Rick Beach Awarded the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association Lifetime Achievement Award


Posted on Dec 4, 2021 by Erik Gundersen

SANFORD, N.C. – October 2, 2021 – Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) member Rick Beach was recently awarded the COPA Lifetime Achievement Award. Beach was presented with the award at the COPA Annual Meeting and Tradeshow (also known as the COPA Migration) held in Scottsdale, Arizona, on September 25, 2021.

“COPA’s lifetime achievement award was created in 2019 to recognize outstanding contributions to COPA, its mission, its members and most importantly, keeping us all safe,” said COPA Vice President Erik Gundersen.

Beach is the long-standing safety chair for COPA and the Dean of the College of Aviation Safety for COPA University. In 2014, he led the formation of the COPA Safety and Education Foundation and co-founded COPA University in 2015. He has taught at more than 100 Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Programs and COPA Pilot Proficiency Programs, and has attended every COPA Migration.

Because of his achievements in ensuring the safety of COPA members, Beach was chosen as this year’s COPA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The first award recipient was Cirrus co-founder Dale Klapmeier, who received the award two years ago.

“Rick bought a Cirrus SR22 in 2001 and flew it across the U.S., Canada and Bahamas for over 3,700 hours. For the past 20 years, Rick has advocated for flight safety, working with talented volunteers, instructors and accident investigators in COPA, Cirrus Aircraft and the NTSB,” said COPA President Scott Williams. “You may know some of his catchphrases like “Pull Early, Pull Often!” and “Consider CAPS!” Rick has presented safety keynotes at COPA Migrations since 2009, exhorting the Cirrus community to learn and do more about safety. We are proud to present him with this honor.”

Earlier in life, Beach qualified as a Queen Scout in Canada. Being recognized as a Queen Scout is similar to earning the Eagle Scout Award in the United States. Beach began his professional career in computer science and later co-founded a start-up company, Waterloo Typography. The company typeset scholarly books with computer programs in the 1970s.

Beach worked at six Super Bowls, setting up printing networks from statistical reports for the press. He flew his Cirrus to his final Super Bowl in New Orleans for Super Bowl XXXVI. Beach has spent 15 years working with educational non-profits and supporting STEM and technology initiatives throughout 43 school districts in San Diego County.

COPA is a 6,000-member non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, promote the safety of, and support the owners, pilots and those interested in aircraft manufactured by Cirrus, to encourage ownership of the same, to promote goodwill toward the general aviation community, and to provide social activities for its members.

To learn more about COPA, Cirrus Aircraft and the programs Beach has been instrumental in developing, visit cirruspilots.org/Safety/Safety-Programs.

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