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TeenFlight in Campbell River, BC

By Natalie Crawshaw

TeenFlight is a concept that has taken wing worldwide to address an identified shortage of skilled people within the field of aviation. When you ask a person involved in the aviation industry why he chose this line of work, he inevitably tells you “because I love it”. It’s an exciting field. No matter what their involvement, you feel the passion. Hence, TeenFlight.

The program started in Oregon in 2009 and has now spread to several sites around the globe. The Campbell River program in British Columbia is the first Canadian TeenFlight program to get underway.

Mentored by local pilots and kit plane builders, 12 students began the journey of building a Van’s RV-12 in April 2014. The group will be building the aircraft over the course of approximately two years. The plan is that the RV-12 will be sold when complete, the proceeds will go toward the next kit, and then the program will begin anew.

Some of the TeenFlight group with Bill Alder, Sealand Aviation.

This unique aviation work experience program was created through the coordinated efforts of Sealand Aviation, School District No. 72 (Campbell River), and many local volunteers, mentors, and sponsors.

Youngster learns to use a step drill.

Students learn about all aspects of the aviation field, with the ultimate goal being to get students to consider some aspect of aviation as a career.

Bill Phipps inspects the work of one of the TeenFlight members.

The group gets together twice a week for build meetings at the Sealand Aviation hangar. So far, the empennage, wing, and fuselage kits have been purchased and are ready for the next stage: the finishing kit.

There is no cost for the students to be involved in the program. The project is being paid for through fundraising events and donations. If you would like further information, want to get involved, or would like to make a contribution to the next stage of the build, please visit or contact us via e-mail.

Teens check out a primed skin.

We have a number of builders in our group of mentors who have built their own planes, including Grant Neilson, Bill Phipps, Marcel Van Zeeland, Dennis Browne, and Chris Fordham.

Great backdrop for learning to build an aircraft.

We haven’t had contact yet with any other groups interested in starting up a chapter in Canada, but we are certainly available to help in any way we can and share some of the growing pains (and successes) we have experienced.
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