The following is a list of COPA’s accomplishments over the past two years. Please make your own inventory of what COPA has saved you in terms of money and access.
Most pilots have saved several times the cost of a COPA membership each year as a result of the improvements realized by COPA’s efforts.
Your support, through membership in COPA, is vital to maintaining your freedom to fly.
Recent accomplishments of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association are also published in COPA Flight
COPA funded the successful defence of a court case where a municipality sought to control the building of facilities on airports (the Henry Longhurst case). The case set a precedent confirming that airports and buildings on airports were under a federal jurisdiction and not municipal. The case has been used for many years by COPA when municipalities and other local jurisdictions sought to control and restrict activity on privately-owned airports. This effort culminated in two decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada in which COPA asserted that jurisdiction rested exclusively with the Federal Government. The Court agreed. This significant development in our freedom to establish aerodromes could not have happened without Freedom to Fly funding.
COPA has been working with airports and the Ontario government over the issue of the large increase in land taxes for privately-owned hangars at airports in the province.
COPA is represented on the Nav Canada Advisory Committee and consults with Canada's new air navigation services provider on numerous issues. As a result, Nav Canada fees to general aviation are low; there are fee exemptions to aircraft under 617 kg (1,360 lb); fee reductions for all aircraft in 2000 and a change to a lower fee category for recreational aircraft over two tonnes. COPA has provided feedback about new on-line weather services and Nav Canada's proposed Flight Information Centralization.
All COPA members should be proud of this one. For some pilots, rescuing Banff and Jasper Airports from closure by Parks Canada will be a life saver. The airstrips are being kept open for emergency use. The fight for Banff and Jasper involved local COPA members. The legal fees leading to the court injunction were paid from COPA's Special Action Fund and feedback to the politicians and bureaucrats was provided by COPA members.
The association supports COPA members in B.C. and Ontario in their bid to maintain the freedom to fly floatplanes into provincial parks and wilderness areas.
COPA successfully campaigned for Transport Canada to change the regulations for constant speed and variable pitch propellers in CAR 625 Appendix C. As a result, the previous five-year corrosion inspection, which effectively resulted in an overhaul for most propellers, has been eliminated in favour of a 10-year requirement for overhaul.
COPA successfully campaigned for Industry Canada to drop the Aircraft Radio Licence annual fee.
The association spear-headed the effort to permit passenger-carrying in ultralights. The final rule is in development.
COPA participated in meetings with Transport Canada that led to flight permits for foreign ex-military aircraft. Meetings continue toward facilitating passenger-carrying in these aircraft.
COPA successfully intervened in a Nav Canada initiative to prohibit formation flying in certain controlled airspace.
COPA helped develop the proposed Owner-maintenance Aircraft Category. This will help owners of older, unsupported aircraft to save money on the cost of parts and maintenance.
COPA is leading the development work for a new Sport Plane Category. The association is working with Transport Canada, the National Research Council and the aircraft manufacturers to create a new category between ultralights and certified aircraft.
COPA was successful in persuading Transport Canada to extend the sign-off period for pilot medical renewals by Civil Aviation Medical Examiners to the full term of the medical. COPA also negotiated longer periods between medicals for non-commercial pilots. For those under 40 years of age, examinations are required every five years (used to be two years) and for those over 40 it is every two years (used to be one year).
COPA fought against increases in fire/rescue services which would have added to the current cost of operating smaller airports.
Many COPA members and staff were involved in rolling back unnecessary terminal airspace expansion requiring Mode C transponders.
The association worked with the Air Transport Association of Canada to level the playing field between flying schools and freelance instructors without unduly restricting freelance work.
COPA successfully lobbied Nav Canada to develop free Internet on-line weather information.
Through several meetings, COPA successfully opposed an initiative to define "built-up area", a proposal that would have placed an impossible burden on pilots flying at acceptable minimum altitudes.
COPA has successfully lobbied plain language weather reporting.
COPA participated in meetings aimed at improving the Automatic Weather Observation Systems. As a result of this effort, modernized AWOS incorporating lightning reports, improved ceiling and other sensors are being installed throughout Canada. In addition, cameras are being installed at many sites.
Feedback from COPA and its members is directly responsible for an exemption to the regulation that had prevented pilots from closing flight plans in the air.
On many occasions, COPA has briefed federal politicians on issues affecting general aviation. COPA representatives have addressed Transportation Sub-committees for the House of Commons, the Senate, and Opposition Transportation critics.
COPA helped facilitate approval for cross-border flights of ultralight aircraft between Canada and the United States.
COPA provided feedback through the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association opposing an international proposal to claw back search and rescue costs.
The Federal Aviation Administration responded positively to COPA feedback by not applying overflight fees to aircraft flying point-to-point in Canada via American airspace.
In response to feedback from COPA and its members, Transport Canada simplified its pilot fee structure from 14 different charges to one $55 fee.
COPA sponsored an awareness campaign, along with Transport Canada, Nav Canada and others regarding runway incursion hazards.
COPA successfully argued that a proposed rule to control noise at aerodromes was not necessary and would be used as a convenient, political way to get rid of many aerodromes.
Strong input from COPA is shaping the way Nav Canada’s new Flight Information Centres service general aviation.
COPA, in cooperation with AOPA in the United States, developed a guide to flying between Canada and the United States.
COPA convinced Nav Canada to follow the American example of adding the coordinates of VFR call-up landmarks on VFR Terminal Charts so they can be included in GPS navigation receiver databases.
COPA negotiated a solution to a Transport Canada proposed rule that would have required all certified airports, including those with no commercial traffic, to write comprehensive winter maintenance plans and to buy expensive equipment, including runway friction measuring devices.
Following the events in New York City, COPA was successful in keeping Canadian general aviation pilots informed about North American flight restrictions and in lobbying Canadian and US officials for the timely reopening of airspace to GA flights.
COPA hosted a key government/industry meeting to develop the future of recreational flying in Canada. Increased max weight for ultralights. COPA led the way with a meeting of manufacturers, which resulted in the revitalization of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and revision of the standards for ultralight aircraft.
COPA successfully argued that general aviation aircraft should be permitted access to airports when land and hold short operations are in place.
COPA was a key sponsor and supporter of simplified rules that would allow Canadians to own and fly ex-military aircraft. This came to pass as CAR 507 Appendix H passed CARAC.
COPA worked to ensure that the airspace restricted was of minimum size and duration for this event.
COPA was the association that advocated changes in Airworthiness Manual Chapter 549 (now CAR 507 Appendix C) to allow the importation of amateur-builts from other countries. This was accomplished despite the objections of other associations opposed to this.
COPA worked with Canada Revenue Agency to bring CANPASS back into existence after it was suspended in the wake of 9/11. COPA also convinced CRA that the fee for CANPASS should not be raised from $25 per year to $50 per year. Instead CRA was convinced to change it to $40 for five years.
COPA has successfully worked with many agencies and organizations to ensure that floatplanes retain access to BC Parks.
COPA worked to ensure that floatplanes retain access to the traditionally used areas in the new Kawartha Highlands Recreation Reserve. It was originally proposed that it become a park and eliminate floatplane use.
COPA successfully opposed introducing new CARs standards for sensitive altimeters that would have required about 25% of COPA members to have to buy a new altimeter for their aircraft.
COPA’s aircraft insurance program has become the mainstay of recreational aviation in Canada, insuring more than half the recreational aircraft flying in Canada. Without the COPA insurance program personal flying would be very different and largely inaccessible to most Canadians.
COPA has partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to provide flying patrols of NCC conserved lands to help protect them from poachers and trespassers.
COPA contacted Nav Canada to have a US Temporary Flight Restriction that overlapped from Detroit into Canadian airspace limited to the USA only.
COPA contributed to saving the Webster Memorial Trophy Competition when Air Canada removed its support.
COPA requested changes to CAR 421.05 to make it much easier for non-TC organizations to put on a “Rust Remover” program that will officially count as two year recency training.
COPA organized a quick response to the risk of this airport being closed by the City. The response convinced the City that closing the airport was not a good idea.
COPA Aviation Insurance Program introduced hangar liability insurance in July 2003 at a very low annual premium, contributing to keeping flying more affordable.
In September 2004 COPA succeeded in having TC add 13 more aircraft types to the list of aircraft acceptable to be put in the owner maintenance category.
Through data-driven research COPA convinced its insurance company to offer third party liability insurance for student gyroplane pilots, allowing them to commence flight training again in Canada. For the last few years no insurance company would insure student gyroplane pilots preventing them from getting their Pilot Permit – Gyroplanes.
Since the late 1990s COPA lobbied the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation to convince them that the $12.50 landing fee they imposed on light aircraft was driving business away. As a result of this effort, the management at the airport lowered their landing fee and waiving it entirely if you buy fuel. This is a win-win for everyone – pilots and the airport, too.
When TC was considering making changes to the AIP, COPA convinced TC to make it available on the Internet as an enhancement to safety. This would greatly benefit those pilots who did not keep their paper version up to date and also benefit student pilots and foreign pilots visiting Canada as they would not have to buy the AIP. The result was the Aeronautical Information Manual, available on TC's website.
In concert with US aviation associations, COPA made representations to the US Transportation Security Administration regarding their Alien Flight training rule. COPA told the TSA that there was no need to require security screening for foreigners who are seeking training on gliders and balloons or recurrency training on small aircraft. The TSA listened and incorporated the changes we requested. Information on the current requirements can be found on the TSA website.
COPA lobbied TC and Nav Canada to make the nation’s airport diagrams available for free to all pilots in the name of improving safety, as a runway incursion prevention measure. After years of delay and negotiation these are now available under the title of CAMS “Canadian Aerodrome Maneuvering Surfaces” on Nav Canada’s website.
It seemed incredible to COPA that even into 2005 that TC was gathering aircraft utilization statistics from aircraft owners via mail-in paper reports and then, lacking the manpower for data-entry, was not processing the raw data they were collecting. COPA asked TC over many years to make AAIR reporting something that aircraft owners could do on-line with the data fed automatically into a TC database so it could be actually used. On March 10th, 2005 TC announced that this had been accomplished and the new system is available on the TC website.
COPA worked with Nav Canada's Ottawa Terminal Control and Tower units to convince them to change the mandatory requirement to phone ahead for a transponder code before operating in Ottawa terminal airspace. The mandatory requirement was creating a safety hazard as many aircraft were packing into the Class "G" airspace under the terminal airspace to avoid the hassles of trying to get a code in advance. COPA is continuing to work with Nav Canada to have this policy accepted across the country in the other terminal airspace affected by mandatory phone-ahead code requirements.
In response to member requests, COPA created Canada's first user-editable on-line airport directory which allows the update of time sensitive items such as fuel prices and airport fees. In its first two months of operation Places to Fly doubled in size - well on its way to the goal of cataloguing all airports and aerodromes in Canada.
On February 18th, 2005 COPA won a landmark legal case in British Columbia. Regional District of Comox-Strathcona V Hansen (2005) [The Cortez Island Case] solidly proved that municipalities cannot regulate aerodromes or aeronautics. The judge in this case thoroughly criticized a previous case in BC saying “[The] Van Gool [case] departed from the law stated as by the Supreme Court of Canada, and was therefore wrongly decided”.
On September 21st 2006 Transport Canada published their final decision that private IFR flights would not be subject to the new and very onerous IFR approach ban requirements imposed on commercial airlines following the Challenger RJ crash in Fredericton NB on 16 December 1997. Originally TC had proposed changing the rules for all IFR flights, but COPA successfully argued that private IFR flying was not part of the problem and should not bear the burden of fixing this airline problem.
After COPA warbird pilots asked for it, COPA negotiated with its insurers to allow policy holders to be covered for "trail & rejoin" formation aerobatics when flown as part of Swift and FAST formation training and practice. The additional coverage must be requested by the policy holder and is added as an endorsement.