Originally founded in August 2008, 88CHARLIES Inc. is a 501C3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting aviation. Founded by five local aviation enthusiasts and pilots, 88CHARLIES is named after the Palmyra Municipal Airport, which has the designation of 88C. 88CHARLIES is a grassroots effort that is making a difference in the world of youth aviation.
With the tagline, “Cultivating the next generation through aviation,” 88CHARLIES teaches both academic and interpersonal skills to students. The goal of the organization is to motivate students to expand their knowledge of aviation, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and history through aircraft restoration. In addition to academic fundamentals, the organization also promotes responsibility, leadership, planning, and teamwork through the weekly workshops.
Designed to provide youth aged 12 – 18 years a hands-on opportunity to explore aviation as a career or hobby, 88CHARLIES operates through the generous donation of sponsors. There is no cost to students or parents participating in this program. The primary focus of the organization isn’t just about building airplanes. 88CHARLIES emphasizes the importance of getting students and adults involved in the building process and developing skills along the way. Technical academic principles are taught coupled with an emphasis on the importance of exercising patience, understanding the correlation between effort and results, and how to have fun in a responsible manner. Parents are welcome to work alongside their child, fostering the added benefit of strong family bonding time.
To further promote aviation, participating students are offered flight lessons in exchange for classroom hours. 20 hours in the classroom equates to a one-hour flying lesson. Certified flight instructors provide flight lessons. The lessons are given in completed aircraft restored by the students and staff of 88CHARLIES. Each completed aircraft receives an inspection by a designated Aircraft Inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure the aircraft meet safety standards before the maiden flight after restoration is completed.
In addition to retaining completed aircraft for training purposes, additional restored aircraft may also be sold, with the proceeds being invested in the next aircraft projects. The majority of the aircraft restored by the students and staff of 88CHARLIES are vintage 1930 – 1960 aircraft in the economical, low horsepower category.
88CHARLIES Inc. was launched in August of 2008 in Palmyra, WI to educate young people through aviation.
Local pilots Alan Borré, Dave McCoy, Bill Rosman, Mike Rosman, and Steve Sorge originally created the 501C3 non-profit organization.
The mission of 88CHARLIES is to use the empowering experience of restoring and flying old airplanes to teach young people responsibility, leadership, planning, and teamwork.
88CHARLIES currently has a volunteer staff of 12, with 19 students enrolled in the program and participating in aircraft restoration.
The allotted enrollment numbers at any given time are limited to 20 students to ensure an adequate one-on-one, hands-on learning environment.
Corporate and private donors provide funding for 88CHARLIES.
There is no cost to students or parents participating in this program.
Classroom hours are exchanged for student flight lessons.
Goals for the next 5 years include:
- To continue youth outreach
- Expand the learning environment
- Construct permanent headquarters
Aircraft restoration projects motivate students to expand their knowledge of aviation, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and history.
Interpersonal skills are also built through the promotion of leadership, responsibility, planning, and teamwork.
The majority of the aircraft restored by 88CHARLIES are vintage 1930 – 1960 aircraft in the economical, low horsepower category.
88CHARLIES promotes aviation in a positive, educational manner.
Since the founding of 88CHARLIES, the volunteers of the organization have mentored 50 individual students accumulating over 15,000 hours of volunteer work with related public charities, local benefits, and corporate sponsored events.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are 211,619 private pilots in the United States, with the number steadily declining since 1980.
Two students that participated in 88CHARLIES were encouraged to earn their Airplane and Power Plant Mechanics licenses, and one student achieved a degree in Aviation Engineering. Other students have earned pilots’ licenses, both private and commercial.
Each of these students achieved their goals by the mentoring and developed skills they initially received through participating in 88CHARLIES.