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2012 Central Ohio Aviation Holiday Dinner


Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center - Tuesday, December 11th.

The weather was dry and unseasonably warm for this year's Holiday Dinner which was co-hosted with The Professional Pilots Association at Villa Milano, located at 1630 Schrock Road, Columbus, Ohio.

The evening began with a social gathering which included a cash bar that started around 5:30 pm and the buffet dinner was served around 6:30 pm. Raffle tickets were sold throughout the event with the proceeds from the Prize Raffle benefiting The Sam Dodge Memorial Scholarship which is an endowment through Columbus State Community College and a 50/50 raffle.

About the Holiday Dinner.

There's something about this time of year that draws people together to share in the festivities of the Holiday season. This event allows friends, spouses, girl & boy friends and families to enjoy good food, a light non-technical aviation presentation and a night of fun and prizes. Regardless of where you're from or what your beliefs, we share the bonds of peace and joy the Holidays bring.

This was the third year that we've held the event at Villa Milano and there's plenty of room for all who attend at this venue. The decorations at the entrance and dinning area of the restaurant helped all who attended get in the spirit of this marvelous time of tinsel, trees, lights and music.

We want to thank Villa Milano and all their staff for helping make the evening another memorable event for our two organizations.



The Holiday Dinner Sponsors.

The dinner would be impossible without the support of our Sponsors. Their contributions help pay for the costs of the dinner and they are the main source of the items won in the Prize Raffle.  Please remember them and thank them for their support!

This years Sponsors were....

Diamond Sponsor  Lane Aviation

Gold Sponsors        Constant Aviation, Duncan Aviation,
                               Immaculate Touch and West Star Aviation

Silver Sponsors      Comlux Aviation, Dallas Airmotive, Elliott Aviation,
                               Honeywell Aerospace and Standard Aero

Bronze Sponsors   Aircell, Apex Aircraft DetailingCAMP Systems,
                               Satcom Direct, Spirit Avionics and Stevens Aviation


Thanks to Jeff Gruber and all the volunteers!

Jeff Gruber was the Holiday Dinner 2012 Chairperson and main contact for ticket sales this year. He and Gene Sprang coordinated the dinner with Villa Milano and with the help of our group of volunteers, made the evening run smoothly. We can't thank them enough for their effort that starts back shortly after the Golf Outing and culminates in this last event of the calendar year.  

Volunteers and Guests at the Raffle table    PPA and COPAMA presentation

The Evenings Agenda

Gene Sprang, President of COPAMA, started the evenings presentation at the close of the dinner hour with a PowerPoint presentation filled with the evening's agenda. Each of our dinner sponsors listed above were announced and received applause from the attendees. We couldn't provide such a nice meal at this fine facility without their continued support.

Our upcoming calendar was the next topic and our next big event is The Ohio Aviation Maintenance Symposium, held again this year at Columbus State's Aviation Maintenance Facility on March 13th and 14th. Since Columbus State had to change from Quarters to Semester scheduling like the other Ohio Colleges and Universities, the symposium now falls on their Spring Break. Volunteers to set up the classroom and hangar space are needed on the afternoon of Monday March 11th and we'll remind our members as we near the time of the event.

Next, Gene announced that the COPAMA Officers and Board of Directors will remain the same for 2013. The board re-elected Gene as President, Joe Lippert as Vice President, Earl Redmond as Treasurer and Paul Tursic as Secretary at a meeting held December 4th. Jeff Gruber, Chuck Jenkins and Lowell Dowler round out the board and will support the others and the members of COPAMA though the coming year. We want to thank the Board for their willingness and leadership that helps keep COPAMA a viable Central Ohio Non-Profit group.

COPAMA Scholarship Award Recipients

COPAMA Testing Scholarship Award Recipients


(L-R) Lee Kamua, Gene Creighton II, Tyler Bruzda, Ali Sharif, Robbie Everett, Chris Keeble, Victoria Seeger,
Kevin Casper and Guy Orsini.

A number of the Fall Testing Scholarship Award recipients were in attendance and came to the front to be recognized. Many are finishing up their studies at CSCC and will test this month for their A&P certification using these funds. They are the first of the 2013 Awardees who will receive $9,225  in awards for AMT Oral and Practical Testing.

 Gene also presented a slide showing Scholarship awards for 2012. They were $8,200 for AMT Scholarships, $1,000 to Youth Aviation Adventures, $600 to the Sam Dodge Memorial Scholarship Fund, $500 to Aviation Exploring, $225.00 for District 7 Science Day and $1400 to the Missionary Maintenance Services A&P apprenticeship program. Since it's inception in 2002 the Scholarship Program has provided $79,150 to AMTs and aviation related youth education in Central Ohio. 

Aviation Explorer Program of Central Ohio and Professional Pilots Assn.

Explorer Program of Central Ohio   PPA President George Farahay addresses the dinner attendees.

During 2012, COPAMA sent funding for the local Aviation Explorer Program and invited them an opportunity to present the benefits they provide for local youth interested in careers in Aviation. One of their dynamic Explorers, Kaeli King, gave a short talk on her positive experiences with the program and some of the local aviation sites she's visited. Kaeli attended with her father Brian who is a former fighter pilot and aviation enthusiast. We want to thank Kaeli and her father for attending the dinner and promoting the Explorer Group. For those youth that might have interest in the programs, you may click on their Online Career Interest Survey or
Visit their Facebook Page.

PPA President, George Farahay took a turn at the microphone and addressed the combined group of Vendors, PPA and COPAMA members and their guests. The two organizations have worked well together through the many years of their existence. PPA was established in 1963 to provide a forum for pilots to share experiences and to create a safer environment for those flying for a living.

This year marked COPAMA's Tenth year of operation and service to Central Ohio. We hope you share our mission to promote safety and education in Aviation and Aviation Maintenance.     


This year's Presentation.

Guest Speaker - Mr. Norm Burmaster - Champaign Aviation Museum, Urbana, Ohio
Topic: "The Champaign Lady B-17 Restoration Project."


Norm Burmaster of the Champaign Aviation Museum

This years entertainment was provided by Norm Burmaster of the Champaign Aviation Museum and their Champaign Lady B-17 Restoration Project. Norm's props included a photo of his father, S. Sgt Stanley W. Burmaster who was a B-17 tail gunner and his fathers bomber jacket and an assortment of documents about the aircraft in the Museum, located at Grimes Field in Urbana.

His presentation showed photos and data of the 4 aircraft that were salvaged to create the Champaign Lady. A fifth aircraft was later found and provided other parts along with the ones the museum obtained through sources such as EBay.

Norm talked of how Tom Reilly of Tom Reilly Vintage Aircraft Inc led the Liberty Belle restoration and is now piloting the Champaign Lady project in Urbana. He also mentioned Jerry Shiffer, a local business leader, private pilot and generous supporter of community causes. He helped pioneer the project but on the day the first parts were to arrive, was killed in a Cessna 425 Conquest 1 as he headed to Montana to go skiing.

Photos of the various parts were shown in the original condition and then after restoration. Some parts were rebuilt from previous structures but others had to be fabricated from material and using old blue prints. There's a special tale about the top Gun Turret Dome and how it was found under the porch of a Spring Field, Ohio resident during a project to repair it. The restoration is being manned completely by volunteers young and old, men and women. It's amazing the number of hours the aircraft will require to be returned to flying status someday.

We want to thank Norm for providing the entertainment for this year's dinner and Gene gave him a check for $500 toward the B-17 project. The full story of the Champaign Lady Project and the Champaign Aviation Museum may be viewed by visiting the hyperlinks above. It's a short drive to Urbana to visit the Museum and the aircraft there. Why not make it a day trip and see the Champaign Lady in person?

Group photo during presentation

The evening closed with the drawing of the raffle prizes provided by the various sponsors and vendors in attendance. We want to thank them for their support and advise that $403 were raised for the Sam Dodge Memorial Scholarship fund.

This is the first edition of the Holiday Dinner report. Please check back from time to time as we revise the page to add content.




COPAMA and Professional Pilots Association are both 501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organizations