COPA Flight 109 Boasts Eclectic Group Of Flyers

Gord Dyck


Flight 109 is not your typical COPA Flight. We are a truly diversified grass-roots outfit with a centre of gravity on the lighter side of the gross weight table.

Our folks fly powered parachutes, trikes and three-axis ultralights and a few members fly those complex certified jobs. We enjoy going places and this year had a substantial deployment to Dale George’s Big Bay fly-in on Georgian Bay.

It began during our July meeting when Lynn Hugo, a stalwart Lazair driver, mentioned the Big Bay event was on. Some of the trike gang and PPC folks indicated they were going. Art Ottenhof and I then began the discussion of why not a fixed wing contingent. Our plan made Peterborough a stretch-stop and then Edenvale because it had Mogas, and then on to the Big Bay near Wiarton.

I had a fine conversation with a chatty weather guesser in London, at O-dark stupid and it looked doable for both days with some unsettled weather but VFR in the weeds where we prefer. So we packed up the Kitfoxes and were airborne at 0638 en route with strict instructions to call our wives at each stop.

We certainly weren’t use to the vast expanse that Peterborough offers for a runway after our club grass strips, but managed not to embarrass ourselves on its 5,000-foot asphalt expanse too badly. After a quick refuel we heard the other club twosome on the radio. Howard in his Tailorcraft and Charles in his C150 had just rendezvoused and were en route as well.

In Edenvale we met a chap who had just sold his Kitfox, we joined him for brunch after refuelling at their pumps — the restaurant has a great location for en route pilots.

The weather was perfect and we arrived at Big Bay strip at noon to be greeted by the rest of the fly in participants and our trike and PPC folks. Our host Dale had setup a tent for us, the certified crew brought all their fixin’s with them as they were more experienced under the wing campers than Art and I.

We retraced our steps on return. In Edenvale we met Claude Roy and John Woudstra returning from Oshkosh in a pair of Challengers on Amphib floats en route to Carleton Place. We had time for a quick chat with these familiar Eastern Ontario ultralight pilots and were off again.

With an unusual east wind to fight we arrived back in Camden East having logged just under eight hours en route in total. The Kingston Ultralight Club brought eight aircraft (three Trikes, one PPC, a Mitchell Wing, a pair of Kitfoxes, a Tailorcraft and a C150) with nine club members and families to Big Bay.

Everyone flew multiple hours over great scenery, enjoyed a well organized event with barbecue and returned safely home to the Kingston area. It was a great learning experience to fly a part of the country I had never flown before. It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Our main club event is based on an annual fly-in camp over at Camden East the second last weekend in August. Art, Bob, Lynn, Byron, Daryl and some other club members spent Thurs day and Friday sprucing up the field. Thursday evening we held a final meeting to walk through the issues, parking, ground control, air boss, canteen, first aid etc. using the COPA event checklist to make sure we didn’t miss anything.

In fact we found the COPA checklist more detailed than required but it was a good sanity check. We had our insurance certificate from Patrick Gilligan at COPA HQ and had a detailed discussion with the COPA underwriter to make sure we fully understood that potential thorny issue.

Friday night Art organized a corn boil/camp fire for the early attendees and the club members who had helped put things together. The local corn from down the road was superb. The club provided a full turn out and we entertained visitors from Georgian Bay, Cobden, Stirling, Bankcroft and Carleton Place —all told 20 aircraft participated in our event.

The powered chutes were first in the air at the crack of dawn on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening the strips owner and his select team of cooks barbecued 15 chickens, but the real power behind the throne, Barb, had the ladies provide the rest of the feast potluck for the 150 people who stayed on into the evening.

The club then buzzed off for an evening fly to return to base for fireworks and a campfire after dark. Adrian and Robert with a squeeze box and guitar provided some fireside music. The club was able to showcase our wide variety of aircraft to those interested. The event went off without incident, and will be planned again next year.

The club annually sends a contingent to Claude Roy’s barbecue hosted at his hangar in Carleton Place, with the rest of the local Carleton Place flyers.
This year we sent five. A four ship of two Challengers, a pair of Kitfoxes and a solo C152.

We took the Northern route IFR (Highways 38 and 7) over the shield and its picturesque lake country. It was a great fly-in event well organized and hosted.

COPA Flight 109 like most clubs is an eclectic group who share the passion and thrill of flying in a variety of contraptions. We welcome anyone to drop by our home field at Camden East (CCE6) newly minted in the CFS.