Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Members of the South Shore Flying Club (SSFC) were flying high recently as the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) recognized the club with an award.
Outgoing COPA Maritime Director Brian Pound presented the club with an Appreciation Award in honour of its efforts in keeping the South Shore Regional Airport in Greenfield open to the flying community.
Members of the SSFC executive were on hand at a small gathering at the airport on August 22 and received the award.
"This came as a complete surprise. We were taken back by it," said David Oickle, the secretary/treasurer of the SSFC. "It was a very nice thing for them to acknowledge that we are working hard to make things better and to keep the airport open and viable."
Inscribed on the award is "With sincere appreciation for all your support to encourage all aspects of aviation in Canada."
The SSFC manages the airport whose call sign is CYAU, while it is owned by the Region of Queens Municipality.
The club consists of 35 members, many of whom are not pilots or don't own an aircraft. "They're just people who are interested in seeing the airport survive," according to Oickle.
The club hosts numerous fundraising events throughout the year, including fly-in breakfasts. Most were unable to be held this year, although the club did manage to continue with its Adopt-A-Highway clean-up program.
"We are struggling by as best we can," said Oickle.
Plans to clear brush away from the runway were postponed, but Oickle said these may proceed now that health protocols have been eased somewhat.
Oickle expressed pride in the airport and the service it's able to provide.
"Last year there was a man flying out of the Valley. He was flying over Liverpool with his father who felt ill and that feeling got progressively worse. They looked for the nearest airport and that turned out to be Greenfield," recalled Oickle.
"They landed safely, called an ambulance and got him to the hospital. He is doing well now. Had the airport not been where it is, who knows what the outcome might have been. It just shows the importance of having an airfield in an area like this. We just think it's an important piece of infrastructure that needs to be preserved and that is our goal," he said.
The airport is also home of the Greenway Dragway, a member of the Nova Scotia Drag Racing Association which hosts events four-or-five times per year.