By Rupert Gruen
COPA Flight 36 Kelowna at YLW had a most awesome COPA for Kids event on our “rain day” Sunday, June 10th. We flew 123 kids and 14 adults in eight aircraft on a gorgeous day after we had been totally rained out the day before.
We had 150 kids registered for the Saturday, but had to postpone due to the bad weather.
All our efforts were underpinned by more than 30 volunteers who made it all happen, and without whose assistance these events would just not materialize. It pays to have a rain-day in your back pocket!
The folks at nearby Vernon Flying Club/ COPA Flight 65, 17 minutes by air north of Kelowna, loaned us four “barrel aircraft” they had built to give kids who were too young to fly a little “feel of aviation.” Wow, what a hit they were! I do not know who had more fun – our city councillor, Gerry Zimmermann, [also ex-fire chief of the
2003 Kelowna Fire Storm event], or the kids in the wee barrel planes! Who had the biggest smiles – you judge! We are now planning to build our own “squadron” of wheeled wonders to continue the tradition. We have an amazing relationship with the Kelowna International Airport, who are totally supportive of our efforts to foster “grass roots aviation.”
Sam Samaddar, has to be one of the most insightful airport directors on the planet! He totally gets why GA and “big heavies” need to cohabit the same airspace to make aviation work for now and the future. This must surely stand as a testimony and example to other airport managers, as Kelowna YLW is the 10th busiest airport in Canada.
It takes a dedicated team of airport professionals to put on a COPA for Kids event at such a busy airport. They shut down an entire apron, so we can do our thing!
We were even bold enough to attempt making a video of the whole affair…..! This was accomplished with the assistance of many, but two Grade 11 students from Kelowna secondary need to get huge kudos for what they produced.
Josh Franklin and Kai Brobeil, a German exchange student from Frank furt, took on this task and passed with flying colors!
Amazing skill and talent — so fitting that two 16-year-olds did this for C4K. The video will be available to watch on www.copanational.org At Flight 36/Kelownaflyingclub.com, we try to include a spectrum of the community at our C4K events. The Kelowna Ogopogo R/C Club pitched in at the ground school class with
large R/C scale aircraft to demo “live” the working parts of a plane and to help demystify aircraft flight. They love to do this for kids, and we love to have them out – as many ex-pilots gravitate to R/C when flying “for real” must take a back seat.
Shell Aero Centre gave us a huge break on the price of 100LL up to 750L, and for this we are very grateful. Thank you Kevin Carson and Michael Piasta! John Deere Prairie Coast Equipment donated the garden tractor to pull the barrel planes.
Thank you Brian Crowley! Vernon Flying Club/Flight 65 supplied two static RV aircraft and the “barrel squadron” COPA cooperation at its best! City of Kelowna Airport YLW – a cash donation and all the help we ever needed. Thanks “Team YLW.”
Mission Lions Club Food Services – provided us with food and drink. You guys rock! Kelowna Flying Club/COPA Flight 36 – the solid base upon which all our efforts always rest.
You know you are indispensable! Okanagan Mountain Helicopters – donated time in an R44 helicopter to take footage for the video – Ryan Nichols our rotor wing wizard – thanks! Kelowna Ogopogo Radio Controllers’ RC Flying Club – you guys are amazing. A big thanks to COPA National for all the support you give to us COPA types “out in the trenches.” Patrick Gilligan who has the C4K portfolio – you are an inspiration to us all! Have a great and safe fall flying season guys.