5 Things You Didn’t Know About Texada’s Aerospace Camp
Texada Island is an island full of hidden gems. One of these hidden gems is perhaps not what you would expect from a very rural locale.
Texada is home to one of the only aerospace camps in Western Canada. Yes, you read that right: aerospace camp.
Never thought you’d find an aerospace camp on a rural island? Neither did we! It was an exciting surprise and we were even happier to get to speak with the lead volunteer coordinator behind the whole project, islander Doby Dobrostanski.
Doby retired to Texada 15 years ago with his wife to enjoy the quiet of island life. A recent islander by some standards, he has always had a love for aerospace, having studied aerospace as a cultural system in university and working as an aero engine technician for a portion of his wide-ranging career.
Doby and a few aviation buffs began the Texada Aerospace Camp (TASC) in 2008. It now consists of an aviation library, several flight simulators, a privately donated, partly finished home-built airplane and a host of aircraft components for display purposes donated by BCIT’s Aerospace Campus. The newest addition: a full-scale airplane hangar to house the camp’s planes and flight simulator machine.
Doby’s passion for all-things-aerospace has inspired many sets of kids each summer. Included in the curriculum are rocket launching, drone flying demonstrations, basics of astronomy, radio electronics fundamentals and learning about airmanship. This year, the Texada Aerospace Camp runs July 12-15 and you can register here.
Here are 5 things you (likely) didn’t know about Texada’s Aerospace Camp:
1. Everything is completely volunteer run, built, and organized.
Doby let us know that he had a list “as long as his arm” of volunteers that help keep the camp going each year. From the pilots that drop by for the Camp to take people on flights, to the locals who milled all the lumber to build the new hangar (which is mainly made of Texada-harvested wood). Even the metal cladding of the hangar is repurposed from the old community hall.
Doby was quick to mention that the TASC site would not have been possible without the help of co-volunteers Gerry Johnson, Bari Lewis and Sandrine Sims, among many others.
2. Camp attendees actually get to fly.
While the camp boasts a flight simulator program (the same kind that pilots train on), as a camp participant, you will actually get to go up in the air.
“Last year we had three pilots who joined us in the summer to take kids up in the air. We also have a physics professor, an Air Cadet Officer who volunteers at airshows where the Air Buzz simulators are put on display, an airplane maintenance mechanic and lots of other people who teach about planes, aircraft repair careers and answer questions,” says Doby.
In 2016, three pilots from Penticton arrived unannounced two days before the Camp, and helped assemble the metal doors for the hangar, and stayed on to help teach sheet metal repair and riveting to the kids.
3. The camp takes place in July and always fills up so make sure you reserve a space!
While the camp is open to kids, Doby has made sure there are lots of opportunities for any age group to learn about flight and aviation. During Texada Aviation Week, which happens every summer, there is an annual fly-in, an aviation-themed art week, and a senior’s aviation camp.
4. When it comes to aviation, becoming a pilot is only one of very many career opportunities you can pursue.
Doby’s passion for aviation and aerospace is inspiring, and he hopes it will pursue camp attendees to dream big.
“When I came to Canada in 1947, it took my family and I five days to cross the Atlantic from South Hampton to Halifax. Now it takes seven hours! I am always telling these kids that one day they could be the ones helping put humans on Mars, if not themselves.”
5. You’re welcome to drop by whenever.
Even if it’s not perfect flying weather, there’s never a bad time to learn about aviation and aerospace. The hangar houses a growing library on aviation history, model planes and a myriad of other aviation-related historic items. The most delicious part? There are airplane shaped cookies and flight coffee by donation. Just give Doby a call before you drop by: (604) 223-2588.
To learn more about Texada’s Aerospace Camp or to volunteer and begin planning your summer fun, visit this website.
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