William (Bill) Peppler

By | November 15, 2020

William (Bill) Peppler

Bill began his training in 1938 at Barker Airfield (north of Toronto), he served with the Canadian Army in World War II. During the post-WWII period he work at Leavens Aviation and earned his license as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer as well as his Air Transport Pilot license, thus becoming one of a select group of individuals with both qualifications.

Hired as an AME/pilot, Bill flew thousands of hours in the bush for the renowned Spartan Air Services throughout the 1950’s, often in perilous conditions, doing aerial surveillance and magnetometer work, and ferrying supplies to research outposts and rural communities. In the course of his flying duties, Bill also accumulated vast experience maintaining the aircraft that he  and his fellow pilots used. He is one of the few individuals in Canada to have a DC-3 endorsement on both his pilot and aircraft maintenance licenses.

The Peppler River and Peppler Lake in the Quebec interior were named in recognition of his successful bush flying activities.

In 1954 and 1955 he managed Fort Churchill air supply operations supporting Cold War construction of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line radar net across northern Canada, then North America’s first line of defence against over-the-pole and great circle route intercontinental bombers and ICBMs.

Bill has made a wealth of contributions to the aviation industry in a variety of association leadership positions. For 39 years, from 1957 to 1996, he served as General Manager of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). Then, from 1996 to 2001, he became the Canadian representative for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). During this same latter five year period, he served as the official representative of the International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (IAOPA) at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. Bill was always able to present his unique perspective as an owner, pilot and maintainer of aircraft.

From 1967 to 2012, Bill was the owner, president and chief editor at Aviation Publishers Co. Ltd, in which capacity he was responsible for the content of one of the world’s most recognizable titles in aeronautics, From the Ground Up. Since 1941, this publication has been the primary reference textbook used by every student who has ever learned to fly in Canada. Its appeal also spans the globe, with schools in the United States, Latin America, Europe, India, Africa, Australia and New Zealand also making use of the title for their ground school programs. Originally authored by his friend and aviation colleague, “Sandy” MacDonald who regularly sought Bill’s advice regarding content, Bill’s undertaking of the role as From the Ground Up executive editor has long since solidified not only the legacy of the textbook’s creator, but has also firmly cemented the profound aviation legacy of Bill himself, into the sphere of Canadian aviation “Greats.”

He is the longest‐serving general aviation member on various Canadian government-industry consultative committees and represented general aviation aircraft owners, pilots and maintainers at these ongoing rule-making meetings.

In 2004 Bill Peppler was the recipient of one of Canada’s most prestigious aviation awards, The Trans‐Canada McKee Trophy. Presented by the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), and awarded annually since 1927, The McKee is awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of air operaIons, and recognizes “a sustained high‐level of performance” in the advancement of the use of aviation.

Bill was one of the first to recognize the need for an association to represent Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and joined the Ontario Association in its initial year, 1982. He attends the annual workshop regularly and is always ready with comments and constructive suggestions.

Bill’s love of airplanes knows no bounds. He has owned or flown Aeronca Chiefs and Champs, Pipers Cubs and Cherokees, Cessna 150s and 172s, Bellanca Cruisairs, De Havilland Tiger Moths and Dragon Rapides, to name a few. He’s even owned as unique an antique as you’ll ever find, a Fairchild 22. And he remains as fond, after 40 years of ownership, of his V‐tail Beech Bonanza as he was the first day he acquired it.

Through a career that has spanned over 65 years, Bill Peppler has spent his working career at the service of the aviation community. Bill’s unfailing attraction to aviation has never wavered, nor have his efforts to pave pathways  in the sky.