May 13, 2010
By Sarah Brown
It may be the first International Learn to Fly Day, but it’s the twenty-eighth annual event for one group of Canadian pilots who provide introductory rides to local Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations.
Flight 28, a chapter of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association at Burlington Airpark outside of Toronto, will host up to 100 participants May 15 for its annual Big Brothers Big Sisters airlift. This year’s event will be conducted under the COPA For Kids program, the Canadian counterpart to the Young Eagles, which was founded last year.
COPA Flight 28 members donate their time and aircraft to take children up flying at events each year; in the past, 100 to 250 participants have attended the one-day Big Brothers Big Sisters event. Each ride consists of a pre-flight briefing, a 20-to-30 minute flight where the little brothers and little sisters are encouraged to try the controls of the aircraft, and a post-flight debriefing, said COPA Flight 28’s Jan Slavik. The young participants receive COPA for Kids certificates.
“The airlifts are very popular with the kids—and the experience does stay with them,” Slavik said in an e-mail. “We have seen some come back a few years later to start training for their aviation careers.” The flights give an opportunity to a group of kids that, in many cases, might not otherwise have a chance to fly, he added.
The chapter has been active in the greater Toronto area for 30 years and will be conducting additional COPA for Kids airlifts and other events aimed at promoting general aviation during the year. It also awards annual scholarships to local young people pursuing aviation careers.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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