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Give Flight Helps Chapters and Members Take Flight

July 25, 2015 - Ron Wagner, retired EAA employee and chairman of the Give Flight tent, predicts that by the end of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, more than 2,500 people will have participated in the Give Flight project.

The goal of Give Flight is to have five sets of aircraft wings built in less than one week then shipped out to five EAA chapters across North America for incorporation into a completed aircraft.

Ron said throughout the history of AirVenture, there have been a few instances in which EAA partnered with aircraft companies to build an airplane from the ground up.

Those companies approached EAA again and it was decided that the tradition would be brought back, but with a twist: get the membership involved.

They wanted to demonstrate to chapters and members that homebuilding is both affordable and fun, especially as a team.

“They came up with the idea to build these five sets of wings and give them to chapters across the country,” Ron said. “So they made an announcement, took an application process, got chapters to apply to receive the wings—so we came up with the concept of Give Wings.”

As of Saturday morning, Ron said one set of wings had already been shipped out. If plans hold, those wings are coming back.

“In 2017, 2018, we’re going to try to get all five of those chapters to fly those wings to Oshkosh and have a big reunion,” he said. “It’ll be a great demonstration of how a chapter can really do this.”

Volunteers at the Give Flight tent have been particularly excited about the number of families participating, according to Ron.

“(Usually) the father or the mother is very interested in aviation, but to be very successful in the homebuilt project, particularly if you’re at the age where you have a family, you have to get the family involved and enthusiastic because it takes a chunk of your time and money and space in your home or workshop,” he said.

So far, Ron said the program has been a success because it has encouraged members to start their own homebuilding projects.

“It’s very gratifying to see the number of people that come back and have said ‘Well, I went home and ordered my kit after I pulled that rivet and I’m starting on a project now,’” Ron said. “Most of the people who have done that have come back and helped us volunteer because they’re so enthused.”

The Van’s RV-12 wings go to Chapter 27 of Meriden, Connecticut; Chapter 555 of Las Cruces, New Mexico gets the Sonex Waiex wings.

Three sets of wings were donated by Zenith, with 750 Cruzer wings destined for Ottowa, Ontario, Canada Chapter 245 and Bolingbrook, Illinois Chapter 461, while CH650 wings are being sent to Chapter 84 of Snohomish, Washington.

Aircraft Spruce and Specialty donated each chapter a $500 gift for their project.

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