A Gulf Islands artist has given the Langley-based Fraser Blues precision flying team a sizeable painting in thanks for the team's many visits over the years.
Olgierd Dobrostanski has combined his love of painting and flight many times over the years.
"I'm an old aircraft mechanic from the Air Force," Dobrostanski said.
A full time artist since 1980, he's lived and worked on Texada Island, where he's been involved with hosting annual fly-ins and air and space camps for the local kids.
The Fraser Blues were practicing out of the Texada airport, and Dobrostanski met them, became friendly with team leader George Miller, and not long after the Blues started coming for the fly-ins and putting on shows.
From 2007 to this year, the Blues have come by and put on a show for local residents.
The precision flying team is made up of private pilots from Langley and other Fraser Valley towns. They're familiar to anyone who has been to a Remembrance Day event in Langley over the past few years, as they do their flypasts of the community's cenotaphs.
The team has also performed at a number of public events and festivals, and has made its way to a variety of fly-ins and air shows around western North America.
The team has recently scaled back its activities, going into semi-retirement.
But this year they still came out to Texada, even after planning to just stop by, and offered "to do a bit of a show," said Dobrostanski.
"There's no one else in the area that does such a good job," he said of the flying team's skills.
They've also helped out with advice for the Texada fly-ins, and with advice for the aerospace camps, in ways that were worth more than money, Dobrostanski.
"Their influence and presence has inspired the community in many ways," he said.
In exchange, Dobrostanski and the community wanted to give the team a mural as a thank you.
The painting shows the Fraser Blues flying over a forested, mountainous landscape.
It's not the first time that Dobrostanski has painted aircraft. Over the years he's painting everything from planes to historical subjects.
The mural has been given outright to the Fraser Blues and was transported to Langley last week.
A number of Texada residents came with it to drop it off and say hi to some of the Fraser Blues members.
The mural will now sit at Adrian's at the Airport restaurant, said Miller.
Miller said that if Texada residents are fond of them, the feeling is definitely mutual.
The team used Texada Island as a practice airfield for several years, largely because it was so rural and there would be few noise complaints.
They found people who were very welcoming and interested in the team, Miller said.
"It was just incredible," he said.
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