Training Milestones
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6 January, 2017 - First Solo
Sonia Hildesheim


19 February, 2017 - First solo
Gus Stringel

Gus started flying at the Club in September 2016. After one flight with Dave he saw the light and switched to Brian. Things were going swimmingly until Brian abandoned him in February for the warmer climes of Vietnam. He then, on 19th of February, dazzled Dave with his circuits in challenging crosswind conditions. He even showed Dave how Brian had taught him to do a masterful overshoot!

Gus and his family reside in Merrickville, where he practices veterinary medicine.

Dave O'Blenis


I would like to thank SFFC member John Dickson and Mike Venables from Merrickville for getting me hooked, with a sightseeing tour that was donated to the Holy Trinity Anglican church annual beef dinner and auction in Merrickville. My wife, Andrea, says it's not really thanks but blame that they deserve.

That flight took place from CYSH last August with John, Mike, Andrea and myself on a tour over Ottawa, down to the St. Lawrence and back up from Brockville. I have been hooked since and have really enjoyed learning with Brian Douglas and Dave O'Blenis.

I am super impressed with SFFC and the airport and proud to be a member. If I had known how great it is to fly I would have started a long time ago. Thanks and let me know if there's anything else I can do.

Gus

19 December 2016 - First solo
Chris McKenney


9 December 2016 - First solo
Don Edey

"Hi Dave,
That was fantastic. Such a great experience, but it seemed to happen so fast! I had just dropped you off when I was back at the hanger again. The one thing that really stuck out was that I noticed that there is scenery and other things to look at out of the right side of the airplane. I had never seen that stuff before!!

I'm glad that you said that the landing looked good. I think that it was my weakest one of the day. I guess we don't tell anybody else that!"
Don

11 October 2016 - First solo
Jacob Turaj

"After having to reschedule my initial flight test with Glenn French due to poor weather I gave myself the best birthday gift one could wish for, a shiny new Private Pilot License.

Now I'm flying regularly to build my PIC time with no shortage of PAXs eager to experience the thrill of flight in a small airplane. Looking to start my night rating in the New Year with Brian Douglas who has helped me get this far."
Jacob

27 November 2016 - First solo
Paul Nitschman

"On Sunday, 27 Nov Paul took KLA around the block alone, and unafraid ! He noted that the airplane performed much better with the right seat empty, and he was better able to enjoy the freedom of flight with a quiet intercom !!"
Dave O'Blenis

29 August 2016 - First solo
Paul Weiher

23 June 2016 - First solo
Jake Howard

Jake Howard proudly completed his first solo at Smiths Falls. His takeoff, circuit and landing were as perfect as the setting sun on the evening of 23 June according to his instructor, Brian Douglas.

Congratulations to Jake as he continues to pursue his dream of obtaining his PPL at the Club.

23 May 2016 - First solo
Alen Granum

6 May 2016 - First solo
Jacob Turaj

It felt like being a kid again on Christmas morning :)

Like many young boys I have always dreamed of flying. I began my "flying" career after building a model R/C plane over one winter with the help of my late father. After patiently waiting for the snow to melt it took its maiden flight at Stetson Flyers Club, circa 1991. Fast forward 25 years and that dream of flying was once again ignited and this time a possibility, thanks to my supportive wife and three children.

After putting a dozen or so hours behind a yoke at the Waterloo Wellington Flying Centre we relocated to Ottawa where I quickly started looking for a flight school to continue my PPL training.
After visiting some of the Ottawa schools I met with Dave O'Blenis and immediately I knew SFFC is what I was looking for. That day I paid my membership dues and started to fly shortly after.

Initially I had the pleasure to fly with Dave who's vast knowledge and experience made me a more confident student pilot in the new unfamiliar air space. Shortly after I transitioned to flying with Brian Douglas who's patience and guidance reassured me that I am on the right track since I can be quite hard on myself. Thanks to Brian, on a calm evening of May 6th I completed my first solo in C-GKLA. With a clean and smooth takeoff the plane quickly climbed to circuit altitude with a huge grin on my face. I made a left turn into the sunset (downwind) and after making my checks and radio call I took a minute to enjoy the view for the first time. Then comes base and final where I forgot to factor in the lack of Brian's presence in the airplane, so more flaps, a bit of side slip and then touch down 0.2 on the hobbs meter but what a thrill and excitement for my first solo! Thanks Brian!

Looking forward to continuing my PPL at SFFC with Brian and Dave. My kids are excited to go flying one day soon with their "old man".

27 April 2016 - First solo
Nick Evans


23 February 2016 - First solo
Ali Cisse

Ali took LIN for a very personal tour of the runway 06 circuit on 23 Feb 2016. On return he mentioned that there was a "lot less pressure" when the right seat was empty !!

Ali started flying at the SFFC Dec 2014, and then had a period away from flying until mid Nov 2015 when he began to fly regularly, and progressed quickly to his first solo.

2 February 2016 - Private Pilots Licence
Roger Hildesheim

Roger Hildesheim arrived at our Club in June 2015 with a bunch of air experience and it certainly showed in his training progress. He stared flying gliders in 1981 and has been a gliding instructor since 1983. He has over 2200 flights and 1500 hrs. in gliders. He holds an FAI gold badge with 2 diamonds and has flown over 23,000 ft in his glider over the Adirondack mountains near Lake Placid. In the spring of 2015 he flew as a member of the Canadian gliding team representing Canada at the Pan American Gliding Championships.

On Feb. 02, 2016, Roger successfully completed his PPL flight test in KLA at CYSH. After a thorough pre-flight briefing session in the morning and an afternoon flight over the wild Ontario hinterland between Clayton and Arnprior, he successfully navigated KLA (with his examiner) back to CYSH. Mission success.

"I am still grinning from that day and will never forget the experience. Many hours of studying and practicing (on the ground and in the aircraft) all came together. Special thanks to my instructor, Peter Campbell, for keeping me consistently challenged, stretched and prepared throughout my training. We are lucky to have such dedicated instructors at SFFC."

Roger's aviation related plans are to take his 1946 Aeronca Champ to visit as many grass strips as possible and continue to learn and refine his recently acquired powered flight skills.

7 January 2016 - Private Pilots Licence
Derek Butler

Derek Butler dazzled his Flight Test Examiner , Glenn French, on January 7th with his loops, rolls and other wifferdills during his PPL Flight Test, and is now the proud owner of a shinny new Private Pilot's License !

Derek Began training on 23 Nov 2014 with Dave, but quickly decided that he preferred an instructor who was less than twice his age ( and had a name he could remember), he teamed up with Mike, and the two immediately became know as "the Butler Boys"!

The bond between them grew so strong that when MIke jilted Derek in May 2015 and ran off to the NWT to save the boreal forests in his C-206 and C-210 aircraft Derek waited patiently for his return at the end of August. All is well that ends well !

Congratulations Derek ! Well done !

26 October 2015 - First solo
Vitalie Rosca

Enthusiasm and Dedication Personified !! Quickly on his way to PPL.




23 July 2015 - IFR
?? Date - VFR Over the Top and Night Rating
2 Sep 2011 - Private Pilot Licence
13 Mar 2011 - First solo


John Dickson

The top photo shows John Dickson refueling his Cessna 182 upon his return from Cornwall with his Brand New IFR Rating. John has done all his training at Smiths Falls, Solo, PPL and now IFR!

John has been a member of the SFFC since January 2011. He obtained his PPL in September of that year and over the next two years completed his VFR Over the Top and night ratings. He says his being able to carry out some of the training on the SFFC's new and improved flight simulator (which includes a Garmin 430 WAAS GPS) was very helpful.

John believes that improving his flying skills will make him a better and safer pilot.

"Of course, my personal minimums are well above legal minimums!"

John gives a lot of the credit for achieving these milestones to his instructor, Dave O'Blenis.

"None of this would have happened without the encouragement and instruction of Dave O'Blenis. Dave has a vast amount of flight knowledge and experience, plus an inexhaustible supply of patience. Dave always finds something positive, even in training sessions that have ended in frustration. Thanks, Dave!"

8 July 2015 - First solo
Roger Hildesheim

Roger has been an active glider pilot/instructor for 34 years with over 2500 successful forced approaches/landings in his logbook. He joined SFFC in May 2015 to finally learn about flying from the other end of the tow rope!

"I always wanted to earn my PPL at a rural airport in a friendly and supportive club environment. SFFC is an amazing club and typifies the spirit of grassroots aviation that Richard Bach describes in his books. I'm looking forward to continuing my training with Peter Campbell to further broaden my flying knowledge".

Roger is a senior engineer with a major aerospace company in Ottawa.

4 July 2015 - Recreational Pilot Licence
24 April 2015 - First solo
Matt Rowsell

Matt is a flight student with instructor Mark Roney. He completed his first solo on April 24th and is learning to fly with the goal of become a military pilot.

Matt competed his training for the recreational licence quite quickly and looks forward to staying involved at the Flying Club and working towards a PPL in the next several months.

22 Jan 2015 - First solo
Kirby Gogolin

Kirby Gogolin completed his first solo today, 22 Jan 2015, in C-GLIN with his wife observing from upstairs in the clubhouse. She occasionally drops Kirby off at the CYSH "daycare" and it was fortunate that she returned to pick her boy up in time to witness the momentous event.

Kirby is deeply curious and excited about flying and recently became the proud owner of an ultralight that he will fly while continuing to pursue his PPL.

Instructor Greg Farish

14 Jan 2015 - Second solo
Derek Butler

Derek completed his second solo with instructor Mike Butler (no relation).

He started flying ages ago and recently started again with Mike at CYSH. It took Derek about 10 hours of refresher to recover his skills for the solo.

Derek works as an engineer in Kanata and operates his own business.

30 Dec 2014 - First solo

George Kolbe
George is a physician who lives in Brockville.
"I was a bit surprised when I arrived at the Russ Beach airport this morning to find a text on my phone from my instructor, Mark Roney. He had texted me as I was driving through from Brockville, but like a good boy, I did not read the message until I arrived at the airport. Mark had suggested that we do some circuits (dual training as usual), then write the P-Star & if all goes well, send me off into the skies alone! Not much time for an instant heart attack, but I managed to squeeze one in anyway. The plan changed, write the P-Star, then circuits then solo! Well the first circuit was so exciting I had to go around & do another one, but managed to land in one piece eventually.

I am very grateful for the excellent training I have received from Mark & the encouragement & guidance from Dave. I look forward to continuing along the flying learning curve.

Regards,
George Kolbe"

20 Dec 2014 - Second solo

Frans Planken

Frans completed his first solo in Holland in 2004. There followed a hiatus in his training and then he began training again at CYSH with Mike Butler in 2014.

Congratulations on your second solo, Frans - and now on the way to a PPL !!

1 Oct 2014 - First solo

Amjed Ibrahim

Amjed returned to the air this past summer after more than a decade's sabatical from flying . He began flying training in Alberta while working there but "life got in the way" and delayed his first solo. This past summer he worked in the Westport area managing the installation of two large solar farms and took the opportunity to return to flying at our Club.

The "mile-wide" smile conveys his enthusiasm after "the most exciting and rewarding day of my life !"

24 May 2014 - Private Pilots Licence

Derek Reid

Derek is an Air Force officer from Nova Scotia, who has been on Course in Ottawa for the past while. He began his flight training at the Greenwood Flight Academy and completed his PPL very quickly at SFFC.

Upon returning to Halifax soon after his flight test he expects a posting to Edmonton where we hope he can teach the army the strength and flexibility of Air Power !

Good luck Derek ! Come back and fly with us when you have the opportunity.

24 May 2014 - Private Pilots Licence

Dimitrios Pavlou

Hello Dave and Greg,

Finally my childhood dream came true today !! (..and it's Not "middle-age crisis!!).

I started 4 years ago in Ottawa flying club and transitioned to SFFC two years ago trying on and off to complete my licence ...

Thank you for your direction and support and especially Greg for his patience! Also I really appreciate the friendly atmosphere of the Club. That's the way general aviation should be!!

Thank you again!
Dimitrios

9 April 2014 - Private Pilots Licence

Mike Stockton

There was virtually no chance that Mike would fail his PPL ride with Glenn French in Cornwall, but he was still nervous.

To fail a flight test after spending a whole career flying was unthinkable, but anything can happen on a flight test and so he still thought about that awful scenario. Congratultions, Mike! No worries now.

Mike has thousands of hours with his career flying helicopters. Last year he bought a nice Piper Cherokee and started fixed wing lessons at Smiths Falls.

So now that the training is over Mike you can spend even more time as Airport Manager and Flying Club Board of Directors member, right?

8 Mar 2014 - First Solo

James Teeple

Jim Teeple joined SFFC in early Winter 2013/2014 seeking a convenient and cost effective training solution to his goal of a PPL. James is a very serious and thoughtful pilot who has excelled in his training progress despite many interuptions in his training schedule.

On the day of his Solo flight Jim was making very good progress toward the objective but he had to be coaxed by his instructor, Peter Campbell, that this would be the day for him to prove to himself with a solo flight. Peter knew that Jim was indeed ready to take the aircraft once around the pattern by himself with no other visible means of support and sent him on his way.

When Jim got back to the Club with the an ear-to-ear grin. He thanked Peter and sheepishly admitted that he shouldn't have been so afraid.

It was AWESOME !!

21 Mar 2014 - First Solo

Aiden Kearns

Aiden started flying with SFFC three years ago. After a two year break he resumed training in 2013. On Friday 21 March 2014, after a short check-ride with his instructor, Mike Butler, he flew his first solo at the ripe old age of "nearly 17".

His comment on landing was understated, "It felt good." . . . but the wide smile spoke louder than his words !!

In the picture he is the one with more hair and fewer whiskers !!

18 Mar 2014 - IFR Flight Rating

Cole Pavey

Me (on the left with the goofy scarf, WWI goggles and hat) with my instructor Dave O'Blenis, who spent many hours in the Mooney teaching me how to do this stuff.

I'm a happy "boy" and very, very greatful for the absolutely marvelous training that I have received.

24 Oct 2013 - First Solo

Eric Guevremont

Eric recently moved from Arnprior to Kemptville. He began his training in Arnprior and joined our Club recently. He has progresed very quickly showing with an exceptional dedication and appitude for flying. These attributes will serve him well in his quest to become an RCAF pilot.

His other interests include hockey and has played at the Junior A level.

Congratulations, Eric.

16 Aug 2013 - Private Pilot Flight Test

Dave Shaw

Dave Shaw, in KLA, flew to Cornwall where Dave dazzled his Flight Test Examiner, the legendary Glenn French, with his command of the aircraft, as well as his the Savoir Faire he and Glenn share as fellow "Montreallers".

Congratulations Dave ! Life and the recent weather delayed this momentous event for a while, but Dave hung in there and is now ready to display his skills to the world... as soon as he completes the Transport Canada written exam !!

Nice work ! Dave.

22 Jul 2013 - Private Pilot Flight Test

Abed Zeibdawi

Abed started his training for the PPL with his instructor Mike Butler in September 2012. Three months later, on December 16, he did his solo flight.

On July 22nd, 2013 he did his flight test in Cornwall with Glenn French and passed with flying colours. "It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I have always wanted to be a Pilot ever since I was a little kid, but things didn't go as planned but I never gave up my dream and now I'm almost there".

Abed's next step is to do his written exam in the next few weeks. Abed is enjoying the freedom and beauty of flying and plans to continue training, starting with a night rating and who knows maybe a Commercial Pilot's Licence one day.

25 Jun 2013 - Private Pilot's Licence

Matt Philp

Matt attained his private licence on 25 June by aceing his flight test in Cornwall. In less than ideal weather he made his way to Cornwall, flew the test, passed his language proficiency test and flew home to CYSH.

Matt was close to his flight test last November but the call of some Snow Bunnies at Whistler-Blackcombe interrupted his training for a few months, but strangely, he did not seem upset ! And upon return to home quickly got back in the groove.

Matt is a very enthusiastic pilot who has now achieved the magic of PIC with family and friends aboard!

Thanks to the great work of his instructor, Mike Butler, he is now looking forward to continuing his learning with his PPL in his flight bag.

5 Jun 2013 - Private Pilot's Licence

Mark Shannon

Mark had his first Solo in early February and has now completed his training with Mike Butler. He passed his flight test with Glenn French in Cornwall. Mark can now add this PPL to his glider pilot's license.

4 May 2013 - First Solo

Riley Sweeney

Riley is 17 yrs old and started flying with his instructor Mike Butler on Dec. 15, 2012.

Mike says that Riley is a very bright and keen young flyer with an eye on a flying career in the military. He lives in Almonte, Ontario

18 Mar 2013 - Private Pilot's Licence

Mark Egan

Mark completed his first solo on June 15th, 2012. Mark has been training with us for a couple of years. He loves flying but his busy plumbing business has sometimes interrupted flight training. Now he is looking forward to getting his float rating so he can take command of the floatplne he has purchased in partnersip with another of our recent graduates.

Congratultions Mark. Well done.

13 Feb 2013 - Successful flight test and PPL

Allan McElroy

Making his grandfather Ralph McElroy, pioneer member of the SFFC, proud. Congratulations, Allan!

First Solo

Mark Shannon

Mark has been working with Mike Butler on his PPL and is now close to finishing. He holds a glider pilot's license and is involved in the Cadets as well.

15 Jan 2012 - Private Pilot Flight Test

Sandy Duff

Sandy has passed his PPL flight test exactly one month after his first solo. He will now concentrate of preparation for the written exam.

15 Dec 2012 - First Solo

Abed Zeibdawi

Started flying in September of this year. According to his instructor, Mike Butler, he is a good student, very keen and a quick learner. Abed works for the federal government and likes to fly Radio Controlled aircraft. As expensive as that may be, Abed, you will find real flying a bit more costly! But then you probably already know that!

25 Oct 2012 - Private Pilot Flight Test

Brett Newton

Brett passed his PPL fight test. A very happy day ! (Written to be done asap).

Brett has been working on this for two years, he has been dragged away. Several times to start new construction businesses or purchase existing ones.

The Club has been the beneficiary of some of his heavy equipment to do drainage work as well as work on our blower and plow.

He is looking to buy an aircraft and continue his flying and add endorsements to his PPL.

2 July 2012 - First Solo

Jason Mckenny

Jason comes from a flying family. He began flying with his Dad at the age of two, but needed help with the rudder pedals !

He started flying training at our Club in May of this year.

He plans a career in aviation as a commercial pilot.

Jason described the feeling of flying solo for the first time as "No words can describe how awesome the it feels !".

The magic of flight !!

27 July 2012 - First Solo

Sandy Duff

Sandy has alwys wanted to fly and had plans to become an Airline Pilot but other things got in the way. He is very busy with his work and also operates a farm in Lombardy with his wife Krista.

It was Krista that bought him a gift certificate for his first flight for Christmas 2010.

Because of work and family committments he took a couple of long breaks from flying. He resumed flying on 23 July and soloed on 27 July after only 2.3 hrs dual. Quite an accomplishment.

2 July 2012 - First Solo

Matt Philp

Matt is a "local boy" from Jasper, Ontario. He started training at Smiths Falls Flying Club about 8 months ago but as a result of a few long layoffs his training was interrupted. According to his instrutor Mike Butler, Matt is a really enthusiastic and keen student. Congratulations on the solo and good luck with the next milestone - a completed PPL!

June 2012 - First Solo

Matt Coady

Matt started flying with Mike Butler in late Feb 2012, and has soloed in just over 10 hours.

Clever student . . . . good instructor!

24 May 2012 - Private Pilot Licence

Tom Dodge

Tom can now start flying his newly purchased C 177, now housed in the Beach Hangar at CYSH. His comment on successfully competing his flight test was ...."This is the best day I can remember !!"

2 May 2012 - First Solo

Dave Shaw

Dave started flight training on Dec 20th 2011. He has now fulfilled a long wait to experience the magic of solo flight. Dave is enjoying the experience and looking forward to the PPL.


20 Dec 2011 - Two Milestones
Gary Langille
On 20 Dec 2011 Gary Langille passed his Recreational Pilot Permit (RPP) Flight Test with flying colours in C-GLIN. The ride was done at Cornwall with examiner Glen French. This is the first Rec Pilot Permit earned by an SFFC member.

Gary's training was interupted several times by other activities, but he perservered and was delighted to finally get the RPP. As he put it, "the best Christmas present ever" five days early. He will now be flying his ultralight around Clayton using skis in the winter and floats in the summer, Congrats Gary !! Well done.

Greg Farish
On the same day Gary's instructor, Greg Farish, upgraded his instructor rating to Class 3. Well done Greg !!

19 Dec 2011 - First Solo

Tom Dodge

Tom came to CYSH from another school in November. He had not flown a Cessna 172 previously. Tom soloed shortly after on 19 Dec in LIN. He is working toward his PPL in order to fly his newly purchased C 177 now housed in the Beach Hangar at CYSH.

6 Oct 2011 - First Solo

Mike Bouchard

Mike has always wanted to fly. He did sail boating for years and then finally made the jump to flight school at Smiths Falls.

He is a manager at Hilltop Manor regional retirement home in Merrickville and lives in Smiths Falls. Mike loves to fly anywhere any time in almost any conditions and is well on his way to realizing his dream.

5 Oct 2011 - Private Pilot Licence


Nate Ormsby

Nate aced the flight test in Cornwall with examiner Glen French. In Nate's demonstration of a steep turn Glen said the alitude indicator was so stable it looked like it was broken!

Nate lives in Perth, Ontario and started his flight training last January. In anticipation of getting his flying licence he purchased a Piper Cherokee in July.

2 Sept 2011 - Private Pilot Licence
John Dickson

Under a blue sky John Dickson successfully completed his PPL Flight Test on Sept 9th 2011.
John began flight training in 1971. ( He was born very young !). He took a short break until 1975, then a long break until he started training in January 2011 at the SFFC. The licence he had been seeking for 40 years arrived eight months later ! Quite an accomplishment for a very busy lawyer who lives and works from his home in Kemptville !

Along the career route he served with the RCMP, prior to setting up his private law practice.

John made a sage comment upon return from the very successful flight test (he "aced" the test). "Now I have a licence to lean".

The SFFC welcomes a new PILOT !

2 Sept 2011 - First Solo




Frank Dehne
Frank started flying training at CYSH earlier in 2011.

Frank was formerly Head of the Computing Science program at Carleton University, and now focuses on advanced research in modelling to be used in industrial applications like complex welding applications.

Frank's solo is a double accomplishment in that it is SFFC instructor Mike Butler's first student solo. Congratulations to both of you.

5 Aug 2011 - class 4 Instructor Rating
Dave Kelk

Rockcliffe C.F.I. / P.E. Simon Garrett kindly came to CYSH to conduct the flight test, which went very well, according to Simon.

Congratulations to Dave Kelk on a job well done!

Dave took instruction from Andrew boyd at SFFC and plans to make a career in aviation.

24 July 2011 - First Solo
Alan McElroy

Allan is happy to be rid of the extra weight in the right seat, to say nothing of the distraction coming from his flight instructor, David OBlenis !

Previous training experience at Carp and Arnprior spread out over more than three years, capped by a more concentrated recent series of lessons at the SFFC led to his first solo on 24 July.

Allan is the grandson of Ralph McElroy, pioneer member of the SFFC and current IFR rated Cherokee owner.

17 June 2011 - Private Pilot's License
Griff Jones

15 June 2011 - First Solo
Mark Egan

20 May 2011 - Instructor Rating
Mike Butler

Mike has reached another aviation milestone. He got his Private Pilot's License 23 May 2009, his Commercial License 19 Nov 2010 and now his Instructor's Rating - all with Smiths Falls Flying Club. Mike took his first student up for an intial lesson a few days after getting his rating.

He and his wife Liz are also celebrating the birth of their daughter Isla, a new addtion to the Butler family.

Double congratulations, Mike!

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8 May 2011 - Private Pilot's License
Erick Boyd

Eric has been flying his father Andrew's Pitts for years as a student pilot. His first passenger after completing the PPL was an astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency

19 May 2011 - Successful Flight Test
Benjamin Strehler

Benjamin has competed the practical part of the two stage process to a Private Pilot's License. Next step is the written test.

Happy studying, Ben!

15 Apr 2011 - Private Pilot's License
Lionel Winch

Lionel has had to balance his full time professional firefighter's job, his electrical contracting business, his general contracting business and his active young family responsibilities as well as his responsibilities as a Director of our Flying Club.

CONGRATULATIONS LIONEL !!

30 Mar 2011 - First Solo
Nate Ormsby

Nate started training at the Smiths Falls Flying Club in January 2011 and completed his first solo flight on the 30th of March. There wasn’t much of a wind and no traffic in the circuit so this made his instructor Kyle’s decision to send him up all that much easier!

Nate started flying because he has always watched his dad fly for years and thinks its a great way to travel. Nate plans on buying his own airplane in the near future.

13 Mar 2011 - First Solo
John Dickson

John has been interested in flying most of his life – he even won a public speaking competition as a teen ager using aviation as the topic – and began flying more than 35 years ago in Welland, Ontario. John got as far as his first solo, but stopped flying shortly after when he joined the RCMP. Over the years he got married and had a family, but flying was something he always knew he wanted to get back to. While driving home to Kemptville with his wife after visiting one of their sons, who lives about 8 hours by car from their home, John made a comment that flying would save them time and allow them to visit more often. His wife suggested he start lessons again, which he did in January 2011. John completed his first solo in 35 years on March 13, 2011.

10 Feb 2011 - IFR Rating - Ralph McElroy age 81

(Above) Ralph McElroy and his IFR instructor, Dave O'Blenis, share a celebratory drink after Ralph's successful trip.
(Right) Ralph's examiner, Glenn French, in Cornwall after Ralph's IFR flight test.

Glenn said that he has never had an initial IFR flight test with anyone nearly as old as Ralph. It was a historic occasion for both of them.

Glenn suggested that it may not only be a record for him as an examiner, but is perhaps a Canadian record of accomplishment.


19 Nov 2010 - IFR Rating
Greg Farish

I asked Greg to send me a picture that was a little different than the usual and he did so. Hence, we have this picture of Greg in his 20's on St. Joseph's Island near Sault Ste Marie. There is a story to go with the photo that portrays a somewhat different Greg Farish than the sensible and responisble instructor we see at Smiths Falls Flying Club!

Greg's Story

19 Nov 2010 - Commercial Pilot's License
Mike Butler

Mike got his Private Pilot's License on May 23, 2009 and now has moved up to a Commercial License. IFR next, Mike?

11 Oct 2010 - First Solo
Winston Esnard

Winston started flying mid summer with SFFC. Winston enjoys how flying allows him to escape all the stresses of work. His first solo was done with 5Kts of crosswind at 90 degrees. Looks like all his the hard work in the circuit paid off.

Sep 11, 2010 - Level III Instructor Rating
Kyle Davies

A nice birthday present for Kyle! He has now moved up to a Class III instructor rating, which means he can assign lessons without authorization from the Flight Training Unit supervising instructor.

Sep 2010 - Private Pilot License
Mark Roney

Sorry, no photo yet!

Mark is now a student in the aviation program at Algonguin College.

Sep 2010 - Private Pilot License
Rob Parks

Rob began flying with us on 22 July after flying at Hanover. He works on satellite communications all over the world and started enroute to Taiwan shortly after his test. So, a timely successful flight test!!

Rob is looking forward to many years of fun flying.

10 Aug 2010 - First Solo
James Kelly

James joined the Flying Club and had his first flight on 16 Feb 2010. He lives in Smiths Falls with his young family. His two sons sometimes accompany him to the airport to critique his landings !! James works in high technology with Mevex Corp who are developing accelerator science.

Being very tall, it is interesting how he fits into the Cessna 172. But it sure works for him First solo in just 15 hours !!

24 Aug 2010 - First Solo
Megan Bethune-Waddell

Megan started flying at the Smiths Falls Flying Club on August 10th 2010. She has come in for a lesson everyday, sometimes as much as 3 times a day. On Aug 24, 2010 she flew her first solo.

Megan will be attending The University of British Columbia in September.


17 Aug 2010 - Private Pilot License
Steven Covell

Steve has become our newest Smiths Falls Flying Club licenced pilot. He is enrolled in the Commercial/ Professional Pilot Program at Algonquin College Ottawa starting in September, 2010.

Congratulations to Steve and Instructor Kyle Davies !

22 Jul 2010 - Private Pilot License
Ed Tink

Ed Tink passes his PPL Flight Test in KLA with a great ride!

Congratulations to Ed and Instructor Greg Farish !

6 Jul 2010 - First solo
Shane Foote

First solo on July 6th, 2010 with only 12 hours of training. Shane will working on his commercial pilot licence with the Smiths Falls Flying Club. Shane is 21, lives in Kanata and plays in a band.

4 Jun 2010 - First solo - C-GLIN
Griff Jones

Dr Griffith Jones soloed on Friday 4 June. He lives in Manotick and works at Ottawa General Hospital. Griff emigrated from the UK and has had a long time interest in flying. He flew a few lessons some years ago, started flying at SFFC in April 2010 and is now on track for his PPL at an accelerated pace !!

1 Apr 2010 - First solo - C-GKLA
Allan Shade

On the 83rd birthday of Canada's Air Force.

Alan is from Ottawa. He is a glider pilot who attends Algonquin and runs his own painting business during the summer. He is looking forward to a lot more solos enroute to his power pilots licence.

25 Mar 2010 - First solo - C-GKLA
Brett Newton

Brett flew his first training flight on the 4th of February - quick !!

Brett is Vice President/Owner of Safeline Utility Services located in Perth. His Company provides specialized heavy equipment and expertise to serve corporate and individual customers throughout Ontario.

15 Feb 2010 - First solo - C-GKLA
Lionel Winch

Lionel is an electrical contractor who owns and operates Winch Electric. He lives on Rideau Lake and is a professional firefighter for the City of Ottawa. He is fulfilling a long standing desire to become a pilot.

4 Nov 2009 - Night Rating
Shawn Ashby

Shawn had made lightening progess in his flight training and is taking a check-out with instructor Andrew Boyd in his RV6A that he co-owns with Bob Ungrin.

His partnership with Bob was arranged as a result of Shawn's ad in the "Classifieds" page of the SFFC website.

6 Oct 2009 - First solo - C-GLIN
Jeremy Vandervalk

"My 16th birthday was on the 29th of September and I was hoping to solo before then, but I was forced to wait until just after to fly next.

(Oh well, I still flew a plane solo before I drove a car). I love every minute I spend in the air and I hope to continue flying until my health says otherwise."


24 Aug 2009 - Private Pilot License in C-GLIN
Joey Zulinski

Joey was our CYSH St John's High School Co-operative Education student helping out at the airport during 2008/09. He is currently enrolled at Algonquin College Woodroffe Campus in General Arts and Science Aviation Management. His goal is to become an airline pilot.

Will he be the first CYSH training program graduate flying with Air Canada?

12 July 2009 - Private Pilot License
Shawn Ashby

Not bad considering his first solo was 28 Mar 2009!

11 June 2009 - First solo in KLA
Andrew Schenk

24 May 2009 - First solo
Ed Tink

23 May 2009 - Private Pilot License
Mike Butler, with a two hamburger celebration!

28 Mar 2009 - First solo
Shawn Ashby

24 Mar 2009 - First solo
Gord Holtrop

12 Mar 2009 - First solo
Benjamin Strehler is a Swiss born Canadian who held a glider/sailplane license in Europe logging over 120 hours. He is a vice-president of a green technology business, CH-Four Biogas Inc., a developer of anaerobic digesters and biogas technology. Benjamin often travels to southeastern Ontario and is looking forward to getting his pilot's license to allow him to fly his Falco home built (high performance retractable), hangared here at CYSH.

14 Apr 2009 - Instrument rating
Chris Hope

14 Apr 2009 - Night rating
Eric Givens

9 Feb 2009 - First solo
Gary Langille

16 Dec 2008 - First solo
Joey Zulinski, who worked at the club during 2008 on a student work co-op, as part of his high school business course at St. John's High School, Perth.

15 Oct 2008 - Private Pilot License
Cole Pavey, the website guy, takes his wife, Susan, on a flight as his first passenger.

Note the forced smile on Susan's face!