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BCAC celebrates aviation leaders: Silver Wings Awards 2017

A spectacular West Coast sunset provided the backdrop to the 2017 British Columbia Aviation Council (BCAC) Silver Wings Awards Oct. 25 at Vancouver’s waterfront Convention Centre.


October 30, 2017
By Paul Dixon

As daylight faded, the stars of the local aviation industry were very much in evidence for the annual event showcasing the best and brightest in the aviation community. The stand-up nature of the event allows a free-flow and maximizes the networking opportunities. To the casual observer, there were no wallflowers as evidenced by the animated conversations that ebbed and flowed across the room.

The Silver Wings Awards evening serves as a major fund-raiser for the scholarship program administered by the BCAC, from ticket sales for the evening and a well-supported silent auction. This year’s event saw 17 scholarships awarded totalling almost $29,000, as an investment in the future of aviation. The scholarships support emerging talent in a wide variety of aviation-related disciplines; pilots, AMEs and airport management.

Many of the scholarships have long histories, honouring the memory of B.C. aviation pioneers. Two new scholarships this year came from Harbour Air, offering float training to a young pilot as a means to a career in flying seaplanes, while Helijet’s scholarship provides IFR training to a novice helicopter pilot.

The highlight of the evening was the announcement and presentation of the Industry Award winners:

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  • Entrepreneur Of The Year In Aviation – Craig Murray, Nimmo Bay Resort. Murray has spent 37 years building a fishing and nature experience on B.C.’s central coast in the Great Bear Rain Forest. West Coast Helicopters provides transportation to the resort with its fleet of A-Stars, Jet Rangers and Hughes 500. Nimmo Bay offers unmatched opportunities for wilderness fishing and nature-watching.
  • BCAC Environment Award – Masset Regional Airport. Accepted by airport manager, Kal Manna, the award recognizes the airport’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint embracing solar power.
  • Beck & Bevington Air Safety Award – Cathy Press, Chinook Helicopters. Canada’s largest rotary-wing training school recognized for its total commitment to aviation safety.
  • Robert S. Day Award – Teara Fraser, Iskwew Air. A passionate champion for women in aviation and especially, First Nations women in aviation.
  • William Templeton Award – Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. Accepted by Mark Fortune, the award acknowledges the commitment local government made to improve the Long Beach Airport (CYAZ) with the installation of modern runway lighting, allowing for 24-hour operation.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award In Aviation – Terry Rea, YVR Tower, NAV CANADA. Terry will have completed 50 years on the job when he “retires” in the spring of 2018.

The evening also served as a “goodbye” for Donna Farquhar, long-time administrator of BCAC, acknowledged as the “force” – the person who holds things together and makes events such as Silver Wings the success they are.