By Harry Wiebe
This has been a challenging year for general recreational aviation right from the beginning. First of all winter never ended and when the weather did change it didn’t feel like summer but more like a combination of spring and fall.
It never warmed up, and when the weather tried to warm up, along came the rains.
But we persevered and we did do some serious flying.
COPA Flight 35 has been active in promoting recreational aviation for some years now and our events are for the most part a repeat of the previous years. This year, at the end of August we joined EAA Chapter 63 for a flight to Disley, Saskatchewan where we met up with EAA Chapter 1410 from High River, Alberta and Chapter 154 from Regina who also hosted this event. This is one of the few weekends where Mother Nature played in our favour.
On Sunday, September 6, we were able to fly to the International Peace Gardens for our annual fly-out. Once again we were blessed with great weather and we had a total of 11 planes come out and enjoy this beautiful park.
The highlight of the year for COPA Flight 35 this year was our 1st annual COPA for Kids event. This event had been planned since the inception of the COPA for Kids program and we thought that September 19th would be a good day because it gave us time to plan and to target various organizations for kids eligible for this program.
We invited kids from B & L Youth Services, Big Brothers / Big Sisters and Sturgeon Heights Collegiate Aviation program as well as kids that had seen our event on the website. In total we flew 50 kids with 10 pilot volunteers as well as five ground personnel. It all went as planned and we look forward to doing this again.
On October 17th we had our 6th annual Air Rally. Once again the weather tried to foil our plans with wind however for the eight participants, this was not a factor. Curt Reimer and Peter Moodie mapped out the course east of Winnipeg with a total distance of 170 miles. Ten questions had to be answered to determine the course and nine photos had to be identified on route. All questions and observations were assigned a point value with the larges point value assigned to the accuracy in the time on route. The winners of this event will now be responsible to organize next year’s event.
On Tuesday October 20, we had our wind-up meeting for 2009. This meeting was special for another reason. COPA Director Jerry Roehr presented the second place COPA Neil Armstrong Scholarship to Adelinde Grobler of Headingly.
She was unable to attend the presentation at the COPA Convention in Calgary in July, so it was decided to make the presentation at the Lyncrest Flight Centre. We all wish Adelinde well as she enters an exciting career in the field of aviation.
Even though 2009 isn’t over and there are still lots of flying left, we are looking forward to 2010. With 2010 being Manitoba’s 140th birthday, the five Manitoba COPA Flights are planning an aviation tour of Manitoba. The kick-off will be on May 12th in Neepawa and the goal is to visit 14 airports in Manitoba during the course of the summer. See COPA Flight 162 article elsewhere in this month’s COPA Flight newspaper for more details on the tour.