Kids take to air with COPA program

Preparing to take off – (Left-right) Dwayne Sutton and Gary Fix took a moment to pause for cameras before the flights on Wednesday

Heartland Youth Centre’s (HYC) annual “Flights for Kids” program had a new feature this year when the children took to the air on Wednesday, July 21.

In addition to the regular flights on a small plane as in previous years, there was a glider this time at the Stettler airport offering a different aviation experience.

Local pilots Dwayne Sutton and Gary Fix explained the science of flight and aviation to the 18 children, members of HYC, before they took them to the air over Stettler for a flight.

The flights, part of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) for Kids Aviation Program, were sponsored by Stettler Flying Club and HYC supporters Barb and Steve Wilfort, Les and Deb Schwartz.

“The mission of the COPA For Kids Aviation Program is to provide a motivational aviation experience, focusing on a demonstration flight in an airplane,” says a statement on the COPA for Kids website. The flights are provided free of charge by pilots to any youth ages 7-17 wishing to participate.

“One measure of the success of young-person flying programs is that many young people who had an introduction to flying at an early age have gone on to get their pilot licences and are now flying young people themselves,” the statement says.

The COPA For Kids program is sponsored by Travelers, the insurers of the COPA Gold and Silver Wings programs. It has been created as a Canada-only program for COPA Flights. The COPA For Kids program is similar to and has been inspired by an equivalent program in the United States and around the world called Young Eagles,

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