The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) is opening its door to the drone community. Membership has its privileges, including free and discounted drone training, insurance packages, and regular educational sessions.
COPA represents some 15,000 pilots and aircraft owners in Canada and is very similar to AOPA, the American Owners and Pilots Association. The advocacy association has been involved for several years with the world of drones, which in Canada are officially known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, or RPAS. It also recognizes the increasingly important role that drones are playing in a broad variety of sectors.
And now, it’s taking a significant step by opening its membership to drone operators.
With the phenomenal growth of RPAS, it’s not surprising that COPA has already been involved in this area. The Association has previously partnered with Transport Canada on education initiatives and also contributed to the development of the National Research Council of Canada’s Drone Site Selection tool.
From COPA’s perspective, bringing members of the drone community into the fold makes sense, as it explains in a news release announcing the move:
As a trusted leader in advancing and promoting aviation safety, and as a long-recognized voice
for General Aviation in Canada, COPA is uniquely positioned to represent both traditional and
remote aircraft pilots. A key objective in uniting these communities together is to support
COPA’s ongoing efforts for safe integration of all airspace users. Traditional and remote aircraft
pilots share common interests in safety and in protecting their freedom to fly.
Key areas of focus
COPA says it plans to focus efforts on several areas, including:
- RPAS pilot training and certification
- RPAS Traffic Management (RTM)
- Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Operations
- RPAS airworthiness
- Detect and avoid
- Search and rescue
COPA’s president and CEO Christine Gervais believes it’s the right time for the organization to expand in this way:
Welcoming the drone community will strengthen the aviation sector. And while fear of these
new airspace users does exist, there are more benefits to finding common purpose between
traditional and remote aviation. These newcomers to our skies are just getting started, and
COPA will help unlock the immense potential of this maturing aviation technology.
What’s in it for drone pilots?
Well, there’s a fair bit on the table. Members will have access to an exclusive insurance program for both recreational and commercial drone pilots. COPA has plans for discounted RPAS training, as well as offering webinars, panels, and educational resources. The association will also be launching an RPAS scholarship intended for pilots who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s more. You can find further details – and sign up – right here.