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Chapter 461 ‘Give Flight’ Aircraft Ready to Train Pilots
By David Leiting, EAA Lifetime 579157, Chapter Outreach Specialist
September 2017 - During AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, EAA took on the Give Flight project through which volunteers and attendees worked together to build five sets of wings, which served as the start of chapter building projects for five chapters. Chapter 461 in Bolingbrook, Illinois, was one of the five chapters selected to receive a set of Zenith CH750 wings. The goal was to complete the aircraft in time for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017.
Upon receiving its wings, Chapter 461 worked with the Illinois Aviation Museum to fundraise for and build the Zenith. After nearly 35 months of non-stop fundraising and thousands of volunteer hours, N611AM was finally completed. However, this left only three weeks to have the aircraft inspected, conduct the first flight, fly off the required 40 hours, and get the aircraft to Oshkosh in time for AirVenture.
After gaining the airworthiness certificate, the aircraft was successfully flown on July 8, exactly 16 days before the start of AirVenture. Once again, the power of EAA volunteerism shined through as individuals stepped forward to take time out of their own weekends to fly off the flight test time on the Zenith. Fast forward to AirVenture 2017, where the aircraft was on display in EAA’s Homebuilders Hangar.
Although the aircraft was built by Chapter 461, it is now owned by a flying club called Access Aero, which was formed by Chapter 461 members Andrew Moore, EAA 1175544, and Wayne Brazinski, EAA 1104669. The flying club will be based out of Bolingbrook-Clow International Airport (1C5) and will provide access to affordable flying in the Chicagoland area.
The club will be open to members and non-members of Chapter 461 and provide access to all types of pilots. The main goal is to provide affordable flying opportunities to members who can’t afford to buy their own aircraft or pay rental fees in excess of $100 per hour.
The club already has a number of members, but it is expected to grow quickly over the next couple of months. There are already four high-school-aged girls in the area who are slated to join the club and earn their pilot’s certificates. Post flight training, they will be able to continue operating the Zenith at an affordable rate to keep them airborne!
EAA is excited to offer support throughout this entire process. Whether your chapter wants to conduct a build project for use in a flying club or wants to move a certified aircraft into a flying club, EAA has resources to help you. Visit www.EAA.org/flyingclubs to learn about forming a separate nonprofit flying club, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!