June 25, 2014 - EAA Chapter 579 of St. Charles, Illinois, reached a major milestone on Sunday, June 22, when it marked the 16,000th Young Eagle flown by the chapter during a Young Eagles rally at Aurora Municipal Airport. Pilot Mark Hislop, EAA 619550, provided Zachary Babb, EAA 1072158, of Hinckley, Illinois, with the flight in Hislop’s 1973 Cessna P337 Skymaster. The fact that Sunday was also Babb’s 15th birthday made it even more special.
“It’s nice to share something I love doing with young people,” Hislop said. “It’s very rewarding for me and members of my chapter.”
Hislop said Babb had a big smile on his face before takeoff. “He flew the entire Young Eagles pattern,” Hislop said. “As soon as he took the controls he was all business. He will be a great pilot someday.”
Pilot and Young Eagle were presented with special shirts to commemorate the occasion. Babb’s read, “I am the 16,000th Young Eagle Flown by EAA Chapter 579 – Aurora Municipal Airport, June 22, 2014,” while Hislop’s said, “I am the Pilot to Fly the 16,000th Young Eagle with EAA Chapter 579...”
The chapter has taught students about general aviation for 24 years, including the 22 years since the start of the Young Eagles program. Chapter 579 has also flown more Young Eagles than any other EAA chapter. Hislop has personally flown over 1,800 kids.
Brian O’Lena, manager of Young Eagles and Youth Pathways at EAA, congratulated the Young Eagles volunteers at Chapter 579 for reaching the milestone.
“16,000 is truly an amazing number,” O’Lena said. “But the program is more than just numbers; it’s about introducing young people to flight, and we appreciate all of our program volunteers no matter how many they fly.”
Learn more about the EAA Young Eagles program.