Interested in helping to introduce aviation to others?
Through COPA’s Discover Aviation program, pilots volunteer their time and talents, along with their personal aircraft providing free flight experiences to new friends and future pilots. This modernized program combines our two longstanding programs, COPA for Kids and DiscoverGA, into one single purpose of helping others explore the skies.
Aircraft and pilots checklist
- COPA membership status or the COPA Flight corporate membership status
- Current Pilot License or Permit, with passenger carrying privilege, for the aircraft being flown
- Valid Medical Certificate
- Transport Canada recency requirements including minimum of five takeoffs and landings within previous six months in category and class of aircraft to be used
- Aircraft must be Canadian registered
- All documentation required by Transport Canada on board of aircraft, including proof of public liability insurance and property damage applicable aircraft to be used
- Passenger liability insurance minimum coverage for all seats as per CAR 606.02
- Aircraft must be authorized for carrying passengers in Canada
- Aerobatic maneuvers or other non-standard flying is prohibited
Information for pilots
Who can be a volunteer pilot
Any licensed pilot can participate as volunteer pilot for COPA’s Discover Aviation events, subject to the following conditions. The pilot must:
- Be a current COPA member
- Have an appropriate and current Pilot License or Permit, with passenger carrying privilege, for the aircraft being flown
- Meet all Transport Canada recency requirements including a minimum of five takeoffs and landings within the previous six months in the category and class of aircraft to be used. Ref: CAR 401.05 Recency Requirements
Note: No financial compensation is permitted for your time or aircraft operating expenses, and tax receipts will not be issued. Neither COPA nor the Discover Aviation program has a charitable status.
What kind of aircraft can be used? Aircraft must:
- Be Canadian registered,
- Carry on board all documentation required by Transport Canada, including proof of liability insurance coverage
- Be authorized for carrying passengers in Canada. These aircraft types are:
- Certified Aircraft, including aeroplanes, helicopters, gliders and balloons (Standard Certificate of Airworthiness)
- Amateur-built aircraft including aeroplanes, helicopters, gliders, gyroplanes and balloons (Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Amateur-built)
- Owner-maintenance aircraft (Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Owner-Maintenance)
- Limited Class aircraft, including warbirds and other limited class aircraft that are approved for passenger-carrying (Special Certificate of Airworthiness – Limited)
- Advanced ultralights
Additional stipulations for one-off flights occurring outside of a scheduled event day:
- Aircraft provisions as outlined above apply in their entirety
- Flights must occur at a registered aerodrome in Canada
Basic ultralights are not authorized for Discover Aviation flying due to their prohibition on carrying passengers. One exception is that they can be used if the pilot is an ultralight instructor, the instructor has notified TC that he or she is operating a flight school, as required by CAR 406.05, the Junior Aviator is 14 years of age or older and the flight is conducted as an ultralight introductory instructional flight. Insurance requirements including $100,000 passenger liability insurance must still be met in this circumstance.
Other owners of basic ultralight aircraft are welcome to participate in Discover Aviation events, but their aircraft can only be used for static display and for ground familiarization.
Volunteer background checks
As COPA’s Discover Aviation events welcome young people (18 and under) into the world of aviation, all volunteer pilots must complete a background check. The following background check options are accepted by COPA:
- A background check conducted by a municipal, provincial or First Nations police service. These checks must be renewed every five years. Expenses are not covered by COPA.
- A Government of Canada security clearance such as a reliability status, secret clearance, top secret clearance or a NEXUS/RAIC pass. These background checks must be active at the time of the Discover Aviation event. Expenses are not covered by COPA.
- A background check conducted by a private business with authority to complete background screenings.
- Completed online via Sterling Backcheck, COPA’s trusted background check partner. These background checks must be renewed every five years. COPA will cover the $25 fee for its members (we require first + last name and emails, this can be inputted in our event registration form). This new option was introduced in 2022 to save COPA members time and money, and should take less than 30 minutes to complete.
Information for event organizers
COPA Flights (regional chapters) regularly organize events to offer discovery flights to their community. Discover Aviation event insurance coverage (including event and top-up liability insurance) is provided by COPA through the Magnes Group. To date, nearly 30,000 Canadians have been introduced to the world of aviation through these community events. COPA Flights must register their event in the form below to receive a Certificate of Insurance.
All participants in the Discover Aviation program must complete the following liability waivers. See below for a variety of waiver forms your COPA Flight can use. If your participants are using the online version, please ensure they are aware to either forward their confirmation email to your COPA Flight or are prepared to show your registration desk at your event.
- the print-friendly version / fillable form (please send completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- the online version (participants must show submission receipts to COPA Flights)
Event briefing template
Click here for an event brief template for Discover Aviation event organizers to complete and share with your fellow COPA Flight members. An event brief serves as a map, of sorts, charting the course for you and your COPA Flight from point A (at the very beginning of your event planning journey) to point B (a successful event). By using an event brief, your COPA Flight will ensure all the moving pieces fall into place without any surprises.
Upon completion of the form below, COPA may have event materials such as certificates, banners and other marketing items available for use for our local COPA Flights. Many of these are one-time gifts.