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From the Archives - November 1963

EAA directory of amateur-built aircraft

What was interesting became impractical. Fifty years ago, the November issue of Sport Aviation included a list of all members' aircraft. Obviously with so many members today, a list of all their aircraft, if it were published in Sport Aviation, would perhaps need another truck or two to ship the magazine out. It would be impractical to publish a printed list, but it is really interesting to review the 1963 list, sorted by aircraft model, and see where they were all located.

It's worth noting that the addresses of the builders are seldom even close to each other, indicating that building your own aircraft must have been more of a solitary exploit 50 years ago. In the published list there was one each in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. We're fortunate to have EAA chapters, other aviation organizations, and airport buddies with whom to share our passion and our ideas today.

Another interesting fact: The list at the time was described as a directory of "Amateur Built Aircraft", which is the description we use today in Canada, rather than "experimental". It seems so much more accurate to describe what most of us do as "amateur aircraft building" rather than conducting "aviation experiments". It's not clear what the average passenger would prefer, but one has the feeling that the big black letters EXPERIMENTAL don't necessarily induce a feeling of calm confidence.

You could probably imagine that it would be very easy to put together an online list of every member's aircraft with a lot more detail than was possible to squeeze on a single line in the magazine of the 1960s, but we all know that we'd have to "eat a lot of spam" if that was ever done today.


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