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40,000 Participate in International Learn to Fly Day

Young Eagles GlaStar
EAA’s Young Eagles Glastar was among the hundreds of airplanes at Sporty’s on May 15.

Learn to Fly Day
Potential new pilots of all ages visited the EAA Chapter 252 cookout at the EAA Weeks hangar in Oshkosh, WI for International Learn to Fly Day.

May 20, 2010 — More than 40,000 people. Nearly 450 events nationwide. Those kinds of numbers alone made EAA’s inaugural International Learn to Fly Day on Saturday, May 15 a tremendous success.

More importantly, though, the initiative introduced thousands of people to general aviation, through flights in GA aircraft, ground school seminars, and meetings with pilots, instructors, and other aviation enthusiasts.

 “With participation from PilotJourney, AOPA, Cessna and others, International Learn To Fly Day truly was an industry-wide effort aimed at a single goal: introducing more people to aviation,” said EAA president Tom Poberezny. “EAA and its members are committed to providing pathways to participation so more people can enjoy the freedom and fun of flying. With this kind of enthusiastic beginning, it’s a great start to what we can achieve in the future to open opportunities for more people and build aviation.”

A survey conducted by Pilot Journey.com showed 64 percent of respondents introduced to aviation during International Learn To Fly Day plan to pursue flight training within the next three months.

The nation’s media also took notice, with 500 documented news stories about local events, along with numerous social networking postings from Facebook, Twitter, and similar websites.

About 150 Learn To Fly Day events were organized by EAA chapters, like one hosted by Chapter 979 in Port Huron, Michigan. That included the largest scheduled event, at Sporty’s in Batavia, Ohio, held in conjunction with the annual Sporty’s Fly-In. Between 300 and 400 aircraft and an estimated 2,000 people attended.

Pilot Journey also reported it issued a total of 15,526 free tickets for seminar-type events through its website.

“The success of International Learn to Fly Day followed a formula that has been so successful for EAA’s Young Eagles program,” Poberezny said. “Welcome people to flying in their hometowns, with people and neighbors they know, to make that immediate connection to aviation.  EAA members are already eagerly anticipating next year’s event on May 21, 2011. That day – the third Wednesday of May – will continue as International Learn To Fly Day thanks to a recently passed U.S. House of Representatives resolution.

“This day is important because it brings focus to what is a year-round effort for EAA; engaging people in aviation and encouraging them to take the next steps to learning how to fly,” Poberezny added. “We are extremely pleased and happy with what we saw happen in this inaugural event.”

Following Learn to Fly Day events last Saturday, an EAA webinar provided more information for those wanting to take the next step to becoming a pilot. If you missed it, it’s available here.

The following are selected links to media reports covering International Learn to Fly Day events.

Morris County, New Jersey
Aero Safety Training at the Lincoln Park Airport in Morris County, New Jersey, marked International Learn to Fly Day, hoping to inspire tomorrow’s aviators.

Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Aviation celebrated International Learn to Fly Day, and offered guests the chance to learn what it takes to become a private pilot and the opportunity to go up in the air with a flight instructor.

Eugene, Oregon
The Eugene Flight Center, opened just over a year ago, held an International Learn to Fly Day on Saturday.

Martinsburg, West Virginia
Several people went up on introductory flights with instructors from the Aero-Smith Flight Center.

Frederick, Maryland
To help spread the enthusiasm for general aviation, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association held its first International Learn to Fly Day event Saturday at Frederick Municipal Airport.

Neenah, Wisconsin
The world of sport aviation won over a few more fans Saturday at Brennand Airport west of Neenah, Wisconsin as a few dozen or so turned out at the debut of the International Learn to Fly Day event, on a perfect day for flying.

Columbus, Georgia
Throughout the day, pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners were on hand to discuss aviation and the first steps for those interested in learning to fly.

Austin, Texas
The Austin Municipal Airport joined with airports and flight schools around the world Saturday to become part of International Learn to Fly Day.

Provo, Utah
Provo pilot Greg Soter celebrated the first International Learn to Fly Day as this video shows from The Provo Daily Herald. (Scroll down to “Local News Video” and click “International Learn to Fly Day.”)

Blog post from the Aldinga Aero Club, Australia
On Sunday 15th May 2010 Aldinga Aero Club gave away ten 25-minute flights and treated the winners of the competition to a BBQ lunch.

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