The Vernon Flying Club is again hosting free introductory flights to kids aged eight to 17 on Saturday, July 13, at the Vernon Regional Airport, but hurry as registration is limited. (Submitted)

Free flights for kids return courtesy Vernon Flying Club

The COPA For Kids event July 13 at Vernon Airport introduces children and teens to aviation

How popular is the COPA For Kids event, presented by the Vernon Flying Club at the Vernon Regional Airport?

Lineups litter the tarmac on event day as kids aged eight to 17 waited for a free 20-minute flight around the North Okanagan courtesy of pilots with the Vernon Flying Club—pilots who donate their time, their planes and their fuel, all without compensation.

Pilots are vetted through an RCMP criminal record check.

COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association) For Kids will return to the airport on Saturday, July 13. Flights will be hourly from 8 a.m. to noon.

READ ALSO FROM 2017: Kids take flight over Vernon

“The most kids we’ve ever had was 150 but we’re capping things this year at 100,” said Alison Crerar with the host Vernon Flying Club.

“We have more than 50 registered so far.”

The club has teamed with to help with registration.

“The purpose is to introduce kids to flights as perhaps a path to a career in aviation,” said Crerar.

“Pilots, maintenance. We hope they get a spark for aviation.”

The free flights for kids are just one of many good things the Vernon Flying Club does but unfortunately, said Crerar, it also receives a lot of flack from the public.

There are many who think a (different) noisy plane that drops skydivers belongs to the club, and the VFC receives a lot of nasty correspondence, including threats.

“That plane has nothing to do with us,” said Crerar, hoping the club can receive some positive publicity.

On top of the COPA For Kids event, the club has taken passengers from the other end of the age spectrum—seniors—for tours around the airport.

“It sure brought back a lot of memories for them,” said Crerar of the group seeing the airplanes up close.

“We’ve had daycares come out, too. We had a high school photography class come out to take photos of the planes and the airport.”

The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives is devoting space to local aviation and the club will take part in that.

Besides the free flight for kids, pilots will be involved in the July 1 Living Flag event, organized by North Okanagan Community Life Society, to photograph participants from the air who have formed a red-and-white Canadian flag.

They’ve donated two, half-hour flights to the Lions Club golf tournament to support Camp Winfield, and flights for two winners of a draw supporting the Okanagan Rail Trail.

They donate flights each to the annual Kal Rotary Dream Auction.

There is also the annual Rust Remover Seminar to promote and teach safety for general aviation pilots, which brings in pilots from all over the province and beyond.

That brings money into the community.

“We provide a warm welcome to visiting pilots, offering rides and assistance with hotels and restaurants, etc.,” said Crerar.

“We have around 100 members and many meet every morning at 10 a.m. for coffee and chat, and interested parties are encouraged to join us.”

More information can be found on the club’s website,

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon-based company nominated for B.C. small business award

Summit Tiny Homes is one of five finalists for the small business award

Rain in the forecast for Vernon over the next few days

According to Environment Canada, there is a 40 per cent chance of flurries or rain showers today

Hudson’s Bay spotlights old Vernon store

Old downtown department store remembered fondly

Vernon’s history in pictures

Chinatown destroyed by blaze

Writer helps Vernon residents pen their memoirs

Free workshop at Caetani Cultural Centre with Janelle Hardy

Anti-pipeline protests in support of Wet’suwet’en continue at B.C. government buildings

‘We are unarmed, they have guns,’ protesters chanted on Wednesday morning

Summerland’s proposed budget requires $16,382,355

2020 budget is nearly half a million higher than the 2019 municipal budget of $15,905,410

UBC Okanagan art students to improve the environment one project at a time

The Ecosine Art Group uses non-purchased, recyclable mediums for 50 per cent of their art

Disability proves no barrier for 12-year-old Kelowna sit skier

Samuel is a 12-year-old double leg amputee who independently sit-skis

West Kelowna man charged with attempted murder of 79-year-old mother back in court

Kevin Lee Barrett was charged in April 2019 after allegedly beating his mother, leaving her stranded

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Highway 1 closed near Golden

DriveBC estimates the road to reopen at 1 p.m.

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

Most Read