Young Eagles Horizon Award: EAA Chapter 445
August 23, 2011 – The Young Eagle Horizon award was presented to EAA Chapter 445 (Tallahassee, FL) and accepted on behalf of the Chapter by Scott Sutor.
For Sutor of Monticello, Florida, flying Young Eagles is the most important part of the chapter’s activities. When Sutor joined EAA Chapter 445 in 2005, he had never heard of the Young Eagles program, but today he is just a few flights shy of the 600 flights mark for the program. He flew his first two Young Eagles in October 2005 and has continued the tradition since.
Soon after Sutor was introduced to the program, he took the role of Young Eagles coordinator. As coordinator, he enjoyed setting goals for the chapter to achieve while flying their Young Eagles. Each year, the chapter hosts six to eight Young Eagles events from fall through spring. The chapter has a goal to fly 300 Young Eagles per year, something they usually achieve.
What makes EAA Chapter 445’s Young Eagles effort unique is their relationship with an area high school ROTC program. In 2005, Col. Gary Breedlove met with chapter members to discuss the opportunity to fly Young Eagles. The goal of the Air Force Junior ROTC program curriculum is to teach the science of flight. Over the years, Breedlove has brainstormed ways to improve the program, one of which included giving students the opportunity to experience flight hands on. From this idea, came the opportunity for the cadets to fly with EAA Chapter 445’s pilots.
When the program began in 2006, the chapter flew 36 Young Eagles, most of which were cadets or siblings of cadets. The ROTC group came back in the fall with additional cadets and high school students and continued to grow from there. As the event grew, cadets began helping the chapter by setting up, assisting with paperwork and talking with the parents. Breedlove envisions that one day all the pilots will have to do at the event is fly and the rest would be up to the cadets, which would also provide a leadership opportunity for them.
The ROTC program has also opened doors for other area schools to participate in the Young Eagles program with Breedlove serving as the intermediary between the chapter and the schools.
“The chapter is receiving the award because of chapter members like Scott Sutor that take an interest in kids. They’re not just cooperative, but eager,” Breedlove said.