Mission & Goals

In the air and on the ground, COPA SEF proudly supports the safety needs of the global Cirrus Community through the ongoing development and promotion of assorted aviation-related education materials, seminars, and training services designed to encourage the safer operation of the Cirrus aircraft. As a nonprofit organization, COPA SEF supports this mission by raising funds through charitable contributions and defining the appropriate use of these funds in accordance with the above goals.

Meet our trustees

SEF Trustee Seckler
Jerrold Seckler,
President

Jerrold Seckler, current President of the SEF Board of Trustees has been a COPA member since the beginning. He first soloed at Chicago Midway Airport in 1966.  Since then he has amassed over 7500 hours in a wide variety of GA aircraft including 3300 hours in his SR-22.  He holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, a Flight Instructor Certificate with Airplane Instrument ratings, as well as Advanced and Instrument Ground Instructor.  He has thrice been designated as a Master Ground Instructor by the National Association of Flight Instructors, and is an active pilot for Angel Flight Central, having flown over 100 Angel Flight missions.

Seckler has taught at about 100 CPPPs since 2003.

In 2016 Seckler was honored to receive the FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of accident and violation free flying.

Prior to his retirement in 2011 Seckler was a Urologist in Arlington Heights, ILL

Seckler served in the United States Navy Medical Corps from 1968-1976 and left the service with the rank of Commander

He and his wife Madelyn have been married 50 years, reside in Chicago, and have two children and five grandchildren.

SEF Trustee Gun
Arthur Gunn,
Treasurer

Arthur Gunn, Safety and Education Foundation Treasurer, is a second generation pilot. His dad was in the RCAF, and later flew an Apache in which Arthur developed the flying bug. For his 15th birthday, his parents bought him 5 hours at a local flying club’s “co-pilot” course. He soloed a couple of weeks after his 16th birthday and received his Transport Canada license the day before his 17th birthday.  His LLC purchased a 2006 SR22 NA in the summer of 2015.  Arthur obtained his Instrument Rating in 2016 and acheived his commercial ceritificate in 2021. Arthur is a CPA licensed in the State of Illinois, and earned a BA in Economics, a MBA in Finance, as well as a MSc in Taxation. He also is a Certified Fraud Examiner. In his professional life, after working at the Federal Reserve Bank and Deloitte, he was a partner in a small CPA firm before starting his firm in 2003. His firm’s niche is working with not-for profits. He serves as a Peer Reviewer in the State of Illinois, serves on the Professional Standards Department Executive Committee of the CPA Alliance, the Audit and Assurance Committee of the IL CPA Society, and is a former chair of the Illinois CPA Society Not for Profit Conference. In his personal life, Arthur and his wife Rhonda, maintain a home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He has two children, a daughter who is a teacher and a son who is an cyber defense IT professional, and a third generation pilot. Arthur’s other passions are Facetiming with his granddaughter, music (his Celtic rock band recorded 3 CDs), guitar collecting and he rides a motorcycle.

SEF Trustee Harber
Dennis R. Haber,
Trustee

One of the most senior members of COPA, Dennis has been a member since the beginning.

His first experience in the world of aviation started at 16 when his father, a WWII Marine, took him for a flight. 

During the Vietnam War, Dennis joined the Navy and continued his passion to fly where he acquired his primary formal flight training where he was then attached to VAH-123 based out of Whidbey Island Washington with an A-3 Skywarrior squadron

Thereafter, Dennis has had several careers all of which allowed him to own and fly several different types of aircraft.  During this period, the thirst for further formal aviation training saw him graduate with an M.B.A. From Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, thereafter attending the University of Miami School of Law.  Funds limited at that time, he pursued his private and commercial glider rating for those years.

In search of a replacement aircraft to fill his flying passion, Dennis acquired #35 off the line Cirrus SR20-G1 and became involved with the new Cirrus Owners and Pilots Assn then known as SR20.org.   Later, he secured one of the rare full glass panel SR22-G1’s, often seen around and known as the Shark Plane because of it’s paint job that looked like a shark with long wings. 

He currently flys a Perspective FIKI G3 and has flown it to every state (except Hawaii) and several foreign countries. 

Dennis has been a COPA member for more than 18 year and has served on the Board of Directors until the limits provided by the rules, and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Safety and Education Foundation. On the side, he has been involved with the  organizational team for almost all of the COPA Annual Migrations and many of the Flying Adventures. 

Professionally, he is the head of his law firm practicing in NY, Fl, and Washington DC.  While his firm is a full service firm, his own practice is focused on Aviation, Business and real estate trial law.

SEF Trustee Kaufman
Bruce Kaufman ,
Trustee

Kaufman obtained his SEL license in 1989 at Midway airport, Chicago.  He was a co-owner in a C-182 in St. Louis for 10 years, before moving to Milwaukee where he currently lives and works.  He is an original partner in a “classic 6-pack” 2002 Cirrus G1 (SN 337) that he continues to own and fly.  He also owns and flies a 1946 Globe Swift (“Super Swift”) that in addition to many mechanical modifications has been upgraded to modern avionics.

Bruce was a ‘founding member’ of the COPA Safety and Education Foundation and has been a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Safety Foundation for many years, and is a continuing contributor to their Hat in the Ring Society.  Bruce along with Matt McDaniel (Platinum CSIP, Master Flight Instructor, and Alaska Airlines captain) set a national flying record – landing at every public paved airport in the state of Wisconsin in one day (104 airports in just over 17 hours).   

Bruce still maintains a ‘day job’ as a pediatric neurosurgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and is a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee).  He has been the chief of his division and leader of several national Pediatric Neurosurgery organizations.  He is married to Anna, and along with their two golden retrievers Sargent and Duke, they all love to fly the Cirrus around the Northern Hemisphere!

SEF Trustee Preusser
Timm Preusser,
Trustee

Timm Preusser is a founding member of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association, where he served 12 years on the Board of Directors (and currently serves again). He is one of the founders of the COPA Safety and Education Foundation, where he is a member of the Board of Trustees. Timm is a mechanical engineer with a PhD who started his career as an assistant professor at the Technical University Darmstadt and later held executive positions in multi-national enterprises. Timm is a professional pilot, flight instructor, Platinum CSIP and Designated Pilot Examiner, with ATP and type ratings. He is managing partner with FTA Flugtraining Aschaffenburg, an EASA approved flight training organization (ATO) and Platinum Cirrus Training Center.

Timm has logged 7.000 flight hours in different types of airplanes, including turbine aircraft, with a majority of 5.000 hours in Cirrus airplanes, most of them as an instructor or examiner. He has flown and instructed in Europe, USA, Africa and Australia, and has completed 16 North Atlantic crossings in SR20/22 planes. He is a FAA Gold Seal Instructor and a 12 time Master Instructor. As an educator by heart, his main activities center around creating lectures and giving presentations for COPA University™, AOPA, flight instructor refresher clinics, in his own flight school and, of course, writing articles for COPA Pilot magazine. His main interests are in TAA, avionics and human performance. He is a member in several renowned aviation societies (AOPA, SAFE, NAFI).

Timm and his wife, Gerda (also a mechanical engineer with PhD, private instrument pilot, instrument ground instructor, and certified aviation auditor), conducted and instructed on more than 50 international CPPPs since 2003, in places as fancy as Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Holland, Italy, Germany, Poland, South Africa and United Kingdom. Their great common goal is to improve the international general aviation safety through instruction, recurrent training and providing insight.

On the SEF board and in COPA University™, Timm’s responsibilities are the international training events (outside USA) and driving the structural development of COPA University™ forward. Timm is the author of the 2021-2026 strategic plan for COPA University™ which aims to become a worldwide recognized institution for aviation safety and training for TAA pilots.

SEF Trustee Robbins
George W. Robbins, III,
Trustee

George W. Robbins, III was born in Virginia Beach, VA and graduated from VMI (Virginia Military Institute) Class of 1962.  From 1964 through 1966, he served as a company commander in the U.S. Army in France and Germany.

In his 1st career he worked for General Electric (Plastics) Avery international (pressure sensitive adhesives) and Millennium Chemical (fragrances and flavors).  His 2nd career is as a Chair of a Vistage Group in Jacksonville FL.  Vistage is a CEO peer group dedicated to making better leaders who’ll make better decisions to get better results 

His profession is business but his passion is flying.  George earned his private certificate in 1980, instrument rating in 2001 and Commercial rating in 1982. While a student pilot he bought a Grumman Tiger which he kept for 30 years.  As the family grew he bought a A36 Bonanza and traded that for a Malibu four years later.  He’s owned his SR 22 since 2005.  He has over 5,200 total hours and 2,800 hours in his Cirrus.

Currently Robbins is on the Board of Safety & Education Foundation of COPA, and Chairman of the Marine Science Institute of Jacksonville University; a member of the Rotary Club of Mandarin; a Trustee of Fresh Ministries and a member of the Regional Community Institute Water Committee.

He is married to the former Betsy Loving and they have three grown children: Bill, Beth and Sally.  Robbins enjoys tennis and skiing in addition to flying.

SEF Trustee Waddell
Mark E. Waddell,
Trustee

Mark lives in New York with his wife Monica.  He chairs the patent litigation practice for a national law firm. He also holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and focuses his law practice on pharmaceuticals and other life science matters.

Mark’s interest in COPA’s safety education efforts deepened when his last aircraft, an SR22 G3 TN, suffered a CAPS pull in 2018. He maintains accident and incident data used by COPA-U and develops course content for the College of Aviation Safety. Mark holds a private pilot SEL certificate and instrument rating and is currently working on his commercial.  He also flies charity missions for Angel Flight Northeast.  He’s owned four Cirrus aircraft, and currently flies an SR22 G6 NA FIKI.

A COPA member since 2009, Mark has attended nine CPPP events and three Migrations. In 2020, he was the first recipient of the CPPP Instructors’ Landing Challenge Coin.

Mark has four children - two boys and two girls – and two grandchildren.

SEF Trustee Niemyer
Andrew "Andy" Niemyer,
Trustee

Andrew "Andy" Niemyer has been active as an adult in aviation since 1975, first flying professionally in the US Navy and later as a general aviation pilot since 1989. With over 5000 total flight hours, he has long been an advocate for continuing training and education for all pilots and the aviation community in general. He is one of the original founders of the COPA Safety and Education Foundation, working with such recognized aviation safety visionaries as Rick Beach to achieve the Foundation's recognition as an Internal Revenue Service 501(C)3 Charitable Organization. He has been a Trustee since the Foundation’s establishment. He has also served as the President of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association, from 2012 to 2016. He holds both Single Engine and Multi-Engine Land and Single Engine Seaplane ratings.

SEF Trustee Woods
Carrie Woods,
Trustee

Carrie Woods has been an active pilot for nearly 20 years (YES- women fly!) with an instrument rating, and a COPA member for nearly as many years.  Carrie (and her co-pilot / spouse Doug) attended the very first Migration in Duluth, and together they have only missed the two Las Vegas Migrations.  She and Doug have enjoyed flying their first Cirrus (2002 G1) and their current SR22 G2 all of those years.

Starting with a suggestion made at the first Migration (M1), she organized the original COPA dinner at EAA AirVenture.  The first dinner had under 30 people attending, but has now grown to a gathering of over 300 attendees.  She is well known to the COPA community (and feared in the vendor world) for her ability to collect ‘door prizes’ for COPA events.

Carrie accepted a position on the COPA Safety and Education Foundation Board of Trustees in 2018, and as the Safety and Education Foundation separated from the COPA social organization she became its first President in March 2019.  She remains on the SEF Board of Trustees, but is now the Chairperson of COPA Pilot Proficiency Programs.

The CAPS Youtube Channel

COPA SEF on Youtube

COPA SEF strives to provide the latest and most comprehensive Cirrus-related resources to our valued members and associates. From instructional videos and webinars, to assorted tips and training materials, we encourage you to learn more by visiting our Youtube channel.

COPA SEF Youtube channel

The Bylaws

Want to learn more about COPA SEF? We proudly invite you view our Bylaws.

Click to view/download the Bylaws

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