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Update to Canadian 'Pathways to Flight' Initiative

By Jack Neima, EAA Canadian Council, EAA 413636

February 2021 – In September 2018, we introduced the subject of Canadian "Pathways to Flight" chapter build projects in our Bits and Pieces article, which referenced a similar initiative rolling out in the U.S. from EAA headquarters in Oshkosh.

The timing was perfect because the EAA Canadian Council and our recently reorganized and relaunched sister organization, Experimental Aircraft Association Canada Inc. (EAAC), had been discussing how such an initiative might work in Canada. We identified several uniquely Canadian issues that we believe will support these new initiatives, such as EAAC's status as a nationally registered CRA Canadian charity and a substantial pool of potential new flying club members that we believe exists in Canada.

To refresh memories, these are the Pathways high points:

  1. A group of EAA members and other aviation enthusiasts decide they want to scratch their fabrication itch by engaging in a chapter build project. They believe they can create a stand-alone flying club to operate the finished aircraft and provide low-cost access to recreational aviation for people who want to find their way back into aviation but are not sure how.
  2. They identify an orphan aircraft that possibly needs some work, or they indicate their willingness to take on one that has been offered to EAAC by donors.
  3. The owner of a dormant, unused aircraft or abandoned construction project donates it for a charitable receipt for fair market value. They are willing to do this because they recognize the opportunity to get their aircraft into the air, or back into the air, and at the same time support the growth of affordable recreational aviation for a new generation.
  4. In exchange for a tax-deductible receipt, EAAC takes ownership and helps the chapter organize the build project and form a flying club.
  5. The chapter members refurbish the aircraft and facilitate the creation of a new chapter-affiliated flying club to eventually purchase and then operate the completed aircraft.
  6. Once the aircraft is ready, the flying club takes ownership from EAAC and pays for the aircraft over time with flexible and innovative repayment options.
  7. The flying club documents its organization and establishes its method of handling financing, booking aircraft, and making rules.
  8. During the life of the build project, the chapter engages in various outreach activities intended to attract previous aviators who have drifted away from recreational aviation, often due to costs. Ideal candidates are former graduates of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Flying Scholarship programs or from local flying schools across the country.

Since our September 2018 article, there has been an encouraging amount of activity at our Canadian chapters and we have been pleased to offer support for several projects that are underway or being considered:

  • The Zenith 601 building group at Chapter 1410 in High River, Alberta, is making steady progress, and we are particularly grateful for their willingness to share their experiences with others through their frequent update articles in Bits and Pieces.

The Chapter 1410, High River, learn-and-build group.
  • Chapter 63 in Winnipeg has recently acquired a partially completed Piel Emeraude project and is making progress to get the build organized. (See Bits and Pieces, September 2020.)

Manitoba Chapter 63's Piel Emeraude project.
  • Chapter 115 in Plattsville was already underway with a Jodel D.11 project when we launched Pathways. They completed and flew the aircraft, and shared their experiences with Bits and Pieces readers in a June 2019 article filled with great advice.

Chapter 115's Jodel D.11.
  • Chapter 245 in Ottawa was awarded a free set of Zenith CH750 Cruzer wings that had been used at AirVenture, and they decided to complete the build by buying the rest of the kit. That project is "90 percent complete with only 90 percent left to go," and they hope it will soon be flying from the chapter's base at Carp Airport.

Chapter 245's Zenith Cruzer project.
  • A build project feasibility group has formed at Chapter 1051 in Nova Scotia, and momentum is building to jump into a project, hopefully in 2021.

We think there is opportunity to build on these initial successes, and we look forward to sharing updates on these exciting projects in the months ahead.

Another great way to build on these successes is to fulfill a "matchmaker" role if we can identify unused or underutilized aircraft and projects that need to find their way to new homes. We think we can pair these projects with EAA members and chapters who are looking for just such an opportunity to sink their teeth into. Almost every local airport — and many workshops, basements, and garages — have these project candidates. If you have one, or know of such an opportunity, we would love to talk to you about the benefits of donating and how you can take the next step. If you don't know how your project is going to make it to the finish line, this may be the opportunity you've been looking for — to see wind under its wings while making a significant contribution to the future of recreational aviation in Canada.

If you would like more information or to discuss this, I would be delighted to hear from you at or 902-827-3665.

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