Hundreds of pilots and their small planes are gathering at the Kelowna Airport for the 2017 Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) convention.
This is the first time the four day event is taking place in Kelowna.
About 140 small aircraft from across Canada will bring approximately 500 delegates to the central Okanagan.
“It should be be a good weekend, ” Carter Mann with COPA said. “A lot of airplanes coming and going.”
COPA has been around since 1952 and serves as the national voice for general aviation in Canada.
With 17,000 members, COPA is the largest aviation organization in the country.
“We do a lot of work on the regulatory front with the federal government, Transport Canada, and other departments that have an impact on the regulation of aviation,” Mann said. “But we also do a lot of work with provincial governments on infrastructure funding and things like that to help smaller community airports and also with local and municipal governments to help them understand the value that their small airport and general aviation brings to their communities.”
Mann said general aviation contributes millions of dollars to the economy every year.
“Your airport does not have to have commercial air service for it to be a valuable asset to your community,” Mann said. “We actually just commissioned a study that shows that on the whole general aviation contributes about $9.3 billion to the Canadian economy and that number is largely at airports where there is no commercial service.”
The event is being hosted by the Kelowna Flying Club and wraps up on June 25.
The public is invited out to take a close look at the aircraft taking part. Some of the aircraft on display will include home-built planes, specialty gliders and high-end multi-million dollar aircraft.
The public display takes place on Friday June 23 and Saturday June 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is five dollars per person or $10 for a family of four.
The planes will be parked on the east side of the airport with access off Old Vernon Road.
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