Life-Long Memories Implanted In Minds Of Youth

Carl Forman


The Calgary Recreational and Ultralight Flying Club, COPA Flight 114 held its annual COPA for Kids Day on October 2 at Chestemere Kirkby Field.

The weather was severely clear with very light, sometimes nonexistent winds and virtually no turbulence. It doesn’t get any better than this.

We had a Cessna 140, 170, 182, Piper PA 12, and a Stinson 108. It was notable that most of these aircraft were not only older than the kids but were older than their parents and most of their grandparents as well as the pilots who flew them.

The aircraft however, are all maintained in near new condition and when lined up on the flight line they represent an irresistible Kodak moment. From the amateur category we had a Kitfox 5, a Bushcaddy and a Zenair CH250.

Kids are registered prior to the event and are assigned one of five flight timeslots. They arrive 15 minutes early to complete the paperwork. Once all the kids for a particular timeslot are present, they are given ground school instruction. Ground school consists of a brief description of the various parts of the airplane and how they are activated by the pilot.

After ground school, the kids are escorted to the airplane by their pilot. After their flight, their picture was taken with the pilot and the pilot then escorted them back to the hangar. The first batch of 10 Kids took off at 8:45 a.m. and the whole process was repeated at 45 minute intervals. Coffee , pop and donuts were available for the parents and kids.

After the event most of the participating aircraft and a few other aircraft took off for the 40 mile flight north to Lyndon for pie and debriefing.

The kids were full of enthusiasm and excitement and the parents were pleased and grateful.

This event is as much fun for the volunteers as it is for kids! I haven’t met a pilot who can’t remember his first airplane ride.

The knowledge that we have implanted this life-long memory in another 50 kids’ minds is really satisfying.

Here is an email we received from one of the parents:

“Thanks so much for your email and the photos. Thanks for the great morning all the kids had.

My kids and their friends thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were very appreciative!

I only heard good things from everyone, kids and parents alike! The whole event was well planned and a special treat for all the kids that could participate.

Well done! Thanks so much for the thoughtfulness extended to all the kids in giving them this opportunity. Please pass on our thanks to all the pilots and everyone involved serving and facilitating.”