Safety Guru continues to raise the bar

By Mark Brooks


Flight Safety Guru, David Cox.

One of the major on-going initiatives at COPA Flight 44 (the Buttonville Flying Club) is a very active flight safety program headed up by the Flight Safety Guru, David Cox.

Dave is constantly keeping the members on their toes about areas in their flying practices where flight safety can be enhanced and, he periodically has the members take part in Raising the Bar seminars.

His reputation in this endeavour has become widespread – so much so that for the January 2010 monthly Transport Canada seminar held at 4900 Yonge Street in Toronto he was featured as a specially invited presenter.

Dave got his pilot license before many members of the BFC were born and for the last five years has been doing his best to transfer four decades of hard won flying experience to the younger club members and newer pilots.

On this night Dave opened the door for all pilots to what has normally been a “club members only” event by raising the veil surrounding the annual COPA Flight 44 safety seminars. Dave’s message of safe flying practices, respect for weather and the need for ongoing flight training has had a huge impact on members of the BFC.

In the last three years alone, well over a dozen club members have achieved their instrument rating, partly in response to the Guru’s message.

During the two hour session at Transport Canada, also called “Raising the Bar,” Dave brought general aviation accident statistics to life with a lively presentation and, most important of all, first-hand accounts. Using accident trends and factors to make his point, Dave covered pilot decision making, weather nuances, pilot proficiency, attitudes and best practises, including automation traps.

At the end of the presentation, to bring home the need to fight complacency in training, Dave called on several pilots in attendance to confess their flying transgressions.

But this was not a public inquisition, or a rumour mill, or a transport inquiry with video taped testimony. In the spirit of openness, fellow pilots shared personal stories of safety related flying events, so that others could learn from their mistakes.

The result was a thought-provoking evening that helped improve attendees’ chances of not becoming another aviation statistic.