Skip to content

Airport day lifts off

Squamish Municipal Airport hosts inaugural community event

Sitting outside the Squamish Flying Club's clubhouse, Don Patrick looks out over the Squamish Municipal Airport's runaway. Three planes circle above, waiting for their turn to land.

For pilots, Patrick says, there are a handful of important things in their lives - spouse, kids and plane.

"I am not saying in that order," he adds jokingly.

When Patrick was 16 years old, he was one of a gaggle of eight Squamish lads that would race down the highway to Richmond for flying lessons. His family worked on the railroads but Patrick wanted to be an air force pilot. Instead, he ended up working as an engineer for Canadair Ltd., which later became Bombardier Aerospace.

Patrick joined the local flying club shortly after it was registered in 1970 and he's been the club's treasurer for almost 40 years. Patrick spends a lot of time at the airport - so much so that his dog Rusty recognizes the word.

Patrick is looking forward to sharing his love for the airport with the community as well on Saturday, Aug. 27, when the club, the District of Squamish and airport users host the inaugural Squamish Airport Community Day,

"We hope to bring people out and make them more aware of what this is," Patrick said.

The club built the municipally-owned airport in the late '60s. In 1970, a gravel runway officially launched the facility and a year later it was paved.

The airport serves as an important emergency landing option for small planes heading to places like Williams Lake or Vancouver Island, said Patrick.

"We are the only airport in the valley," he noted.

The Canadian Armed Forces and Squamish Search and Rescue also use the airport as a training ground. During the massive flooding in 2003 that cut Pemberton off from the Lower Mainland, the airport was a vital link between the small rural community and the outside world. In 2008, when a huge rockslide closed the Sea to Sky Highway, Patrick recalled counting 60 cars at the airport, parked by people using the airlines as a way to commute. Then, when the 2010 Winter Olympic Games came to town, the Canadian military used the terminal as a base.

The flying club members have 20 planes at the facility. Two companies keep helicopters at the strip - Blackcomb Aviation and Black Tusk Helicopter Inc. - and two airlines have offices at the airport - Sea to Sky Air and Glacier Air.

At the fly-in event, people will get a chance to learn more about the businesses that run out of the facility, said Colette Morin, Glacier Air owner. Plane owners will shine up their planes and be happy to talk shop, she added. The Squamish Lions Club will be serving up tasty treats and the air cadets will also be on hand. There will be music, a bouncy castle and face painting, she said.

The day's worth of activities will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a special deal on airplane and helicopter rides, Morin noted. For more information visit or call 1-800-265-0088.

"We want people to learn to love [the airport] like we do," Morin said.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks