SEARCH What's New

Fly more often, help keep personal aviation alive and well

 

This month I would like to talk about flying instead of all the challenges to flying.

I just finished reading Garth Wallace’s column in the June issue of COPA Flight. I’m sure all of you read it. If you’re a true aviator you will turn to Garth’s column long before mine. Garth bills himself as an aviation humourist, and he certainly is. How else could he make it though 30-odd years of being a flight instructor and still be passionate about flying!

In his June column Garth talks about why we love flying. Although he puts a comical spin on everything his comments are always dead on. Thanks Garth for reminding us not to take life too seriously and to keep the passion alive.

This spring I told myself, more emphatically than in past years, that I was going to get to as many fly-ins as I possibly could. Starting with the last weekend in May, I made it to five over a five week period. Which was pretty good considering one weekend was weathered out.

It would be nice if I could say I had more spare time this year but with the economic downturn I’m working harder than I have in the last 10 years. Nonetheless, I came to the realization that the only thing as certain as death is that most of us will lose our medicals long before we’re ready, and I don’t want to look back some day and say I wasn’t ready.

So for the rest of the summer the weather better behave because I’m going to be out there burning lots of 100LL before the price goes up again.

I am writing this on July 5, the day after the 18th annual Chestermere-Kirkby Field fly-in breakfast (I didn’t count this above since I was already there).

We only had 14 aircraft fly in thanks to Nav Canada forecasting wet weather that never materialized. But there were lots of drive-ins. Our cooks served about 100 plates of pancakes and sausages (what else, eh?).

Instead of charging for breakfast I get sponsors to cover the food cost and then put out a donation coffee can with a sign (several actually) asking people to donate to the Special Action Fund instead of paying for breakfast. This year we collected $327.75 for the SAF.

This is something I haven’t seen at any of the fly-ins I’ve been to this year so far. I would like to encourage COPA Flights and Flying Clubs to do the same. Even if you charge for the breakfast there is no harm in asking for donations to the SAF. This is a much better time to ask than when people are not flying.

Plus many of the fly-ins have lots of non-pilots from the community in attendance. Why not put up a sign asking them to, “Help keep personal aviation alive and well by donating to the COPA Special Action Fund.” After all, they might want to come back again next year.

This year I get the feeling there is more aviation fever going around than in the recent past. Being curious I figured a simple gauge might be the number of flying events listed in COPA Flight “On the Horizon”. Since June marks the official start of the fly-in breakfast season I decided to count the number of events listed in the June issue of COPA Flight this year verses last year. Yes, I keep my COPA Flight’s for a least a year so I can go back and look things up, like this.

In June 2008 there were 131 events listed of which 38 (29%) were COPA Flights events (identified by the COPA Wings on top of each listing). In June 2009 there were 146 events listed. I thought this might just be due to 2009 being the centenary of powered flight in Canada, but when I counted the COPA Flights events that number was up to 44 (30%). 

So I was right, there does seem to be more going on across the country this year in addition to the special centenary events. I’ll be interested to repeat this comparison next year.

Meanwhile, see if you can break your personal fly-in record this year, and keep that prop spinning.