Phillips 66, Skiles Team up to Support Chapters
Jeff Skiles in the cockpit with Noah Berg, 13, at Cirrus Flight Operations. Photo by Mark Klein
October 28, 2010 — During EAA Venture Oshkosh 2010, Phillips 66® Aviation awarded three lucky EAA chapters with special support for one of their upcoming Young Eagle events. Three Phillips 66 Aviation FBOs hosted the Chapter events - EAA Chapter 237 (Blaine, Minnesota) at Cirrus Flight Operations, EAA Chapter 579 (Aurora, Illinois) at J.A. Air Center, and EAA Chapter 810 (Payson, Arizona) at Payson Aviation. Included in the package were special fuel discounts, promotional support, and an appearance by Young Eagles co-chairman Jeff Skiles.
Each of the events enjoyed beautiful weather and Skiles was able to fly his bright red 1935 Cabin WACO to the Illinois and Minnesota rallies. Other EAA member volunteer pilots joined Skiles in the usual variety of aircraft present at Young Eagles events, everything from vintage airplanes to sleek homebuilts.
“That was amazing,” exclaimed 14-year-old Clara Jordan after her flight with Skiles. The excited Minneapolis teen could barely talk as Skiles handed her a Young Eagles certificate. “I actually got to fly his plane,” she said, her smile wide. “I, uh, uh, wow. I can’t wait to go flying again.”
Phillips 66 wanted to do something special to recognize EAA Chapters and their efforts to fly Young Eagles and promote general aviation to the public.
“We thought that bringing Jeff Skiles, an aviation hero, to Young Eagles rallies at our FBOs was a sure way to ramp up interest for general aviation,” explained Rod Palmer, manager of general aviation at ConocoPhillips.
Skiles – an aviation legend since he and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger safely guided a planeload of passengers to an emergency landing on the Hudson River in 2009 – charmed both wide-eyed youths and local EAA volunteers with his easy-going ways and his beautiful WACO. Children, parents, and EAA volunteers lined up to grab an autograph or a story from Skiles, while those lucky enough to take flight in the WACO had their Young Eagles logbook signed by aviation’s most famous First Officer.
“Young Eagles is one of the best ways to ensure the future of aviation,” Skiles said. “And when you pull up to a rally in that 1935 WACO, people tend to get excited about aviation.”
The volunteer coordinator for EAA Chapter 237, Joseph Gmitter, agreed.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to go flying but never got the chance,” Gmitter explained. “I hung out at the airport, visited the hangar, got to touch the planes. But I wanted to fly.”
With the nation’s largest FBO network, Phillips 66 Aviation has long supported Young Eagles as the program’s presenting sponsor. Since 1994, Phillips 66 Aviation has also provided a $1-per-gallon discount for Young Eagles pilots.