photographs with that window open, when the sun isn’t playing hide and seek behind the snow clouds. We are looking at a spring flight over Port Colborne, and Jim suggested going up in the Autumn when the leaves are changing. With all the trees in this area I can only imagine the colours.
There is much to see. With Jim’s help we may make aerial journeys to explore the North, and the shore of Lake Ontario. Maybe even the Falls themselves. Now that would be something to write about. To be sure you don’t miss it when I do, you can subscribe to this blog and be automatically notified.
Video Of Our Flight
Being me, I could not sit there quietly during this. While juggling a photo camera in one hand I held a video camera with the other. Quite the challenge. I really must choose one or the other. Doing both at the same time is not easy. Please excuse the audio in spots. I only had phone audio to work with on this occasion and that motor is loud.
I shot an hour of video while we were up there. This video is cut to just over 20 minutes and features Jim’s potted history of the Air Cadets as well as all our banter on the ground.
Here’s the video on Youtube. I encourage viewers to like and subscribe for future vids, of course. Please and thank you, a little encouragement goes a long way – this took a day and a half to put together.
To finish, I must say that seeing your home town from above is quite an experience. It looks nothing like you might imagine. Winding roads take cars the long way round, and you can see it would sometimes be faster just to walk across a field. If you live in the area between Dunnville and Ridgeway you may want to watch right through. There is a chance you may see your house. We did. Twice.
Update: After posting this blog and video to the socials I was rewarded with the response below.
You know you’re doing something right when you get a ‘thumbs up’ from Adobe.