The airplane is finished, it’s been certified by Transport Canada and ready for the air.
Now it just needs an owner.
Bill Alder, president of Teenflight Campbell River, says the first build completed by the local program – which began in the spring of 2014 as a joint effort between Sealand Aviation and the Campbell River School District – will go up for auction April 1.
The bidding starts at $79,000 USD (that’s about $105,000 Canadian right now). For those who don’t know anything about the price of airplanes, that’s a good price on a brand new aircraft.
“That airplane, if you bought it from the factory – they sell them as completed planes as well as as kits,” Alder says, “is $125,000 US, so, yeah, if you could get it for 80 grand, that’s a pretty good deal for a brand new plane.”
The plan has always been to sell the completed airplanes as they finish them and put the proceeds back into the program, Alder says. This isn’t supposed to be a profitable endeavour.
“That’s always been the idea of the project, right? Buy the kit, build it, sell the plane and roll it into another one. I mean, we’ve already got another one underway,” he says, so the sale of the first one will actually go to pay off the outstanding bills on the kits they’ve already purchased, but it amounts to the same thing.
But if it’s not supposed to turn a profit, what’s the point? Who goes through the trouble of building an airplane for free?
“What we’re trying to do here is encourage youth to get into aviation,” Alder says. “Because that’s not happening these days. Kids just don’t fall into the aviation industry anymore without somebody showing them where to go, so we’re trying to give some kids some direction and show them that, hey, this is a great industry. There’s a lot of opportunity here.”
Alder thinks the reason fewer young people are getting into aviation is simply that airplanes and air travel have become so commonplace, that it’s not something they think even needs doing.
“We’ve talked a lot about that,” Alder says. “In a lot of respects, the romance has gone out of aviation.
“When I was younger, when an airplane went overhead, you were just in awe. You just wanted to get closer to it and touch it. That doesn’t happen anymore. There aren’t very many kids these days who haven’t been in an airplane, so there’s not much mystery to it in that respect.”
So who is going to buy this airplane?
“What we’re anticipating is that it’ll probably be someone in the States, but maybe not. There have been a couple of people in Canada who have expressed some interest,” Alder says.
“It would be neat if it could stay in Canada, but in some ways it doesn’t matter. What’s most important is that it sells and we can use that money to keep the program going.”
The auction will be open for six weeks, so if you’re interested in buying a brand new Van’s RV-12, head over to teenflight.ca for the auction link as of April 1.