Location of the 2010 COPA AGM Fly-in

Barry Martin



A few of the aircraft at
Cable Head.

What will probably become a lost art with
the invention of the GPS, map folding.

The summer flying season is over on PEI, but we are now into the winter season. Most of the aircraft out of Charlottetown fly year around, enjoying the smooth and dense air of the cooler seasons.

This summer saw three Charlottetown aircraft leave for the pilgrimage to Oshkosh. Two Piper Cherokees and one Piper Twin Comanche left, but only one Cherokee and the Comanche actually made it all the way.

The other Cherokee, with me as pilot, experienced a broken door handle pin after arriving in Binghamton, New York, on a very warm Saturday evening. Luckily we had a screw driver handy to pry open the door as the temperature inside the cockpit rose toward a balmy 35 degrees.

Since the Cherokee would be down for a few days, not wanting to miss Oshkosh, we decided to rent a car and drive.

For anyone worrying about the new Custom's regulations flying into and out of the States, don't worry, it is really very easy.

The PEI COPA Flight's 57 and Summerside Flight 125 fly-in barbecue schedule allowed a couple to be held around the rainy weather. The first was at the Cable Head Air-park. Pilots and aircraft from the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and Massachusetts assembled in Cable Head for the fourth annual “Prince Edward Island Flying Skills Competition” held under the auspices of the PEI Flying Association/COPA Flight 57 and sponsored by Tom and Margie Corcoran and Jim and Jean Whitty.

Al Dunphy of Greenvale finished first in landing accuracy in a test of pilot skills. Dunphy, flying a Piper Cherokee, complete with a new door handle pin, made the most precise landing simulating daily Bush Pilot requirements as they help keep the isolated Northern communities in touch with the rest of the country.

Tom Corcoran from Massachusetts proved the most accurate in the “message drop” which simulates a pilot giving aid in a remote area. Corcoran maneuvered his Beech Sundowner in gusty conditions and managed to drop his message squarely on the centre of the circular two metre target.

Other contests included map folding, won by Jim Stonehouse of Nova Scotia, and airplane construction and test flight (paper airplanes) won by Dico Reijers of Charlottetown.

Glen McClarity, assisted by David Corrigan, put on an aerial safety demonstration in his custom built

Vans RV-8 and Brian Pound put on a precision flying demonstration in his Beechcraft Baron. The day was rounded out by a traditional Island barbecue.

Last year, it took us two Saturday's to get the Brookfield Fly-in Barbecue completed, not because of the large number of aircraft but because of the terrible weather. This year, we were able to accomplish it in just one day. The weather was great with all kinds of aircraft, even a couple of helicopters flew in to enjoy the hamburgers.

Another fly-in of sorts happened in September when Clare McEwan's Air Safari stopped in Charlottetown for fuel and lunch. He was escorting U.K. Pilots on a tour of Eastern Canada. Some local pilots came out to meet, chatter and have lunch with them. After lunch, you could see all of them sitting at the table texting home. The last couple of places they were at had no coverage. Ain't technology great.

Just a note for all you pilots across the country, the 2010 COPA AGM and Fly-in is being held in Summerside, PEI next June 25th weekend and, of course, there will be a lobster supper.

Now is the time to start planning to make sure that the weekend is not booked for some other non-aviation event, such as a wedding, unless of course you want to get married on PEI.

The Skyplex, home of COPA Flight 57 has been sold this fall. The new owner is leasing an airplane for his business operation and is planning on using the Skyplex for his head office and to hangar his aircraft. He is planning on setting up a section (gateway) for both local and visiting pilots to use to access the ramp. This area will have a Nav Canada kiosk, computer room, flight planning room, etc.

Wishing you all the best for 2010 from COPA Flight 57.