In The Air
Where I live, Daylight Saving Time was first enacted in 1918, ostensibly as a means of increasing production during the First World War. It was abandoned after hostilities ended but then reinstated again for World War II. Canada remained ‘sprung forward’ year ‘round for these latter war years. Since then it has remained as a twice-yearly ritual for most jurisdictions in this country and in many places around the world, albeit reversed in southern climes of course.
Over the years the dates have been tweaked backwards and forwards a bit, and there are routinely debates about the merits of either retaining or abandoning it. But here we are, nearly 80 years later, yet again on the cusp of that week where many of us Canucks feel a little jet-lagged having missed out on a hour of precious sleep. And just when it was getting light in the morning.
For the record, I’m firmly in favour of retaining it as-is. But for a very selfish and some would say silly and sentimental reason. And certainly one that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever outside my sample size of exactly one. Me.
I like the annual rite of spring because it reminds me of my dad.
The Monday after the Sunday — weather permitting — was when I would get a call from Dad to say he was going to be at the playing fields near his home in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.
“Meet you there?” he would say, cheerily and hopefully. After a long, wet, west coast winter the fields were a soupy, super-humid, muddy mess but it never deterred him. Having a bite to eat and then grabbing the glider and transmitter and heading out to catch the last of the fading evening light was his priority number one in the late winter as it drifted into spring.
Dad was an early adopter of electric technology back in the pre-brushless days. That brushed motor in that battered, dewey frankenglider would have been handily out-climbed by Lindbergh on the way to Paris. For him, it just seemed like a recurring, predictable miracle that climbing without the aid of a cantankerous, whiny Cox .020 or .049 was even an option.
Later, he bought and flew a very sporty Sunfly for his evening flying adventures. That may have actually been one of the first generation brushless motors but paired with an undoubtedly clapped-out nickel-cadmium battery pack. However the odd time I got out to see him fly its performance, while not a patch on anything of today’s generation of aircraft, was pretty amazing for its time.
After the sun was well and truly down, Dad and I would sometimes return to my folks home on Williams Road and Mum would make some tea and often have something home-baked to eat. We’d catch up on nothing in particular.
To say my father was an RC glider enthusiast understates the case by a wide margin. He was slightly obsessed — but in a good way, of course. It’s what made me a little obsessed, too — it was one of the many gifts he gave me.
Unfortunately he did not live long enough to see me edit and publish the New RC Soaring Digest but I’d like to think he would have been a reader.
In addition, for both my mother and father there was no letter to the editor of the Richmond News — or barring that some somnolent government official — which went unwritten. I therefore suspect that one or both would have found some reason to be contributors to RCSD’s monthly Letters to the Editor, as well. (Oh, remind me to tell you the story one day of how they wrote one of their signature letters to Queen Elizabeth II. And received a reply.)
When you lose your parents — particularly if you’re close to them, as I was — one thing you’ll miss a lot, as I do, is the absolutely and utterly unconditional attaboys they always had at the ready. I didn’t often deserve them, if ever, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could still get one from them every once in a while, even today. It’s because nothing — absolutely nothing — ever quite replaces that unassailable encouragement. But despite not having access to their unwavering support — at least down here on Earth — I hope the work I’m doing on this humble journal would make them both proud.
So it’s at this time of year, with the clock about to spring forward I think a lot about my dad and I think a lot about my mum and I think about those happy evenings in Richmond with them. It almost goes without saying that I now deeply regret all the times I said I was ‘busy’ and would have to miss spending some time chasing planes around those soggy fields. What’s sad in retrospect is I have absolutely no clue what occupied my time such that I was not able to meet him for an evening flight. Nothing I can remember, of course.
Now I would give just about anything to be able to do it just one more time, sometime ‘round this time of year.
©2023 Terence C. Gannon
- The History of Daylight Saving Time from the University Canada West website.
- Champion of Something by Terence C. Gannon. — “On a whim in the summer of 1976 — no doubt in part because he wanted to drive his shiny silver Alfa Romeo on the twisty and dangerous road through the mountains — my father suggested I have a stab at the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada National Championships held that year in Calgary…”
- A Torrey Pines Puzzle by Terence C. Gannon. — “Undoubtedly inspired by its cameo in Disney’s The Boy Who Flew With Condors, [Dad] must have ditched one of the scintillating but undoubtedly stuffy seminars on noise-induced hearing loss … [i]n his suddenly free afternoon, he must have then sneaked out to Torrey Pines…”
- Mike Shellim’s Instagram — The source of this month’s beautiful cover photo — see immediately below for a further explanation.
Cover photo: This month it comes to us by way of Mike Shellim, who captured Kevin Newton giving Alvaro Silgado’s Fox some prime motivation off the south face of La Muela, Spain in 2019.
For those for whom Mike’s name is not immediately familiar, we have featured his superior work in the New RC Soaring Digest on numerous occasions. However, what caught our attention recently is Mike’s revamped Instagram feed (see Resources, above) which has adopted as its theme a series of beautiful, spare, black and white photographs which “are a celebration of the wonderful world of F3F, and of my fellow pilots.” Mike’s feed is unique and we strongly encourage you to check it out and give it a follow.
You are welcome to download the March 2023 cover in a resolution suitable for computer monitor wallpaper. (2560x1440).
Disclaimer: While all reasonable care is taken in the preparation of the contents of the New RC Soaring Digest, the publishers are not legally responsible for errors in its contents or for any loss arising from such errors, including loss resulting from the negligence of our staff or any of its contributors. Reliance placed upon the contents of the New RC Soaring Digest is solely at the readers’ own risk.
All photos from the Gannon family photo album. Here’s the first article in the March, 2023 issue. Or go to the table of contents for all the other great articles. A PDF version of this edition of In The Air, or the entire issue, is available upon request.