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Know Your EAA Canadian Council

EAA’s organizational structure is made up of several affiliations, such as Warbirds, International Aerobatic Club, Vintage Aircraft Association, National Association of Flight Instructors , as well as several special-interest groups, including the Homebuilt Aircraft Council, the Ultralight or Light-Sport Aircraft Council, and the Canadian Council. During the last few years, EAA has spent a significant amount of time and resources revamping the Canadian Council to better serve Canadian EAA members.

The current EAA Canadian Council consists of five members, selected and appointed by EAA President Tom Poberezny. They are Denis Browne, Jack Dueck, Paul Dyck, Lloyd Roberts, and Mike Bourget.

The council’s mandate is simply To serve EAA by representing Canadian members’ interests to staff, and relating staff decisions and operations to our Canadian membership.

With that mission in mind, let’s start with introducing the council to our members, who they are, and where they can be contacted. You’ll meet one council member each month, and we hope that you will feel free to communicate your interests and issues with each and/or anyone. We are here to serve you.

This month’s council member is Mike Bourget.

Mike Bourget
Mike Bourget, with a camper and his beautiful Nanchang CJ-6

Mike hails from Orleans, Ontario. This places him strategically near Transport Canada’s Ottawa base. Mike is fully bilingual and has a lifelong history and love of aviation.

Born in St Jean, Quebec, in 1962, Mike had his first airplane ride when he was 2 weeks old. Growing up on military bases across Canada and Europe, he has had an interest in aircraft for as long as he can remember. Growing up as a military child, he spent most of his youth on Canadian fighter bases. One of his favourite memories was when at 12 years of age, he and his father would sit at the end of the runway at CFB Bagotville and watch CF-101 Voodoos depart under full afterburner in the dark.

Mike graduated from high school in North Bay, Ontario, and moved to Ottawa in 1980. He has lived here ever since. In 1985 Mike married his high school sweetheart, Lyne, and they have two children, Patrick 20, and Julie, 15.

Life was stable until the summer of 1996, when his father died at the young age of 53. This had a traumatic effect on Mike, and with a career in banking, he began to ask himself, “Why am I doing this, and why am I doing something I dislike so much!” When his mother died two years later, Mike’s desire to fly was cemented, and he decided to get out of the banking industry and sell his mortgage brokerage firm. “The final gift my parents gave me was a perspective. I was no longer going to wait until I retired to do the things I love, including flying!”

Mike bought his first aircraft, a beautiful Zenith 250 C-CDJV built somewhere near Oshkosh sometime in the early ’80s. About a year later the Zenith was sold and replaced with a ’49 Bonanza. Mike made his first pilgrimage to Oshkosh with his son in this Bonanza in 1999., On this trip the seed for a summer aviation camp for kids was planted in Mike’s brain. (And heart and soul. More on this later. Editor)

The mortgage brokerage firm was sold in 2000, and Mike applied to become an air traffic controller. He was accepted and started his training in November of 2000. His first day on the job was September 11, 2001. Talk about trial under fire! Mike currently works at the Ottawa airport, Canada’s fifth busiest airport.

Mike sold the Bonanza and built a Challenger ultralight in his garage. This aircraft was painted like the 75th anniversary RCAF F-18, a tribute to his father. Mike has taught three pilots to fly in this ultralight.

Two years later, Mike sold the Challenger and bought a partially built 2/3-scale SAL P-51. While completing the gear wiring and performing a gear swing, the aircraft fell off the jacks, sustaining serious damage. Mike was heartbroken and decided to sell it, replacing it with an amateur-built Bakeng Duce. The Bakeng was an amazing aircraft, but its open cockpit and Ottawa’s cold weather were mutually exclusive, and Mike sold the Bakeng and bought a Van’s QuickBuild RV-8.

This aircraft progressed quickly, but when it had reached an advanced state of construction, Mike saw a Nanchang CJ-6 up for sale. Mike bought it. “As it turns out, I’m more of a flier than a builder!” Mike quips.

In 2008 Mike’s dream of a “summer aviation camp for kids” became a reality. This was the inaugural year for High Flight Adventures Inc. The camp takes in kids from 11 to 16, introduces them to aviation in a very real way, and teaches self-esteem and team building. Kids love it and lives are changed. In 2009, High Flights hosted an EAA Young Eagles rally, and the EAA community pitched in to fly 39 Young Eagles in aircraft ranging from Van’s RVs to helicopters.

Mike and camper
Mike and camper having just completed a three-leg ‘Engineering-Navigation-Piloting’ flight

What comes next? Mike continues to work as an air traffic controller, camp director, and EAA council member. He has recently begun the application process for a Bachelor of Science from Embry-Riddle University. Aside from that, “Just more of the same” he quips. “I’m very lucky and blessed. I have a great job, a great family, a cool airplane. I’m respected by my peers, and I don’t get any grief or hassles. I get to work and socialize with aviators young and old. Why would I change any of that?”

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