Cirrus Pilots Migrate to Duluth

By KBJR News 1

July 7, 2012 Updated Nov 3, 2013 at 9:08 AM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's not an annual flight of birds, but pilots and their planes, that have made their way to the home base for the 10th Annual Cirrus Migration.

Many Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) members come to the event year after year.

It could be the loyalty to the brand.

"I think that its just been a very innovative company. We're always looking to see what their going to be doing new," said Carrie Woods, a COPA member from Milwaukee.

It could be the virtual organization turned reality.

"We live online. It's online friends, online forums and communications and so this is a chance to actually put faces to the names, renew old acquaintances," said Curtis Sandford, President of COPA.

"It's always seeing your old friends. I think that's the big thing," said Woods.

It could be the vendors with familiar gadgets.

"The people who provide the bits and pieces of our airplane,"said Sanford.

It could be the vendors with the latest extra options.

"People who fly airplanes like to add to them, they like their toys," said Sanford.

"I'll spend a half an hour and make them go through all the different nuts and bolts of the new features of R-9 the new auto pilot," said Woods.

In any case, COPA members flew from as far as Germany and Australia to attend the event.

How did those COPA members get to Duluth? They came by aircraft of course. More than 100 aircrafts are sitting behind the Cirrus Factory.

"Getting a dose of Minnesota nice and we've always had great relations with the factory people and in town," said Sanford.

But it's not all fun and games, pilots are also making sure the new Chinese Cirrus Aircraft owners will follow through with plans for the new Vision Jet.

"We want to hear that they're hiring people because in order to get that program underway, they have to hire a lot of engineers, a lot of technicians and we want to know that those people are on board and working because we want to see their next airplane come out," said Sanford.

"Probably in the future, we will update to a different Cirrus," said Woods.

There are about 3,500 COPA members, which is about half of all the Cirrus aircraft owners in the world.

Jena Pike