By Cheryl Marek
In 2002, with the help of COPA National, Flight 70 members began a campaign to educate politicians and the residents of Oshawa about General Aviation and the value of the Oshawa Municipal Airport.
The intermediate goal was to have an Economic Impact Study (EIS) done, and the long term goal, the creation of a workable, long term Business Plan.
Flight 70 representation on the Airport Advisory Committee (AAC); information flyers at the June 2005 Canadian Aviation Expo (CAE); presentations and letters to community groups, local Chamber of Commerce, MPs, the AAC and to City staff, Committees and Council; along with raising the profile of Flight 70 through participation in and support of community events; involving local media at annual Young Eagles days were some of the strategies employed.
During this time, COPA was voicing concerns to the GTAA, to Transport Canada and to the federal government about General Aviation elements in the Pickering Airport Draft Plan (Nov.'04).
Subsequently, an Oshawa Airport EIS using airport capital reserve funds was prepared and presented in February, 2007 (visit http://www.copanational.org/down/EconImpact2005-OMA.PDF) leading to extensive input from many stakeholder groups into a 25-year Airport Business Plan (visit http://www.oshawa.ca/agendas/Development_Services/2008/02-25/DS-08-069-2008_Airport_Business_Plan.pdf) that was approved by Council in March this year.
Trying to preserve our freedom to fly affordably, safely without a National Policy on General Aviation is no small task. A return of support by the Ontario Provincial government is also needed. As opportunities arise, take time to clarify, correct, and inform those around you about your local airport.
I thank COPA president and CEO, Kevin Psutka, for his suggestions as we moved through the process over the years for quickly and tirelessly providing information when requested, and for his attendance at key meetings.
I value the dedication and friendship of Flight 70 and particularly of members Peter Hartley, Paul Hartshorn, Gord Mahaffy and Doug Raine, who volunteered many hours to implement the strategies above.
Airport management, city staff, and local politicians have the support of local residents, airport tenants and us as they move forward. But COPA's involvement nationally, through Flight 70, and through those of you who visit (or would like to visit) CYOO will continue to be needed in shaping the 17 recommendations of the Plan. Your ideas on making our airport better for GA are welcome.
By Gordon D. Mahaffy
Charlie with his newly purchased Aeronca Champ
COPA Flight-70 Bombadier, Cheryl Marek
congratulates Charlie Buller on turning 90.
On Saturday and Sunday, March 8 - 9, COPA member Charlie Buller celebrated his 90th birthday at his seaplane base on Lake Scugog. Charlie is one of the oldest private aircraft owners in Canada.
Anyone who attended the 2007 Aviation Expo in Oshawa will remember the little red Aeronca Champ that greeted visitors at the show’s main entrance. Well Charlie bought that Champ just after the show. He put two new cylinders on it and is now waiting for some spring weather so he can return to some “grassroots” flying.
Despite the record breaking snow storm on Saturday, March 8, many neighbours and pilots from COPA Flight 70 turned up to help Charlie celebrate his 90th birthday.