top of page



Founded in 1967, Aviation Publishers Co. Ltd. was established to carry on the publishing of the widely respected and highly acclaimed ground school aeronautical textbook, From the Ground Up.


As custodians of this iconic title, we’ve diligently applied ourselves to respecting and maintaining the excellence created in this work by “Sandy” A.F. MacDonald whose original authorship of the title established it as a ground-breaking textbook, and flight school reference manual, without equal.


In its first edition of 1941, From the Ground Up contained less than 140 pages. A reflection of the vast evolution that has occurred in flight training over the decades, From the Ground Up — now in print for over 80 years — currently contains 400 pages, setting itself apart as one of the most thoroughly detailed books of its kind in the world.

To keep up with the ever-changing nature of worldwide aeronautical technologies, practices and regulations, Aviation Publishers Co. Ltd. seeks to stay at the forefront of the aviation industry.

To this end, the editors and contributors to our company’s portfolio of publications maintain very close ties to the aviation industry, as well as to the multifaceted developments that will have bearing on the industry’s future. As publisher, we also keep current on the latest trends both in the publishing industry and in research related to improved learning and enhanced instructional techniques.


For all who accept the challenge to earn their wings, Aviation Publishers Co. Ltd. will remain steadfast in its resolve to lead by example in its provision of challenging, thorough and accurate material that best prepares aspiring men and women for their futures as recreational and professional pilots.


BCATP_for_AvP (1).jpg

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) was a joint military aircrew training program created by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, during World War II. It remains the single largest aviation training program in history, and was responsible for training nearly half the pilots and crew who served with the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force during WWII.


Canada was chosen as the primary location for the BCATP owing to the vastness of its size and its consequent suitability for training,

its established industry for manufacturing of training aircraft, its abundance of supplies, and its security. In all, over 130,000 aircrew are estimated to have trained in Canada under the BCATP, with many of those trainees having come from other countries such as France, Holland, Denmark, Greece, Poland, and the United States.


The Royal Canadian Air Force ran the plan in Canada. At its height, it included well-over 200 training locations, more than 10,000 aircraft, and approximately 100,000 military administrative personnel. At its conclusion, tens-of-thousands of pilots had been trained under the BCATP in Canada between 1940 and 1945.


In his capacity as chief ground school instructor, Alexander Forsyth MacDonald was responsible for the graduation, in ground school subjects, of more than thirty-five percent of the Elementary Flying Instructors engaged in the BCATP. It was during this period that the seeds were planted for From the Ground Up. The structure devised for his courses became the material that served as the foundation upon which “Sandy” MacDonald created the original version of this textbook.


In the passing of years since its first publication, From the Ground Up has received continual acclaim for its authorship and contribution to the advancement of aviation and of flying. In many ways, the storied history of the BCATP was the precursor that has contributed to the nation of Canada as being recognized continually as one of the foremost countries in the world in which to train as a pilot or aircrew.


For its part in the development of a nation where flight training leads by exceptional international example, From the Ground Up is a memorial to its original author, “Sandy” MacDonald, and to the thousands of men and women who, through their dedication, participation and sacrifice in the BCATP, participated in the establishment of a framework that has since set the standard by which those who choose to look skyward, earn their wings to fly.



William N. Peppler: Over Four Decades as Chief Editor of From the Ground Up

Bill Peppler, chief editor and associate publisher of From the Ground Up from 1967 to 2012, is a 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 operations, and recognizes “a sustained high-level of performance” in the advancement of the use of aviation. The Trophy resides at Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in Alberta, Canada.

Throughout an aviation career that spanned over 65 years, Bill’s unfailing attraction to aviation never wavered, nor did his efforts ever cease to pave pathways in the sky for pilots.

As a Chief Flying Instructor at flight training facilities in Canada’s southern Ontario, Bill instructed hundreds of pilots in the late 1940’s, fostering them all towards their certification as either new pilots or as advanced license holders. His qualities as an instructor were recognized by his students as well as by his peers. So too was his natural skill and professionalism at the controls of an airplane.

He flew endless hours as a barnstorm pilot during the post-WWII period, giving thousands of rides to people who’d never previously sat in an airplane. During this same time, he 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.

Bill flew thousands of hours as a bush pilot 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 accumulated his vast pilot-in-command experience in aircraft such as DC-3’s, DH Beavers, and Avro Ansons.

During the 1950’s, Bill also served as the Base Manager of Operations at Fort Churchill, where he was responsible for coordinating a fleet of aircraft assigned to the role of supporting the creation of the Defense Early Warning (DEW) Line across Canada’s north during the Cold War. It was a critically important task for the time.

Bill 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 & Pilots Association (COPA). From 1996 to 2001, he became the Canadian representative for the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA). During this same latter five-year period, he served as the official representative of the International Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (IAOPA) at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal.

From 1967 to 2012, Bill was the owner, president and chief editor at Aviation Publishers, 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 long since solidified not only the legacy of the textbook’s creator, but also firmly cemented the profound aviation legacy of Bill himself, into the sphere of Canadian aviation “Greats.”

Bill’s love of airplanes knew no bounds. He owned or flew a wide variety of aircraft, including Aeronca Chiefs and Champs, Pipers Cubs and Cherokees, Cessna 150s and 172s, Bellanca Cruisairs, De Havilland Tiger Moths and a Dragon Rapide, to name a few. He once owned as unique an antique as you’ll ever find, a Fairchild 22. He doted over the two V-tail Beech Bonanzas that he owned during his flying career. And, after 40 years of ownership, he remained as fond of his Cessna 150 as he was the first day he acquired it.

In a lifetime during which he amassed over 10,000 hours of flying time, Bill Peppler spent his working career at the service of an aviation community for which he remained steadfastly loyal and unabashedly passionate for his entire life. 

Screen Shot 2019-09-26 at 3.01.40 PM.png

Isabel L. Peppler: Thirty Years Authoring From the Ground Up

From 1967 to 1998, Isabel Peppler authored From the Ground Up for flight training in Canada. Considered “the bible” of the aviation industry, and the takeoff point into flying for thousands of new pilots across Canada every year, the title came under her purview following the death of the title’s original author, “Sandy” MacDonald.


Since the mid-1960s when she first became involved with the publication, Isabel spent countless hours revising and updating the title’s technical content in consultation with Canadian federal aviation officials. During her span as author, From the Ground Up sold over 300,000 copies in Canada and worldwide. The title remains the backbone of pilot training throughout Canada, with effectively 100 percent of all students using it as their primary textbook when learning to fly in the nation.


Sharp intelligence and strict attention to detail were hallmarks of Isabel’s multiplicity of traits. Guided by the editorial input of her husband, William Peppler, himself an icon of the Canadian general aviation community, Isabel undertook her authorship role with the same exacting authority that its original author established with the title’s release in 1941.


Such was Isabel’s capacity to perfectly emulate the technically savvy style of “Sandy” MacDonald that authorship of From the Ground Up remained associated to MacDonald during her entire tenure as author. Yet, during her thirty-year duration as the title’s content developer, her contribution more than doubled the size of the book. By the measure used in Canada to establish books as “Best Sellers,” Isabel Peppler’s versions of From the Ground Up met the criteria year-after-year during her multiple decades associated to the book.


Her contribution to aviation went beyond that of technical writer for the country’s foremost textbook. Isabel’s enthusiastic support of the international organization of women pilots known as the Ninety- Nines was firmly felt throughout the Canadian chapters of the international association. She served as Governor for the association’s Canadian executive branch, after also fulfilling all Chapter and Section offices with her well-known skills and efficiencies. It was at Isabel’s suggestion that the Ninety-Nines Canadian Award in Aviation was instituted to support the training of women learning to fly in Canada. The Award is considered one of the most distinguished contributions made, of many, by the Ninety- Nines each year in the country.


Outside of aviation, Isabel’s community involvement included many years working with the May Court Club in Ottawa, a highly-respected convalescent home for which she served a term as President during her many years associated to the club. Along with several other community and school executive services that she performed, Isabel also served on the Advisory Committee to the National Aviation Museum, (now the Canada Aviation and Space Museum).


Those who worked with Isabel consider her widespread business and organizational skill to have been outstanding. The care and diligence with which Isabel carried on the style, structure and thoroughness of “Sandy” MacDonald’s ground-breaking work ensure that her own legacy lives on in this famous aviation title.

bottom of page