The following article is by Brian Pound, Chairman, COPA Awards Committee

South Shore Flying Club at CYAU receives a 2020 COPA Appreciation Award (left to right): David Oickle, Club Secretary and Treasurer; Brian Pound, COPA Awards Chairman; Barry Mercer, Club Member; and Peter Gow, Club Vice President.

Thank You – We don’t really say it enough, do we? Fortunately, we hang out at airports and hangars with a group of likeminded professional and private pilots, AMEs and volunteers. We all hold a large variance of experience and capabilities, but collectively understand just what it takes to be a pilot and plane owner. Mainly, because of this, there is also a large level of trust among our group that naturally occurs.

With having flown across Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean many times over the years, invariably, I have been struck with the instant friendship and comradery that occurs upon landing at a strange airport. Especially if you have a problem. This includes everything from being handed a bottle of cold water, given keys to a car, use of hangar for a repair, being taken home for the night because of a snow storm in the mountains to having an AME drop everything and pull a Mag off an engine that he was rebuilding so that I could continue my flight in less than two hours. We all have stories like this.

We all know how common it is after dropping in to a fly-in to a strange airport, that during a cup of coffee and/or a burger, you are surrounded with some “new” longlost friends and it seems that all the flying clubs operate on the same wave length. There will be discussions of any topic about the latest avionics, your medicals, to fuel prices, and sometimes a comment on your latest “not so smooth” landing. Somehow It is a given, that we just naturally share this common bond and trust that is very rare in our world today.

It takes a lot of effort to have a successful flying club, with several devoted individuals taking on the responsibility of keeping the books, to mowing the grass or organizing another BBQ. It is because of these special individuals volunteering and willing take on these extra obligations, that we enjoy the extra benefits of our Freedom to Fly environment. In a discussion with our COPA Chairman, Bill Mahoney, last year, it was felt that we have not truly said thank you enough to some of the very deserving individuals within our COPA membership, and that was an oversight that had to be corrected.

Last year, we revamped our COPA policy of recognizing some of those special individuals, both inside and outside of our membership. We instituted several changes to our policy that allowed us to send out recognition to 31 groups and individuals, which was very well received.

First, we added the John Bogie Memorial Award (named after COPA’s co-founder) and the first recipient was the Vimy Flight 2017. This organization of volunteers built and took several WW1 replica biplanes to France and ex-Canadian Navy and Air Force pilots flew them over the 100 Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ceremony. How iconic can you get? While we still have the COPA Presidents Award, we also added in the COPA Chairman’s award as well as a Director’s Award. While there is only one President’s and Chairman’s Award annually, each COPA Director also, may honour an individual COPA member within their region.

We recommend for our membership to make suggestions to the appropriate Board Member for any of these awards, but you also have the privilege to nominate COPA members who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make your flying environment a better experience through a Merit Award. Also, we have the Appreciation Award that is available to members and non-members alike, and they also deserve a thank you from our COPA organization.

To make a nomination for our 2021 awards visit COPA’s website. We look forward to again this year saying thank you to the invaluable efforts of the Canadian aviation community.