INNISFAIL - Innisfail and area children can learn about the world of aviation thanks to a volunteer program with the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA).
The COPA for Kids program provides children between eight and 17 the opportunity to learn about aviation and experience flying first hand.
The local chapter, COPA Flight #130 in Innisfail is hosting a rally at the Innisfail Airport on April 29.
"I think it's really exciting. (Participants) get to see the concepts that they're going to learn in their curriculum," said Stephanie McGinnis, a volunteer parent and coordinator for the event. "It's very hands-on."
The flight rally is open to all children between eight and 17 but the organization has focused on Grade 6 students in the Innisfail, Bowden and Spruce View areas noted McGinnis, because it relates to their studies in school.
"Aviation is part of the Grade 6 curriculum and that's why we go to the Grade 6 (students) and give them the opportunity," said McGinnis. "It gives them first-hand experience with flying. The kids get to walk around a grounded airplane, learn some of the mechanics of it and then they each go up in their flights with the volunteer pilot."
The COPA for Kids program has held flight rallies in Innisfail since 2001, previously under the EAA Young Eagles program, and has flown close to 2,000 children since then.
The program works with pilots who volunteer their time to fly children and share their passion for aviation, said McGinnis.
Prior to the flight kids will take part in a ground school to introduce concepts of flight and features of a plane. There is currently space available in all time slots for flights noted McGinnis, including 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 if required.
"There was about 100 kids last year. A lot of them have never flown anywhere before," she said. "They get to fly alone or with a couple of friends and in a small aircraft they get to sit up (front) with the pilot and see everything that happens," said McGinnis, noting the flights are about 20 to 30 minutes in length.
Children wishing to participate in the COPA for Kids event are asked to pre-register by April 25.
For more information or to register for the event, contact Stephanie McGinnis at 403-506-7410 or email@example.com
Stephanie McGinnis, event coordinator
"It gives them first-hand experience with flying. The kids get to walk around a grounded airplane, learn some of the mechanics of it and then they each go up in their flights with the volunteer pilot."