It happened in Cal(GA)ry.

This past April, we had some real exciting meetings in Calgary. I know, you’re thinking that if I find a strategic plan work session and a board meeting exciting, then perhaps I should drink less coffee.

If you’ve been following my columns, I have talked about COPA’s strategic plan review last September, December and March. The team assigned to the review has been meeting and working since early this year, gradually getting to a more and more tactical and operational level.

We are also getting very positive feedback from our target support group out there, following our endeavours. The latest session was again one whole day in a bunker with a diverse team of COPA members, champions and true believers giving their best to make a difference.

Refining our mission, the thought process brought us back to our roots, our values, what we are doing and our understanding of the role COPA plays for aviation in Canada. What our members want and how we are perceived. Amongst other things, one stood out from the rest: if we want to be able to move ahead with our plan, we need to understand who we are, what we are.

We are here for general aviation (GA). We are not just personal aviation, not just recreational. We can’t be. We are for all of GA, whether we want it or not. In fact, we are GA in Canada, period.

So let’s say it, own it, live it. From now on, you will gradually see the message of personal aviation fade away and be replaced by “general aviation”. May seem like a small thing, but it is an important step.

All this is in line with my thoughts of where we should be in the country, working closely with all of the GA groups and sister associations, working a lot closer to our COPA Flights (en français, le terme suggéré est “Club COPA” au lieu d’escadrille) and all that is GA-related. Expect to see some more on the strategic plan presented this year sometime around our AGM/Convention in Yarmouth.

Flight Captains, expect something from me in the next few months and all members, expect to take part in the work related to our plan and making this association stronger. Expect to see some more exciting stuff. COPA is moving forward.

Freedom to Fly Fund (FFF) at work

The board has recently agreed to put the FFF at work to prevent windmills from going up near and even on airports in Ontario, notably at Collingwood and Stayner. Mind you this can happen anywhere across the country. As you may know, the province’s Green Energy Act seems to flout all other considerations, including aviation safety.

Well, COPA will be helping members and present material at an upcoming environment tribunal. As I asked in my last column, if Transport Canada can request consultation for an aerodrome, why not the other way around?   There is still some way to go.

Being more proficient

In my present role, I have been exposed to questions and issues in relation to the IFR world, which I am admittedly not too familiar with. I can and do reach out to a group of experts that can help, but I feel I am lacking in that field. Right now my PPL is complemented by night and seaplane ratings. To be more proficient, I will start my IFR rating this year and keep you posted through some regular articles or via this column.

I hope to inspire some of you to go for an extra rating or more training to stay ahead of your aircraft, to be a better and safer pilot. If you have suggestions on my upcoming training, feel free to contact at bgervais@copanational.org.