EAA Education Center Continues to Expand with New Investment
It’s been 18 months since the Experimental Aircraft Association opened the EAA Education Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and according to association officials, it is providing learning opportunities for everyone from curious children who want to learn more about aviation to seasoned and experienced pilots looking to enhance and perfect their skills.
The 30,000-square-foot facility was completely built through private donations through the EAA Aviation Foundation. The two-story center has lots of classroom space and rooms for multimedia presentations. Upstairs houses the Youth Education Center. Downstairs is the Pilot Proficiency Center, consisting of a simulator lab filled with Redbird AATDs and a crosswind trainer.
According to the EAA, in December the $6.2 million education center received a final $600,000 matching grant from the Ray Foundation. The funds help the organization fulfill its dream to inspire more people to pursue aviation.
“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 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 center hosts activities year-round. Each summer there is a full week of pilot proficiency courses offered during EAA AirVenture. The facility has also hosted the national Redbird Migration conference, the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON competition, and regular open simulator sessions that allow pilots to build flying skills on Redbird simulators.
The Youth Education Center brings in thousands of students a year for STEM-based classes and aviation explorations days, including Girls On The Fly sessions for those interested in the science of flight as well as EAA’s Air Academy and GirlVenture program held each summer.
Margaret Brill, EAA Aviation Foundation vice president, is pleased with the progress the center has made.
“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,” Brill said. “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) was founded in 1953 by Paul Poberezny as an organization for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. It soon grew from one chapter to hundreds. Today there are chapters all over the world and more than 290,000 members.
For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to the organization’s website.