Kids took to the air for free on Saturday as the Estevan Flying Club held their annual Fly-in/Drive-in BBQ and COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association) for Kids program.

It's all a part of the Club's initiative to encourage an interest in aviation, according to President Richard Reetz.

"The most important part of having kids interested in aviation is just continuing the opportunities for future pilots. Right now, there's actually a pilot shortage in Canada, and the opportunity to introduce new kids that may or may not have had that just opens ideas and doors that they might want to pursue in the future."

And the Club itself seems to have a strong role to play when it comes to that development.

"(It's) the best venue that we have here in Estevan to introduce kids to aviation, and to even just keep the community involved. We use the airport regularly for business and corporate traffic and medivacs, but for the average person, they may or may not have an opportunity to see what's happening," he said.

The group is also heavily involved in bringing airshows to the Energy City, and the time put in to make it happen is volunteered.

As for the weekend's event, Reetz was quite pleased at the outcome.

All kids were carefully briefed by their pilots prior to going flying.

"The day went excellent. It was really warm, but the air was smooth and we gave 44 rides to kids here in Estevan. We never had one negative comment, from the kids or the parents, everybody was excited about it. We'll be definitely doing it again next year. We actually had three people giving rides who used to come as COPA kids, and now they're pilots, so it was really good to see."

The Club puts on the event every year, usually in July.

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