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  • Vermilion Voice

Local Flying Club Hosts Elementary Student Tours

Volunteers from the Vermilion River Flying Club with staff and students from the St. Jerome’s School on June 9.

The Vermilion River Flying Club hosted Grade 6 student tours for St. Jerome’s School on June 9, and Vermilion Elementary School on June 16. They also elected new executives at their Annual General Meeting on June 14.

Students had an opportunity to see the aircraft firsthand, sit in the pilot’s seat and ask questions. Split into groups they had a chance to review the parts of an aircraft with a model plane in the terminal building, then headed outdoors to study meteorology and examine the lights and signage leading up to the runway. They also got to put their hands on the controls of a fixed-wing airplane; and sit in a helicopter, checking out all its hoses and gadgets.

Having studied flight at school, many of the parts they were familiar with, however seeing them move firsthand encouraged a couple of students to think that perhaps they could be more involved with aviation in the future.

“You can fly for fun, or for a job,” said Jim Bristowe. “One of my past students is now making $300,000.

With a transmitter able to program 20 model planes, he showed them how to control the plane against different forces (thrust, weight, drag, and lift). With the wind going across the top of the camber of the wing he said it has to speed up to meet the air going flat across the bottom. The lower pressure on top and higher pressure on the bottom pushes it upward.

“The slower you fly, the airplane will start to come down. The rudder controls yaw, and when the landing gear is up it removes drag. To bank to the left, you would turn the left aileron up and the right aileron down,” said Bristowe.

Darcy Balaneski works at the Lloydminster Municipal Airport where he gives the weather report and said there are 14 types of clouds reported in Canada, with mostly French and Latin names. They include stratus (grey overcast), stratocumulus, cumulonimbus (mushroom cloud), stratus fractus, cumulus, altostratus, cirrostratus, cirrocumulus, and cirrus (wispy).

“An altimitor is a pressure-sensitive instrument that tells pilots how high they are above sea level. The runway in Vermilion is 2,020 feet above sea level,” said Balaneski. “The windsock tells pilots which way they should take off or land; a pilot always wants to land into the wind. If the air is cold, they might use half the runway; but on a hot day the air will be thin and they might use the whole thing.

Local Flight Instructor, Erwin Warkentin, pointed out the plane’s spinner and propeller, that the piston engine was a horizontally opposed or pancake engine, and that it used tricycle landing gear instead of the taildragger style seen on another aircraft. Local Pilot, Matt Jaremco, said the fuel tanks were in the wings and he adjusted the flaps, ailerons, rudder, and elevators.

“A Bell Jet Ranger helicopter can have forward, rear, or sideways flight. These helicopters do a lot of remote work and don’t often land at an airport. There is an extra gauge on the side for when they are lifting something and the pilot is looking down at the load,” said Guest Pilot Nick Trufal from St. Paul. “It takes a lot of dedicated time to become a pilot but it is very rewarding.”

Warkentin noted that one can begin training at 14 years old to become a student pilot, 15 years old to become a recreational pilot, 16 for a private pilot license, 18 for commercial, or 21 for airline.

“The children are very lucky; thank you to the gentlemen who have taken the time to aid in our understanding,” said Teacher Rolanda Beaudette.

In the future, the Vermilion River Flying Club would like to host a COPA discovery day where youth could actually be up in the air.

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