An adventurous B.C. pilot who uses his wanderlust to raise money for non-profit groups is the new chairman of the board of directors of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). Dave McElroy, of Kelowna, was elected chairman by his fellow board members at the organization’s convention and trade show in Saint John, New Brunswick, June 23. “I am humbled and I am honoured,” said McElroy, a retired forest industry executive and RV-6 owner who is also the president of the Kelowna Flying Club. McElroy was one of six new directors elected to the board in the hotly contested election held in February. Other executive members selected at the convention were Shane Armstrong, of Saskatchewan as western vice chair, Bill Mahoney, of Newfoundland as eastern vice chair. Jim Bell, of  Manitoba will remain secretary and Jonathan Beauschene, of Quebec, will continue as treasurer.

McElroy conducted his campaign for election to the board from South America. He and two other pilots circumnavigated the continent in January and February, raising more than $500,000 for Hope Air. The Give Hope Wings effort raised individual and corporate donations and also sold six individual legs of the trip to people who wanted to experience the rare flight. McElroy had earlier circumnavigated the planet in a Piper Comanche, raising money for a children’s hospital and Scottish air ambulance service (he was living in Scotland at the time). McElroy wasted no time setting an ambitious goal for COPA. In his acceptance speech in Saint John he noted that COPA has proportionately less participation by pilots in Canada than AOPA in the U.S. and said he would like to substantially increase membership in the coming year.