The setting sun is often used as a metaphor for the passing of many things. But the setting sun of March 7th was no indicator of what lay ahead in my drive west for my meeting with Monte Sheppard and the members of Kindersley Flt 133. If anything it had one of the brightest outlooks for general aviation …
As I have been traveling around Saskatchewan to meet fellow COPA members and Flights there has been a common feature in the clubs – the lack of involved younger people, and women. But not in Kindersley! In all of my meetings there have been few people under the age of 40 and women have been especially underrepresented. In Kindersley I was delighted to see three involved women and four young guys in their 30’s who were in the beginning stages of their PPL’s. Not only that but a “new”, very experienced Flight Instructor, Dennis Stokes, has moved into the area to give lessons to these fellows and any other interested people. After presenting my story and ideas the discussion was open and interesting – covering regulations, insurance, government grants, the need for better student loan programs for PPL’s, decline of airports, inter-club communications, and ways to get more people interested in aviation. I also had a good conversation with Colin Bevin regarding his Aerial Applicators sector of aviation and his ideas to attract needed new pilots.
More commonalities: We all are faced with similar issues: budgets for the upkeep of our club facilities; the availability, selling, dispensing methods and costs of fuel; even club airplanes and airport cars. The greatest commonality is the “greying” and reducing numbers of our GA population.
In Saskatchewan the traditional COPA format of our meetings seem to be the same, which is all very comforting in some ways – it is business oriented, ordered, mostly efficient and – dull!
If we want to attract younger people we have to modify our meeting formats to include more exciting things, more “zip”, more “doing.” In our smaller, and mostly rural communities, that is a challenge. To meet this challenge we have to work together more, and communicate better to create more “sizzle.” My plan is to network Saskatchewan COPA Flights to create the opportunities and the events to attract younger people to flying.
What “cool” events would you hope to participate in?
Thanks to all in Kindersley!
Until next time,