The folks with this Questar Venture
braved the weather and the cumulo
granite by climbing to 16,000 feet
on oxygen and beelining it on top
from Springbank to Langley
in 90 minutes!


Maxcraft Avionics’ Chris Nunn (left)
presented the 406 Mhz ELT,
donated by Maxcraft, to earlybird
registrant, Ken Kushner, of
Revelstoke, B.C.
Photo courtesy Patrick Gilligan


Grant Ward Councillor for Township
of Langley (front right seat) and
COPA member, given grand tour of
event site by COPA Director
Tim Coles (back right seat),
COPA President/CEO Kevin
Psutka (back left seat) and
Dave Turnbull (driver).


Bird’s-eye view.
Photo courtesy Rob Prior


Yellow Wings static display to help
celebrate the British Commonwealth
Air Training Plan.
Photo courtesy Rob Prior


COPA President Kevin Psutka
presents the President’s Award
to Milan Kroupa. Milan was
recognized for his single-handed
rescue of a defunct wartime
BCATP relief field, Edenvale,
earmarked for demolition and
condo development in Ontario.


Lineup of some of the
108-plus visiting aircraft.
Photo courtesy Patrick Gilligan


Ray Dube (Marathon, ON) and Ray
Duschene (CAT4,Qualicum) Flight
Planning to Qualicum.
Photo courtesy Bob Robertson


The Pipistrel Virus is a powered
sailplane, flies 144 kts!
Photo courtesy Liz Thornton


Lower Mainland airspace procedures,
along with a complimentary
Vancouver VTA, was provided by
Nav Canada’s Mike Benoit,
a Langley air traffic controller,
seen here, who was stationed at
the Nav Canada tradeshow booth.
Photo courtesy Patrick Gilligan


The BCIT Aviation Program
student volunteers.
Photo courtesy Wendy Boyes


Councillor for the Township of
Langley and COPA member
Grant Ward (left) with COPA
President Kevin Psutka at the
Saturday luncheon.


The COPA 2011 Neil Armstrong
Ab-Initio Scholarship ($7,000)
winner Timothy Van Bremen, 15,
of London, ON, gives a thank-you
speech at the awards banquet.


Trekker Armstrong (right) presents
Ryley Yost, 16, of Hanover, ON with
the second-place Neil Armstrong
Scholarship ($3,000). Third place
was awarded to Cody Robertson,
17, of Prince Albert, SK ($2,000).


Former COPA Director Tony Swain
accepted a Retiring Director
Appreciation Award for Terry
Wilshire, who had passed away
just the night before.
COPA Chair Bob Kirkby made
the presentation at the AGM.
Photo courtesy Patrick Gilligan


COPA Floatplane BBQ on the Beach
at Alouette Lake.
Photo courtesy Brenda Matas


Bird’s-eye view of one parking area.
Photo courtesy Rob Prior


West Coast experience now a happy memory

By Bruce Prior


The 2011 Fly-in AGM, held June 24-26, is now a happy memory for participants and organizers alike. It featured a trade show, a full slate of seminars, an awards banquet and a huge array of display and visiting aircraft. The theme was “Experience the West Coast and meet the Plane Folk at Langley.”

The Fly-in AGM also commemorated the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. To help celebrate this event the Canadian Museum of Flight brought out their Harvard, Tiger Moth and Fleet Finch. Vic Bentley and Bill Findlay brought out their Harvards and Trevor Skillen flew in his Stearman. These local planes were joined in the static display by Vintage Wings of Canada’s Harvard and Cornell. The Tiger Moth, Fleet Finch and Stearman did a couple of flybys to show these wonderful machines in flight. The line up of yellow wings was an impressive sight, inspiring pride in the achievements of our young men and women during World War II.

Five COPA Flights hosted the event: Langley Aero Club (175), Aero Club of B.C. (16), Abbotsford Flying Club (83), Boundary Bay Flying Club (5) and the B.C. Floatplane Association (72).


The event was staged at Langley Regional Airport with the centre of activity at two hangars donated for the event by their owners, Mr. Mark Capadouca of AC Airways and Mr. Bob Monts of Ridge Air Construction.

Bob’s hangar is for sale and the Fly-in AGM afforded an opportunity for aviation folk to inspect an attractive investment opportunity. Without Mark’s and Bob’s kind assistance, this event would have been much more difficult to plan and execute.

Mark’s hangar housed the trade show and luncheon event, and Bob’s hangar was used for office functions, registration desks, and for the seminars. Both buildings were perfect for their chosen roles and we can’t thank the owners enough.


The Planning Committee was formed about 14 months before the event, and met monthly until the event was near, and then the pace quickened to bi-weekly meetings and then weekly. Meetings were held at Pitt Meadows Airport, home of the Aero Club of B.C., and at the Canadian Museum of Flight’s DC-3 building at Langley Regional Airport, home of the Langley Aero Club.


The Fly-in AGM was promoted in articles in COPA Flight editions beginning in February 2011 and continuing through to the June edition. The website at also presented all details of the event. Local aviation newspapers and magazines provided advertisements. The website now features many photos of the weekend’s events and will remain on the internet for at least the next few months.


By all accounts the Fly-in AGM was a huge success. By the numbers, it was, too. These are preliminary figures but serve to measure the extent of the event.

The financial record won’t be completed for another month or two.

Registrants COPA Fly-in AGM:

320 Banquet Attendance: 270
Fly-in aircraft: 108+
Exhibitors’ display aircraft: 11
Trade show exhibitors: 31
Persons involved in planning: 150+
Person-hours over 18 months of planning: 3,000+
Email messages sent during planning process: 4,000+


A sponsorship booklet was prepared and provided to prospective sponsors starting many months before the event.

Sponsors were designated as Diamond, Gold, Silver, or Bronze depending on their contribution and their names were displayed prominently at the airport site and at the banquet. The Diamond Sponsor was Petro Value Products Canada Ltd., and the Silver, Marsh Canada.


Delegates were offered a choice of registration venues: by COPA National or copacon2011 websites, by telephone to HQ, or by mail. All the usual forms of payment were available. COPA National staff came to Langley to operate the registration table with the help of volunteers.

Early-bird registration closed on May 1. The winner of the early-bird draw was Ken Kushner, who was presented with a 406 MHz ELT at the Awards Banquet. The ELT was donated by Maxcraft Avionics.


The volunteer program got off to a good start many months before the event and the list of volunteers slowly grew until all bases were covered. Twenty-five students from B.C. Institute of Technology’s Airport Management Program signed up to help the existing 130-plus club volunteers. All volunteers were issued with green tee shirts emblazoned with the COPA Logo, and were provided with meal tickets to restore the energy lost by their hard work.


The weather was sunny and mild on Friday evening, providing a pleasant climate for the outdoor Meet and Greet. More than 200 attended, enjoying their favourite beverage and then tucking into a lasagne buffet in the AC Airways hangar that generated many comments of complete satisfaction.

During the meal, Township of Langley Councillor Grant Ward welcomed the delegates to Langley as did Airport Manager George Miller. Old friends were discovered and new friends were made. The tradeshow exhibitors were on duty at their booths ready to talk with everyone and did so until after sunset.


A buffet luncheon was held in the AC Airways hangar, followed by a talk by well-known “Coast Dog,” Jack Schofield, who flew as a commercial seaplane pilot along much of coastal British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic, and then founded BC pilots’ favourite magazine, Aviator, which he edited and published for 13 years while writing a series of popular books on west coast flying history.


Six seminars were presented on Saturday, including President Kevin Psutka’s “State of GA in Canada” presentation and the COPA Annual General Meeting.

As usual, Kevin gave us a clear and concise overview of General Aviation in Canada, with a perspective on the continued growth of our industry. He also spoke about the need to tangibly support the “Freedom to Fly” fund and related the success COPA had in fighting for us in the Supreme Court of Canada. He touched upon the continuing saga of the 406 ELT legislation and other associated means of maintaining our safety in flight, such as SPOT and Spider Track.

Former COPA Director Tony Swain accepted a Retiring Director Appreciation Award for Terry Wilshire, who had passed away just the night before. Tony will convey the award and the condolences of all present at the meeting to Terry’s wife, Gillian.

Other speakers included Dr. Dieter E. Raudzus on “Aging Pilots,” Steve Nunn on “The Latest Avionics,” COPA Director Bryan Webster on “Underwater Egress,” and Maj. James Pierotti on “Helping Your Rescue.”


Thirty-one booths were manned at the tradeshow exhibitors hall in AC Airways’ hangar. All booths had been sold out and requests for participation by prospective exhibitors were still being received on the day before the event. Unfortunately we were unable to accommodate all of them due to space limitations. Many comments were received about the quality of the tradeshow presentations and displays.


The Pathfinder mission hosted by COPA Flight 14 based at Springbank, Alberta, provided briefing materials to 12 aircraft for the westerly trip through the Rocks. Many words of praise were heard at Langley for the great job done by COPA 14.

Five aircraft were stranded in Salmon Arm after flying the Golden/Rogers Pass Trans Canada Highway route due to rain Thursday, but they rented vehicles and drove to Langley from there. Bad weather in the Rogers Pass caused the Friday group to proceed via the southern Highway 3 route along the U.S. border and one took advantage of the situation to stop in Kelowna for a visit. Unfortunately, the oldest pilot, Cesare Gnecchi-Rusconne, age 86 (yes, 86), flying his

Warrior solo from Ontario, was delayed by weather in Springbank and decided to return to home base (“I am too tired,” he said).

Mountain flying can be exciting, and the Pathfinder guys at Flight 14 are to be congratulated for ensuring that westbound pilots had every bit of information needed for a safe flight or for a decision to stay earthbound.


Pilot Roch Lecompte, of Montreal, flew his Cessna 152 the longest distance to attend the fly-in.

About 120 aircraft attended the event and were on display at the peak of the day on Saturday. Examples of unique aircraft which visited included a Bede 5 and a Questar Venture.

The folks with the Questar braved the weather and the cumulo granite by climbing to 16,000 feet on oxygen and beelining it on top from Springbank to Langley in 90 minutes!

On Sunday, Hans D. Schaefer and Bernhard Hoefelmayer arrived in Hans’s Cessna 172. Hans lives in Florida and joined his friend from Germany in Toronto with the goal of “seeing how far west we can go.”

While in Springbank they met pilots that were trying to get to the COPA Fly-in. Hans decided then and there that Langley would be their next destination.

When they arrived at Langley, they filled up with Langley Flyin discounted fuel and then joined the Langley Aero Club volunteers at their volunteers’ lunch which followed their clean-up effort that morning.

The aircraft marshalling team did a great job of moving and parking visiting and display airplanes. There were no mishaps other than one fellow who bumped his head on a prop while rising from a close inspection of an airplane’s underbelly. Debbie Blue, our volunteer nurse on duty, took great care of him. Other than this mishap, there were no accidents or incidents at the COPA Fly-in AGM.

Langley Airport rewarded the intrepid bird men and women by giving them a significant fuel discount.


Volunteers at the B.C. Flying Information desk provided additional information on flight destinations in B.C. A number of B.C. COPA Flights had representatives attending the Fly-in who could be called upon to provide flight info for their home areas.

Additional information about the B.C. Lower Mainland airspace procedures, along with a complimentary Vancouver VTA, was provided by Nav Canada’s Mike Benoit, a Langley air traffic controller who was stationed at the Nav Canada tradeshow booth.


Spouse Program Chair, Eileen Cole, provided this first-hand account:

“With Claudette Hessberger as my right hand and armed with her list we never lost one of the ladies in our group. We all had a wonderful time and the feedback was great. I think we laughed all the way to Choo Choo’s restaurant as we were escorted by the wonderful ambassadors of the City of Langley.

“When we arrived at Choo Choo’s we were greeted by the owner, Helene, and ambassador, Lilian. We had a wonderful time. The breakfast was beautifully prepared and presented.

“After breakfast we gathered together, and led by the wonderful ambassadors, we were off on a walking tour of downtown Langley. Two young ladies led the tour, informing us about the history of the town as we walked.

“Our ambassador, Lilian, also acted as traffic patrol as our long line of ladies crossing the street did take a little while. When it was time to end the historical part of our tour, the merchants were waiting for our visits to their shops. We were given passports and were invited to go to the stores and collect 10 different stamps at the participating merchants and then deposit the forms with our name on them. In approximately two weeks they will draw the winner and mail the lucky person a cheque for $100. The merchant association truly did a wonderful job at welcoming us and treated us royally.

“We were escorted safely back to the hotel by our hosts and there we waited and boarded our bus. Lots of smiles and giggles were had by one and all.

“We enjoyed lunch at the airport and then boarded the bus again and made our way to historic Fort Langley where our guests were treated to some fresh Fort Langley Rain! It was refreshing as we moved quickly between the drops so as not to get too wet.

“We were royally treated at the Fort—the admission charge was waived and the volunteers were in period costume. It was so interesting to learn how barrels were made and learn the history of life in the west long ago.

“We asked if everyone wanted to stay in the Fort for the tour or continue to the shops in Fort Langley town. We decided I would stay in the Fort with some, and Jean would take the town walking tour with the others.

“We did not have that much time and before we knew it we were on the bus again heading back to the hotel. We were all going to sing but as the road was wet and narrow we thought the bus driver would appreciate quiet and we changed to prayer.

“My only regret was the thought that some of the spouses were still stuck on the other side of the Rockies.

“I believe that each fly-in should have something to welcome the spouses and let them know they are welcome and a very important part of the planning.

“Thank you for giving me the chance to participate in the planning committee for the 2011 Fly-In AGM.”


The bar opened at 1800 at the Coast Hotel and Casino and dinner was called a little after 1900. The banquet was emceed by the effervescent Chris Georgas of Pacific Rim Academy. He kept us laughing and gave each speaker a fine introduction and thank you. Councillor and acting Mayor of the City of Langley, Rosemary Wallace, welcomed everyone to Langley and wished us success with the convention. Maxcraft Avionics’ Chris Nunn presented the 406 Mhz ELT, donated by Maxcraft, to earlybird registrant, Ken Kushner, of Revelstoke, B.C.

Earl Kickley, COPA Awards Chair presented Awards of Merit to Lesley and Jeff Page for introducing youth to aviation and for making Oshawa the number oneranked Female Pilot Friendly airport, and to Capt. Barry Morris for wide and varied support in development of General Aviation in Canada.

Bruce Prior, Fly-In AGM Communications Subcommittee Chair, presented an Award of Merit to long-time COPA members, Tony and Mary Swain, for their enthusiastic support of general aviation at both local and national levels and for their many years of service to COPA, EAA, EAAC, RAAC, IAC and the Western Warbirds.

Mary and Tony were so overcome by this surprising turn of events that they were totally speechless -surely a first for both of them! They received a standing ovation of affection and respect for their life-long devotion to grass roots flying.

COPA President, Kevin Psutka, presented the President’s Award to Milan Kroupa. Milan was recognized for his singlehanded rescue of a defunct wartime BCATP relief field, Edenvale, earmarked for demolition and condo development. Thanks to Milan, it is now a fine GA facility, housing many small airplanes and is the home of the Edenvale Flying Club.

Chris introduced Trekker Armstrong, COPA Director for Alberta and NWT and Chair of the Neil Armstrong Scholarship Committee. Trekker, and President Psutka, presented scholarships to three NAF winners. The COPA 2011 NJA Ab-Initio Scholarship ($7,000) went to Timothy van Bremen, 15, of London, ON, and two 2011 COPA NJA Scholarships went respectively to RyleyYost, 16, of Hanover, ON ($3,000), and to Cody Robertson, 17, of Prince Albert, SK ($2,000).

Then Rob Fleck, of Vintage Wings of Canada, came forward to entertain us for about an hour with a fascinating slideshow history of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. It was truly an amazing and informative presentation and everyone came away inspired with a better appreciation for Canada’s wartime history and contribution.


The Floatplane Barbecue Flyout from Pitt Meadows Airport on Sunday was a great success. The weather was perfect. Seven floatplanes flew to a beach on Alouette Lake and an R44 helicopter joined them.

The planes brought in passengers from Langley and Pitt Meadows, and all enjoyed the float flying and a fantastic hot dog barbecue. All were impressed with how good the smokies tasted on a remote beach on a warm sunny day. And the day proved once again that whenever three or more floatplane pilots get together, there will be good, and sometimes even true, stories to listen to.


All the hosting COPA Flights and all the volunteers feel great satisfaction with the success of their Fly-in AGM and are happy now to relax a bit. But sometime down the road the call might come again to invite pilots to join the Plane Folk at Langley. They will be ready to meet the challenge.