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EAA Education Center Opens More Opportunities for Learning, Discovery
EAA opened the new Education Center with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, July 12, showcasing the two-story, 30,000-square-foot facility designed to further develop aviation education and training. It is the first addition to the EAA Aviation Center in more than 20 years, and is located at the south end of the facility, adjacent to the EAA Aviation Museum’s Eagle Hangar.
“Absolutely amazing!” and “Beautiful!” were among the reactions from local officials who attended the ceremony. The $6.2 million project, completely funded via a capital campaign separate from EAA member dues, now features an innovative Pilot Proficiency Center, a hands-on Youth Education Center, and the EAA Conference Center. These facilities allow individuals and groups to experience all of EAA’s resources on a year-round basis.
“The Education Center was built to enhance aviation education for kids and pilots unlike any other facility,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and Chairman of the Board. “Part of EAA’s mission is to grow aviation participation by promoting the spirit of aviation, and I think we are doing just that with the educational and technological advancements that we now have available in this new facility. Thank you to the donors that believed in our vision and made it a reality.”
The Pilot Proficiency Center features a state-of-the-art skill building and training center for general aviation pilots. The 16 Redbird flight simulators, located in the Pilot Proficiency Center, exhibit the greatest technology available for aviation training and education. It combines relevant safety forums with challenging simulator training sessions that address key flight safety issues. The new facility focuses on improving pilots' overall aeronautical decision-making skills.
The Youth Education Center brings aviation-centric experiences to the EAA Aviation Museum year-round. The 15,000-square-foot Youth Education Center provides youths, their parents, and their teachers access to interactive and project-based activities that inspire and nurture the next generation of aviators. The education facility has five hands-on tech labs and four modifiable classrooms. It serves as another example of EAA’s dedication to fulfilling its mission through the advancement of aviation education for youth.
Primary support of the EAA Education Center expansion is from the Ray Foundation, Inc., David C. Lau Estate, and an anonymous donor. Additional support came from the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust, The Brown Family, Hank Menke, Jim Gorman, Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation, Juan Rodriguez, The JEK Foundation, Inc., Global Aerospace, Henry and Louise Timken Foundation, The Ward J. and Joy A. Timken Foundation, William Knighton, Richard VanGrunsven, JT Grainger, Emily Sensenbrenner, John Lee, and Kathleen Lowrance.
In addition, gifts to support the new EAA Education Center from now until July 31, 2022, will be matched up to $600,000, thanks to a generous sponsor. It marks the final step for complete funding of the facility, which will serve current pilots as well as future generations for years to come.