August 15, 2013 - Sean D. Tucker performed one of his first official duties as EAA's new Young Eagles chairman Thursday at the Chicago Air and Water Show Media Day held at the Gary/Chicago International Airport (GYY). There he presented Ken Rapier, EAA 453453, with a leather bomber jacket to honor Ken for flying 1,000 kids through the Young Eagles program.
"We're here to do something very special," Tucker said. "The Chicago DODO chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen has flown 14,000 Young Eagles to date - 14,000 kids they've touched the hearts of. And Ken, who serves as president of the chapter, has just completed his 1,000th kid flown, so we're going to present him with a little present, a leather flight jacket from EAA. Thank you so much, Ken."
Ken, who has been flying Young Eagles since 1994, humbly accepted the jacket. "It's a real pleasure to do Young Eagle flights," he said. "We give youngsters an opportunity that they might not otherwise have when the DODO chapter offers them introductory flights."
The Tuskegee chapter famously flew a lot of those 14,000 kids while based at Chicago's historic lakefront airport, Meigs Field, from 1994-2003. After the Meigs runways were destroyed under cover of darkness in 2003 by order of then-Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, the Young Eagles flights moved to GYY. Today the DODO chapter conducts Young Eagles flights on the second Saturday of most months, weather permitting, out of the Gary airport terminal building.
Tucker will perform at this weekend's Chicago Air and Water Show, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the lakefront. The flightline is generally from Fullerton Street to Oak Street, centered on North Avenue Beach.
Tucker will also be highlighting Young Eagles at his air show appearances throughout the nation, connecting both young people and EAA volunteers.