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Ryan Owen 560Friends Ryan and Owen were ready to take to the skies during the COPA Kids Aviation Day July 15 at the Saugeen Shores Municipal Airport.

Hub Staff

Eight area pilots took youth to new heights at the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) Kids Aviation Day at the Saugeen Shores Municipal Airport July 15. The free event for youth aged 8 to 17 saw participants learn the flight craft in a brief ‘Ground School’ tour of a static display aircraft. They learned of the operations of the aircrafts, the duties of pilots and most importantly safety.

The young flight enthusiasts then got to take to the skies on a 20 minute flight on routes that soared over Chantry Island, Arran Lake and Sauble Beach, with volunteer pilots from Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Wiarton and Hanover airports.

Event Coordinator and pilot, Steve McDougall, said the COPA Kids Aviation Day is a national program insured through AIG Insurance. In 2016, 58 kids soared over Saugeen Shores and for many it was their first time in an airplane. During the July 15 event, McDougal said that he hoped there would be a similar number of kids participating this year.

“All the flight times have been donated by the pilots,” said McDougall, who explained there was more to the ground school than one might think. “It also covers what a pilot does. It’s not just flying an airplane, the pilot has to know about navigation and how to safely manage a flight.”

The Port Elgin Municipal Airport sees seasonal use as it operates with a grass strip which, McDougall said, gives it a quaint, small town feel. “It’s a small airport... but it’s very, very well maintained on a very, very tight budget, the staff here do a phenomenal job at looking after it.”

The planes that were used in the COPA Kids Aviation Day were seven four-seaters and one two-seater. The grass-strip airport can also accommodate some twin-engine prop aircrafts depending on their design.

Sophie 560Eleven-year-old Sophie was ready for take-off.

AJ 560Twelve-year-old A.J. McNicol was ready to board the Cessna 172 at the COPA Kids Aviation Day July 15 at the Saugeen Shores Municipal Airport.

Olivia 560Olivia, age 10, before her flight with Kincardine Pilot Jim Mimnagh July 15 at the COPA Kids Aviation Day at the Saugeen Shores Municipal Airport.

Safe landing 560Another safe landing at the Saugeen Shores Municipal Airport July 15.

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