Local group gives kids a chance to fly

The Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport. (Photo by Trevor Thompson)

A popular local event that takes kids up in an airplane is back.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) is hosting COPA for Kids at the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport on Saturday, September 7.

Last year was their first time putting on the free event and it was a huge success.

“We had 150 kids we took flying,” said organizer Aaron McPhail. “The cool part is once we opened up the website, all the seats were filled in a six-hour period. So, it just showed us the great enthusiasm in Chatham-Kent for that.”

This year, they have 200 spots for kids between the ages of 8 and 17. McPhail said that their goal is to give kids a positive aviation experience.

“We get them through a ground school, so what we do is we have an airplane there. And we show them how planes fly because a lot of people don’t understand it,” said McPhail. “And then what we do is we go through a briefing and we walk them through, do all the safety things. Then we get them in a plane, as a passenger, of course, they’re not going to fly.”

McPhail added that about 12 pilots volunteer their planes and time.

“Fuel alone is very expensive, and these aircraft, some aircraft use more fuel than others,”¬†McPhail. “But we are very fortunate to have a lot of big-hearted pilots that want to take kids flying.”

The event will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the rain date, if needed, is Sunday, September 8. Registration opens Saturday morning on their website, www.copayck.com.