Parksville-Qualicum Aero Club first
came into being in the late 1950’s, when the five founding
members got together at the Qualicum Beach Airport site way out
in the bush near Qualicum Beach, BC, to throw around the idea
of forming a club, putting up some money and leasing an airplane
the members could fly. The airport at that time was just a pasture
that had been donated in 1954 to the Town of Qualicum Beach by
the local Rotary Club.
On April 17th, 1968 the Club was
first incorporated; however, in spite of efforts by the Club to
improve the airport, the Town Council of that day was vociferously
opposed, and so the airport languished for several years.
The Club members eventually persuaded
MacMillan Bloedel and a local contractor to grade the field. An
application was made to Transport Canada for a license, which
was granted in the early 70’s, and shortly thereafter, a
local contractor was persuaded to pave the runway at cost. The
money came from a couple of the more affluent Club members, and
now all Club members were able to land on an asphalt runway, but
that seemed to be it for CAT4.
In 1975, regular scheduled flights
began, and the Club’s first student pilot soloed. In 1976,
the Club purchased its first aircraft, a Cessna 172, and in May
of 1977, construction began on the Club’s hangar at a site
near where the present terminal building sits.
The hangar was completed in July
just before the first Air Festival held at the airport on July
9, 1977. In September of that year, Council voted to allow the
Club to expand its operations. The Club now owned four aircraft
- a Cessna 172 (C-GHPQ), an Aero Commander 100 (C-GPSY), a Cessna
152 (C-GIDV) and a Grumman Yankee (C-GOST).
In 1978, Town Council was still
debating airport improvement. A poll in 1979, saw 71% of the Town
citizens support airport improvement, and in 1980, a new clubhouse
was built adjacent to the hangar. Also in that year, C-GPSY was
destroyed in a fire after an aborted take-off from Pt. Alberni
- there were 4 on board, but no injuries.
August of 1981 saw the second Air
Festival sponsored by the Club and the Club was granted permission
to install and operate a fuel system at the airport. Local pilots
could now put away their gas cans and fuel up right at their home
field. 1981 also saw Council increase our lease rate by 400% from
$100/yr to $500/yr. These were the pinnacle days for PQAC, with
over 200 members, 4 aircraft, a growing flight school and fuel
The Experimental Aircraft Association
(EAA) formed a chapter in Qualicum and built a clubhouse on a
lot where it now stands. The economic downturn in the early 80's
saw hard times strike both clubs. Much of the Aero Club assets
were lost and membership declined to only 12 members. Attrition
among EAA chapter members was too much and they disbanded, donating
their clubhouse to the Aero Club. In 1987, the Town of Qualicum
Beach took over operation of the airport from Transport Canada.
They also took over some of the former club facilities, including
the fuel system. Aquila Airlines also folded at that time.
In 1986, planning was underway for
Queen Elizabeth II to visit BC in 1987. A former lady-in-waiting
to the Queen, with whom she had become great friends, now resided
in Qualicum Beach. Her Royal Highness requested to visit Qualicum
during her visit to BC, and guess what? Overnight,
the runway was repaved 3,000’ long and 75” wide. Two
taxiways were added and a main apron in front of a renovated terminal
building. The Queen visited her friend and a more respectable
Qualicum Beach Airport (CAT4) came into being.
In 1989, the runway was extended to 3,500’ and
in 1990, trees were cleared on approaches and the gravel taxiways
paved. In 1991, a
new airport terminal building was built. To make room for the new
terminal building, the club hangar was moved to the present location
inherited EAA clubhouse. Our present aircraft, C-GIEO was purchased
Over the years, the Club and its
members have played a pivotal role in development of the Qualicum
Beach Airport and will continue in that role to ensure the airport
remains the key asset for this community. We have also continued
to promote aviation, both as recreation and a career for youth
in the Oceanside area. We regularly organize and offer free flights
for our youth.
The hardy bunch has persisted, and
membership has grown over the years to its present level of over
60. We are now a vibrant, active, growing Club, with a rosy future.
Our aircraft is in excellent visual and mechanical condition and
our facilities have been rejuvenated with expansion of our clubhouse
in our 5-year plan.
Please feel free to drop in at any time to visit us. You are always