Webster Memorial Trophy Competition starts Aug. 15

Canada's top amateur pilot
competition starts
Aug. 15 in Ottawa.
Art: Aerographics
The prestigious Webster Trophy Competition comes to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum from Wednesday, August 15 to Saturday, August 18 – hosted by the Rockcliffe Flying Club. It’s going to be Webster Week in Ottawa! 

Now in its 80th year, this highly respected aviation competition will determine the best amateur pilot in Canada. Nine young amateur pilots from across the country will be vying for the award through written exams, simulator proficiency and demanding flight tests to determine who takes home the title of Canada’s Top Amateur Pilot.

Competing at this level provides an impressive start for these young pilots if they plan on pursuing a career in any aspect of commercial aviation. They’ve already had to qualify in their region of the country to be able to compete. 

Ottawa’s own Andrea Lane Marrocco from the Ottawa Flying Club will be representing Eastern Ontario.

The John C. Webster Memorial Trophy Competition was established in 1932 by Dr. J.C. Webster of New Brunswick. His son, John was a highly respected aerobatic pilot. 

In July of 1931 he represented Canada in the celebrated King’s Cup Air Race in England. Flying a Canadian built Curtiss-Reid Rambler III; John came 13th in his race. Back home, hours before an official reception in his honour at the St. Hubert Aerodrome outside Montreal, he borrowed a plane to practice. Witnesses said the plane went into a spin and crashed. John Webster died a few hours later in hospital. His devastated father created the trophy to inspire future amateur pilots.  

Who’ll be Canada’s next Top Amateur Pilot? The winner will be announced at a gala dinner on Saturday, August 18 at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. For more information on The Webster Trophy call 613-271-2972 or email awfoy@rogers.com.

Monday, August 13th – Arrival Day

Wayne Foy reports, "Many of the finalists will be arriving via Air Canada passes and will do so during the day.  They are just now beginning to forward their arrival & departure flight numbers and times to us as they cannot book their passes until 21 days prior to the initial departure.

Volunteers have been organized courtesy of Rockcliffe Flying Club (RFC) along with two vans to pick up the finalists being flown in at their respective times and transported to the Lord Elgin Hotel.  Amy and I plan to be on hand when each arrives if able as a Webster welcoming committee.  This year we have pictures of each of the finalists which will also be given to the volunteers to help identify the arrivals.

Once settled at the hotel the finalists will have free time to see Ottawa and once the majority or all have arrived by early evening a very informal get together will take place where Amy and I and the finalists along with anyone else who wishes to join will have dinner and get to know each other better.

Tuesday, August 14th – Briefing, Fam Flights, BBQ, Exam, Ottawa ATC Tour

A competition briefing is planned to take place at the Canada Aviation & Space Museum (CASM) in the Bush Theatre beginning at 0900.  The briefing lasts about an hour and features opening remarks by Amy followed by an explanation of the exams by Arlo Speer, conduct of the flight test and sim test by either/and Ray Beland / Martine Dumas from Transport Canada.  A representative from RFC which I believe will be Mark Braithwaite will do a presentation on RFC procedures, airspace, dispatch procedures, circuit departure/arrival procedures, etc.

Note #1: Weather is often a problem when running a competition such as this therefore the order of things may change according to what is happening or going to happen.  The fam flights may have to go first if the weather is going to deteriorate later in the morning.

Note#2:  There is a distinct possibility that there may be TV coverage perhaps that morning and again at noon.  Other media outlets may also be present depending upon response.

The entire competition will be run out of the CASM this year and the logistics of the operation have already been set up through the excellent planning and organization by RFC and museum personnel. After the briefing is over the fam flights will take place with groups of three going up in sequence with Jean de Cotret, RFC to become acquainted with procedures and the area.

At approximately 1200 there will be a BBQ for those present courtesy of RFC which should last for a couple of hours.

Note #3:   Sometime during this period there will be a short photo session for publicity and website photographs of the finalists.

At 1400 it is planned that the finalists will be escorted to the #2 building (Storage Hangar) of the museum where tables,chairs and materials have been set up for them to do a nav planning exercise which will be marked accordingly as part of the competition but also used in their sim exercises as well. This should take about an hour and a half.

Upon completion of the exam all the finalists are transported back to the hotel for a short break after which they are taken out to the Ottawa Airport to tour the Ottawa ATC facility beginning at 1900.

Wednesday, August 15th – Flying Competition, NRC Tour & Reception

Because of the influence of weather it is imperative that the flying portion of the competition be given emphasis.  Fortunately this year with the introduction of the Redbird simulator weather is a lesser problem than before however in the past we have had a major wipe-out due to a persistent low pressure system (Ottawa) and smoke from forest fires (Calgary), therefore we don’t take chances and launch asap on Wednesday morning.  The finalists are picked up at the hotel at 0715 and transported to the CASM so as to launch the first aircraft by 0800.  The TC inspectors reside in town and will meet them there.

Should the weather be or turn sour, the second exam on Av law, Theory, Met, etc. which is done in long-hand will take place whenever convenient.

There is a tour of the fabulous National Research Council Aviation Division (NRC) scheduled for Wednesday evening along with a reception.  The starting time has not yet been confirmed however it should be early evening therefore the finalists will be transported back to the hotel hopefully in time to get refreshed and then transported out to the NRC at the Ottawa Airport. There is availability for a number of Webster participants to attend but I have to confirm totals which will be done shortly.

Thursday, August 16th – Flying Competition Continues and TC Sim Night

The finalists are again picked up at the hotel by 0715 and transported to the CASM to continue and hopefully finish the flying/sim portion of the competition.

It is planned that each finalist will take one test per day therefore the “morning” group should be finished around or shortly thereafter. It is planned that his group will be taken out to the Transport Canada hangar at the Ottawa Airport to begin flying King Air and Citation simulators for the evening starting at 1700.  The afternoon group will be brought out later when they are finished.  Final scheduling arrangements are still subject to some possible changes but should be fully confirmed shortly.

Friday, August 17th – Free Day? – Bombardier Sim Night

If the flying and the exams are completed by Thursday evening the finalists have a free morning and early afternoon to relax and tour the town.  Friday however may be needed to finish the second exam or to clean up any flight tests affected by weather.

At 1530 all finalists will assemble in the hotel lobby to depart by 1600 for Montreal (Dorval) in order to arrive by 1800 at Bombardier, where they will be receiving a light dinner and flying Bombardier simulators for the evening until about 2300. Then a long tired trip back to the hotel.

Saturday, August 18th – Awards Banquet

Provided there is no need to finish of any exams or flying (It has happened in the past) the day is free until 1700 at which time finalists, guests and everyone begin to leave for the CASM in time for the cocktail hour at 1800 and dinner and presentations at 1900.

After the Awards Banquet which should be finished no later than 2200, for those staying at the hotel and Webster participants, there will be a hospitality room available to wind down in on the main floor next to the bar.

Sunday, August 19 – Departure Day

All the finalists travelling home via Air Canada will be transported back to the airport in time to meet their scheduled flight and as the last one leaves the departure gate, the competition for 2012 and the 80 anniversary concludes. Wayne Foy reports.

Information about the contestants and more.