By Dave Thomas
COPA Flight 125 held their 4th annual COPA For Kids Day on July 28. The event was announced in the local press with a photo and short story about 10 days beforehand as we like to have the kids pre-registered.
We had excellent cooperation from airport manager Brian Whithead and his staff who agreed to do the pre-registrations at the airport office. In this way the kids had a chance to visit the airport before the event which we feel helped to build the excitement before COPA For Kids Day.
Brian also volunteered for the event day as the Unicom is usually closed Saturdays. We kept him busy on the radio as 50 COPA For Kids missions were flown that day. Thanks Brian! The event is well known to the aerospace companies here at Summerside and several have been regular sponsors. We have flown many of their employees’ kids in past events.
We had a check-in desk to meet the kids as they arrived and verified their registration information. From there they went to the lecture theatre for a fiveminute introduction to the Air Cadet organization by Tyler Hann and then a 15-minute preflight briefing on safety, theory of flight and parts of an airplane by Dave Thomas.
At the same time the pilots were getting a briefing from Dick Lubbersen on a standard 20 minute flight route, ramp procedures, and safety. Then it was out to the ramp to take turns doing a walk around and cockpit familiarization on Ewen Stetson’s static C-172. This was done by Ewen, and Don MacKay.
Kids waiting had a chance to get a hotdog and juice drink from volunteers Susan Corbett and Bonnie Taylor.
Our goal has always been to give every kid a chance to be copilot and have the opportunity to get a feel of the controls if they wish. Most were delighted to have the chance to do this and were bubbling over with stories to tell their parents and friends as soon as they completed their flight. This year we were grateful to have three visiting aircraft participate. Dave Comeau with his Warrior from Debert, N.S.; Chris Cormier with his 172 from Moncton, N.B. and Al Dunphy with his PA28-140 from Charlottetown, PEI.
Local aircraft were Ron Arsenault with his Cessna 140, Randall Affleck with his Piper J-3 Cub (which gave kids and parents their first opportunity to observe hand-propping start-ups), Percy and Marilyn Affleck with their Cessna 150 Aerobat, and Dick Lubbersen and Dave Thomas with FD Air Tours’ Cessna 172.
Other ground crew included our Captain Fred Leard, Randy Gray, Noah Smith, Kaitlyn Taylor, and Gary MacDonald. Shelley Gray operated the computer printing certificates and Carmella Lubbersen was the official photographer. After the event, the local paper carried another photo and short story.