The Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport. (Photo by Trevor Thompson)The Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport. (Photo by Trevor Thompson)

Local group gives kids a chance to fly

A popular local event that takes kids up in an airplane is back.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) is hosting COPA for Kids at the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport on Saturday, September 7.

Last year was their first time putting on the free event and it was a huge success.

"We had 150 kids we took flying," said organizer Aaron McPhail. "The cool part is once we opened up the website, all the seats were filled in a six-hour period. So, it just showed us the great enthusiasm in Chatham-Kent for that."

This year, they have 200 spots for kids between the ages of 8 and 17. McPhail said that their goal is to give kids a positive aviation experience.

"We get them through a ground school, so what we do is we have an airplane there. And we show them how planes fly because a lot of people don't understand it," said McPhail. "And then what we do is we go through a briefing and we walk them through, do all the safety things. Then we get them in a plane, as a passenger, of course, they're not going to fly."

McPhail added that about 12 pilots volunteer their planes and time.

"Fuel alone is very expensive, and these aircraft, some aircraft use more fuel than others," McPhail. "But we are very fortunate to have a lot of big-hearted pilots that want to take kids flying."

The event will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and the rain date, if needed, is Sunday, September 8. Registration opens Saturday morning on their website,

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