The Buttonville Flying Club (COPA Flight 44) was delighted to present aviator Charlie Rampulla with a COPA Appreciation Award during our November club meeting! The COPA Appreciation Award is given to a group or aviator who made a significant contribution to support or promote flying, piloted and remotely piloted, in Canada. Nominations are made by COPA members.
Below is Charlie's aviation biography, prepared for the award ceremony by BFC President David Sprague and BFC Safety Officer David Cox.
CHARLIE RAMPULLA – AVIATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE
Charles Rampulla was born in Sicily on May 9, 1948. He emigrated to the Toronto area in Canada with his family in 1952.
Charlie attended Riverdale Collegiate for High School. He obtained his Private Pilot Licence during these years. His first flight was on May 27, 1967 – he was just 19.
He started a course in Aeronautics in Ryerson but left after 6 months to start his long-term flying career. Soon thereafter, he was an instructor at the Markham Airport flying Fleet 80 Canuck taildraggers and multiple other early trainers – as he describes it, “anything with a single engine and wings”!
In parallel with building his flying bonafides, Charlie began his training to be an ATC Controller with a stint at the Ottawa Tower as a student trainee, followed by time at the Hamilton Tower where he obtained his Controller licence. His first assignment was in the Oshawa Tower where he spent 5 months before he joined Toronto Centre as an IFR area controller in 1971. He remained there for 19 years leaving in 1992. Charlie will disavow any knowledge of helping ATC improve service levels and engage pilots in high quality traffic control, but he has never been shy of offering his expert opinion on how to do so! He has helped many a “lost” pilot flying in difficult conditions to find their way to safe landings over those years.
In 1981, Charlie joined Georgian College to train new ATC controllers which he did for 2 years.
Charlie became a Pilot Examiner – Private and Commercial Licences - in 1972 and performed these duties through 1982 when he put the Examiner role on pause while he opened a computer services company in 1985. For several years in the late 70s and early 80s Charlie owned the Markham Airport with a partner along with the King City Airport Flight
School. He sold both in 1983 while still with ATC in Toronto. Charlie retired from ATC in 1992 so he could devote proper time to his developing Computer Services business. He sold the computer business in the year 2000.
In the year 2000, Charlie returned to his training roots as a senior instructor at Island Air for a year. In 2001 he joined Canadian Flyers as an Instructor at Markham Airport until 2003. In 2003 Charlie began flying as a cargo carrier in Cessna 310s and Piper Navajos for the next 4 years. At the end of this period, Charlie had accumulated over 15,000 hours of flight time. In 2006, Charlie joined Brampton Airport flight school as an instructor. He was Assistant CFI in 2007 and became full time CFI for 6 months in 2010/2011 timeframe. In 2023, he is still a member of the Brampton flight school team.
In 2008, Charlie returned to the Flight Examiner role with Transport Canada and in 2009 earned his qualification for Multi-IFR Flight Examiner status. Over his many years as a Transport Canada Examiner and his experiences as a flight Instructor, Charlie has trained over 300+ Flight Instructors and has trained numerous IFR pilots (too many to count as he says!).
Over the 56 years since Charlie’s first flight in an airplane, he has made many positive contributions to the many flying communities in Canada – flight instruction, airport development, Air Traffic Control, Flight Instructor development, IFR Pilot development and a general support for those flying in and those using our Canadian airspace.