COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

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charrois
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COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by charrois » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:51 pm

As the organizer for COPA for Kids events at our COPA Flight 139 (Westlock, AB), I was recently made aware that "As of January 1st, anyone participating as a pilot in COPA for Kids must complete a Vulnerable Sector Check with their local police."

I have my own thoughts about this, but rather than bias the discussion, I am curious as to what everyone else thinks about it. Do you volunteer or have you been thinking of volunteering with a COPA for Kids in your area? How would such a requirement affect your participation?

PS: If you haven't heard of COPA for Kids, it's an event where pilots volunteer their time, aircraft, and sometimes fuel to take kids up for short flights - often their first exposure to aviation. I'd tell you more about how fun, exciting, and rewarding being involved with the event is, but I said I'd keep this post unbiased :-) Well, at least I'm keeping the new requirement of completing a police check unbiased.. for now.

Comments?
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digits_
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by digits_ » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:58 pm

Who made it a requirement?

Who pays for the police check?

I would be -and I don't use this word lightly- pretty offended if I needed to provide a police check to volunteer my time and aircraft to give someone a free airplane ride.
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charrois
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by charrois » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:09 pm

COPA made the decision to make it a requirement. They also have a note in their COPA for Kids Guide that "COPA does not reimburse expenses associated with obtaining a VS Check."
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Schooner69A
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by Schooner69A » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:20 pm

Here in Vernon, we were advised of the requirement several weeks ago. It's a PITA, but I'll do it just to keep participating in the program.

I know some folks may refuse "on principle", but it comes down to what is more important: flying kids or standing on principle...
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laminar
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by laminar » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:51 pm

The local police agency in my neck of the woods charges less for a check being used for a volunteer position than it does for a paid employment position. I think it’s around $25 vs. $50.

I think it’s a good way for COPA to cover its butt. The last thing needed is for someone to sneak through who’s on court imposed conditions to avoid contact with children or who might have a history of being a diddler. Once a predator, always a predator. We don’t need people like that to be the face of aviation.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by AuxBatOn » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:59 pm

Pretty standard when you volunteer with kids. I coach hockey and have to do it every year.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by rookiepilot » Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:46 am

AuxBatOn wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:59 pm
Pretty standard when you volunteer with kids. I coach hockey and have to do it every year.
Ditto. I have one as well for my volunteer stuff. Not an issue.

Surprised they didn't enact this policy earlier at COPA.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by PilotDAR » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:08 am

The police check is a good idea, 'sad that we need it, but in today's society, it is the better thing to do. If anyone resists doing it, perhaps they should step back from that event. I have one underway right now for a future host of an exchange student, the Ontario Provincial Police are not charging a fee, as I am a volunteer in this role. When in past years I was required to have such checks done as a paid firefighter, there was a small fee, though my employer paid it.
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youhavecontrol
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by youhavecontrol » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:11 am

They charge for it? I do volunteer work with kids and I don't think I've ever had to pay for one. I'm not aware of any charges when it's voluntary, but maybe it depends on where you're from. Like PilotDAR said, it's definitely a good thing to do. Anybody working with kids should have it done. These days, it's standard pretty much anywhere. I'm surprised that COPA did not already have a policy like this.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by AirFrame » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:23 am

What's sad is that this kind of check is even required at all, in any situation.

The CFK events here have always managed to get enough crew and pilots to make it happen, but "just barely" would be a good description. I can see a number of those volunteers just backing away because of the nuisance factor. It'll be the excuse they were looking for not to participate. And by not doing it, what stigma will that place on them? Is it too much hassle or are they "afraid" to get checked?
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rigpiggy
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by rigpiggy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:43 am

I have done it several times. It goes on birthdate and sex, since you can change your name, but not your birthday"wonder about the sex thing" I did it first for medevacs, and found out, lo and behold I have the same birthdate. Followed by an appointment how many weeks later" after the file comes back, "I told you just book the appt." to go back down and give your fingerprints.

I had kids in 3 schools +cadets, choir etc...... I have to go down and do it 4 times"because they can't simply do it once for the year" I no longer volunteer.......
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digits_
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by digits_ » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:09 am

AirFrame wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:23 am
What's sad is that this kind of check is even required at all, in any situation.
There is no reason for it to be required.

The parents/kids are getting a free service.

They are ok with accepting a privately licensed pilot in an aircraft maintained to private standards. Yet the biggest risk to COPA is apparently that the pilot would start touching their child? How would that even work in a small airplane?

I've never heard of a pilot abusing a child or adult in an airplane. We've all heard about suicidal pilots though. So what's next: psych eval before you are allowed to volunteer your time to give someone a free ride?

This is a knee jerk reaction based on the "possiblity" of a lawsuit if anything ever happens. It is not a statistically significant risk. If parents are worried, they can always go to the professional flying school and pay for a flight in a commercially maintained airplane with a pilot owing a crushing debt who doesn't have a police check either.

Why does a volunteering service need higher standards than a commercial service?
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by fish4life » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:10 am

rigpiggy wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:43 am
I have done it several times. It goes on birthdate and sex, since you can change your name, but not your birthday"wonder about the sex thing" I did it first for medevacs, and found out, lo and behold I have the same birthdate. Followed by an appointment how many weeks later" after the file comes back, "I told you just book the appt." to go back down and give your fingerprints.

I had kids in 3 schools +cadets, choir etc...... I have to go down and do it 4 times"because they can't simply do it once for the year" I no longer volunteer.......
My wife is a nurse and anytime she changes jobs she needs one although she doesn’t need to get one periodically if she doesn’t change jobs so I wonder the point sometimes
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by photofly » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:27 am

Because if you’re a regulated health professional such as your wife is, any conviction that would show up on a police check requires a mandatory report to her College, and to her employer, I think.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by 5x5 » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:05 pm

It is certainly "jumping at shadows" to the nth degree. The analogy to volunteering with kids in sports is not valid at all since there are way too many instances of predatory happenings in that environment. The coach/trainer/volunteer has a long-term relationship with the kids and numerous opportunities to misbehave. I don't know for certain, but I would bet that there has never been a case of any kind of molestation in any of the volunteer piloting rides that have been going on for decades.

Let's all get paranoid and accept the "guilty until proven innocent" approach, just to be sure.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by phillyfan » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:25 pm

I don't trust anybody who has a problem with the background check. Its scary enough these kids are put in airplanes with pilots of unknown skill, let alone possible Pedo pilots.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by broken_slinky » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:52 pm

AuxBatOn wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:59 pm
Pretty standard when you volunteer with kids. I coach hockey and have to do it every year.
I was going to mention the same thing. It's becoming the norm if you're working around kids. We've even had to take "code of conduct" training just to watch our daughter play baseball.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by A346Dude » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:54 pm

phillyfan wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:25 pm
I don't trust anybody who has a problem with the background check. Its scary enough these kids are put in airplanes with pilots of unknown skill, let alone possible Pedo pilots.
Implying anyone who disagrees with you just might be a pedophile is a pretty weak argument.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by digits_ » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:24 pm

phillyfan wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:25 pm
I don't trust anybody who has a problem with the background check. Its scary enough these kids are put in airplanes with pilots of unknown skill, let alone possible Pedo pilots.
Oh god, I hope this was sarcasm that went way over our heads. But I doubt it...

Hire a private investigator at your own cost and on your own time to check up on me if you want, but I am not going to drive an hour, pay a fee, drive another hour a week later just to put your mind at ease with a worthless piece of paper, so that I have earned your trust to fly your kid around in my plane at my time at my own costs. But since this is a rule now, how about in return, I want to see your kid's school reports to make sure he has no behavioural issues that could impede a safe flight. I also want him to have a good grade in English, to make sure has the capacity to understand verbal commands in case of an emergency. I'll also need a doctor's note to make sure he doesn't die during the flight and a note from a psychologist of my choice to make sure he won't get a panic attack for which I could be held responsible.

Trust goes both ways. B*llsh*t too.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by MrWings » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:30 pm

AuxBatOn wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:59 pm
Pretty standard when you volunteer with kids. I coach hockey and have to do it every year.
At first I agreed. I said what's the big deal? But you have to look at the situation and determine the risk:
  • Hockey coaches having access to a change room where kids are in states of undress and potential to be alone.
  • Those in the medical field may legitimately have access to a child's private areas.
  • Scout leaders sharing overnight camp outs in the same tents with kids.
I'd say all of those have a much higher probability of some abuse happening compared to a 20 minute COPA flight where the pilot is primarily engaged with flying the airplane often with multiple passengers (witnesses) on board. Risk is low.

A bit of overkill.
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Last edited by MrWings on Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by nbinont » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:31 pm

phillyfan wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:25 pm
I don't trust anybody who has a problem with the background check. Its scary enough these kids are put in airplanes with pilots of unknown skill, let alone possible Pedo pilots.
That is, of course, your prerogative.

However, recognize the other side of this exchange. The pilot spent the time and effort learning how to fly. Then the pilot paid for the aircraft + fuel. Now the pilot is volunteering their time and expertise. They are offering this to you all for free. And you have the gall to tell them you don't trust them and want the pilot to go get and pay for a police check, at the pilot's expense. Just so you can get a free ride.

I'm sorry, but with that attitude, I don't want you as my passenger. Go to some commercial operation and pay your own way for a plane ride.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by MrWings » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:41 pm

nbinont wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:31 pm
Go to some commercial operation and pay your own way for a plane ride.
The irony being the pilot of the commercial plane may be a pedophile and flying with no criminal record check required!
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by PAJ » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:05 pm

I've been volunteering my time, aircraft and fuel for many years supporting what I believe to be an excellent program. I can see both sides of this issue and have no problem with getting a VS Check but at the same time resent being forced to. I'd get over the resentment quickly and just go get one if there wasn't a laundry list of other things to do on a daily basis. The sad part is that I just might not get it done which would then preclude me from participating. We struggle every year to get enough pilots & aircraft and imposing this requirement could very well put the program (in our little corner of the world) at risk. One could argue that if we felt passionately about keeping the program going we would do whatever it takes but I'm a realist. It will be interesting to hear the statistics from COPA of how many kids fly next year compared to last.
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Last edited by PAJ on Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by photofly » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:15 pm

I believe almost all abuse happens when adults have regular contact with the same children. Therefore it's not unreasonable for hockey coaches, scout leaders and adults in similar positions to be asked to provide a check. It's hard to see how a one-off flight with a pilot is a risk.

For a while I volunteered as a teacher of adult numeracy. Then the charity decided that although they offered no services at all to children or vulnerable people, that all volunteers should provide a police check (at our expense). I thought that was overreach.
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Re: COPA for Kids pilots now require police check

Post by ahramin » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:34 pm

Is it an imposition on my time? Yes

Is it necessary? I don't see any evidence that COPA for Kids recipients are in any danger without it

Is it a stupid move by COPA? Yes

Is it a big deal? No
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