By Patrick Gilligan
The results of the 2012 COPA Membership Survey are in and they include some interesting data!
The survey asked members about their flying, aircraft ownership, use of computers, COPA policies and programs, COPA Flight newspaper, aviation issues, age, income and other member demographics.
Here are some highlights from the survey:
• There have been some changes in the types of aircraft COPA members are now flying compared to our last surveys done in 2002 and 2007. Members say they are flying fewer light certified airplanes, down from 90% to 84% and now 80.4%. They are also flying more floatplanes in 2012, from 27% to 19% and currently 20.9%. Members are flying less ultralights, from 15% to 21% and down to 17.5%; transport category airplanes, from 7% to 12% and down to 6.5% and helicopters, from 3% to 8% back down to 5.1%.
• The lowest total reported lifetime flying time was 0.5 hours and the highest was 31,000 hours. The median COPA member has 680 hours total flying time.
• The lowest amount of time flown in 2011 was 0.5 hours and the most was 970 hours, with a median flying time of 27 hours, down from 40 hours in 2007, in line with the next question regarding hours flown since last survey: 46.6% answered lower and 37.7% answered about the same.
• The median COPA member has been flying for 22 years - no change.
• Aircraft ownership remains up from the 2002 survey when 68% of members reported owning an aircraft or a share of an aircraft. In 2007, it rose to 79% and then decreased slightly to 77% in 2012.
• The number of COPA members who have access to the internet has gone up since the 2007 survey and is now 95.1%, up from 90.7% in 2007. And today only 2.5% of members have no internet access, down from 5% in 2007.
• Our members continue to greatly value the COPA aircraft insurance program. 78% said insurance was the program that they most wanted, followed by Rust Removers (safety seminars), which moved up to second at 53% from fifth place in 2007 at 26%.
• The majority of COPA members strongly agreed that COPA Flight, our newspaper, is excellent!
• The telephone survey especially showed that many COPA members are emotionally attached to COPA’s newspaper and greatly look forward to its arrival each month. A huge majority of members also want the newspaper to remain as a paper publication and not move exclusively to a web-based publication. A great majority of members do not want to see the newspaper get smaller and information moved to the website, as a cost-savings measure.
• Members told us that accident and incident summaries are the most read features in the newspaper with Canadian Plane Trade in second position and the Flight Safety Bulletin (Chock to Chock) is the most read column, closely followed by Barry Meek’s A Pilot’s Perspective and Fit to Fly by Dr. Jonathan Wallace.
• Virtually identical to 2007 survey, 96% of members feel that they are getting good value from their COPA membership.
• Most members think that COPA should conduct more lobbying and promotion (36%), increase awareness about aviation (21%), provide more training and current information (11.3%), work to keep cost down (9.7%) and provide more French translation (3.8%). Also in third position at 18.3%, COPA is already doing a credible job.
• Regarding COPA Flights, 69.1% are aware of COPA Flights in their area. Unfortunately only 37.3% are members of a COPA Flight and of those Flight members 68.5% are very satisfied with the services from their COPA Flight.
• The average age of COPA members has increased since 2002 from 53.4 to 55.85 years in 2007 (2.45 years) and is currently 57.2 years (1.35 years). This rate of increase is about the amount that the general Canadian population increased in the same period.
• Women make up 3.2% of COPA members, which is approximately the same as observed in the two previous surveys.
• Six four point five per cent of COPA members have family incomes higher than the national median of $68,410 (2009) and that the average family income of COPA members is likely double that of the average Canadian family.
The 2012 Survey was conducted by Keith Christopher of Ottawa-based KCSurveys between January 30 and February 22. The paper surveys were mailed out to a geographically random selected sample of 1,028 COPA members. This was followed up with an on-line survey open to all remaining COPA members which attracted 220 responses.
There was also a follow-up telephone survey with 100 members who were in the selected sample but who did not mail in a survey, to confirm if there were differences between those who did and did not respond.
The 2012 COPA survey is considered accurate + / - 3.68% at the 95% confidence level (19 times out of 20), and therefore most likely indicative of the majority of COPA members.