COPA for Kids event a hit up north

By Jacob Balmer



Kids fly in cool aircraft.

Ground school before first flight.

Whitehorse provides outstanding

Whitehorse airport (CYXY) - Saturday June 6, 2009, OAT 23 C and rising, pressure 29.99, wind 360 at 10 to 15, and CAVU.....

This was the situation when the gates opened for Flight 106’s annual flying event for kids. There were kids and parents already waiting as the chain link rolled open at 10 a.m. - they wouldn’t roll closed again until 3 p.m.

By that time there would be the names of 66 kids on the flight board and nearly 100 passengers flown (counting organizers, parents and volunteers who also flew).

Grace Snider and Patti Sederberg (flying spouses) manned the administration desk along with Andy Muir for the whole day. They would receive the parental waivers, registration forms, prepare the certificates and put the persons name on the flight list.

The Yukon Transportation Museum opened its doors for free to kids waiting for their flights. In the museum there are several aircraft including a complete Fairchild awaiting fabric, several Fokkers, the Ryan Monoplane that Charles Lindburg purchased (and then traded to Yukon Airways for theirs to use in his trans-Atlantic crossing) and even a Smith Mini-plane, as well as an assortment of engines, skis, parts, photos and stories.

Karin and Tyler Capton prepared each passenger with “ground school” and walked them airside to practical demonstrations using Murray Biggins C-172.

If that were not impressive enough Jeff Faulkner from Alkan Air brought down the SkyVan with a car parked inside to demonstrate scale! The Airport Fire Department was on site displaying their new Truck, and midway through the day a Bell 205 from Vancouver Island came in and set up with the Yukon WildFire Management “Heli-Tac” crew who were on standby because of temperatures and winds.

Ed Festel, Fred Kuttel and Wayne Wilkensen spent their day doing the air marshalling to make sure all flowed smoothly and safely on the air-side.

Flying we had Ken Rombaugh and Wade Roberts in RV-4s, George in his RV-8, Murray Adams in his 182, Emery Sedeberg in his Christavia I, John Troyer in his Cherokee, Russell Bamford in his Bushmaster, Richard Corbet in his 172, and the crew from Whitehorse Air sent down one of their rental fleet 172’s for a few flights.

Christoph Alther oversaw the whole day from the operational perspective with Carol Corbet and Alison Kalyniki doing fill in where needed.

In preparation George prepared a note for teachers and copies of the “COPA FOR KIDS” package and dropped them at all schools in Whitehorse almost a month ahead of time. He also dropped off media sheets to the radio and print media two weeks ahead, and repeated those contacts several days before the event.

A radio interview aired on local FM a day before the event. Even with all this a week afterwards people are still telling us they didn’t hear about it in time but are going to pay attention next year.

The good side of this is people out there who were involved are still talking about it.

The Grey Mountain Lions Club sponsored a barbeque featuring hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks. They fed 150 people before the day was out.

By that time the cumulus had developed, the turbulence was building and the wind strengthening, but no ones lunch was reported to have reappeared.

All in all this was one of the most positive and rewarding events held at the Whitehorse Airport in many years. A sincere thanks to all those who flew, volunteered, and worked to make it happen. Watch for Watson Lake’s fly-in event on August 1st.