Tucked away in a hangar at Collingwood Regional Airport, a small business has taken off bringing local aviation enthusiasts to new heights.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Adam MacCabe, 30, owner of Macizzle Aero, an aircraft maintenance business.
Q: For how long have you lived in Collingwood?
A: My wife and I first moved to Collingwood in June 2018.
In July, I opened up Macizzle Aero.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born and raised in Stoney Creek, Ont.
I went to school at Seneca College for commercial diving. I moved out west to Tofino B.C. for a half a year.
I decided it wasn’t for me. I came back and went to Mohawk College for aircraft maintenance school. From there I got an apprenticeship at Sioux Lookout near Thunder Bay. I worked there for about three years for a charter and Med-evac company.
In 2017, I started freelancing on my own and found a hangar at the Collingwood Regional Airport in about March and started working on a deal. I opened Macizzle Aero on July 3, 2018.
Q: At what point in your life did you know that aviation and airplanes was your thing?
A: Nobody in my family is really into aviation. But, how can you not be fascinated by airplanes as a little kid?
When I was in Grade 5, my dad got me a flight through a work friend from Hamilton to Niagara Falls and back. Then and there I knew I was going to do whatever it took to become a pilot.
At 12, I joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Through that, I got a glider pilot scholarship. When I was 16, I did the power pilot scholarship. So, I’ve been flying since I was 16.
I decided that I preferred flying as a pass time rather than a career, so that’s why I ventured into the underwater world instead, but I decided it wasn’t really for me. I was always handy with working on cars and had an interest in mechanics, so I pieced those two together.
Q: What made you choose Collingwood specifically out of which to run your business?
A: Most of the money in Ontario is out of Toronto, but there is no small airport in Toronto.
There is Kitchener, and Oshawa. There was no really major brand-name plane maintenance business in the north.
I found the Collingwood Airport and thought it seemed like a sleepy little town. I didn’t realize what was here. I knew it was a tourist town but I didn’t realize it was where all the Toronto people had their weekend homes.
It was cool to come here and take care of the people in the north. I’ve always enjoyed living close to the water. It’s so easy to get around town, plus I’m active with motorsport stuff.
Why would I live anywhere else? I have all the biking and skiing and the airport to go flying. I can’t ask for much more.
Q: How does your family enjoy it?
A: I have a five-and-a-half month old daughter now. Her name is Aurora, like the Aurora Borealis.
The amount of support between young families we see around here; it makes us kind of excited. The way they’re all raised being outdoors in the community resonates big with us.
We’re looking forward to her being a little bit older and putting her in different programs. Other cities don’t really have the same access to the escarpment or water that we have here.
Q: What are some of the jobs you do as part of your business?
A: When we look ahead, we want to be a one-stop shop for aviation business. Sometimes you have to go to multiple places to get services done. We’d like to encompass everything from general maintenance, to painting, avionics and overhauls. We’d like to do everything in-house where we can control the quality of the work.
When people buy planes sometimes it is for pleasure but a lot of times it is for business. We want to make sure we can service those customers.
I’m an aircraft owner and pilot as well, so I can understand what the pilots worry about and go through.
There’s this thing called the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. It’s like F1, but for airplanes. There’s a Canadian competing in the series and I’d been talking with him about becoming a race mechanic with him. In the 2019 season, I was the head technician for the aircraft. With COVID-19, the series wrapped up, but it’s been resurrected this year, so there will be three races: July in Goodwood U.K., September in Malaysia and November in Australia. I’ll be the technician for the aircraft representing the Canadian team.
Q: Do you still fly as a hobby?
A: Yes. I fly about 150 hours a year for fun. Sometimes we’ll throw a baby seat in the back of the plane, load it up and go down to Niagara for the day. My sister lives down there, and I’m not so inclined to drive three hours, but it’s only a 40-minute flight. It’s quite enjoyable.
I’m also the Ontario president of Aerobatics Canada. We host a contest every year. I compete as well. It’s kind of like figure skating in the air.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?
A: I don’t know about me, but more about aviation.
It’s a pleasure, and an art, and can be a business tool. It can keep the economy going.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email email@example.com.