ChapterGram: June 2013
Textbook Example of a Successful Eagle Flight
By Trevor Janz, EAA 656941
EAA Manager of Chapters and Eagle Flights
With more than 600 Eagle Flights registered and growing since the launch of the program in July 2012, I wanted to talk to an Eagle Flight participant.
I was introduced via e-mail to Dalton Melvin, who received his Eagle Flight in Tom Louris' Cherokee 160. Tom is a member of EAA Chapter 105 in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Dalton learned about the Eagle Flights Program on the website Meetup.com. On this site there was information about the EAA chapter, which had advertised a fly-in breakfast on Meetup.com, so Dalton attended the breakfast. After the breakfast he visited EAA.org and found out about the Eagle Flights program. He then called Chapter 105's Eagle Flight mentor, Jan Novak, and arranged a flight.
Dalton mentioned that his interest in aviation started when he was about 10 years old. His dad attained his private pilot certificate, and they would fly to their lake home on weekends. He realized not only was flying fun but also very useful. Instead of a five-hour drive, it was about an hour flight.
After his Eagle Flight he was very motivated to begin taking lessons. He gives credit to Jan and the chapter as a whole. "If the chapter was not so welcoming, I may have taken a little longer," said Dalton. He then went to the chapter holiday party and really enjoyed conversing with the other members, talking about becoming a pilot and hearing their flying stories. Jan quickly introduced him to the local FBO and CFIs, and Dalton soon enrolled in ground school. He also attributes his motivation to Jan and her keeping in touch with him and not just waiting for monthly chapter meetings.
The EAA chapter really made the difference. When asked how the chapter motivated him to act so quickly, Dalton said, "It was completely the EAA chapter. The support from the chapter really got me motivated. The chapter provided information that I would have had a hard time finding out on my own, like the ground school and the pathway to get my rating."
This is truly what the Eagle Flights Program is all about: having the Eagle participant join the chapter which provided resources and support and simply stayed in touch. Notice I called Jan an Eagle Flight mentor, not coordinator. Yes, they coordinate the Eagle Flights, but they truly are mentors. Eagle Flights is a mentorship program where the flight is just the beginning.
Dalton works in real estate and will have to work around his demanding schedule to complete his training. He is very determined and sees the advantages of becoming a private pilot personally and for growing his business. He plans to travel a lot, particularly to golf courses, travel for business, and be able to take clients up over properties for sale. "Primarily traveling and getting somewhere much quicker," he said.
This is just one example of how an Eagle Flight experience was able to motivate someone to take action on his dream of learning how to fly. There are many more that we hope to share with you in the coming months.