2021 Volunteer Award Winners

John Bogie Memorial Award – Guy Devenny

The John Bogie Memorial Award is presented to any aviation company, organization, individual, government agency or department that has raised the image of General Aviation (GA) in Canada. This year’s John Bogie Memorial Award recognizes Guy Devenny, who was a flight instructor, bush pilot, aviation advocate and irreplaceable mentor for many. Guy is an honoured member of the Saskatchewan Aviation Hall of Fame and flew west on his final flight on June 1, 2021.

He dedicated his time towards mentorship, volunteerism and helping others to achieve their potential in aviation and their daily lives. Today, his mentees have successfully become many of our nation and the world’s top aviation industry leaders. Guy’s impact in aviation will be felt for many years to come.

President’s Award – Gordon Price

Awarded annually to an individual(s) who has made a notable contribution to General Aviation in Canada. This year’s President’s Award goes to Gordon Price, who spearheaded and led the coalition to save the Owen Sound Airport, as well as for his efforts in safely hosting an airshow during the pandemic.

In 2020, many airshows had to be cancelled or postponed, but Gordon took it upon himself to work with Owen Sound airport authorities to host an airshow at the community’s Billy Bishop Airport. The show was a huge success and was an inspiration for many during these challenging times.

Earlier this year, the Owen Sound city council introduced a landing fee for all aircraft, including its own General Aviation residents. Gord’s relentless efforts to have these fees removed, which are still ongoing, demonstrate his passion for General Aviation and his dedication toward our Freedom to Fly.

Check out the Save Owen Sound Airport Facebook page here.

Chair’s Award – Trekker Armstrong

Presented to any COPA member who has shown an outstanding commitment to our objectives to maintain our Freedom to Fly. This year’s Chair Award recipient is Trekker Armstrong.

Trekker has been a pilot since his teens and throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to the GA community. Trekker Armstrong is a COPA Lifetime member and has served as Captain for Flight 134, COPA’s Board of Directors as a regional representative for Alberta and took on the role of Board Secretary and Board Chairman. Outside of COPA, he has served as a Director for the Calgary Flying Club, is a member of EAA, Calgary Mosquito Society and a life member of The Hangar Flight Museum. His longest volunteer commitment to COPA, however, has been in representing the Armstrong Family in chairing the COPA Neil J Armstrong Scholarship Committee. Trekker has helped review hundreds of applications over the years and has helped many aspiring aviators pursue their dreams for flight.

2021 marks the 26th anniversary of the COPA Neil J. Armstrong Scholarship whose genesis was the initiative of Ken McNeil, who chaired the selection committee for a number of years before handing the reins over to Trekker, Mr. Armstrong’s son.

Trekker Armstrong has chaired the scholarship committee now for over two decades.

Since the fund’s inception in 1996, COPA has awarded 72 recipients over $282,000.

Editor’s Award – Phil Lightstone

Presented to an individual that has made a substantial contribution to the COPA Flight magazine. The recipient of this year’s Editor’s Award is Phil Lightstone.

Aviation, writing and sharing knowledge are all part of Phil’s DNA. Phil has been a long-time contributor to COPA with his first article published in COPA Flight in 1996. Contributing monthly to COPA Flight through recurring columns, Plane Tech and Plane Investments, Phil writes about aviation technology and finances. He also contributes short articles to COPA’s eFlight weekly newsletter. To date, Phil has contributed over 100 articles to COPA, and presented at COPA’s National Fly-In and Aviation Expo, speaking about Aircraft Total Cost of Ownership. Phil also writes for WINGS Magazine, Aviation Consumer, Canadian Aviator and Helicopters Magazine. Phil has presented numerous topics at a variety of events including, EAA Webinars, COPA Flight 44, Transport Canada Safety Seminars, and the Ninety-Nines. In 2019, Phil launched his podcast, called PlaneTalk, which can be listened to on Apple, Google and Spotify podcast platforms, with over 70 episodes.

Director’s Award

COPA’s Board of Directors provides regional recognition for the many efforts being made to advance, promote and preserve our Canadian Freedom to Fly.

  • Glen Cooper
  • Eric Cummings
  • John Leggat
  • Les Balla
  • Ken and Colette Pierce
  • Glen Bruno Bradley
  • Mike Edgar
  • Brent Bidston
  • Jack Searson
  • Naor Cohen and the Casey Aerocamping team
  • Normand Prenoveau
  • Paul Easson
  • Doug Chisholm
  • Aero Club of BC
  • Phil Lightstone

Glen Cooper

Glen knew from a very young age that he was going to be a pilot – as a kid, he joined his dad on flights in Beavers, Otters, DC-3s and Cansos. Glen joined COPA in 1969 after learning to fly at the Gander Flying Club and he flew in the bush, with smaller airlines and corporately, as a Transport Canada Civil Aviation Inspector. He later became Operations Manager of the NL Government Air Ambulance and Waterbombing operation. Glen frequently shares many pictures and stories about the history of aviation on social media and he freely and generously shares his knowledge, experience and passion for aviation. Glen is a mentor and inspiration to many pilots across the country.

Eric Cummings

Eric began flying later in his business career as a bucket list item. With youthful enthusiasm, he learned to fly, bought an aircraft, built a hangar and embarked on airfield improvements that brought new life to the Woodstock, NB airfield. Eric’s latest project has been to bring flying to the younger members of the community and for the last year, he has applied both his determination and financial resources to the implementation of a credited private pilot ground school program into the local high school curriculum. With an initial class of 20 students graduating this year, he hopes that with the Provincial Education Department on board, this will be a template for a much larger provincial rollout in the coming years.

John Leggat

John Leggat has been a fixture in Canadian General Aviation for over 50 years – his knowledge, commitment to the industry and most importantly his soft-spoken professionalism is a testament to his long and successful career. Having worked summers and countless weekends with his father at Leggat Aviation, John Leggat joined in 1970 after graduating from the University of Waterloo in Mechanical Engineering. Over the years, Leggat Aviation has become a well-known name within the aviation community, having represented Champion/Citabria, Mooney, Waco, the Grumman, an authorized Piper Service Center. John is a very proud father to two daughters, Kate and Meaghan and his four grandchildren.

Les Balla

Les joined COPA in 1966 after learning to fly at Toronto Island Airport in 1962. Soon after earning his pilot’s license, he began an apprenticeship at Leavens Brothers in 1962 as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME). Early in his career, he held one of only two AME licenses in Canada for Balloons. His commitment to Canadian aviation history has been his greatest contribution to COPA and its members. Les has always been willing to share his vast aircraft maintenance knowledge, learned through the owning, rebuilding, and restoration of five historic aircraft, including the lead Harvard flown by COPA member Pete Spence, of the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team. Les continues to be active in aircraft restoration, building a de Havilland Gypsy Moth, Sopwith Pup along with actively flying his de Havilland Tiger Moth.

Ken and Colette Pierce

Ken and Colette Pierce have been enthusiastic promoters of General Aviation for business and recreation. They have promoted aviation through speaking at public events, including one of COPA Saskatchewan’s recent Zoom meetings, describing their flights in Australia, through their popular annual fly-in at their grass strip in western Manitoba, and through their leadership and promotion of the Flying Farmers.

“Thank you for this award. For us, flying has opened up so many opportunities to travel in Canada and other countries. We have met some amazing people and we want to share these experiences with others. Although this award came as a complete surprise, we appreciate the fact that others have noticed our efforts to promote aviation. While we belong to many organizations, we feel that COPA is the best suited and positioned to protect our Freedom to Fly in dealing with all levels of government. Now…we just want to encourage everyone to get out there and enjoy this freedom of flight!”

Glen Bruno Bradley

Bruno is the driving force behind the rehabilitation of the Red Deer Forestry airstrip on the doorstep of the Alberta Rockies. He spends every spare moment at the CFR7 to make the runway safe and useable. The past year, he organized the installation of beehives to fence the runway for the safety of both pilots and the resident wild horses that would often be on the strip. He also was instrumental in having a shelter built at the airport for pilots to use for a safety layover or to camp. The Red Deer Forestry strip is a hive of GA activity and without the efforts of Bruno, it would still be a wild horse pasture that would be unsafe for aircraft use. Bruno’s efforts are popular on social media, which further encourages pilots to use this gem of an airport on the banks of the Red Deer River.

“I want to make it clear to all, that I feel that I am only the tip of the iceberg that is seen and that I am accepting on behalf of all the grassroots aviation movements. We have had people show up and help out from every province in Canada to the Yukon, Alaska, Montana, Idaho and the cowboys out of Wyoming. Last but not least, thank you. I never dreamed that the thought or the concept of pilots for pilots would resonate so strongly with the grassroots family of GA. It is amazing to see all that is and has been accomplished with no help or funding outside of our aviation community. I believe the feeling of joy that comes from independence and freedom is being celebrated exponentially. A thank you all from (to quote Ken Zak) the best-looking pilot in Carhartts!”

Mike Edgar

Mike has been involved with Angel Flight Alberta for over 4 years – as a director, pilot, and fundraiser. In addition to his involvement with CASARA and raising funds for charities through the Twinkle Tours – Grande Prairie organization, Mike volunteers his time as a pilot at COPA for Kids and helps pilots through mentoring and connecting people.

“In my lifetime I’ve been fortunate to have had great role models and mentors, so I wish to be able to offer the same to others. This has led me to be involved in numerous charities, but the most enjoyable for me has been when I get the opportunity to introduce someone to the wonderment of flight. Be it a Christmas Twinkle tour or through COPA for Kids, the look in a person’s eyes as they gaze from this unique perspective gives me sheer joy.

For the last few years, I’ve been volunteering as a director and pilot with Angel Flight Alberta. This is the pinnacle for me, to meet these wonderful people and assist them during difficult times by providing the convenience of a flight, that gives them back minutes and hours of their lives that otherwise would have been spent travelling great distances at expense they often cannot afford. So often during the flight, they will comment that for a portion of their trip, they forget why they are travelling.

So, I humbly accept this award on behalf of all the aviators and volunteers who provide Angel flights.”

Brent Bidston

After 30 years flying airliners, Brent started a unit of PEP AIR in the Elk Valley. Brent has also founded Angel Flight – East Kootenay, providing free flights to residents of the East Kootenay to medical appointments in Kelowna and Trail, BC.

Jack Searson

In 1977, during training to get his pilot’s license, Jack became a member of COPA. He looked forward to the start of each month when he could read the articles that the yellow Flight newspaper contained. In later years, Jack joined Flight 45 Goderich and later, Flight 172 Kincardine as co-captain. Over the years, Jack has supported the Freedom to Fly Fund and the COPA for Kids program. A smile on a child’s face after their first flight warms Jack’s heart and he believes that’s what aviation is all about.

Naor Cohen and the Casey Aerocamping team

Aviation and flying have always been passions for Naor. Growing up a stone’s throw away from CYUL, airplanes were a part of Naor’s daily life. In his mid 30’s, Naor got his pilot’s license and today, Naor gets to fly for both business and pleasure and introduces hundreds of people to aviation through flight discoveries and his team’s flying club Stratos Aero. Naor’s most exciting achievement was becoming a warbird pilot flying the Albatros L-39 and inspiring the next generation under the Breitling umbrella.

Naor and his colleagues are working on an ambitious project transforming the Casey airstrip in Haute Mauricie, Québec, into an aerotourism destination for pilots and aircraft owners from across Canada and the United States.

Normand Prenoveau

Normand is an advocate for General Aviation in Canada. He was instrumental in bringing new and innovative services, such as a courtesy car, on-site webcam, weather observation, new website, a monthly online magazine for members, etc. to the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu airport. Normand stood up against the closure of three runways and won. Four years ago, Normand also worked to get hangars built for private pilots in the community.

Merit Award

Awarded to COPA members who do something special to further COPA’s aims either singularly or over a period of time.

  • Maurice Prud’homme
  • David McIntosh
  • Anthony Kokai-Kuun
  • Jim and Elizabeth Walker
  • Norm Paterson
  • Allen and Jane Joy
  • Richard Reetz
  • Roger Blager
  • Shane Armstrong
  • COPA Flight #4
  • Harold Fast

Maurice Prud’homme

Maurice, Captain at COPA Flight 169, has been organizing the famous Mo’s Fly-In for 32 years. Always on the last Saturday of February on the Ottawa River, one mile west of the Ottawa VOR – rain or shine! Most of the time – weather conditions permitting, Maurice opens a 3000-foot runway on the river to allow aircraft to visit. Maurice was a former chef to Pierre Elliott Trudeau and during the Fly-In’s, he cooks and supplies his famous chili and other foods and soft drinks at his own expense. He starts planning for the Fly-In in the fall and often can’t sleep a few days before because he is too excited about the event!

David McIntosh

Furloughed from his airline job during the pandemic, David dove back into the local aviation community, volunteering at the BC Museum of Flight, reinstating his instructor certificate and teaching a cadre of pilots on the joys of tailwheel and aerobatic flying. His passion for aviation is clear through his social media accounts and his willingness to teach.

Anthony Kokai-Kuun

Anthony used to operate a local airline in BC. Now, he is an A330 Captain (furloughed from Air Transat), a Class 1 Flight Instructor, and an author. He does a lot of great work around BC in teaching seminars and promoting aviation safety.

Jim and Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth and Jim like to create a place to share good food and interesting stories. Pilots love both. They are strong believers of: “Life is what happens when you show up.”

Norm Paterson

“I feel very fortunate to be a part of the general aviation community in Canada. The cooperation and support of the pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers (AME) I have worked with has been truly wonderful. What a great group of people!”

Appreciation Award

Awarded to non-COPA members who do something special to support or promote General Aviation.

Curtis Penner

Flying as much as possible whenever and wherever he can, Curtis has logged over 2000 hours in the last 15 years, flying coast to coast in Canada, as well as trips in the U.S. and the Bahamas. Aircraft owned have included a C150 and a PA 28-180 and Curtis currently flies an RV-10 and Bearhawk Patrol, in addition, “whenever we travel, we rent an aircraft to see the country, including flights in Australia, New Zealand & Costa Rica”. 2020 travel restrictions provided the incentive to explore Manitoba by locating, mapping, and landing on 243 (so far) private strips as an “MB 150” project.

Susan Meyer

Susan has worked over the years to provide semi-regular news to all the Peace River region (of Alberta and BC) pilots and other aviation interested parties. From compiling a mailing list and keeping it current to assembling news of current events, to supporting social events and encouraging various aviation activities, she has done a commendable service for the freedom and fun of flying. Susan is a feature like so many women involved in aviation, women who support, encourage and often help finance family projects, whether they are building or flying. Susan’s husband Arnie is currently in a building project with a Highlander.

“There are not many places where joyful experiences can also create a route to occupations useful to the world. To fly for fun and as a work aid or career choice. I’m fortunate to have had a fellow teacher say “if we had a pilot and a plane, we could go to the Grey Cup.” Never did the second part, but met wonderful people with good organizations like COPA to promote the industry and the activities for safety as well as local and national protection of our industry. Thank you for this honour and come visit the Peace Region of NW Alberta and NE BC.”

NAV CANADA Team Saskatchewan

“NAV CANADA Staff at both Regina Tower and FSS pride themselves on delivering an exceptionally safe service, for which the professionalism of our customers – many of which are COPA members – contribute positively. We are thankful for the opportunities and experiences we have had with COPA; to learn and share, all the while contributing to safer skies and stronger bonds amongst the aviation industry. This award is a culmination of the relationship built with COPA and for that we are grateful.”

Don Patrick

Don Patrick, Charter Member and torch-carrier for the Squamish Flying Club since its humble beginnings in 1970. The local flying community lobbied successfully to have the local airport named Don Patrick Field in 2020, the same year the club celebrated its 50th birthday. Having been on the club executive for nearly the entire length of time, Don also maintained the records and archives of the club through all those years for the next generation.

Flight Plan Marketing

“When the pandemic hit my airline pilot career was put on hold. I am not one stay idle, so I quickly decided to use my digital marketing skills and help small businesses and organizations with digital transformations. Leaning on my industry colleagues, I have been able to help my clients not only survive during this trying year, but I have also set them up to thrive in a post-pandemic world. I share this award with our amazing team of marketing professionals, and we in turn acknowledge the clients that have placed their trust in us. When love of aviation runs in your blood – even when you aren’t flying – you can’t help but keep looking up! – Flight Plan Marketing is a full-service agency specializing in branding, website design, development, optimization and social media marketing.”