By Mike Davenport, EAA 89102, Langley, British Columbia
Texada Island, British Columbia, more specifically Gillies Bay Airport, is a 3000-foot paved runway with preferred landings uphill on 32 and departures downhill on 14 and is located just a short walk down to a rocky beach should you need a change from the interesting aircraft that joined the residents for their first fly-in since COVID struck in 2019.
The flight from Langley, some 94 GPS miles, is through some busy airspace but with some planning and careful map reading, it can all be avoided and it isn’t necessary to talk to anyone if that is your mindset. Going early makes it easier and on a quiet Sunday morning, as a bonus, the morning air is smooth ahead of the heat of the day.
At least eight aircraft from Langley made the trip with times ranging from just over half an hour to upwards of an hour depending on the vintage of pilot and aircraft. Others from Vancouver Island and the surrounding areas also joined in. One pilot even reported a pod of killer whales in addition to the spectacular views the rest of us saw.
Some of the aircraft on display included a T-28 Trojan, numerous RVs and Pipers, Cessnas of every vintage, and even one on amphibious floats. Included in the count were three C-170s, a Stinson 108, a DHC-1 Chipmunk, and even a rare Taylorcraft L-2.
The RCAF’s 442 Squadron from Comox also dropped in with their rescue jumper parachuting onto the field. The CH-149 Cormorant helicopter then landed and the crew generously provided access and tours.
Our hosts greeted us with a pancake breakfast and later in the day offered both cheeseburgers and hot dogs.