COPA Annual Fly-In 2008 - St. Thomas was the SPOT to be

By Michel Hell


.: Click pictures to view larger images :.


The Model T Assembly Team assembled, started and drove a Model T automobile in six minutes and 27 seconds!



Brant Aero, of Brantford, Ontario displays its aircraft
which features all instrumentation you’ll ever need.

Wayne Ellis of Oshawa tries his
hand at playing steel drums.


The DA40 with G1000 cockpit on
display at the Diamond factory
left some members
scratching their heads.


COPA President/CEO Kevin Psutka
addresses convention delegates at
Diamond Aircraft’s factory.


Delicious food. Michel Hell photos


Cheryl Marek, right, receives
Award of Merit from COPA
Director Ken Armstrong.

Guest speaker Brian Udell
captivates his audience.


John Lovelace, left, receives
President’s Award from
COPA President
Kevin Psutka.


Doug Raine, left, receives
Award of Merit from COPA
Director Ken Armstrong.


Ian and Jan Basson dance it up.
Michel Hell photos


T Storm threatens convention site,
but passes to the north leaving
only a few raindrops.


COPA advertising coordinator
Joanne Nault, right, working on
the registration desk.


Great conversation.


Everyone signed up for the
Diamond Aircraft factory tour.


COPA President Kevin Psutka
addresses members during
the AGM.


The 2008 COPA Convention was another successful weekend featuring common interests (flying), excellent venues, informative and entertaining seminars, great food and down home country-style hospitality.

Plus, each and every convention delegate was given a SPOT personal tracking device, valued at $170 each. Not a bad reward just for signing up for a weekend of fun.

Following registration on Friday, members relaxed over lunch listening to live lounge music while exhibitors set up their displays along the flightline and in the hangars. Later shuttle buses whisked delegates to the Diamond Aircraft factory in London, Ontario for a fish-fry dinner.

Diamond’s venue for the event was excellent, featuring all their aircraft models on display around the dining area. Steel drum music was performed by the band Traces while everyone enjoyed dinner and conversion.

Afterwards tours of the factory were provided by Diamond staff, who explained all the stages and facets of the aircraft production line, and answered questions from the tour participants regarding the various aircraft on display. When the tours ended around 9 p.m. everyone loaded back aboard the shuttles to be returned to their hotels or camp ground for a good nights sleep.

Saturday morning started with a pancake breakfast, followed by a Nav Canada aviation weather services update presented by John Foottit. Ironically a heavy downpour presented itself during the presentation. Talk weather and you get weather.

Unfortunately, due to the storm the planned arrival of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Lancaster and DC 3 was scrubbed, but there was plenty more to see and do.

COPA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) was attended by almost all 260 delegates to the convention where they were informed on the last year’s business activities by COPA staff and board of directors.

COPA President/CEO couldn’t put enough emphasis on how important it is to maintain the Special Action Fund and that more money is needed. The call was heard and $1,500 was raised for the fund between a collection jar at the registration booth and at an auction held Saturday evening at the banquet.

The COPA for Kids Aviation program was also announced at the AGM. This made in Canada program is modeled after the Young Eagles program but is a completely separate entity run by COPA. See the article on this month’s front page for more information regarding this new program and stay tuned to COPA Flight and our website for the launch announcement coming soon.

Since this was an election year the AGM bid farewell to two directors, Sherry Cooper who represented Alberta and NWT and John Davidson who represented Manitoba and Nunavut.

Bill Beaton has taken Sherry’s position on the Board and Jerry Roehr now represents Manitoba and Nunavut. Also new to the Board is Marc Charron who represents Northern Ontario.

There were a couple of changes to the Board’s Executive members; Terry Wilshire for B.C. and Yukon is the Western Vice-Chair and Paul Hayes for Southern Ontario is now Secretary. Frank Hofmann of Quebec remains Eastern Vice-Chair, Brian Chappell for the Maritimes remains as Treasurer and Bob Kirkby for Alberta/NWT remains as Chair.

COPA Awards were announced and handed out to three recipients in attendance. Award of Merit were each presented to Cheryl Marek and Doug Raine, both of Oshawa for their contribution in helping to extend the life of the Oshawa Airport for at least another 25 years.

The President’s Award went to John Lovelace who is well known for his TV show Wings Over Canada. The inscription on the award says: "For ‘Showing’ Personal Aviation to Canada and the world." John has recently left Wings Over Canada, but stay tuned, we will be hearing a lot more from him in the near future.

The 2007 COPA Literary Award goes to N. Kent Beckham of Woodstock, Ontario for his article Living the dream. His story, published in October 2007, recounts a weekend at Vintage Wings of Canada at Ottawa-Gatineau Airport and getting checked out on Michael Potter’s Supermarine Spitfire. Beckham was unable to attend the convention since he was performing at the Geneseo Airshow in New York with the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association.

Last item on the agenda was the announcement of the Neil Armstrong Scholarship winners. See page 3 in the first section of this month’s COPA Flight for all the details.

Following the AGM and lunch the afternoon started with an amazing performance by the Model T Assembly Team who assembled, started and drove a Model T automobile in six minutes and 27 seconds!

Seminars and information sessions made up the rest of the afternoon by Hope Air volunteer pilot program, RCMP, Safaris International, Search and Rescue Secretariat on 406 ELT and Ian McLean former Canadian Armed Forces Snowbird #1.

Following a short break to freshen up, it was banquet time at St. Anne’s Parish Centre. Music during the cocktail hour was performed by The Rhythm Sisters. After dinner convention delegates were treated to an unbelievable survival story of Brian Udell who had to punch out of an F-15 at supersonic speed above the Atlantic Ocean, 50 miles off shore late at night. Udell’s speech captivated the audience for more than an hour and drew a standing ovation from the entire hall. What an evening!

The convention closed Sunday morning following a traditional fly-in breakfast. Many thanks to our host Ian Basson and members of COPA Flight 75 who volunteered their time in organizing this great event and to our sponsors Nav Canada, Marsh, Aircraft Spruce, Aviation Unlimited, AON, Brant Aero, Cirrus, David Clark, Diamond, Edmonton Airports, Leggat Aviation, Park Aviation, Sennheiser and Zimmer Aviation Services.

A Special thank you goes out to Globalstar Canada Satellite for supplying all convention delegates with a free SPOT and to Tim Crosby, National Retail Manager of Globalstar who delivered the tracking devices and was on hand to activate the tracking service.

See you all at next year’s convention in Calgary, Alberta and Springbank Airport.