Posted on 07 March 2013 by Keith Lacey
If you think Osoyoos and the Okanagan Valley is beautiful to look at from the ground, you should see it from the sky, say Ken Pierce and Derek Jenkins.
The longtime friends and aviators were two of four members of the Shoal Lake Flying Club from northern Manitoba who spent the past month in Osoyoos flying their airplanes in and around the Okanagan Valley.
They were joined by fellow Shoal Lake Flying Club members Bruce McEwing and Roland Kuip.
Three of the four avid aviators brought their wives for the month-long stay in Osoyoos. They all stayed at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa.
They ended up coming to Osoyoos after Pierce and his wife spent a week here last spring on vacation.
“I started researching places to consider visiting about a year ago as a few of us from the club wanted to do some mountain flying,” said Pierce. “We came out last March and spent a wonderful week here and really liked Osoyoos a lot.
“I told the guys at the club about this place and how it would be perfect for what we were looking for and we arranged the trip over the past few months.”
During their four-week stay in Osoyoos, the Manitobans went on more than a dozen day trips flying all across the Okanagan Valley.
“We had day trips to Penticton, Enderby, Salmon Arm, Castelgar, Christina Lake … basically any small town in the area that had a landing strip,” said Jenkins.
Pierce and his wife flew into the small airport in Osoyoos after spending an extended vacation flying in and around Mexico, Arizona and California.
When they’re not pursuing their favourite hobby, Pierce is a beef cattle producer, while Jenkins is a grain farmer.
Pierce owns a single engine Cessna 182, built in 1973, while Jenkins owns a Piper Cherokee, built in 1964.
Mountain flying presents numerous challenges, but the views and scenery from the cockpit of a small airplane were spectacular during their entire visit, said Jenkins.
“Because you’re dealing with so many mountains, you have to follow different flying procedures and the approaches into the runways are all different than what we’re used to in the Prairies,” he said. “And when you’re involved in mountain flying, you use the valleys as your guide and there are some pretty awesome views from those valleys in and around the mountain passes.”
Because they had such a great time, all four aviators plan on returning to Osoyoos late next winter or early spring for a return visit and they plan on bringing more friends and airplanes, said Pierce.
“We’re also members of a couple of other flying clubs in Manitoba and I plan on telling everyone I know about our trip and how much we enjoyed it and hopefully we’ll be coming back next year with a few more people and a few more planes,” he said.
“We had a wonderful month up here and I’m really looking forward to coming back next year,” said Jenkins.