Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Saint-Lazare Fly-in

Saint-Lazare Fly-In Breakfast

In the middle of June, the little municipal airport owned by Cooper Aviation in Saint-Lazare (TC LID: CST3) holds an annual fly-in breakfast. This year it was held on June 14th, and the planets must have been aligned, because not only was it a warm, sunny day, but our agenda was wide open so we were able to partake in the festivities.

We got there early, but late enough that we had to park so far away we joked that we might as well have walked from home. Next year I think we'll bike over, even if it is a bit of a haul. The organizers thought of everything: there was even a shuttle to bring us "back" to the main area. I decided the night before that we would bring our walkie-talkies (do they still call them that?), so we could be independent. (Read: Ann could escape and wander whilst Eric carries on existentialist conversations with fellow aviation enthusiasts). We even remembered the camera, so we managed to take a few shots.

Kids and dogs and planes...what's not to love?

The fly-in breakfast attracted over 4000 people on June 14, 2009 - a record. It's a free event, so that might account why people came in droves this year. With the economy being what it is, it's hard enough to find interesting things to do with kids that won't break your bank account.

The "airport at Saint-Lazare" as locals call it, is a pristine, verdant local airstrip with both grass and freshly-paved runways. Big wooden barns ring the property, complete with babbling creek and weeping willows. It is as picture-perfect as any little airport can be.

At 10:30, a CF-18 did 2 fly-bys. It was amazing to hear and see. We were all watching the sky and ohh-ing and ahh-ing as he did a second pass. After the all-clear was given, the little planes from surrounding airports landed fast and furious one after the other. I think about 120 planes partook in the fly-in, a record number by all accounts.

A Harvard

Kids are encouraged to look and ask questions. I am sure more than a few kids decided, "this is what I want to do when I grow up!"

A Stearman

The orange-vested guys are volunteers; there were a lot that day, and it is thanks to them that the day went off without a hitch.

A Yakolev.

A Stinson Voyager

A Cessna 140

And last, but not least, Eric's little dream-machine, the Cessna 170.

At some point in time, I left Eric and went home. I arranged to pick him up at the end of the day, and called him on the walkie-talkie as I entered town. I watched as he sauntered down the little meandering drive-way, baseball cap askew and one shirt-tail flapping in the breeze. He had an empty water bottle in one hand, the walkie-talkie in the other, and a grin that went from ear to ear. He looked like your average star-struck 4 year-old. To say that Eric is an airplane enthusiast is a little bit of an understatement.

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