2017 is coming to a close and it has been another momentous year for the BC General Aviation Association. In the past year we have continued to build our membership base while promoting a grassroots community that has demonstrated that general aviation is alive and well in BC. If there were two words to sum up the year they would be COMMUNITY and ENGAGMENT. Thanks to our membership we have disbursed scholarships, held member activities, tours, survival exercises, events and have shared our flights and learned from and with one another. We have also strengthened relationships with other organizations that share our core values.
If you are not a member there is no better time to join. Membership is free and the BCGA hopes to earn it's voluntary contributions by proving value to you the members. In the past year many members have made contributions that enable us to keep moving forward with our mission to strengthen the general aviation community in our province, we are grateful for the continued support.
There is still much work to be done and 2018 looks to be a big year for the BCGA. Some of our goals for 2018 include:
Encouraging & Promoting Member Initiatives
The success of the organization can be largely attributed to the quality of its members. In the new year the BCGA hopes to inspire members to take the initiative to organize events and activities. Be it a pub night, impromptu fly-out or grand adventure, it is up to you the members to make the BCGA the association that you want it to be. Let us know what you want to plan and we will support and assist you to ensure that your event is a success.
Making New, Young Pilots Feel Welcome & Encouraging Them to Join
One of the primary motivations behind the formation of the BCGA was to give aviators present and future a place to connect. The format of the BCGA through its website and Facebook group was specifically designed to attract and encourage participation from pilots "young" and "old". As our community continues to evolve it is important that we remember this and continue to encourage pilots and future pilots of all experience levels to take part and interact with the community in a supportive and nurturing manner. Over the past year we have seen members, take first flights, achieve their pilot's licence and earn new ratings. It is critical that we as a community continue to support our new pilots and those who dream of earning their license.
One of the key ways that we can encourage younger pilots to get engaged is by acting on their ideas and supporting their initiatives. We know that the community will continue to support every new member and pilot and ask that everyone do their part to make everyone feel welcome and included. Please tell new pilots around the airport about your BCGA and encourage them to become an active part of their community.
Recently some of our new members have shared some great ideas which we look forward to sharing as details are ironed out.
Launching the BCGA Private Airstrip Access Program (Early 2018)
In the coming months we will be launching the BCGA Private Airstrip Access Program (PAAP). We have a team lead by Ken Wardstrom (Director) and Chris Knight (Member) putting the final touches on a program that will enable pilots to land at private airstrips that were previously difficult to obtain permission to visit. The program is designed to both open up access to pilots as well as protect airstrip owners. Details about this exciting initiative will be announced in the coming months and we are confident that it is going to be a real game changer.
Member Flight Sharing Calendar
We recently launched a member flight sharing calendar. This resource is available to allow BCGA members to fly together. Any member may add a flight to the calendar for other members to see and join in on. We hope that this feature proves to be popular in the 2018 flying season as a tool to allow members to connect and learn from one another while forming new friendships.
Aircraft Elementary Maintenance Workshops
In the New Year there will be a series of workshops hosted by BCGA Director and Sponsor Rick Church of Langley Aero Structures which will teach members how to perform basic maintenance on their aircraft in accordance with the tasks that Transport Canada allows pilots to complete on their aircraft without the signature of an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. These workshops will give pilots a better understanding of their aircraft, enable them to perform basic maintenance tasks and give members a better understanding of what scheduled maintenance is required to keep their aircraft legal and airworthy.
BCGA Survival Shakedown
We are planning to continue our program by offering a Survival Shakedown in the Spring and the Fall. This program has been popular with members and we look forward to getting more pilots trained on how to use their survival kits. New for 2018 we are looking at introducing an advanced module to this course where members that have already taken the shakedown and excelled may be invited to partake in the exercise with the element of isolation and a significantly reduced kit introduced, similar to the exercise that volunteer search and rescue members must complete as part of their training.
Members Only Content
Please take some time to browse the BCGA website and have a look as some of the great content in the Members menu. These resources have been created to enhance your general aviation experience and to allow you to connect with other members and access some of the great benefits that membership provides.
BCGA Communication Strategy
We would like to remind everyone that the BCGA exists both on Facebook and on the website www.bcaviation.ca . Being a "member" of the Facebook Group does not make you a member of the BCGA. In order to become a member and receive the benefits of the BCGA you'll need to sign up on the website. As an organization we try not to send out too many emails as they quickly become a nuisance. All relevant information is posted on the BCGA website and some content is linked to the Facebook group. We only send out email for occasional updates such as this one in addition to times when prompt member action is required such as signing up for events where space is limited. The BCGA website is updated daily and we encourage you to check back regularly to see what's new.
These are just a few things that are on the horizon and we look forward to announcing new initiatives and activities organized by both the leadership team and the members. Remember that this is your association and while we continue to evolve we must stay true to our core values as a community of promoting safe and enjoyable flying throughout British Columbia.
On behalf of the leadership team,