Northern Lake Amphibian Pilots'
Fly-In & Safety Seminar 2009

Over 50 flyers and friends and 24 airplanes attended the annual Northern Lake Amphibian Pilots Fly In and safety Seminar at Killarney Mountain Lodge, Killarney, Ontario.  Killarney is a unique and beautiful town on the North Channel of Lake Huron.  The town has a paved runway within walking distance of the Lodge.  Most folks, however,  used the  perfect access to the water and just splashed down right  in front of the Lodge and taxied up to the spacious lawn. 

I reside in Thunder Bay, ON and several years the weather has prevented us from attending as I am VFR only.  My wife and I decided to drive to ensure our attending the event this year.  It is a fifteen hour drive around the northern shore of Lake Superior.  I can fly there in three hours.  I could have TAXIED from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie as Lake Superior was like a sheet of glass.  A rare site.  The good news is that it stayed like that throughout the whole weekend. 

Morning sessions found the pilots attending forums on safety, maintenance and general piloting skills.  COPA president, Kevin Psutka addressed us on advocacy issues and told us that COPA will be working much closer with SPA and AOPA.  Personally I was elated to hear this as we need all the numbers strength and information we can get to keep our skies and waterways open to seaplanes. 

The afternoons were spent splashing around the many beautiful lakes around Killarney.  The ramp itself is a huge bald rock of the Precambrian shield.  You just drop your gear  and taxi up on to the lawn at the lodge. 

The flying companions were not left to their own entertainment.  There was a watercolour lesson, craft sessions to make wine glass identifiers and lotions and potions as well as a time for book discussion.   

Evenings were filled with events as well.  On Thursday evening, Beth Bennett and Chris Harmon shared their experiences flying in this yearís Governor General Air Rally.  Friday, after dinner we were treated to a session on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction therapy.  Dr. Knipping is a captivating speaker and everyone came away with some new thoughts on stress reduction.  Saturday has been traditionally, the fundraising auction.  Michelle LaPointe, our auctioneer kept us laughing for almost three hours.  Proceeds from the auction are divided up with portions going to SPA  and COPA as well as a small donation to the local airport as it no longer has federal funding.  

If you have never attended this fly-in, you are missing out on one of the seasonís greatest get-togethers so make your plans to attend Sept. 9 to 12, 2010.

Bill Gillespie
Canadian Field Director - SPA
Thunder Bay, Ontario