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EAA Education Center becomes focal point for aviation learning
Thousands served in first 18 months of existence, with more growth planned for 2024
EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (January 18, 2024) — The EAA Education Center in Oshkosh, which opened in July 2022 as a center for aviation learning for young people as well as experienced pilots, looks for additional growth in 2024 after already serving thousands of aviation enthusiasts of all ages.
The $6.2 million Education Center is now completely funded after a final $600,000 matching grant from the Ray Foundation was met in late December. The 30,000-square-foot facility at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Aviation Center in Oshkosh was completely financed with private donations through the EAA Aviation Foundation.
“Approximately five years ago, this was merely a dream - to create a place where young people could be inspired by the world of flight while current pilots could build their existing skills,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and Chairman of the Board. “Having now seen what has occurred here in just 18 months, we know what the support of those who believed in the dream has created, expanding the possibilities for people of all ages within EAA’s aviation community based here at Oshkosh.”
The Education Center is evenly divided between the Pilot Proficiency Center and the Youth Education Center. Regular classes and activities take place in each area, year-round.
In the Pilot Proficiency Center over the past year, those events included:
- A full week of pilot proficiency courses during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh;
- Hundreds attending the national Redbird Migration conference;
- The National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON competition in Oshkosh for the first time;
- Regular open simulator sessions that allow current pilots to build flying skills on Redbird simulators.
Meanwhile, the Youth Education Center has brought in thousands of young people for such events as:
- Area STEM-focused classes and charter schools seeking technology-based curriculum;
- Hundreds of school field trips and aviation exploration days, as well as half-days for homeschool students;
- Two at-capacity “Girls on the Fly” sessions for young women interested in the science of flight;
- EAA’s own Air Academy and GirlVenture programs for young people each summer.
“As we close out the initial fundraising portion for the EAA Education Center’s existence, its success shows what is still possible to support EAA’s mission of growing participation in aviation,” said Margaret Brill, EAA Aviation Foundation vice president. “There are many more opportunities that we will be exploring in 2024 to connect with even more people interested in the world of flight.”
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and embodies The Spirit of Aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 270,000 members and 900 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org.