A glance into this year’s convention


As I write this column our 2009 Fly-in Convention has drawn to a close, and what a great show it was. The weather was great, the attendance was great and everyone had a great time. But that’s not what made it great.

Two years ago Bill Beaton, COPA Director for Alberta and Northwest Territories, had a vision that Calgary, and specifically Springbank Airport, could host a fantastic and memorable COPA Fly-in Convention in 2009, Canada’s centenary of power flight.

Bill pulled together a talented Convention Organizing Committee from several of the local COPA Flights and the Calgary Flying Club (located at Springbank Airport). They in turn pulled together a very large roster of volunteers who all came together on July 17-19 to put on one of the best COPA Conventions ever, and certainly a fitting celebration of our centenary of powered flight.

On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to say thank you and congratulations on a big job well done to Bill Beaton, his organizing committee (Trekker Armstrong, Daryl Medd, Rod Malone, Madonna Malone, Bill Zurawell, Greg Caswell, Don Rennie, Garrett Komm, Don Schellenberg, Scott Wilcox, Pat Bohan, Jim Bleaney), the Calgary Flying Club (Scott Wilcox manager), the Calgary Airport Authority (for being so supportive), and the many volunteers from the five COPA Flights in the area (14, 81, 114, 134, 142) and the Calgary Flying Club.

I haven’t seen final numbers yet but I do know there were over 700 for the Friday night ho-down, over 500 registered for the convention, 450 for the Saturday banquet and over 700 breakfasts were served on Sunday morning.

Our Annual General Meeting was also packed with well over 100 members in attendance. Not only was this the largest AGM in recent memory, it was also the longest. They normally run 40-45 minutes so we planned 50 minutes this year and we went for over an hour, but it wasn’t enough.

We backed onto lunch, which was in the same hangar, so there was little leeway to lengthen the meeting, fearing a stampede of hungry pilots. Several members approached me later and asked me to allow more time for the AGM in future.

One member said, “We came a long way for this and we’d like more time to hear more about what’s going on and be able to ask more questions.” Fair enough. When planning the AGM for next year I will make sure we don’t get squeezed for time. I will also give some thought to altering the format to provide members with plenty of first-hand information and discussion which we tend to miss with the somewhat formal AGMs.

Next year’s “COPA Annual Fly-in and AGM” will be in Summerside, P.E.I. at the Slemon Park Airport (CYSU). Start planning to attend now and look for details in COPA Flight in early 2010. I hope to see you there.

You can read more about the new format for the COPA Annual Fly-in in my column in the June issue of COPA Flight or on our web site. Meanwhile, keep your prop spinning.