Whitehorse Flight Flies 89 Enthusiasts

George Balmer


What it’s like to positively influence a child?

Flight 106 flew 89 kids between the ages of 7 and 17 on Saturday, June 5, at their third annual flying event in Whitehorse.

It was a nearly perfect Yukon day, 18 Celsius, with fairly stable flying conditions lasting until early afternoon. Cpl. Jean-Marc LaHache, one of the RCMP pilots, brought down their pristine Twin-Otter and showed it to all kids and parents and Cameron Reid showed everyone through one of Air North’s Hawker-Sidley 748s that they put on display for the day.

Flying aircraft this day included two RV-4s, (Wade Roberts and Ken Rombough), an RV-8 (George Balmer), a Beach Stagger- wing (John Faulkner), two Cessna 172’s (Richard Corbett and Randy Shewen), a Cherokee (John Troyer), and a Cessna 150 (Fred Kuttel).

Murray Bigen brought his 172 for ground-school, and Bob Gates brought his Ercoupe for the same use.

Bob and Miles Hryniuk managed the pre-flight ground school.

Joe Bachofen, Ray Caron, Stan Beckit, Wayne Wilkenson, Murray Adams and others worked as air-side marshals to keep everyone moving through the site safely all day.

Other aircraft on display included a A-Star helicopter and a 737-400 from Kelowna that were incidentally parked in the middle of our location all day. It was apparently being used to bring Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and the rest of a Hollywood film crew to the Yukon for the shooting of a new movie called The Big Year, being shot up the Dempster highway. This information circulated widely as the day progressed.

The Grey Mountain Lions Club supplied hamburgers, hotdogs and drinks for all the kids and pilots as their contribution to the event.

Messages delivered by the COPA organizers to kids, parents and participants included the importance of aviation and of the airport facilities in the Yukon, career and employment opportunities in the field of aviation, and safe procedures in and around aircraft.

It just may be some day that one of these kids will be an aviator, but more importantly they will soon be voters, and one of these kids will likely be the new Minister of Transportation in the Yukon where he/she will hopefully have a positive frame of reference for aviation decision making. For future COPA For Kids (CFK) events the following recommendations should be noted: Advertising in papers, radio and by posters was partly successful, but the majority of kids had heard about this event by word of mouth. Getting the word out in this method is most valuable.

You cannot have enough “marshalling crew” on airside, and issue them high visibility vests and hats. Keep each pilot’s information on a separate clipboard and place each passenger’s paperwork there as it is created.

Give the Tower and Flight service guys lots of notice to give them time to prepare, including sufficient staff on hand to support the event on top of their normal duties. Have only one access point to airside and locate the Admin desk right there where they can control movement.

This was the third and most successful of these events that Flight 106 held in Whitehorse.

Comments from the kids and their parents were heart-felt and inspiring for all of us. The good will and enthusiasm was felt everywhere on the field through the day. Expressions of gratitude and appreciation continue to be received by the executive.

Steve Martin never made an appearance, (but a few “stunt men” drove up in a rental truck at the end of the day and wisely chose to stay around for the “post-post-event” debriefing).