By Jack Dueck, Ex-Chair, EAA Canada Council.
On September 14, 2023, Keith (Hoppy) Hopkinson was inducted into Canada’s 50th Aviation Hall of Fame.
Image: Keith (Hoppy) Hopkinson.
His induction reads: “For his lifelong contributions to Canadian civil, military, and commercial aviation, most notably for the development of homebuilding aircraft and for his development and leadership establishing supporting organizations and associations, Keith Hopkinson was inducted into Canada’s Hall of Fame at ceremonies held in 2023.”
Keith was born in Pembroke in 1915, and at 21 years of age, began his flying training with the Hamilton Aero Club. He earned his private pilot license in 1938, his commercial license a year later, and his flight instructor certificate in 1940.
Just after World War II began, he moved to Goderich’s Sky Harbour airport where he became a founding instructor at the flying school established there in June 1940 as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).
With the end of the war, Keith remained in Goderich and seizing the opportunity, opened up a new business ferrying surplus aircraft (mostly Harvards) across Canada; more than 400 in 1948 alone.
But his vision extended far beyond. Continuing to operate Sky Harbour as a flight training school, he opened a charter aviation business and air ambulance service as well as an aircraft dealership.
Hoppy’s love for aviation went beyond his success at Sky Harbour. He worked tirelessly to promote aviation. Helping to establish EAA in Canada, he also helped to organize the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA).
Hoppy’s journey down the homebuilt aircraft path began in the early 1950s when he began building a Stitts SA-3A out of his home. Working with Paul Poberezny of the newly established EAA, Hoppy convinced Transport Canada to allow the construction and registration of his homebuilt airplane.
The following article was penned by Canadian homebuilder Rem Walker: “Keith Hopkinson…
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