COPA for Kids at Port Elgin Airport – a chance for kids to soar

Once again this year, COPA is hosting Kids Aviation day at Port Elgin Airport tomorrow, July 13th, between 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association) local flight 172 based in Kincardine is overseeing the day’s activities.  The Kids Program is a free-of-charge aviation program for putting COPA member pilots together with young people between 8 and 17 years of age to show them what aviation is all about and to give them an experience of being in the cockpit of an aircraft in flight.

Participants will experience an enjoyable flight that will give them new perspectives on the world and life in general. Participation in the COPA For Kids Aviation Program will help young people understand that a pilot is simply an ordinary individual with very special skills developed through training and practice. The participant will also be exposed to the technology and science of flight and be shown the advantages of the study and hard work required to achieve a pilot’s license. Being in the cockpit of a working aircraft in flight will help to de-mystify the art and science of aviation. Many people remember this experience for the rest of their lives.  Each participant will be given a short  ‘ground school’ tour of a static display aircraft and be given explanations on the operation of an aircraft and the duties of the pilot and then will also be given the opportunity to fly in a small aircraft for a flight of approximately 20 minutes and will  receive a certificate and/or logbook as a record of the flight.

All flight time is donated by local pilots who fly regularly from Port Elgin, or from local airports such as Wiarton, Hanover and Kincardine. The event will be supported by airport staff and by local volunteers.  An aircraft for static display has also been provided by local pilot Randy Linton.

COPA is a Canadian non-profit association that represents some 18,000 pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts across all the provinces and territories of Canada.

Members are aviation enthusiasts of every age group, including many airline and commercial pilots, engineers, business people. They enjoy all types of aircraft, including “experimental” aircraft (a category of aircraft designated by Transport Canada, built by individual craftsmen instead of on a factory assembly line). The 16,000 aircraft belonging to COPA members represent over half of all the 31,000 aircraft in Canada and can be seen on every aerodrome and airport in Canada.

COPA “Flights” are groups of COPA members from a particular town, city or area, organized into a named Flight which is democratically elected and which follows the rules, principles and objectives of the national COPA organization. (The local flight is COPA 172 based at the Kincardine airport).

Each COPA Flight is recognized and certified by the national COPA organization, and is provided insurance coverage so that they may carry on a variety of aviation events on a regular basis, including COPA For Kids introductory flights. COPA has approximately 150 COPA Flights located across Canada.


Safety of all participants, particularly children, is of prime concern throughout this event. Safety will be assured as detailed in the plan sections below but will include:

  • Use of pilots who are current, recent and proficient.
  • Use of aircraft which are maintained to regulatory standard
  • Clear separation of ‘ground’ and ‘airside’ activities at the airport, with close supervision by suitable persons on ‘airside’.
  • Weather minimums of >3000’agl ceiling, >5sm visibility, and steady winds less than 10kts.
  • Pre-defined flight route with fixed altitude and en-route radio reporting points.

Pilots will be responsible for actual flight safety and will have final say on flight departure /continuation. This includes all normal expectations of a Pilot In Command, including ‘weight & balance’, ‘in-cockpit’ safety brief and ensuring all passengers strapped in correctly.

A safety coordinator will also be present on the airside of the field to oversee loading and unloading of the aircraft. This person will monitor all local traffic via a portable radio and visual monitoring of the Port Elgin circuit.

General ‘duty of care’ requirements for children will be supported by the continuous presence of several adult volunteers during the whole duration of this event and all pilots will have completed Vulnerable Sector Checks.