- Young Eagles
EAA Chapter 180 is the Sarasota, Florida Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. As a non-profit organization, EAA Chapter 180 is devoted to serving the local aviation community in the Sarasota and Bradenton area and is based at (SRQ).
Often in the past, EAA has been viewed as the older generation of Pilots that build their own airplanes. Well not anymore! EAA is a growing and diverse organization of members with a wide range of aviation interests and backgrounds. Through the decades, the organization expanded its mission to include the Young Eagles charitable program that introduces today’s youth into aviation as well as Pilot Training and Safety focused missions. Our members enjoy all facets of aviation from antiques, classics, warbirds, aerobatic aircraft, ultralights, helicopters, and contemporary manufactured aircraft.
How does one describe an EAA member? Well, how does one describe the feeling of taking off into a stiff headwind? The answer: If you don’t know, you’ll just have to join us to find out. EAA members are what we like to call the “keepers of the flame.” Sure, we love airplanes. We fly them. We fix them. some of us even build them. But it goes beyond that. It’s about passion, camaraderie, that ol’ can-do spirit, and a grassroots way of sharing our love of aviation with others. Whatever it takes to stand in the footsteps of Orville and Wilbur … if only for a moment.
What’s known today as the 180′th Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association actually began back in August of 1952. In the 1950′s we were known as the Bradenton-Palmetto-Sarasota Pilots Club. The club was comprised of Veteran WWII Pilots, Airline Pilots and General Aviation Pilots that occupied the old Army Airfield now known as the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. In those days life with the club was a few good guys swapping airplane and war stories over coffee and cross country flying around the great state of Florida.
Later in 1964 as the Experimental Aircraft Association started to gain more popularity amongst the General Aviation Community and air travel began to gain popularity in Sarasota, Bradenton, a member of the Pilot’s Club put it out to the world in an EAA Chapter Newsletter in 1964 that folks in Bradenton-Palmetto-Sarasota were looking to convert their Pilot’s Club and participate in a National Organization by becoming an EAA Chapter. J.A. Johnson who happened to live at 2752 Jay Place in Sarasota began the Pilot’s Club conversion to an EAA Chapter. Though it took a few years to get everyone to come around and get excited about the change, EAA Chapter 180 was finally created and Incorporated with the State of Florida in March of 1967.
Since then, EAA Chapter 180 has served the Suncoast of Florida on a local and national level with the mission of preserving aviation’s history as well as its future. Our Pilots both current and former celebrate their love of Aviation and have shown this dedication through its efforts in preserving the skills and abilities of aircraft building and restoration and passing these skills on to future members. In 1992 EAA Chapter 180 began an even greater calling to preserve aviation’s future with the Young Eagles Program of EAA which has been going strong for now 20 years.
Through the 60 year history of EAA Chapter 180, both as an Official EAA Chapter and Prior to as a Pilots Club, we have maintained a reputation of flight safety, and Aviation Excellence!