As our website home page states: the Duncan Flying Club is “pleased to be able to provide and maintain an airport in the Cowichan Valley that is open to the public and available for use by fly-in tourists, businesses, schools, search and rescue, air ambulances and recreational pilots.”
Our airport is part of the transportation infrastructure serving our community as do roads, sidewalks, parking lots, parks, or pathways. It also adds an economical value to our community through our operating costs and taxes.
The general aviation pilots and aircraft owners at the Duncan airport are a tremendous source of volunteers who not only support the airport but provide direct social benefits to the community. The airport is a destination for school field trips, Scouts, Cubs, Girl Guides and Air Cadets.
Our airport was used this past weekend by a medevec flight because the local hospital landing pad was not available. The Nanaimo airport had been fogged in and not usable for several days so it was great to see our airport being used for this purpose. The flight operations area became crowded for a short while but it worked out well with several of our aircraft getting out flying.
One of the RCAF Sea King helicopters, which can be used for search and rescue, also made use of the airport this week during a local training flight.
The use of the Duncan airport by these and other types of aircraft will become even more critical in the event of local disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires or industrial accidents.
Our community should not depend on outside help for several days during these times. Disaster response starts locally and when a natural disaster strikes, the Duncan airport could become one of the main receiving and dispatching points for aid and a helicopter base for rescue and medical evacuations. It will be a facility for population evacuation and it will also allow medevac flights to take sick and injured members of the community to distant hospitals.
We are pleased to be the operators of this airport and a part of our community.
Chris McLean is a member of the Duncan Flying Club.