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Celebrating your freedom to fly


By COPA President and CEO Kevin Psutka

An event that was a long-time coming occurred on July 20, when pilots gathered at the Hinton Entrance airport for some speeches and then invited guests attended a COPA-sponsored luncheon in Jasper. 

The landing of 12 aircraft at the Jasper Airstrip officially acknowledged the recent amendment to the Parks Air Access Regulations to reinstate Banff and Jasper airstrips as emergency and diversion aerodromes as well as making Jasper available for recreational use. 

The history of the issue goes back to the early 1980s and is summarized in my article in the April 2013 COPA Flight newspaper http://www.copanational.org/PresColumnApr13En.cfm

Some photos of the events at Hinton and Jasper are included below. I flew there with COPA member and former Chair of the Board Bob Kirkby who invested a great deal of his volunteer time in this issue during the long Environmental Assessment process. 

I’d like to report that the Jasper Airstrip is in great shape, with a newly constructed relief facility and refurbished registration kiosk where you can pay the $5 landing fee and get information about local accommodations and transportation.

This issue was more than simply about two grass airstrips. It was about the safety of those who travel by light aircraft along two major corridors through the mountains and the need for airports of refuge, which are so important for our continued freedom to fly across Canada. I am happy that reason finally prevailed.

At the Hinton Flying Club, former COPA Chair Bob Kirkby acknowledged the many groups who got involved in defending the airstrips

At the Hinton Flying Club, former COPA Chair Bob Kirkby
acknowledged the many groups 
who got involved in defending the airstrips. 

Jasper’s ample parking area.

Jasper’s ample parking area.

Two key players in the defence of Banff and Jasper airstrips – left to right Bram Tilroe, Chair of Aviation Alberta and Bryn Thomas, Jasper Flying Club. They are in front of the registration kiosk.

Two key players in the defence of Banff and Jasper airstrips –
left to right Bram Tilroe, Chair of Aviation Alberta and
Bryn Thomas, Jasper Flying Club. They are in front of the
registration kiosk.

Depositing the $5 fee.

Depositing the $5 fee.

The Jasper Airstrip.

The Jasper Airstrip.