New roof, new fleet at Vic Flying Club

Club continues to turn out new pilots through its school

From their new roof

The Victoria Flying Club’s Second World War-era hangar is getting some sorely-needed repairs.

A new roof has been put on the structure, which once acted as the main terminal building at the airport. It was a $125,000 job, says the club’s Operations Manager Marcel Poland, but work that was essential in the upkeep of the hangar.

“It makes it usable for another 20 years,” he said, pointing out work was also done to some of the wood beams and other roof structure to ensure safety and water resistance.

The club has been after a new roof for years, added Manager Gerry Mants. In moving forward, he added the club did have to take out a loan. That said, Mants added they have a robust membership and a busy flying school — both of which will contribute to paying for the roof work over time.

In recent years, the Victoria Flying Club has done a lot of work to refurbish their building, facilities and even their fleet of aircraft. Poland said a new fuel system was completed last year and they have 10 new Cessna single-engine airplanes on the tarmac. Six older ones, he continued, are for sale and will be replaced as well.

The club has been around since 1928. At that time, said Mants, it was known as the Victoria Aero Club and flew out of the Lansdowne Airfield. That facility, which was located close to the centre of Victoria, no longer exists. By the end of the Second World War, the club resurfaced at what is now the Victoria airport and since 1946 has been the Victoria Flying Club. Since then, the facility has had its share of upgrades and changes to keep up with its members.

People do keep their aircraft at the club hangar, said Poland, but most of the activity at the club is through its flying school. With 17 instructors, the school is busy nearly every day. Mants said they turn out between 55 and 60 new private pilots and 15 to 20 commercial pilots each year.

To keep the aircraft moving, Poland said one of the club’s board members came up with a computerized dispatching system that is becoming the envy of other flying schools.

“It’s like a taxi system,” Poland explained. “People book a plane and it’s ready through the dispatcher.”

The system, he continued, ensures a plane is ready when an instructor and their student are. It also keeps track of which planes are being serviced and which ones need fuel.

It’s a good advance in technology, Poland said, adding to the club’s overall efficiency. The upgrades at the club, Poland said, help keep their members flying year-’round.