Gathering of the Classics: An Adventure at Edenvale Aerodrome

August 6, 2011

Brianna at the controls of C-FPMC. I think she needs a smaller headset!

Brianna at the controls of C-FPMC. I think she needs a smaller headset!

Today I flew to the “Gathering of the Classics” vintage automobile and aircraft exhibition put on by the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation at the Edenvale Aerodrome, just south of Wasaga Beach in Ontario. My plan was for my passenger and I to meet at Waterloo Region International Airport at 9:00, be off the ground by 9:30, arrive at Edenvale by 10:10, depart at 12:40, and be back in Waterloo by around 13:20. I had the plane booked until 13:30.

The weather forecast for this morning had been all over the map the last few days, but it finally settled down to “crappy all day except between 8:00 and 14:00.”  Perfect! We both arrived at the airport by 8:45 in hopes of getting out early and hit our first snag: the Diamond Katana had inoperative fuel pump, generator, and canopy latch indicator lights. The problem went away half way through maintenance trying to diagnose it, and since these lights are not part of the Minimum Equipment List, we were good to go and got off the ground by 9:50.

The Cricket is one small airplane. It looks about the right size for the little tyke on the left.

The Cricket is one small airplane. It looks about the right size for the little tyke on the left.

The flight there was uneventful, and we followed the recommended arrival procedures (for funneling a large number of aircraft into an uncontrolled airport safely and efficiently) to the letter. We parked the plane, got out, and were greeted by my parents, my sister Shawna, my niece Brianna, and Jurgen, my best friend since childhood.

There were a lot of aircraft to look at, and an hour and half (to leave time for the walk-around for the return flight) wasn’t long enough to see them all, but there were a few that I took a really good look at. To me, the most interesting was a Zenair Cricket, an unbelievably small single-seat twin-engine aircraft. The wingspan is only 16′, maximum take-off weight is 420lb, and power is provided by two 15hp single-cylinder engines with 18″ or so propellers.

Closeup of the Cricket's cockpit. Would you fly it?

Closeup of the Cricket's cockpit. Would you fly it?

At about 12:15 I started pre-flighting our plane, and everything looked good. We climbed in, and began the start-up procedure. Guess what. Those indicator lights weren’t working again! Everything else looked good, and those lights aren’t critical, so we finished our checks and taxied to the hold-short point. There’s always one last set of checks before entering the runway, and wouldn’t you know it, the oil pressure gauge was reading zero. The engine was still running and all the temperatures were normal, but one does not (nor is one allowed to) fly with an inoperative oil pressure gauge. Fortunately we could taxi back instead of having to be towed. So down the runway we went, exiting at taxiway D, to be marshaled back into the same parking spot we had before.

Aviation mechanic Grant repairs the oil pressure system as rescue pilot Carli looks on.

Aviation mechanic Grant repairs the oil pressure system as rescue pilot Carli looks on.

Once parked and shut down, out came the cell phone. First call was to the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, the FBO I rent the plane from. They suggested a few things to try and then call them back. Nothing resolved the problem, so they decided to fly a mechanic out. It took a couple of hours to figure out what parts to bring, prepare a flight plan, and fly out. Once there, Grant (the mechanic) attached a diagnostic oil pressure gauge to confirm that there actually was oil pressure, and then quickly determined that the problem was the oil pressure sensor. He replaced the sensor and the on-board gauge then worked correctly. Coincidentally, the troublesome indicator lights started working again too.

I sometimes gripe about the annoyances of having to rent a plane, such as lack of availability, minimum hour-per-day charges for long term rentals, and endless paperwork. But today I discovered one of the advantages. Calling out a pilot, a mechanic, and a Cessna 172N to carry them would easily have cost me at least $500 if it had been my own plane. This didn’t cost me anything but time, and I was happy to be able to spend more time with family, friends, and a collection of classic aircraft. Thanks Grant and Carli!

B-25 Mitchell taxiing out. This was not your typical spectators-behind-the-fence event.

B-25 Mitchell taxiing out. This was not your typical spectators-behind-the-fence event.

Fortunately, the weather held up much longer than forecast, and the flight back went smoothly. There were some thunderstorm cells about twenty miles south of Waterloo airport when we arrived, so the winds were a little gusty and variable, but the landing went well, and everything in the plane worked the whole way home.

At the end of the day, everything worked out great, for my passenger and me anyway. While my family was waiting to make sure we got away safely, someone backed his vintage Rolls-Royce into my Dad’s new car, taking out the bumper and a headlight and putting a scratch on the hood.

A big thanks to the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation, the Edenvale Aerodrome, and the many volunteers who put on a great day!

Related Articles

If you've found this article useful, you may also be interested in:

Leave a Comment

Want to see your picture next to your comments on this site and others? Visit gravatar.com to register your own globally recognized avatar.

Buy Stefan a coffee! If you've found this article
useful, consider leaving a donation to help support
stefanv.com

Disclaimer: Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information on this web page is presented without warranty of any kind, and Stefan Vorkoetter assumes no liability for direct or consequential damages caused by its use. It is up to you, the reader, to determine the suitability of, and assume responsibility for, the use of this information. Links to Amazon.com merchandise are provided in association with Amazon.com. Links to eBay searches are provided in association with the eBay partner network.

Copyright: All materials on this web site, including the text, images, and mark-up, are Copyright © 2017 by Stefan Vorkoetter unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. You may link to this site or pages within it, but you may not link directly to images on this site, and you may not copy any material from this site to another web site or other publication without express written permission. You may make copies for your own personal use.