Webster Memorial Trophy Competition ramping up
June 2, 2014, Kitchener, Ont. - Preparations for the 2014 Webster Memorial Trophy Competition are in full swing. Here's the latest on the process from one of the competition leaders, Wayne Foy.
2014 Competition Progress: It has been quite a while since the last update however that does not mean things haven't been happening. As happens every year with the competition there is a slow period prior to the coming of Spring where preparations move forward but at a more leisurely pace. It is with the coming of finer weather and flying activity increases when we begin to see competitor interest increase and within the past few weeks that has happened. In point of fact as the deadline approaches we are being deluged with applications indicative of another excellent year of participation likely to exceed last year's totals. We always keep track of the number of Flight Training Units (FTU) who encourage their customers to compete and send them a thank you letter and decal for the first one received. Each year there is a specific group of FTUs we can rely on but also other new ones participating as well from across the country. It is satisfying to know that our promotional efforts such as trade articles and especially posters are having an effect.
The deadline for all applications and associated flight test reports must be in no later than June 15th as we announce the finalists on the morning of the 16th. The majority of the flight test reports are Transport Canada (TC) Private or Commercial tests completed within the previous twelve months, however there area good number of Webster tests as well conducted by TC authorized Pilot Examiners (PE) specifically for the programme and I would like to acknowledge these people and thank them for their assistance. Its is because of the participation of PEs that we are able to achieve higher numbers, specifically due to the fact that competitors do not have to travel great distances to take a test. Many PEs in support of the Webster programme and because it is not a licensing flight test will lower their fees accordingly which is greatly appreciated.
Webster Trophy Reproduction: It is intended to construct a replica Webster Trophy for the purposes of taking it to the nationals and possibly be available for display at the FTUs of the winner and runner-up throughout the year. The original is a very important aviation artefact and should remain where it is on display at the Canada Aviation & Space Museum. It is has been a long time generating the required donations from our supporter group for this very expensive project however we are almost there. It is unlikely due to the time required to build the Trophy that it will be available for the competition this year, but certainly hopefully completed by early Fall.
Changes to the Regional Competition: Over the past couple of years the national portion of the competition has been changed to reflect more modern aviation influences such as the use of simulators and has now been finely tuned into a very comprehensive testing procedure to determine the Top Amateur Pilot in Canada. It has always been recognized that the regional phase of the competition should also be modified. Thus far the submission of TC or Webster flight test reports has worked however we have not been able to test knowledge skills as part of the process. That was to change for the 2015 competition thanks to the excellent involvement and enthusiasm for the programme of Nav Canada, who designed a finalist exam for us last year which will be applied to the regional competition as well through an on-line process. It was to be ready for the launch of the 2015 competition but after discussions with one of our team members, it was determined that to do it right it will be delayed for one year. Recently an article was sent to the av trades which presented a "where we are gong in the future" theme and it explained a long-term ambition to a radical change to the regional process where FTUs and airlines within each region will become more heavily involved. Reaction form FTU operators we have talked to has been extremely positive to the ideas and hopefully everything will be in place within the next couple of years. In order to make it work – what's the expression? Oh yeah – It takes a village.
The 2014 Competition Location: This year the nationals are being held in Kitchener-Waterloo hosted by the Wateloo-Wellington Flight Centre. The facilities, aircraft, airport and amenities are excellent for our purposes. The only potential problem is distance from Pearson. Finalists receive passes from Air Canada to the location nearest to the competition site which in this case is Pearson and Kitchener is a good 45 minutes away. We have however established contact with a commercial transport service who is able to accommodate our needs for the individual arrivals and departures plus we have back-up drivers just in case. The hotel facilities and banquet arrangements have been completed and thus far everything seems to be coming together for another successful year. Invitations to our supporters and special guests will be sent out by mid to late June for the Awards Banquet, however anyone wishing to attend can send us a request and we will send them the appropriate forms.