Fundraising Flight Hits High Arctic

The Give Hope Wings fund raising flight through the Arctic was hoping to reach the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyuktuk Thursday or Friday as it battles weather in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Weather forced unscheduled stops Gameti Rae Lakes and Old Crow to wait out weather. The Tuk stop is about the half way point of the adventure that involves three aircraft and will raise more than $200,000 for Hope Air, which provides airline and private aircraft flights for rural patients who need to travel to major cities for medical treatment.

Among the highlights of the trip was a hangar tour at Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife. On Saturday the group will take part in Fairbanks, Alaska’s annual solstice fly-in. The longest day of the year is really long in Fairbanks where it’s now daylight 24 hours a day. The group heads north to Alaska’s Arctic coast before tracing the west coast of the largest state and traveling down the west coast of B.C.

Aerial ‘Promposal’

One of the most terrifying rites of passage for many young men is asking a special girl to the high school prom but Luc Dubois decided to turn the tables on the apple of his eye. The new pilot from Sarnia simulated an engine failure in a Cessna 172 while on a sightseeing flight with Rafella Garito and earned the shocked reaction he was looking for when he chopped the power. That kicked in the second part of his elaborate “promposal.”

Invoking his best crew resource management principles he handed her an engine-out emergency checklist. As she read through the list of pragmatic steps (Trim, pick a field, fuel, mixture etc) familiar to pilots but clearly unfamiliar to the nervous passenger she got to a line that was PhotoShopped onto the official check list that read: “In Order To Land Safely Passenger Must…GO TO PROM WITH PILOT. They both landed safely and went to the prom together.

Voler en arctique pour une levée de fonds

Le vol de levée de fonds Give Hope Wings à travers l’Arctique espérait atteindre l’océan Arctique à Tuktoyuktuk jeudi ou vendredi alors qu’il affronte la météo au pays du soleil éternel. Le temps a forcé des arrêts imprévus Gameti Rae Lakes et Old Crow à attendre une météo plus clémente. L’arrêt Tuk est à mi-chemin de l’aventure qui implique trois avions et permettra d’amasser plus de 200 000 $ pour Hope Air, qui offre des vols dans des avions privés pour les patients de régions éloignées qui ont besoin de se rendre dans les grandes villes pour un traitement médical.

Parmi les points forts du voyage, il y avait une visite du hangar à Buffalo Airways à Yellowknife. Samedi, le groupe participera à Fairbanks, le RVA annuel célébrant le en Alaska. Le jour le plus long de l’année est vraiment long à Fairbanks où il fait maintenant jour 24 heures sur 24. Le groupe se dirige vers le nord jusqu’à la côte arctique de l’Alaska avant de rejoindre la côte ouest du plus grand état et de longer la côte ouest de la Colombie-Britannique.

COPA Western Convention Attracts Hundreds

By any measure, except perhaps the weather, the 2019 COPA Convention and Trade Show was a resounding success. Around 350 COPA members showed up, plus around 50 people from nearby communities who took an interest in the event and attended too.

The weather was fine on Thursday, but Friday saw constant rain throughout the day with the temperature reaching only 5° C. Saturday’s weather was much more comfortable. Regardless, the weather did not dampen the spirits of the attendees, with the Black Rifle Coffee café doing a brisk business selling lots of delicious coffee to those taking refuge inside the tradeshow venue. Twenty-three exhibitors, from ForeFlight to the 99s, were sharing that space. 

A total of 70 aircraft showed up for the fly-in, with some pilots pitching tents alongside their airplane. Another 40 campers attended with their RVs, all accommodated within walking distance of the venue. Pilot Glenn Chong provided helicopter sightseeing rides in his Bell 47 in exchange for a donation to COPA’s Freedom to Fly fund.

There was excellent attendance at the various classroom sessions, with the one on mountain flying by Mike Edgar among the most popular, with standing room only. There was also a course on aircraft fabric covering, put on by Gary Hillman. Ryan Van Haren’s seminars on declaring emergencies were also very popular.

Also taking place at the convention was COPA’s AGM, which was live-streamed on Facebook. The vacant director position in the Maritimes was filled by the appointment of Debbie Brekelmans of Halifax. Brekelmans is chief pilot of Sable Aviation, previously pilot for Maritime Air, and you can learn more about her and what she does by watching this CBC News video clip.

The pilot who flew the longest distance to attend the convention was COPA’s own Carter Mann, who arrived in his Nanchang CJ-6 from Ottawa.

When contacted today by eFlight, COPA’s president and CEO Bernard Gervais said, “The fun, the warmth and the hospitality outshone the weather which was just a minor inconvenience for the crowd we had out there. The airport was perfect for a grassroots aviation gathering in Western Canada.”

Finally, no event like this can be as successful as Innisfail was without numerous volunteers. Since the COPA Flight 130 – Innisfail Flying Club has only 30 members, and there were 75 volunteers in all, the club was obviously successful in recruiting others to help out. Such is traditional western hospitality that we doubt they had much trouble doing that. 

Kudos go out to all volunteers for the excellent work you provided.

Fundraising Trip To Alaska Departs

The Give Hope Wings fundraising expedition to Northern Canada and Alaska departs British Columbia’s Pitt Meadows airport (CYPK) on Saturday, June 15. The expedition is raising funds for Hope Air, the charity that organises and funds air travel for those without the financial resources to travel to distant medical appointments, whether to see specialists or for special procedures and operations. This has become particularly important with the withdrawal of Greyhound bus services in Western Canada.

The expedition comprises three light aircraft and their owners, Dave McElroy in his Van’s RV-6, Vancouver businessman Ian Porter in his Pipistrel Virus and Canadian Aviation publisher and COPA Flight and eFlight editor Steve Drinkwater in his Cherokee. 

After reaching Tuktoyaktuk airport (CYUB) on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, the expedition will turn southwest and, after a fuel stop at Old Crow airport (CYOC), land at Fairbanks, Alaska (PAFA) for border formailites. 

Drinkwater will then be departing southeast for home (he has the August issue of COPA Flight to prepare), and the remaining two aircraft will continue around the perimeter of Alaska before returning down the B.C. coast to Pitt Meadows.

Filling the right seat of each aircraft are ‘volunteer flight crewmembers’ who have contributed significantly to the fundraising effort. The major sponsor for this expedition is the Langley Sportsplex in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

A media and fundraising event will take place at Pitt Meadows at the time of departure, with more media/fundraising events being organized at stops in Quesnel, Prince George and Fort St. John, all in B.C.’s interior.

Fundraising will continue throughout the voyage – online donations can be made here (a tax receipt will then be emailed back immediately). The expedition’s fundraising goal is $250,000, all to be donated to Hope Air.

More about Hope Air and the vital role they play in getting people to their medical appointments can be found here.

TC Highlights Air Show NOTAM

Transport Canada is aiming to prevent a repeat of careless pilots blundering into active air show space this summer by putting the restricted airspace in effect a full week before the air show. Last year, air shows had to be interrupted (including a Snowbirds performance) after pilots who had not checked NOTAMs busted the airspace. The first major show of the year is June 27 in Barrie and TC is going beyond issuing the standard NOTAM.

In announcing the unusually long airspace restriction, TC Inspector Jeff Martin emailed operators and neighbouring airports affected by the NOTAM and urged them to get the word out. “Please accept this email as notification for Restricted Airspace soon to be ACTIVE for the 2019 Barrie Air Show,” Martin said. “The Restricted Airspace shall be up and running 7 days prior to the Special Aviation Event With respect to Flight Safety, I am kindly requesting that you please reach out (letter on your local bulletin board, notification to your clients via email chain or your airports’ website) to inform all frequent Aviators of this 10NM 5.1 Restricted Airspace.”