Pilot Gord Fraser stands beside the Flight Museum’s Sopwith Pup, a plane that will showcased at their Big Chill. (Tania Ryan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Flight museum welcomes families for the big chill

Ice cream treats and airplane start-ups part of weekend aimed at inspiring new pilots

The Big Chill is no longer just a celebrated eighties movie starring Kevin Kline and Glenn Close, it’s a chance for kids and airplane enthusiasts to gain aviation knowledge straight from the mouth of pilots – and nab an ice-cream treat in the process.

While Canadian Museum of Flight’s promotion coordinator Carla Deminchuk said the event’s title was inspired by that Hollywood film, the motivation to host the day stems from a real piloting problem beginning to plague the airline industry.

“The world will be short 790,000 pilots in the next 20 years. That’s predicted by Boeing, because of the plethora of people retiring,” Deminchuk said.

The Big Chill begins at 1 p.m. where a pre-flight walk-around demo with the museum’s Fleet Canuck will take place with pilot Bill Findlay who will discuss the importance of safety. He’ll request the help of a specially chosen student from the audience to get the plane prepped for take-off.

An “Ask the Pilot” panel with have Findlay, Vic Bentley, Al French, and Gord Fraser sharing stories and offering up tips on how to become a professional pilot.

Attendees will then be treated to free ice-cream treats, which are included with admission. Deminchuck also hinted at the arrival of a chocolate airplane sundae.

From 3 – 3:45 p.m. the museum’s Sopwith Pup and newly restored Waco Cabin planes will soar overhead in a full flight demonstration to wrap up the day.

“Our first and only Big Chill event was in 2017,” Deminchuck said. “We’d like to make it annual. Careers and education expos will hopefully be expanded in the future too.”

Read more: “Big Red” flies for fathers this Sunday

The aim is to let potential pilots know the museum is there and can help answer any questions people may have – even get some started on their journey towards the sky.

“It’s not just pilots, the industry will also be short mechanics and operators and aircraft technicians too,” Deminchuck added. “That’s why there’ll be an aircraft tech at the Q&A as well. There are so many different careers to get into.”

The Big Chill runs 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 13 at the Canadian Museum of Flight. Admission is by donation and all existing planes and exhibits will be open to guests.

“There is a discounted membership when join,” Deminchuck explained. “And there is a whole field of expertise here. We are committed to education.”

People can visit www.canadianflight.org for more information.

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