When Royce Schaff first started as a mechanic at the Vanderhoof Airport just four years ago, there was really no need for any additional hangars.
However, in those four short years, there has been a drastic change.
“When I started here about four years ago, there were only about a dozen airplanes up at the airport,” says Schaff, the president of the Vanderhoof Flying Club.
“I counted the other day and now we have 50 plus.”
To house this ever growing number of aircraft, a new hangar, that has been in the works since 2015, has finally opened.
A barbecue celebration took place at the airport on May 26 so that all those involved with the completion and subsequent opening of the hangar could be properly thanked.
“It’s just a big thank you to everyone who has helped us get to where we are and to finally get the hangar going,” says Schaff.
It has been a busy few years for the Vanderhoof Airport. With the historic Vanderhoof Flying Club returning in 2015, as well as the numerous strides made by the Vanderhoof Airport Development Society to ensure that business, recreational and urgent medical services are easily accessed at the airport, the airport’s potential and importance is on an upward trajectory.
Recent developments at the airport include still cameras that capture the real time weather conditions at the airport, with the Vanderhoof Airport Development Society hoping to start work on a small grass landing strip where airplanes equipped with tail wheels, skis and float will be able to land safely in the near future.
“We’re already attracting quite a lot of aircraft to the airport for maintenance and we’re very fortunate that we have a shop there that really likes to do this stuff, because it’s getting more and more difficult to find aviation repair facilities that are actually doing this kind of work,” said Paul Collard, president of the Vanderhoof Airport Development Society at the May 14 District of Vanderhoof council meeting.
Further plans to improve airport infrastructure include the proposal of a proper terminal building, something that the Vanderhoof Airport currently does not have.
“The Flying Club, Air Cadets, CASARA, MEDEVAC, Flying Schools and of course passengers and clients all need this common facility,” wrote Collard in a submission to the Omineca Express last year. “The present structure that attempts to fulfill this role is in fact the old World War II radio shack. This building is way too small, badly situated and of course, constantly needing attention to try remedy its state of being in disrepair.”
Schaff, however, is hopeful that with a new hangar being built, further attention will be put on the Vanderhoof airport, as well as the future for the community’s aviation needs.
“It brings attention to the airport and all the good things and developments that are going on up here,” says Schaff.