Recently-formed EAA Chapter 1597 in Limerick, Ireland, has more than The Spirit of Aviation bringing life and vibrancy to the group — it also has great Irish craic (Gaelic for fun).
Chapter President Gerry Ryan shared that the rules for membership are all about not taking life too seriously.
“Rule number one is to leave your sensitivities at the gate, as all pilots will be the subject of jokes and pranks,” he said. “Rule number two: Anyone who leaves a room should walk out backwards to ensure no one talks about them. Walking out backwards will fool your fellow pilots into thinking that you are still in the room. Rule number three is that flying days traditionally end with a cleansing ale or a pint of Guinness at the local pub.”
But Chapter 1597 is about more than that. Based at Coonagh Airfield, the chapter was established after a few members of the Limerick Flying Club noticed they shared EAA’s goal of spreading participation in aviation, and decided to make the connection official.
“A number of LFC members and I had retired to a local pub for a cleansing ale or two after a day of flying,” Gerry said. “We were talking about Oshkosh and EAA and one thing led to another.”
Gerry said the 20 members who signed up for Chapter 1597 have great synergy with the Young Eagles program and want help introduce as many people as possible to the joys of flight.
In fact, despite their recent establishment, Chapter 1597 has already completed more than 30 Young Eagles flights after organizing an event for a local high school’s transition year program, where students learn life-based skills gaining experience in different industries.
“I thought that these TY students would be ideal candidates for Young Eagles so I approached the school principal and asked if they would be interested,” Gerry said. “The response was fantastic and the school authorities got behind the initiative fully. We then organized 10 different aircraft along with 18 pilots, and we flew 31 Young Eagle flights on Saturday, January 9, 2017.”
In addition to its Young Eagles flights, Chapter 1597 is very active. Monthly meetings include presentations on topics from Oshkosh to flying in Spain, on occasion hosting guest speakers such as members of the Irish Air Corps. The group also has plans to fly to the Duxford Air Show outside Cambridge, England and to Menorca, Spain later this year.
The chapter’s excitement about aviation is evident and the combination of its inviting atmosphere, fun flying events, and community service is a guaranteed recipe for success. Gerry encouraged EAA members interested in forming a chapter to not hesitate in starting the process.
“Having your own EAA chapter will encourage you to spread the word about aviation and let people know how much fun it is,” he said. “You can show that aviation is not an elitist sport, and through Young Eagles you can introduce aviation to the next generation and have great fun in the process.”
Interested in starting your own EAA chapter? Visit www.EAA.org/chapters for details.