June 18, 2014 – A special EAA International Young Eagles Day rally took place on Saturday, June 14, at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, as EAA chapters 12 and 774 partnered with local aviation outreach non-profit Universal Elite Aerospace to provide first flight experiences for 23 urban youths.
Kenneth Morris, a U.S. Navy veteran and founder of UEA, said the experience was life-changing for the students. “Ninety percent of the teens who attended the event Saturday had never left a 20-mile radius of their neighborhoods, which are usually crime-ridden and poverty-stricken,” he said. “The positive and inspiring trips did more than just take urban kids flying, it gave them confidence, boosted their self-esteem and provided a chance to escape the harsh daily realities they deal with.”
The two ground crew personnel, Carl Carruthers and Jared Dertsch, were helpful by escorting the students to and from the FBO lobbies to the aircraft when needed, according to Morris. “The pilots, Jeff Bertsch, Jeff Clark, Mike Ely, Richard Cansler, and Richard Sessions were all very patient, informative, and more than willing to fly the kids and teens,” Morris added. “They each did an excellent job connecting with the students.”
Learn more about the event and UEA’s outreach efforts on the organization’s Facebook page and official website.