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Learn to Fly Day Events Report Success

Chapter 10’s Roger Wieden gives one of many rides in (or on) his always popular Big Breezy in Owasso, Oklahoma.

Ryan Foote (right) and a participant preparing for a discovery flight in a Cessna 172 SP at Sky Chiefs Aviation’s event in Gainesville, Florida.

May 31, 2011 – With more than 200 scheduled events by EAA chapters, flight schools, and FBOs, along with countless pilots taking a friend up for a flight, the second International Learn to Fly Day attracted thousands of people to airports throughout the country and beyond on Saturday, May 21. From Sydney, Australia, where 10 planes gathered for the day’s first event, to facilities across America, people were introduced to aviation in a way they’d never experienced before.

“It was very gratifying to hear from chapters all over the country about their success stories and the number of people they took for orientation flights,” said EAA’s Ron Wagner, manager of field operations. “More importantly is the enthusiasm these people who are new to flying showed for aviation.

“I would encourage everyone who participated in International Learn to Fly Day to follow up in a week or two and invite these prospective pilots to attend an EAA chapter meeting or simply come out to the airport to hang out and become part of the aviation community.”

Among the many successful events held was Chapter 10’s at Gundy's Airport (O38) in Owasso, Oklahoma, where at least a dozen aircraft offered rides and several more were on static display from local builders and vendors. The weather was great, and the chapter signed 124 flight waivers, which produced about 150 demonstration flights from approximately 250 people attending. The many exhibits included Aircraft Specialties Services, Sporty’s, Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, Vans, Zenith, RANS, Garmin, Sonex, Quicksilver, and EAA Membership Services.

A flight simulator was accompanied by several CFIs to answer questions at the Flight Instruction display. The chapter signed up several new members who have an interest in aviation and flight training. They also received media coverage before, during, and after the event and many people are already asking about the next flying event.  Chapter 10’s Mark Chouinard reports the chapter’s advance planning really paid off in regards to inside displays as it provided additional entertainment and education.

At Gainesville Regional Airport in Gainesville, Florida, Sky Chiefs Aviation provided 30-minute introductory flights to 25 people. Participants were given the chance to control its Cessna 172SP, performing basic flight maneuvers under the instruction of Ryan Foote, CFII, owner and chief flight instructor. Sky Chief’s instructors and staff were also present to answer questions and provide information about requirements and training needed to earn a private pilot certificate.

Food and beverages were also provided. It was a great way for the instructors and staff of Sky Chiefs Aviation to share their enthusiasm for flying and to increase community interest in aviation.

Below is just a sample of media reports on other local events involving EAA chapters. If you have an International Learn to Fly Day story, we’d love to hear from you. Send photos and reports to chapters@eaa.org.

Chapter 1361 (Reno, Nevada) – Daily Sparks Tribune: “Get Your Wings”
Chapter 2 (Fort Wayne, Indiana) – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “Aspiring Aviators Take Flight”
Chapter 919 (Winona, Minnesota) – Winona Daily News: “Group Aims to Renew Interest in Flight”
Chapter 1270 (Houghton, Michigan) – WLUC-TV: “Group Promotes Learning to Fly”
Chapter 692 (Stuart, Florida) – TCPalm.com: “Video of International Learn to Fly Day”
Chapter 827 (Bangor, Maine) – Bangor Daily News: “Weather Grounds Learn to Fly Day in Old Town”
Chapter 524 (Frederick, Maryland) – AOPA: “‘I didn’t want to come down’: Community Gets Taste of GA”
Chapter 427 (Chico, California) – Chico News & Review: “Up In the Air”

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