The Vernon Flying Club will offer free, 20-minute flights to children, youth and young adults aged eight-to-20 on Saturday, July 16, as part of Discover Aviation, formerly known as COPA For Kids. (File photo)

The Vernon Flying Club will offer free, 20-minute flights to children, youth and young adults aged eight-to-20 on Saturday, July 16, as part of Discover Aviation, formerly known as COPA For Kids. (File photo)

Young would-be pilots can Discover Aviation in Vernon

Local flying club hosts event formerly known as COPA For Kids, for those aged 8-20, Saturday, July 16

Ask Rob McDicken’s mother and she’ll confirm her son was a kid that never played with cars, but always played with airplanes.

And if McDicken WAS playing with a car that had opening doors, those doors became wings.

So it was only natural that McDicken, from Vernon, would make aviation a career.

“I started flying in 1987,” said the Vernon Senior Secondary Class of 1982 graduate, whose class recently celebrated its 40th reunion. McDicken is a corporate pilot for Vernon-based Kal Tire, a job he’s held for the past 18 years.

McDicken hopes his love of aviation which started when he was a child will rub off on other kids as he and the Vernon Flying Club prepare for the return of the COPA For Kids program – now called Discover Aviation – which has local pilots giving kids, teens and young adults aged eight-to-20 a free, introductory airplane ride from the Vernon Regional Airport starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 16.

“If they’ve never been in an airplane before, or if they have an interest in aviation, this is the program,” said McDicken. “Kind of the core reason for Discover Aviation is to get young people involved in aviation and maybe even encourage them to seek a career in aviation. That could be a pilot, an engineer, could be an air traffic controller, any one of a multitude of jobs that aviation has to offer.

“Most people have generally never been exposed to smaller aircraft. If their only experience is getting on to a 737 or a Dash-8 in Vancouver or Kelowna, when they see a small aircraft at a small airport, it’s a complete different feel.”

Most of the volunteer pilots are ex-military, ex-airlines, ex-bush pilots, and ex-corporate pilots, all with tremendous amounts of experience, who tend to fly a lot, said McDicken. A good number are members of the Snowflakes demonstration team often seen flying in formation in the skies above Greater Vernon.

All the time is volunteered by the people that are there. The pilots donate their aircraft and fuel, and their time.

The youth will be in the air with their pilot for about 20 minutes for a flight around the city. McDicken said kids should expect to be at the airport for close to two hours.

“They’ll come in, they’ll be given a safety briefing, and there will be a small ground school available to them if they wish,” he said. “Then they’ll be escorted out to the tarmac and introduced to their pilot.”

Discover Aviation has always been a popular event. The flying club is again limiting entries to the first 100 people aged eight-to-20 that sign up. The entries are capped so the pilots aren’t tired at the end of the day.

One of the best parts of the program is that there is no charge to take part.

“It’s totally free to register,” said McDicken.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. Friday, July 1, with 10 seats being let out every 30 minutes until about 1:30 p.m. Those wishing to take part can sign up at eventbrite.ca.

Once the 100 seats are full, a standby list will be created.

More information on Discover Aviation can be found on the flying club’s Facebook page, @disc.av.vernon, or by emailkng disc.av.vernon@gmail.com.

For younger aviators aged two-to-seven, there will be barrel plane rides on the ground from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

READ MORE: Vernon COPA For Kids program soars

READ MORE: Local club reaching new heights


@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

aviationVernon

Be Among The First To Know

Sign up for a free account today, and receive top headlines in your inbox Monday to Saturday.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up