COPA Annual Fly-in 2009 - Springbank, Alberta 


from left Dennis Pharoah, Pegasus
Performances actress, Jon
Buchanan, Michael Shaw at the
Saturday night Banquet.
Photo courtesy Gail Shaw


Dennis Pharoah buying an ice
cream bar in trade show area.
Photo courtesy Michael Shaw


The upper deck at the Calgary
Flying Club on Friday afternoon.
Photo courtesy Gail Shaw

Click pictures to view larger images

COPA Flight 8 Captain Michael Shaw and his wife, Gail, travelled to Calgary to take in the 2009 COPA Convention held at Springbank Airport. They were joined by several other Flight 8 members, including Dennis Pharoah, Jon Buchanan and Chuck O'Dale.

Michael sent the following report:

The banquet was at the Red & White Club at McMahon Stadium. We were piped from the Quality Inn to the banquet. The food was great and the entertainment was fun, if a bit corny at times. The actors even visited us, in character, at our tables before the show.

The crowd was quite large at most events including the hangar events. They had live bands playing in the hangar for our meet-and-greet Hangar Hoe-Down on Friday and at the Sunday breakfast.

The music and food were great at these events. Gail and I sat with COPA director Harold Fry at the Hangar Hoe-Down. It was great getting reacquainted with Harold. We had met in Gore Bay in 2003 while trapped by weather on our return from Oshkosh.

The Calgary Flying Club were great hosts with many volunteers. They shut down flying operations for three days and opened their clubhouse to all of us. They were extremely gracious and welcoming. A big thank you to the Calgary Flying Club.

The weather was excellent with sunny skies and low winds for the Mountain flying seminar group to fly through the mountains on Sunday morning. We were told that many flyers took hundreds of photos on their mountain flights.

Gail and I did our mountain flying on Monday with Alpine Helicopters in Canmore. We took the 30 minute trip. Wow, they sure get up close and friendly with the mountains. There was almost zero winds so it was smooth for our 11:30 a.m. flight.

We were light, four people in a Bell Jet Long Ranger, and able to hover near Gloria Glacier at over 8,000 feet. The route took us over the Goat and Sundance ranges, Assiniboine and Gloria glaciers, and the Spray Lakes Valley.


What’s been going-on at Calgary Recreational and Ultralight Flying Club

By Ken Beanlands


Al Botting taxis into the parking
area at the AJ Ranch Fly-in
Breakfast on July 18th.


Ed D’Antoni admires the Tiger Moth
in attendance at the AJ Ranch
Fly-in Breakfast.


Some of the over 200 aircraft in
attendance at the COPA
Convention in Springbank
last month.

What a great month for flying! Most of the month of July was absolutely beautiful in Alberta and afforded lots of opportunities to commit aviation.

The fine flying weather allowed a number of our members to make some extended trips. Oshkosh has been a popular destination for our club members and this summer was no different. Among others, Bob Kirkby and Bernie Kespe made the trek to Oshkosh this year.

Troy Branch made a couple of trips in the new RV-10, the longest being to New Brunswick with his wife Jody and two kids. I hear they had a great trip and that the kids are great travellers.

Stu Simpson, Al Botting, Brian Vasseur and Paul Vasseur flew up to Cold Lake on the 31st for the air show. Although this trip is only a couple of hundred miles, it ends up being an extended trip when flying a PA-17 Vagabond and an O-200 powered Bushmaster!

There were also a number of local flying events that were well attended by the club. Bob Kirkby held his annual fly-in at his strip just east of Calgary. Despite the brisk winds, they had a great turn out.

Of course, the highlight was the 2009 COPA Convention. The committee that ran the event did a splendid job. Everything ran very smoothly and the volunteer force, including many of our club members, was well managed.

On the Friday morning of the convention, Bernie Kespe, Stu Simpson and I made a trip over to Hanna and then back to Linden for lunch. Linden is a small town northeast of Calgary with a wonderful restaurant less than 100 feet from the runway. The first thing we noticed when arriving was that the power cables have finally been buried at the south end of the runway.

While we were there, we talked with one of the town officials and was informed that the town wanted to organize a free fly-in breakfast to celebrate the “grand opening” of the Linden Field! The town is quite proud of their airstrip and have always welcomed the local aviation community.

In the past, we have returned the favour by holding a Young Eagles day there. This is the kind of relationship I’d love to see at more municipal air strips.

After lunch at Linden, I drove to Springbank to man my shift at the event. I was amazed by the number of aircraft in attendance! There were well over 100 aircraft involved in the “Wings Over Canada Centennial Flight” including a number of exotic and classic aircraft like Glastars, Glassairs, Beavers, Norseman, etc.

To accommodate all the traffic, parking was made available between taxiway Charlie and 25/07 and between taxiway Alpha and 34/16. Springbank ATC relinquished control of Alpha south of Charlie to COPA to manage. Everything seemed to run quite smoothly.

Once my shift was over, it was on to the COPA Ho-Down event in the Calgary Flying Club hangar. This was the event hosted by our club and organized by Garrett Komm. In between the sets by the band, local aerobatic performers put on aerial displays over 16/34. The fourth and final display was a formation, night aerobatic display with pyrotechnics by Ken Fowler and Eric Hansen of Team Rocket. Spectacular!

The next morning, I was scheduled to volunteer at the Convention at 11 a.m. This meant that I had to be up very early if I wanted to make the AJ Ranch fly-in breakfast before that. As in previous years, this event was well attended by our club members. I was a little concerned that the COPA Convention would have an adverse affect on attendance this year. In fact, the opposite was true! It seemed that a number of convention attendees had heard about the fly-in and headed down there from Springbank. Despite the volume of traffic, everyone seemed to be doing a great job of following correct circuit procedures.

With a full belly, it was on to Springbank for my shift. I have to applaud the controllers on staff. They were very accommodating and polite to all the aircraft operating in the area. Given the number of pilots coming in that were not familiar with the procedures and landmarks, I know that this was well appreciated.

Unfortunately, the first week of August has been quite miserable with high winds, thunderstorms, hail, rain, drizzle, fog and temperatures in the low to mid teens. Several devastating storms ripped through the area with winds exceeding 60 knots, but the airfields seemed to come away unscathed with no reports of damage.

The weather has finally returned to more normal mid-August like conditions and with a number of events still planned for the next month, we look forward to more great flying in the coming weeks.

Calgary: By wings and wheels

By Fred and Marilyn Bruinsma


Monday, July 13 arrived with sunshine and North West winds. Another long cross country trip with strong head winds to buck. That means more air time and more fuel to burn.

Adventuring on the trip from COPA 45 were Jim and Jane Farrell, Ann Rock and Chris McCullough, Fred and Marilyn Bruinsma. Joining them were Kim and Sylvia Murphy from Alliston, Adrian and Hortense Verberg from Welland.

Plans were to meet at Gore Bay Airport where once the aircraft were refueled; the troupe would eat our brown bagged lunches. Sure saves the hassle of getting a courtesy car or taxi to find a local restaurant.

Tanks and tummies filled, the five couples boarded their aircraft to start the second leg of the trip to Marathon. Another leg with strong 30 knots plus headwinds. After the planes were fuelled and tied down, friends, Ron and Sherri Dube greeted us with vehicles to the hotel and to their home for a pizza supper. Again they shuttled us back to the hotel for a good night sleep.

Tuesday greeted us with overcast skies. A check with the Flight Service for weather revealed another day of flying with severe headwinds. All agreed to stop at Atikocan for fuel before continuing onto Fort Francis. There we were grounded because of weather conditions.

Wednesday the weather did not improve and the weather channel and Flight Service were calling for rain, thunderstorms and low ceilings for the next two days. Time for some decision making among the group.

A phone call to Enterprise Car Rentals was in order. Due to a cancellation two vans were available. Calgary or bust was our mission. At 9 a.m. we left the Super 8 to begin our ‘journey on wheels’ instead of our planned ‘journey on wings.’

It was west of Winnipeg before we ran out of low ceilings and mist. Cool temperatures and sunshine was now our weather. Fuel stops, lunch and coffee breaks allowed the switching of drivers and navigators. With two laptops, three GPS’s, two SPOTS and CB radio in the lead car we were well equipped for the trip.

Later that night we tried to get hotel rooms but all were full. Our only choice was to drive non-stop to Calgary. We arrived at 6 a.m. to the Econo Lodge just at sunrise. Sleep was now in order.

Hours later and somewhat refreshed we took a shuttle to the Springbank Airport to register and see the 75 planes of the Canadian Centennial Cross Country arrive at the airport.

It was also great to see our aviation friends from all across Canada. At the Friday night dinner Ann Rock from Kincardine was the winner of a Sennhauser headset.

The highlight of the Convention was the dinner at the Calgary Stampeders convention room where 100 years of Canadian aviation was celebrated. The guest speaker gave an excellent talk on the achievements and blunders throughout our history.

Sunday brunch was served at the airport as the Centennial group flew out towards Brandon, Manitoba. Our group spent the rest of the day touring Banff and area with an overnight stay at Lethbridge.

Monday we spent the whole day travelling the flat prairies where we saw aerial spraying of peas and potato crops as well as huge irrigation units.

Supper and hotel at Portage la Prairie completed the day. Tuesday we were Ontario bound back to Fort Francis airport and the Super 8 before flying out the next day.

The weather was flyable by stopping in Geraldton and onto Wawa.

After refuelling, a thunderstorm was approaching so we tied the aircraft down for the night. En route to the hotel was a Tim Hortons, how fortunate! Another day in Wawa so we walked the main street. We soon were known everywhere as the group with the planes at the airport.

Friday we left for Gore Bay where we had lunch before heading our separate ways home.


To Calgary & everything…

By Tony Swain



The Old Copaguys, The Mary & Tony Swain,
attend the COPA Aviation Centennial
Banquet in the prestigious Red and White
Club by Calgary’s McMahon Stadium.
Photo courtesy Gary Peare

Since Bessy the Harvard left home, we get about in our little old Mazda. The drive plan to the COPA Convention and beyond was a bit daunting, as the Mary wanted to visit family at Terrace and Sointula, a 3,500 km drive, plus 600 via B.C. Ferry. This called for an oil change and transmission flush. The car felt better already!

Three days to Calgary… phew… Old Bessy did it in two and a half hours. We stayed with Parker, Lynette McNeill’s hospitality dog, who made us very welcome. His human, Ken, is a COPA Past Chair.

The Convention was wonderful. A terrific success, around 70 aircraft flew in, 750 breakfasts served, and 450 at the excellent banquet. It was great to join my old colleagues in the director’s hospitality suite. Just like the old days.

We really enjoyed watching Dennis Mockford’s vintage Norseman arrive, difficult to photograph the shiny black paint scheme. Delta’s Charley Longstaff’s scale Spitfire was there, undergoing serious re and re by new owner Timothy Wall.

The Friday evening night performance by Rocket Aerobatics’ Fowler and Hansen, was spectacular, and kept everyone spellbound with their pyrotechnic wizardry.

Shawn Wolk brought his dainty Pietenpol Aircamper a thousand miles from Winnipeg. Apparently it is an original, built in 1937. He and Jerry Roehr, Director for Manitoba and Nunavit, shared our table at the Centennial of Flight Celebration Banquet, where we were thoroughly entertained by the Pegasus Performers and historian Stephane Guevremont.

On Sunday, after John Lovelace’s Century of Flight aircraft left for points east, The Mary and I left for points north-west via Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and on…, via the famous Yellowhead Highway. 

Much later after a comfy night in the excellent Whispering Pines Motel in downtown Topley, we arrived at The Mary’s in-laws at Terrace for a welcome rest. After some R and R, and some showing around, the M’s nephews Mark and Mike took us for a spectacular two hour jet-boat ride up the Exchamsiks River, running the rapids and all! I even got to drive.

Bit of a shift from rumbling around the sky in good old Bessy. And, always thinking of my floatplane friends, I see no waterdrome there noted on the B.C. Aviation Council’s Air Facilities Map, so don’t try it!


Lots to talk about, convention and more

By Jerry Roehr


As I write these words at the end of July, many of our members talk about the big EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. But for COPA members there is another event we should be talking about even more. I speak of the annual COPA Convention, or as it will be called next year in Summerside, PEI, the COPA Fly-In and Annual Meeting.

Those of us who attended the COPA Convention at Calgary’s Springbank Airport were treated to a breathtaking pyrotechnic night air show by four Hermon Rockets II. But that is not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about the Lyncrest Flying Club who put on a barbeque for the crews of four aircraft from the East on their way to Calgary. Four other airplanes were stuck because of weather in Fort Frances.

I want to talk about Russell COPA Flight 138 Captain Richard Wileman (Mooney) who not only brought his wife, Wendy, to convention, but convinced Bruce and Connie Christopher (Cherokee 180) and Ken and Colette Pierce (C-180) to join them. 

As a matter of fact, Ken and Collette told me that their ‘stay-at-home-vacation” was to join John Lovelace’s Centennial Flight all the way to Nova Scotia. 

I flew my C-182 to Calgary in 6.3 hours and had a much faster trip back to Winnipeg.  But we have to salute Winnipeg COPA Flight Captain Harry Wiebe who spent 10 hrs in his C-150 flying to Springbank. 

My greatest admiration however goes to Shawn Wok who recorded airspeed of 28 knots with a headwind in his Pietenpol from Lyncrest to Brandon. That was a three hour flight.  His aircraft was on display at Springbank after a total of 15 hours of flying time.

It is this kind of commitment to COPA, and its support of personal aviation that should excite all of us and must encourage all of us to participate. Sure Oshkosh, two weeks after our event, is the largest aviation event in the world, but we must remember that it is COPA who promotes and safeguards our Canadian pilot licenses, our certified and home built airplanes, our airdromes and our Freedom to Fly. 

At the time when Governments want more regulations and Transport Canada reorganizes and defines its responsibilities, it speaks well that the new Director General of Transport Canada, Martin Eley, visited with COPA’s Board of Directors as his first association stop and promised to be back. Perhaps the much awaited “General Aviation Policy” will finally take shape.

Speaking of the Freedom to Fly and the Special Action Fund. I am pleased to report that St. Andrews Airport Inc. which operates the Winnipeg St. Andrews Airport on behalf of its owner, the R.M. of St. Andrews, has made a $500 donation to COPA’s Freedom to Fly Fund (Special Action Fund). 

In light of the challenges COPA faces in the Supreme Court of Canada later this year, it is wonderful to witness that a Certified Airport protected by all the zoning regulations wants to support General Aviation as well. 

By the way, in its 10-year history operating the airport, 10 new hangars have been constructed - the largest is 16,800 square feet. And a $2.1 million Apron upgrade has been completed.

The airport has a volunteer Board of Director and has been able to operate in the “black” for the last five years. 

Shoal Lake is the newest Manitoba COPA Flight and Flight Captain Dennis Schoonbaert has a great plan for Manitoba Aviators in 2010. A challenge to all COPA members. First, make sure you support, or join, your closest COPA Flight or start your own. Second, support and volunteer at your local airport. Third, make a donation to the Freedom to Fly Special Action Fund.

If you have any suggestion as to how to raise COPA’s image and profile, give me a call at 204-981-4239 and we will try to do it together.

Jerry Roehr is the COPA Director for Manitoba and Nunavut