The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) regional branch, Flight 106, is holding a free kids event on May 26 at the same time that the Yukon Transportation Museum and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Yukon are hosting the annual Spring Warm Up Barbeque.

As part of the event, Flight 106 pilot member John Faulkner will display his rare Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing. A Staggerwing is a biplane named because of an atypical negative wing design. The lower wings are staggered farther forward than the upper wings. Faulkner’s plane was restored by the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin in the 1990s. He has always had an interest in antique, golden-era aircraft.

“It’s a pretty cool, old machine built in 1943,” Faulkner said. “It was built for the U.S. Navy as a VIP transport.

“During the Depression, Walter Beech felt that the world needed a fast corporate transport, like Learjet now, and he formed the Beech Aircraft Company in the 1930s. The Staggerwing was the first product and, against all odds, was successful.”

The plane could reach speeds of 200 mph, which matched the top speeds of military planes of the era.

In addition, children aged eight to seventeen will be able to go for a free flight between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This event is a national annual program, COPA for Kids, that is intended to increase interest in aviation amongst children. “There is a pilot shortage and it’s good to get kids exposure,” Falkner explained. “It used to be tough to break-in, but the industry is now crying out for pilots.

“It’s good with Alkan [Air] set up to train people.”

The free flights will depart from Alkan Air, and Faulkner encourages all participants to sign up in advance. “The biggest thing is to pre-register,” Faulkner said. “Kids have to have a parent or legal guardian sign the waiver.” Rules and waivers can be found on the Transportation Museum website, https://goytm.ca/event/summer-kick-off-bbq.

The Transportation Museum has been hosting an annual spring barbecue for several years. It provides them an opportunity to highlight their summer season programming. This year’s new exhibits include Paul Cyr Loved Cats (sharing Cyr’s work on Caterpillar equipment) and the 100-Year Anniversary of the Sinking of the SS Princess Sophia, as well as a Donna’s Kaffee Klatsch every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. The barbecue will feature Grant Simpson on the museum’s Whitehorse Street Piano, and the Beringia Centre will be providing sweets.

For more information on the event, call the Yukon Transportation Museum at 867-668-4792 or visit their website. For more information on the COPA for Kids national program, visit their website, https://copanational.org/en/copa-for-kids.