April 17, 2014 - This week, EAA and Sporty’s announced that the more than 25,000 EAA Young Eagles have now enrolled in the online Sporty’s Learn to Fly course, which is provided free to Young Eagles to help them pursue aviation interests beyond their first flight.
The Sporty’s course is part of EAA’s Young Eagles Flight Plan - a five-step program to create a clear pathway to aviation.
“We’re delighted that more than 25,000 Young Eagles have now taken advantage of their free access to Sporty's Learn to Fly Course,” said Sporty’s President/CEO Michael Wolf. “We are proud our course is a key component of the EAA Young Eagles Flight Plan, which may be the most productive aviation youth program ever.”
The EAA Flight Plan begins with an introductory airplane ride for Young Eagles (youths ages 8-17) provided by a volunteer EAA pilot in a GA aircraft. From there, participants have access to a free EAA Student Membership, the Sporty’s course, a free first flight lesson at a local flight school of their choice, and the ability to apply for numerous scholarship opportunities available to support continued flight training until a pilot certificate is obtained. EAA also reimburses Young Eagles for the $150 cost of taking the FAA written exam when they pass.
“Sporty’s support has been the key element in developing our Young Eagles Flight Plan program” said Brian O’Lena, manager of Young Eagles and Youth Pathways. “The Sporty’s Complete Flight Training course offered free online to Young Eagles has produced excellent results turning Young Eagles into pilots.”
Over the last 21 years, the EAA Young Eagles program has flown more than 1.8 million young people free of charge. Recent research shows that these young people are five times more likely to become pilots than non-Young Eagles. They also already comprise more than 7 percent of the nation’s pilot population under age 35, as nearly 20,000 pilots are former Young Eagles participants.
Since the joint effort began in April 2009, Sporty’s has donated courses that have a retail value in excess of $5 million.