Bits and Pieces
EAA Air Academy Camps & Young Eagles
Photo: Marcy Ostrander
Virtually everyone in our circle of aviation friends is acquainted with EAA’s Young Eagles program. But do you know about the Air Academy Camps for kids, preparing them, for an aviation-enriched future? And do you know how this can develop from a Young Eagles flight?
If you’ve been to Oshkosh, you will have seen the beautiful Air Academy Building over towards Pioneer Airport; an impressive structure with the massive logs hewn from the forests of BC. This building was provided by a donation from an EAA member, Mr. James Ray, who believed in giving kids the opportunity to learn about flight, many who have gone on to make a career in aviation.
EAA conducts a number of camps, each aimed at a specific age group for kids ages 12-18. Participants spend a week at the purpose-built Air Academy Lodge, completely immersed in the thrilling world of aviation. Top-notch aviation instructors help kids explore the world of flight through aviation studies, hands-on activities, flight simulation, and many other exciting experiences. The highlight of the week is a flight in a real airplane! These camps inevitably provide the foundation for a lifelong love of aviation and create friendships with fellow aviation enthusiasts. To learn more visit www.airacademy.org.
So how does this tie in with EAA’s Young Eagles program?
EAA’s objective is to provide its members with benefits and programs that inspire the joy of flight. How better to advance this objective than by bringing our young kids into aviation programs at their own level? So every Young Eagle flight you fly can help bring some future pilot, or astronaut, or aviation specialist, or military personnel closer their goal. Here’s how it works:
Every EAA member can fly Young Eagles at any time, provided they and the aircraft are current. For every 10 Young Eagles flown by a pilot in a year, the pilot earns a credit of $5 towards an Air Academy Camp for some kid. If an EAA Chapter organizes a Young Eagles rally, the Chapter will similarly receive a $5 credit for each 10 Young Eagles flown. (This used to be a $1 credit, but was increased to $5 because of additional funds raised at last year’s Leadership Banquet.) Chapters can rally together with other chapters and with pilots, and use these credits to send some lucky kid to camp. Credits can be combined with donations or other sources of fees to make up the camp costs.And then the insurance issue: Any EAA member flying a Young Eagle has liability coverage of $1 million for the flight. In addition, if the flight is part of an EAA Chapter Young Eagles rally, EAA provides an additional $1 million in coverage.
Most of us look forward to a summer of fun flying. Most of us enjoy the thrill we see in the eyes of kids who fly for the first time, feeling the controls and the response of the aircraft to control inputs. In my Young Eagle flights, I’m sure that the joy of sharing the flight is as great for me as for the Young Eagle. That’s why we do it! We have the joy of sharing and the great excuse to fly, all wrapped up in one.
So why not use these flights to build up credit for Air Academy Camp for some deserving youth? Chapters can develop a selection process based on school performance, community service, essay or other contests, and chapters can take turns with other chapters pooling their credits to maximize opportunities.Just think about it; from Young Eagles flight, to Air Academy Camp, to flight training, to . . .
What a great opportunity to celebrate flight!