Report by Gay Northey
Photos by Dot Shepherd and Gay Northey
had a great time on the Labour Day weekend in Oliver, BC, at the
annual SwiftFest flyin. Had the most a/c yet - 13 Swifts and a Cessna
210 (freight?) - plus drive-ins. First to arrive had to be Judy
& Ron Best and son, Tyler by car from Calgary.
They were on the spot a day early as advance party to start
setting up for Rick. The big news in the Best family has to be son
Tyler’s acquisition of the newest Swift in the group (C-GCQL). It
was almost ready to fly to SwiftFest, having been restored by 20-year-0ld
Tyler and Dad, Ron. Next year!
The weather was excellent coming and going, save for the massive
amounts of smoke from wild fires raging just south of the US border.
Parked on the area outside the Southwind Motel by Saturday afternoon
were Swifts owned by Jeanie & Dick Collins, Portola Valley,
CA; Dot & Bill Shepherd, Liz & Sam Klippert, Gary Eklund,
Gerry Mahoney & Jean Takahashi and Ernie Hansen from Diamond
Point , WA; Karen & Guido Perla from Vachon Island, WA; Kyle
Hook and Beckie Bernard of Portland, OR and Rick Scott & Stephanie
Dryhurst , Bill & Eileen Findlay, John & Gay Northey, Gene
Gillott and Ted Audrain from BC.
Mike Merker and Brenda Bach from Diamond Point joined us
in his Cessna 210. Drive-ins
were Ray & Win Findlay from Keremeos and Dave and Karen Brandmeir
from Diamond Point in their RV. All attendees were treated to T-shirts
created by Rick at no charge. He is such a talented chap….Thanks,
Saturday evening BBQ took place near the aircraft where folks either
sat under Rick’s silk parachute sun-shade or outside it, watching
the formation flying that erupts spontaneously whenever Swifters
get together. There was plenty of formation work, which drew many
townsfolk to the airport fence to watch. Lots of photos are thanks
to Dot Shepherd who has gathered them together for the Swift web
site and newsletter.
All day, the smoke from the south turned the sun orange-red. At
sunset the sky itself took on a brief golden hue and cooler air
Sunday dawned cool. We were treated to breakfast, as a special favor,
by the Oliver Flying Club - many kudos to flying club members who
volunteered to cook. They did a great job and saw to it that we
could indulge, as in years past, in the juiciest, sweetest, melons
in the world, freshly picked at a local melon farm famous for its
Once replete with breakfast, some Swifters toured the winding route
through orchards & vineyards by car to the Naramata area just
NE of Penticton. Others walked in to Oliver to find that Oliver
shops are dwindling to only a few of any interest to those of us
who glory in ‘junque’, fabric, books and curious bargains.
However, there is
a very warm and welcoming wine boutique with sampling area of very
interesting variety of award-winning wines, light meals and a terrace,
to which five of us retired to prepare for the walk back to the
motel. This is wine country, after all. One must support the local economy.
The majority of Swifters – especially those from Diamond Point,
WA - flew after lunch to Vernon, the Okanagan’s northernmost and
greenest community, to watch Gary Eklund do the jump he won at last
year's prize draw. (While I had my hand up, this year's jump prize
went to Bill Shepherd; maybe next year?) Rick's lady, Stephanie,
was the instigator of the jump prize last year and was first out
of the aircraft when Gary made his jump. His ear-to-ear grin was
still evident when we all packed up to leave on Monday. Everyone
got to watch the DVD of his triumph after dinner on Sunday night.
Dinner was outside on the terrace and the donated prizes were plentiful
and varied - also much appreciated by all the winners. Our thanks
to all those who contributed. Eileen Findlay brought two
of her coveted wall quilts and I was able to choose an Elf Aviation
T- shirt at last. The mosquitos even stayed away during the meal
so that we could enjoy the cuisine. Ray & Win Findlay were presented
with a card signed by all, to celebrate their 60 years of happy
married life and their loyalty to the Swift through these many years.
They never seem to change – quite an example they set for all of
The single most inviting thing about the Oliver SwiftFest has to
be its informality. Everyone
pitches in to help with the various tasks. There is no formal registration,
no written schedule, lots of food inside and out, wine, fresh fruit
from the local trees, wine, tire-kicking and tale-telling, the very
best company, wine and no pressure. (Well, maybe Gary was under
a bit of pressure, but he didn’t buckle).
was great to have a few new faces (attached to bodies, of course)
to meet this time.
Why not join us next year, if you haven’t yet experienced the laid
back life of the sunny Okanagan?
Guido the Burrito ~
by Gerry Mahoney
first marked the gathering of the Burrito Brothers flying team plus
one at Diamond Point. It seems we have taken over responsibility
for Uncle Vinnys’ nephew, Guido Perla. He and his lovely Bride (English
instructor) were the “Plus One”. For those who do not know of Guido,
that is a lot of responsibility. A task that only the Burrito Brothers
or the CIA could handle. Ernie and Penny Hansen, sponsored the evening
meal and flight briefing for the next days journey to the house
of Rick. Ernie, is Guidos’ new interpreter which was good because
he was also briefing the next days assault on our neighbors to the
north. Ernie completed an extremely detailed brief with all of the
frequencies, altitudes, airspace problems, flight plan numbers
and Canadian customs numbers and procedures. After a short flight
across the border the flight landed at Abbotsford, BC to clear customs
and bladders. Guido, (sometimes referred to as Guide-O) Took off
with the small engine Swifts for the leg across the mountains to
Oliver. Gary Eklund (Jumpin Gary) was in the lead with Ernie, leading
the big engine folks. Twenty minutes after takeoff, somewhere above
the canyons and below the peaks, Guido, suddenly wants an altimeter
setting and frequency for Oliver? Now folks, I have to admit Ernie,
did not have the altimeter setting for that area the day prior,
but he did brief the Frequency for Oliver! -- Gerry Mahoney
~ Go Ahead and Jump ~
by Gene Gillott
flying appeared to have the greatest number of aircraft to ever
attend. The big draw was, of course, to witness Gary Elklund's attempt
to create a large hole in the ground by jumping out of a plane that
was in excess of 10,000 feet.. Of course, we all had to fly up to
Vernon to give him moral support. I am sure that the various requests
for the keys to his airplane and his wallet prior to his departure
in the jump plane made him feel warm and fuzzy. Just knowing that
your friends were there to take care of your possessions if anything
went wrong must have gone a long way to remove any anxiety that
he was feeling. But that is what friends are for, right? The other
thing that sticks out in my mind was the trip back to Pitt Meadows.
We ran into smoke so thick that...... But that is another story.
-- Gene Gillott"
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