More than 100 people checked out the Victoria Flying Club’s 2023 open house.
The club celebrated its 76th anniversary at the event Sunday (Sept. 24).
“It’s an occasion worth marking,” club president Don Devenney said. “There’s not a lot of flight schools that have been around that long. Many of them had trouble getting out of the ‘80s. We’re definitely the oldest flight training organization on Vancouver Island. We wanted to do a big bash for our 75th anniversary, but we couldn’t do it because of COVID-19.”
The open house has often had a larger turnout in other years, but club general manager Mike Schlievert didn’t mind that fewer people came out on Sunday.
“Sometimes it’s better to have quality over quantity,” Schlievert said. “I think more people seemed interested this year.”
Attendees were able to check out and even sit inside a variety of aircraft. Sleek single-engine planes and powerful multi-engine aircraft owned by the club and its members were on display.
Trained staff answered questions about aviation, flight training and career opportunities at the event.
“I talked to a number of younger people today,” Devenney added. “I don’t know if they’re looking at it as a career or whether it’s just something they’re interested in.”
Visitors also got to see what it takes to become a pilot and learn about the club’s flight training programs.
“This event is a way for us to show the community what we do and keep our name out there,” Devenney said. “People have been quite interested in what’s happening here. We have a very comprehensive program. Some people told me this has always been on their bucket list, and now they’re in a position to start looking at training.”
The open house was also an opportunity for aviation enthusiasts to connect with each other and make new friends.
“We really appreciate the local community coming,” Devenney added. “This is a good day. It’s also great to see kids come out.”
Things are going to slow down for the club now that summer is over.
“Summer is our busy season,” Devenney said. “That’s when we fly more often because the days are long and the weather is good.”