Melfort pilots pass the joy of flying on to 111 children

Discover Aviation Melfort

By Nicole Goldsworthy

Originally posted on Yahoo! News on June 12, 2024

Melfort COPA Flight 182 has held another successful Discover Aviation event to introduce children to the wonder of flying on June 9 by taking them up on 15-minute flights.

Dr. Trent Rae, captain and president of Melfort Canadian Owners and Pilots Association Flight 182 and also an optometrist in Melfort, said all the participating pilots enjoy seeing the excitement in all the kids' faces. Melfort has hosted Discover Aviation events for approximately 20 years.

This year, they saw 111 kids fly on Sunday, which was an alternate date. The weather was not conducive to providing the kids with a good flying experience with the wind and rain in the forecast. In the previous two years, they'd had 145 children attend.

During the day they had six planes with six pilots. All the pilots volunteer their time, their planes and donate fuel for the day. The children get to see airplanes for the first time, fly for the first time and create a lifelong memory of their first flight, Rae said.

"Everyone remembers their first flight in an airplane."

At the end of their flight, the kids get a certificate and stickers. Rae said “We, the pilots and volunteers really enjoy this event when we see the excitement on the kids' faces. It’s a great day.”

Rae has been flying for 15 years. Rae said that he initially started flying remote control airplanes and then he and a friend took flying lessons together.

“I have really enjoyed the challenge and have continually upgraded my training to stay current.”

To become a certified pilot you are required to take flight school. There is a ground portion with a written exam and the flying portion with a flight test.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association is active at the grassroots level, with over 200 regional and local chapters which constitute the COPA Flights. The first flight was formed in Guelph in 1964 and today the program boasts flights in every province and two territories.

Discover Aviation