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