September 7, 2023

RAA COPA Hawkefield Fly-in

Jon Robinson

— Text and photos by Phil Lightstone

Sunday August 27, 2023, saw the 27th annual fly in at Orno/Hawkefield (CHF4) located just 12 nm north east of Oshawa, Ontario. Owner-operator Hannu Halminen has a laser leveled PPR field sporting 3,988 x 80 feet of pristine grass.

The airfield has two large hangars and a house at the north end of the field. With large white runway edge markers, lining up with the runway is easy. However, caution needs to be exercised with high tension power lines 130 feet AGL and 0.2NM north of runway 18. With below seasonal temperatures and a long runway, departing Hawkefield to the north, most General Aviation (GA) aircraft should be able to avoid the power lines.

Norm Mills reports that the event attracted approximately 100 aircraft, including three helicopters, with more than 100 pilots, 200 spectators, 10 volunteers, two classic cars and a few vintage motorcycles. Gord Mahaffey was the marshalling master and head of communications. Gord and his volunteers delivered a smooth operation guiding taxing aircraft to appropriate parking spots. Hot Diggity Dog food truck provided a BBQ featuring hot dogs, sausages, burgers, chips and a variety of beverages.

The event attracted a variety of aircraft including a North American P51 Mustang, de Havilland Canada Chipmunk, Antonio AN-2 biplane owned by Lee Barker, a WACO biplane, numerous VANS Aircraft RVs, Cessna, Pipers as well as a variety of homebuilt aircraft. Manfred Harder flew in with his Bell 58 helicopter. Joining the fly-in was COPA Director and Eastern Vice Chair Ashlynne Dale and COPA Chair Doug Ronan flying in on Ashlynne’s Airbus H125 helicopter. A very cool helicopter. There were two classic cars, including an Edsel, an early 1970s Nova, and a few of vintage motorcycles (which was impressive as there was a major three day vintage auto event in Oshawa held at the same time).

Both the RAA Chapter and COPA Flight 70 had information booths setup to meet and greet pilots and the public. A variety of raffles were underway, including a ride in Hannu Halminen’s North American P51 Mustang and a 50/50 draw. The Waco biplane was flying during the morning providing demonstration flights to a few lucky attendees. Centre stage was setup just in front of one of the hangars where pristine aircraft, including the P51 Mustang were parked. This allowed pilots and spectators to view the aircraft as well as walk the flight line to view the parked aircraft. For the most part, parents had their young children under control with flight line volunteers ensuring that the pathway for taxing aircraft was free from pedestrians. This was a critical safety feature especially for tail dragged aircraft, who have very little forward visibility.

I had the good fortune to fly in with Tony Davis in his VANS Aircraft RV8 from the Oshawa Executive Airport. With a flight time of 18 minutes and a GPS track, we were able to find Hawkefield with little effort. Tony’s RV-8 (taildragger) has pristine multi shade blue with yellow pin stripes paint, making the aircraft a hit with pilots and spectators the like.

RAA Chapter and COPA Flight volunteers spent countless hours organizing the event. Norm Mills, RAA member and Co-Captain of COPA Flight 70, one of the event organizers reports: “this event has been run successfully for so long that planning is now nearly by rote. Of course, the confirmations still need to be done, e.g., insurance is in place, food confirmed, tickets for raffles and marshallers organized. Each person one the team has their own niche, which makes the organization of the event go like a fine Swiss watch.”

For those pilots unfamiliar with grass fields, soft field procedures should be considered for arrival, taxing and departure. The high quality of Hawkefield’s grass provides a turf environment for novices, making grass field operations almost as easy as operating off of pavement. Checkout Gus and Clara Corujo images taken at the event at

The date for next year’s event has yet to be set, but checkout COPA’s General Aviation Events calendar which can be found at