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Come on World, Time to Quit Smoking!By Kathy Wrobel of Prairie Aircraft SalesWhat a summer for smoke again this year! Mother Nature needs to go on the patch or something. Aircraft have been stranded, folks struggling to get to where they are going. Some are having close calls but thankfully so far no incidents. We were flying back from BC and although my aircraft is IFR certified, there were still concerns. We did have a plan to either turn back or land if it got too bad. We made it ok and it never got really bad, but there are others who were not so lucky and did have to either turn back or wait it out at a different destination. The flight schools have not been flying very much here at Springbank, and we were struggling to have aircraft moved for prebuys and maintenance due to the smoke.It is sometimes a hard one to predict, as you take off from where you are and it looks good, but along your route if the wind changes you are suddenly having serious visibility issues. With wildfires, smoke can catch you off guard and before you know it you are in a bad situation. Always check the NOTAMS for not only an update on the smoke, but also to be aware of any aircraft that are working to fight the fires and may be doing just that in the area that you are flying in, to, or around. Flying the Firefighting aircraft is a very dangerous and intense work environment and we want to make sure we stay well out of the way as not to hinder in their efforts. With so many communities on a 15-minute evacuation order (I can’t even imagine how to handle that) all the help we can give by keeping our distance is a benefit to those working hard to keep everyone safe. Let’s not take any chances or push the boundaries with this unpredictable obstacle that may be here all summer long. On a more positive note, it looks like there will be more border openings on the Covid restrictions. Although it has not affected our sales very much overall, we were still sending lots of aircraft South as well as bringing them up, it will allow for our out of country folks to come up and view aircraft that they have not been able to do for over a year. Sometimes you just really want to see in person what you are buying. The snag in this scenario will be the CBSA strike starting August 6. Folks will still be able to move about, but will not be quite so easy.
Oshkosh just wrapped up and I chatted with a few folks that attended. Sounds like it was a great show, (when is it not?) fewer folks than normal and not many international but still good. A sign of things getting back to normal, which everyone wants to see. I miss seeing all the people I only saw in person when I was at shows, seems like forever since we had a face-to-face visit. Industry shows are where you get to see all the new inventions and offerings all in one place. Even small shows have new items and ideas that you would not see otherwise. 2022? Will that bring us our shows again and we will all be together once more? Let’s hope so. On the other hand, there are those that feel the social distancing and lack of socializing in general is the personal space they have been craving their entire lives!
What else is new in the world of flying? Aircraft owners and pilots are still able to work within the extra extensions on annuals and other requirements from Transport due to Covid. With the regulators all working from home, things are taking a bit longer than normal, but still getting things done. It gives you a few more months of flying and not having to worry about trying to fit your aircraft into a shop right away. All the shops are very busy which is a great sign and folks are flying. So many took advantage of the past year and a half to get their licence completed, renewed, or just start from scratch. What a perfect time to do that, the skies were not as busy and what better endeavour to complete when you have extra time than to learn to fly! The boost to general aviation during this past year and a half has been unexpected by many, but very good for general aviation. Let’s hope the momentum continues and pilots keep making time to fly and enjoy the freedom of flight we have. When things return to the new normal, and life falls back into the previous routine, lets still work really hard to make time to fly, to see the world from a different perspective and to enjoy the freedom we have to move about, explore amazing new places and meet the best type of people out there, Aviation People! We are a very special group, and no one understands us like we understand each other, let’s keep sharing and spending time together, learning from one another, and growing this wonderful aviation community. Fly safe everyone and try and stay out of the smoke!
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