EAA Chapter 297 was chartered January 15, 1968 in Wilmington, North Carolina and met in members' homes in the early years. Initially, there were ten members who lived in the Wilmington and Chadbourn areas. As the chapter grew, the Columbus County members formed their own Chapter in Chadbourn.
In the mid-1970's, the chapter met in a leased hangar at the Wilmington Airport until a Chapter building and hangar were built at Debose Field (now Stag Air Park, Inc.) in Pender County near Burgaw in 1987.
Today, the chapter's membership has grown to nearly 100 members. Meetings are held the first Saturday of each month starting at 10:00 a.m. Visitors and new members are welcomed, so come visit us!
The core values of EAA Chapter 297 as stated in our bylaws are:
A. Promote, encourage and facilitate and environment that fosters safety and high standards in the design, constuction, restoration, and operation of all types of recreation aircraft
B. Promote, encourage and facilitate recreational activities that provide educational opportunities
C.Support and promote the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) through programs and services in the Chapter family; and
D. Have Fun!
In December, on the Chapter's regular meet day, the regular meeting business meeting is foregone. Instead we hold a Christmas dinner party in the Chapter meeting room. It is a covered dish affair with the Chapter providing the meat and beverages with members bringing desserts. A BYOB happy hour commences at 6:00 PM followed by dinner at 7:00 PM. A gift exchange is held following dinner, with the less serious the gifts usually being the most interesting.
Because EAA Chapter 297 is located on the beautiful grass strip, Stag Air Park, we are able to host three fly-ins at our home base each year. These are typically held on the second Saturdays of February, May and November. The February fly-in features a Chili cookoff contest. The May and November fly-ins feature an Eastern North Carolina BBQ lunch catered by the Jordan Chapel.
We are enthusiastic about supporting Young Eagles. Young Eagles are between the ages of 8 and 17. To qualify as a Young Eagle all that is required is to have interest enough in aviation to attend an EAA or EAA Chapter event, be between the ages of 8 an 17 and express in interest in the Young Eagle program. You will be warmly welcomed to the Young Eagles program. When weather permits and pilot/aircraft are available the Young Eagle is introduced to flight by one of our members.
We hold aviation rallies at Stag Air Park and support Boy Scouts working on their Aviation Badges. For the past several years Chapter 297 has sent one or two 14 or 15 year old youngsters to the EAA Air Academy Camp.