Traffic up at Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport

The Gore Bay Flying Club (GBFC) has purchased an airplane, which arrived at the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport on Friday of last week. In photo, left to right, is Tim St. Amand, chairman of the flying club, receiving the keys for C-FXRH from previous owner Mike Geoffroy of Timmins, and Wade Cook, an instructor with GBFC.

Gore Bay Flying Club cited as major reason for increase

MINDEMOYA—With the expanded activities created by the establishment of the Gore Bay Flying Club (GBFC), there has been a substantial increase in traffic and use of the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport this summer.

Andre Probst, a representative of the GBFC made a short presentation to members of the Central Manitoulin Finance and Economic Development Committee at a recent meeting. “My first item to discuss with you here tonight is on behalf of the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport and the Gore Bay Flying Club,” noted airport Manager Robby Colwell. He noted that air traffic-use of the airport has increased 67 percent in July/August compared to last year (in the same time period).”

“This is in large way due to the flying club being formed in the spring,” said Mr. Probst. “On behalf of the club we would like to thank the municipality for your participation and support of the airport in the past and hopefully to continue in the future.”

“The municipality does have the airport as a line item for support in our budget for next year. The amount we provide is not huge, but we do what we can to support the airport,” said Central Manitoulin Councillor Alex Baran. “It is almost budget planning time for us, so this is good timing,” he said. 

“We’ve had a good year,” Mr. Colwell told the Recorder. “I don’t have all the statistics for the whole year set right  now, but in July and August air traffic at the airport has gone up 67 percent from the same two month period in 2016.”

“I certainly attribute a great portion of this to the Gore Bay Flying Club,” stated Mr. Colwell. “It is very good news and we all need to keep the momentum going.”

Wade Cook, of the GBFC, ran a private ground school in Gore Bay last winter and first brought about the idea of having a flying club with the students. Since then, the club has been formed with well over 50 members, and the club members purchased a  plane and a private flying school is now in place.

“For sure there has definitely been an increase in traffic at the airport,” said Mr. Cook. He pointed out, “we will again be hosting a pilot ground school this January, and are considering holding the classes on Mondays again, for 15 consecutive weeks. Anyone who wants to repeat the course or new people who are interested can contact us,” said Mr. Cook.

“It’s been busy, there have not been too many nice days this summer I’ve not been in the air with a student (pilot),” said Mr.  Cook. “A couple of students are now to the position of going for flight test (as pilots), while some of the students have just started.”

Mr. Cook said the club is looking at the possibility, “of trying to get together a scholarship for a young person in Grade 11-12, offering a student a scholarship towards their pilot’s licence.” However he stressed, “this is in its infancy right now, and we have to access funding support so we would be looking at next year at least.”

“It’s great to see the traffic numbers at the airport having gone up, along with fuel sales. The more the airport is utilized the better it is,” added Mr. Cook.