New Life Members
The 2023 AGM granted life membership to three members who were instrumental in forming the Airtourer Association, Robert (Bob) Page, Harry Couzin and Doug Stott.
Robert (Bob) Page with his wife Helen.
Bob Page could be considered the ‘father’ of the association due to his letter to the editor of AOPA magazine in May 1977 and associated advertisement seeking interest in forming an Airtourer group. A follow-up letter in the August issue, and meeting at the RAC of NSW on 17 August 1977, led to the formation of the Airtourer Association. The inaugural President was Harry Couzin with Bob taking on the roles of Secretary and Treasurer pending the first AGM. Doug Stott was unable to attend but took on the role of Southern Region Representative and was instrumental in the success of the initial AGM.
Doug Stott and Harry Couzin.
The inaugural AGM was held over the Australia Day weekend in 1978 at Griffith NSW, where Sonny Rankin took over as President and Doug Stott Secretary, a role he held until 1984.
One of the concerns that drove Bob to start the ball rolling was the ongoing spares support since AESL had ceased Airtourer production. One of the significant early achievements was the formation of the Airtourer Co-operative, which purchased all the Airtourer property, real and intellectual, and continues to provide support today.
The efforts of these original members cemented a sound foundation on which the association and co-operative grew. The active groups that exist today, and the continued support of the aeroplane, result from those efforts.
President's Fly-in Echuca
Amended Program - Saturday
It's been a challenge holding the Presiden'ts Fly-in at Echuca. In 2020 and 2021 it was postponed due to COVID and then finally in 2022 when it looked good there was extreme weather across Victoria and NSW. No Airtourers were able to fly in, (the airfield was NOTAMed closed), but 10 members did manage to drive. Well done to those who tried and had to turn back, thank you for giving it a go.
The flooded roads has made the original program impractical. An updated plan for Saturday is as follows:
- 8:30 Breakfast at the Beechworth Bakery
- 10:00 Walk to the Echuca Wharf to purchase tickets for a paddle steamer cruise on the Murray.
- 10:30 - 11:30 Cruising on the Alexander Arbuthnot.
- 11:30 -013:30 Lazy lunch in the Port of Echuca
- 13:30 Bus departs Mecure Port of Echuca Motel for Tongala. Departure back to Echuca to be briefed on the bus.
- 16:30 Bus departs the Mecure Port of Echuca Motel for Lockington for tour of the Heritage Centre and "Joe's Tractors"
- 18:00 Dinner at Beryl's local, the Lockington Pub.
- Departure back to Echuca TBA.
- 16:30 All receive text message from Vic Emergency Services to EVACUATE NOW
Queensland Gathering - Toowoomba
8 October 2022
The lunchtime gathering at Toowoomba (TWB) yesterday (8th Oct) was a most enjoyable opportunity for SE Queensland current and past members to catch up, share stories and information about flying, Airtourers and all things aviation.
For me it was especially pleasing to see Ray and Jane Abernathy in attendance as we first met in about 1980 at the Yarrandale Presidents Fly-In. Over the years Ray has owned two Airtourers (VH-RQG & PCC). Stuart Hilsberg, long time member and past owner of (VH-RQL) and I (former owner VH-CTM) travelled by car to attend the event, as did Andrew Younger (VH-TPY) from Gympie and Greg Peters and Julia Adams (VH-MOH) from Brisbane together with his father, Jim, a long-time aviator and Twin Comanche owner.
It was a pleasure to meet current members Ross Nunn & Sally-Anne (VH-MTH) from Oakey. Ross is rebuilding MTH and commented that during the course of conversations, he had gained much information to assist with his rebuild.
The weather was not that conducive on the coast; however, JOH (VH-COI) made it down from Gympie without too much effort. Members appreciated having the opportunity to get to know John, Association secretary and chairman of the Co-op.
Many thanks to Mark Barnett, a Toowoomba resident, for guiding us in the direction of the Wilsonton Hotel, only a short drive from the Darling Downs Aero Club. Mark, along with some others were unable to attend due to weather or prior commitments.
From the enthusiastic discussion, it is anticipated that a similar event will be held again. So, we will work on a date well in advance before our calendar is too full, so that we can again spend a few hours in the company of Airtourer enthusiasts.
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