THE STORIES BEHIND THE STAINED GLASSCV AIRPORT DIORAMA
The Comox Valley Airport diorama is one of the crown jewels in Jan’s extensive portfolio. Commissioned through a large donation, Jan created the beautiful piece of art that greets travellers as they come to the Comox Valley.
The diorama tells a story of some of the history of airplanes flown & stationed here in the Comox Valley, as well as the progress of the area.
The left side windows are what Jan calls the “country side”, portraying the earlier years of the Comox Valley with farmland and coastal imagery. Jan mirrored the background design to create the windows on the right, to portray more modern times with Comox Road and buildings, but still retaining the farms. Jan calls the “city side.”
These windows are a gateway to the wonderful combination of natural beauty and rich culture in the Valley. The colourful rays, farmlands, and borders were selected to cheer the weary traveler.
The Story Behind Glass
The Comox Valley Airport has a long history, which Jan has captured in a series of window panels. See the story behind the glass in this video.
Comox Flying Club
The first window on the left above the doors portrays a Piper cub and was flown by Capt. Tom Haughn, Who was one of the founders of the Comox Flying Club in the early 1950’s. The club was situated at the old airport location before there was a commercial airport! The Piper was used extensively in Second World War to train pilots. Capt. Haughn’s call letters have been sandblasted on the plane. The aerial view of the runway is close to what it looked like in the ’50’s. This window was donated by Audrey Haughn in honor of her husband.
Comox Valley Historical Search & Rescue
The second window from the left above the doors depicts the Search & Rescue aircraft used from approx. 1950 to 1964. The top one is called a Vertol H-21 or the “Flying Banana” and was a multi-mission helicopter, utilizing wheels, skis, or floats. If you look behind you out the window on the far side of the Pre-boarding area, you will see a real one! The lower aircraft is a Canso, also called a flying boat, was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft in the Second World War. Even today, over 70 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as an air tanker in aerial firefighting operations all over the world. This window was donated by Audrey Dobree in honor of her husband, Sgt. R.O. Dobree, who was involved with these aircraft up and down the coast as well as here.
Comox Valley WW11 Fighter Aircrafts
The third window from the left in the center tells a story about F/O Cyril Cottingham, for whom this Airport is named. Cottingham and his crew of 6 men were lost over the Atlantic during the war flying in the Lancaster depicted in the lower part of the window. His call letters have been sandblasted on the aircraft. It is subdued as it is in camouflage colours used during the war, as is the Spitfire above it. The Avro Lancaster was stationed here in the early 50’s in grey, white and red and was used for maritime patrol. The Spitfire has Y2K sandblasted on its glass and is currently being restored to its former glory. This window was the start of this panorama extraordinaire and was donated by Mr. Derrick Davis of England in way of thanks for the stained glass windows -“100 Years of Aviation – 1903 – 2003” that the artist, Jan Lindstrom had created for him.
Comox Valley Reconnaissance Airplanes
The third window from the right in the center shows the Reconnaissance Aircrafts used in the Valley. The Neptune, a patrol bomber, in upper right corner followed the Lancaster when it was retired and served as an anti-submarine and marine reconnaissance aircraft. It was replaced in 1968 by the CP107 Argus. The Canadian built Argus, in the middle right of the window, was one of the most effective anti-submarine warfare aircraft of its day, and was a mainstay for the RCAF in the maritime role. In the early 1980’s the CP140 Aurora took over from the Argus and was primarily used for the maritime patrol/anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role. However, its long endurance and range have made the aircraft ideal for an evolving variety of missions. The artist has portrayed their house, Comox Road and less farmland to convey a more modern landscape. This window has been sponsored by V.P. International, the RCAF Association, and the 407 L.R.P Squadron.
Comox Valley Modern Search & Rescue
The second window on the right above the doors illustrates the Search and Rescue aircraft used from approx. 1960 to 2004, using the early colours of these airplanes. The lower one is the Labrador CH-113. By the 1990s the heavy use and hostile weather conditions of air-marine rescue were taking their toll on the Labrador fleet, resulting in increased maintenance costs and a replacement was required, which is the current Cormorant Ch-149. The upper aircraft is the Buffalo CC -115 which has extraordinary short takeoff and landing capabilities and is still being used today. This window was donated by Pauline Simpson, in honor of her husband and the artist’s father, Cpl. Jack Simpson, who worked on these aircraft from 1963 to 1969.
Snowbird in Flight
The first window on the left above the doors shows the Tutor CT-114. Although it was primarily used as a trainer, the Tutor became the choice for Canada’s internationally renowned aerobatic team, the Snowbirds when they were created in 1971. The Snowbirds arrive here every spring to finalize their training leading up to the air show season. Valley residents are treated to impressive aerial demonstrations for about two weeks. The team has 15 Tutors, eleven of which travel during the Airshow season. The iconic red & white colours are in honor of their contribution to the Air Force nationally. The aerial view of the runway is close to what it looks like now. This window was sponsored by Old House Hotel & Spa.
Comox Valley Historical Airport
The side window on the left shows the municipal airport and passenger terminal that was purpose-built in 1956 by the Department of National Defense to handle the civilian aviation needs of its members at CFB Comox. The use of the terminal soared, and trailers were added to accommodate the growth. The old chain link fence is remembered too! The two airplanes are the T-33 Silver Star – “T-Bird” to represent the 414 Squadron, but were used by a number of units. The historical air traffic control tower pictured here opened in 1956 as well and has worn a coat of “many colours”, the artist chose these as they are more cheerful. The family is waving hello or goodbye and wearing appropriate clothing for the time period, even a poodle skirt! This window was sponsored by Thrifty Foods, Comox Air Force Museum, Mr. Dave Mellin and Mr. Doug Inrig.
Comox Valley Modern Airport
The side window on the right illustrates the new modern municipal airport and passenger terminal built in 2004 to accommodate the tremendous growth of passengers. The 40-foot curtain window in the pre-boarding area, as featured in the stained glass, is the building’s main feature, and contributes to the overall cosmopolitan feeling and spaciousness. Definitely more enjoyable and inviting to visitors! The airplanes featured are the Pacific Coastal Short 360 and the West Jet Boeing 737. The new air traffic control tower was also opened in 2004. The family is again waving hello or goodbye, but are now wearing more modern clothing. This window was sponsored by the Comox Valley Airport Commission.
CFB Comox Heraldic Crest
The bottom window on the left portrays the center part of the CFB Heraldic Crest – The Thunderbird and acknowledges the unique history of this area. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room in the space available to create the entire crest. In behind the thunderbird is a gold coin or bezant to symbolize the land of plenty based on the meaning of “Komox”. The motto [not depicted] “Ai Quanesut” means “well able to handle anything that might come up” or “At the Ready”. This window was sponsored by the BMO Bank of Montreal.
Support our Troops
The bottom window on the right depicts the logo for Boomers Legacy and a “Support Our Troops” ribbon. This window is a tribute to an amazing foundation that was created to perpetuate the passion Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom had for helping people in need and empowering others to do the same. Andrew was killed in action in 2006 in Afghanistan. This window was donated by Boomers Legacy Foundation to remember the generosity of all the donors and sponsors that have helped the foundation support charitable initiatives in communities where our soldiers serve.