Catching up on the social side of flying

By Gord Mahaffy



COPA president Kevin Psutka
presents Cheryl Marek with the
COPA Award of Merit for her
work preserving the
Oshawa Airport

Scott Griffin Dec 4 2008 – 025
Scott poses with COPA Flight-70
members – left to right –
Mikel Brown, Doug Raine,
Wayne Ellis, Scott Griffin, Captain
Jim Kamstra, Wayne Jeffery,
and Jim Marsh.

A newly restored Tiger Moth in
Corporate Aircraft
Restoration’s hanger.

COPA Flight 70 has been active during the Christmas season. An early start to winter slowed down flying activities, but allowed us to catch up on our social events.

At our monthly meeting on Dec. 4, 2008 author and adventurer, Scott Griffin kept members on the edge of their seats with his account of flying his Cessna-180 from Canada to Africa by way of the Azores. Once there he supported medical teams by flying doctors into remote settlements. When he decided to return to Canada his route led up the west coast of Africa and Europe to Scotland, to Iceland, to Greenland and then to Canada.

It was between Iceland and Greenland that he picked up carburetor icing so severe that his engine was sputtering and missing. You can read an account of this incident in Scott’s own words in his book, My Heart is Africa.

At the end of the meeting Scott spent a long time in one on one conversations with COPA members and guests and autographed all the books that were purchased.

Several interesting events occurred during this meeting. Scott originally intended to fly his C-180 from Toronto to Oshawa to attend the meeting. However the engine in his plane would not start so he had to make a dash along highway 401 in rush hour. Which might prove that flying between Toronto and Oshawa in the wintertime is more unpredictable than flying from Canada to Africa. Secondly our COPA Flight-70 Bombardier, Cheryl Marek surprised Scott with a highly customized birthday cake.

On Saturday Dec. 6, 2008 many COPA members attended the open house sponsored by Corporate Aircraft Restorations located on the Oshawa airport.

Owner Mo Nesbitt allowed people into his hanger to browse the projects that are in progress. These included an Antonvik biplane, a pristine British version of the Tiger Moth and a beautiful single place Pitts Special.

The Pitts cleverly had an extra alternator belt behind the prop and over the crankshaft tucked neatly out of the way but ready to pull on if the currently installed belt broke. This would allow a quick installation of a new alternator belt with out removing the prop. A good idea for some of us conventional flyers who may be caught away from home base when our alternator belt breaks.

I would like to up-date you on one other important event that took place on Saturday Dec. 13, 2008. The Recreational Aircraft Association’s Oshawa Chapter held its annual Christmas dinner in the Officers Mess at the Oshawa Armories. This was a formal jacket and tie dinner during which several COPA members received awards.

COPA member Doug Raine received an award from the RAA for his work flying Young Eagles which until recently was sponsored by COPA National.

COPA member Cheryl Marek was presented with the COPA Award of Merit for saving the Oshawa Airport from being shut down. Cheryl was named as a recipient of this award at the COPA National Convention held in St. Thomas last summer, but the actual award was not ready at that time. Our president Kevin Psutka traveled all the way from Ottawa to make the presentation to Cheryl.

Incidentally, the supporters of Lindsay Airport, about 70 km from Oshawa have also been successful in preserving the Lindsay airport when it too was threatened with closure. It makes one wonder if the example set by the Oshawa supporters made it easier to save the Lindsay airport.