A year in review

By Harry Wiebe


Another year is over and for all intents 2008 hasn’t been without its challenges.

Weather always plays a part but this year sky rocketing fuel prices seemed to cut flying down to almost half of other years. After all, the price of a litre at our airport jumped 50 cents-a-litre with our first fill in Spring and stayed around the $1.60-a-litre for the most part of the summer.

The year started out as usual with COPA Flight 35, CASARA, RAA Manitoba and the Manitoba Aviation Council jointly hosting the annual Rust Remover on the fourth Thursday in January.

This has become a popular and beneficial evening with the turnout increasing each year -we had in excess of 150 attend the event.

Flight 35 held a small raffle for a couple of COPA memberships and other COPA products in return for a donation to the Flight. We raised $710 dollars of which a portion was donated to the COPA Special Action Fund.

Summer flying seems to officially kick off with the 99’s annual Poker Derby. As usual Flight 35 provided prizes for the silent auction as well as hosting the barbeque after the derby. Proceeds were donated to the Springfield Flying Club’s building fund.

Last year we had a real curve thrown at us when COPA’s insurer could not meet the new insurance requirement imposed by the EAA. In late June after much effort on both sides, and yet with no insurance coverage or agreement in place, COPA reluctantly severed their Young Eagles relationship with EAA.

Our Young Eagles event was planned well in advance of this decision so our COPA members who were also EAA members had to switch hats and run the Young Eagles as an EAA event only. This was an unfortunate decision however, the event turned out well as this is in fact a “kids “occasion.

COPA national continues to work on the replacement youth flying program: “COPA For Kids Aviation Program” and COPA tells me that they will have this up and running by February 2009.

Our annual fly-out to the International Peace Garden’s on the Labour Day weekend started out well, however, sometimes the aviation weather can’t see all the way to the Turtle Mountain.

Several of us left Winnipeg but as we got half way there we were getting squeezed further south and closer to the ground. We landed at the Louise Municipal Airport and waited about an hour. Things were looking pretty good so we took off but we only made it another 30 miles before we were forced to turn back due to low ceilings.

The elevation at the Peace Gardens is almost 1,600 feet higher than Winnipeg. Fortunately all who attempted the trip made it home safely. We will try again this year.

In October COPA Flight 35 usually has their Air Rally. But not this year! Our fall was unusually wet and with questionable weather and building construction happening at Lyncrest, it was decided to cancel the event, but we will do it again in 2009.

That pretty much wraps it up for 2008, but we are in the process of populating the 2009 events calendar at: http://www.lyncrest.org/sfcfltcalendar.html. Our first event will be the 2009 Rust Remover scheduled for Jan. 29, 2009. Watch the calendar for updates.