KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence at YLW ready to wow the public

Centre for Excellence opens

Cindy White

The future and past come together seamlessly in an impressive new building at the Kelowna International Airport.

Less than 18 months after the ground breaking, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence on Tuesday.

The 60,000 square foot, state-of-the-art mass timber building includes two dedicated hangars showcasing a rare aircraft collection, including a Second World War era de Havilland Mosquito.

It’s the vision of KF Aerospace founder Barry Lapointe, come to life in wood, concrete and steel.

He says it’s exactly what he wanted it to be. It’s not just a museum but also a window into opportunity and innovation for the next generation.

“Let’s grab the youth. We’re losing the youth. We’re losing them to high tech companies, to computer companies. But if they have a passion and a desire."

“Flying and aviation gets into your blood. It just really does. It’s a passion that I want to instil in the young people today and know that there’s a great future for it and a great opportunity for them,” Lapointe said.

Airport director Sam Samaddar says the Centre for Excellence looks back at the history of aviation in the Okanagan and gives children and young aspiring aviators a chance to see what the industry is all about.

The building also features an airfield viewing gallery and an expansive venue space on the second floor.

“This facility will become a venue as a destination for groups that are having conferences, not just aviation folks but also other kinds of conferences. With the conference centre as part of this facility, it is a tremendous asset to our community,” said Samaddar.

The KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence is located at 5800 Lapointe Drive and opens to the public on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is by a minimum donation of $10 per family or $5 per person.

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