COPA Flight 194 (BCGA) A New Phenomenon (By: Tim Cole)

Copied from the September 2016 Issue of COPA Flight Magazine
Written By: COPA BC/YUKON Director Tim Cole


The B.C. General Aviation Association/ COPA Flight 194, a B.C.-registered, not-for -profit society, received it’s COPA Flight status on March 26th, 2016. The amazing fact is that they signed up their 500th member in July! Ryan Van Haren, a Nav Canada IFR Controller, ATPL qualified pilot, and taildragger owner, is the spark plug behind the organization. He is backed up by a board of B.C. directors that hail from both the Lower Mainland and the Interior.

So what draws such a following to the new kid on the B.C. block? The answer is that it’s the result of use of social media, the internet, and an enthusiastic group of B.C. aviators. They are also drawing quite a few members from Alberta and the Western USA.

There is no signup fee, however donations and sponsors are most welcome. The BCGA’s Web site is very professional and can be found at They also have a very active Facebook page. The amount of traffic on their Facebook page is incredible and this seems to be a key factor in their success. 

“The B.C. General Aviation Association is not meant to replace your local flying club,” the group’s Web site says. “One of the primary objectives of the association is to work with the flying clubs across the province to cross-promote club events so members of different clubs come together at various events.”

​I highly recommend that you visit their website and Facebook page, to enjoy the dialogue and view the benefits of joining up. One of their primary benefits is their B.C. Airstrip Map. This comprehensive online chart, is constantly being updated and lists many of B.C.’s little known backcountry aerodromes. By the time you read this, the BCGA will have held their first AGM, that was hosted by the Abbottsford Flying Club/COPA Flight 83, on August 25th.

Many general aviation clubs and organizations struggle to get new members in and younger folks to join up. The BCGA Association seems to have struck a chord by tapping into social media venue. Well done to the board of directors and the members who are making this new made-in-B.C. organization can be proud of their achievements and I’m sure we will be seeing more good news in the future.