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June 11 is EAA International Young Eagles Day

International Young Eagles Day
EAA pilot/volunteer Tony Mecurio and his Young Eagle prepare for a Young Eagles flight at the Buffalo Lancaster Airport during International Young Eagles Day 2010.

June 2, 2011 — Thousands of young people will take to the sky on Saturday, June 11, as EAA volunteers continue an outstanding aviation tradition – International Young Eagles Day. The annual event brings together kids and pilots as part of the EAA Young Eagles program, the largest youth aviation education program ever created. Nearly 150 events are planned by local EAA chapters during this weekend, not counting the many individual EAA members who will fly Young Eagles independently.

Since its founding in 1992, the program has provided more than 1.6 million free demonstration flights to young people around the world through the efforts of 45,000 volunteer pilots and 50,000 ground volunteers. 

Each year since 1994, approximately 8,000 young people are flown on or around International Young Eagles Day. The flights are provided by volunteer EAA-member pilots in aircraft ranging from the newest airplanes to vintage biplanes. Such interesting aircraft as gliders, helicopters, and even hot-air balloons and blimps have also been used for Young Eagles flights.

“Thanks to the work of the volunteer EAA-member pilots and ground volunteers, the Young Eagles program has proven to be extremely successful in attracting young people to aviation and helping them on the pathway toward becoming an aviator,” said Rod Hightower, EAA president/CEO. “While Young Eagle flights take place nearly every day of the year, International Young Eagles Day is a chance to focus on the program and share the freedom to fly with a new generation. Join us at an event near you as we grow the next generation of aviators.”

Recent research shows that Young Eagles 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.

During International Young Eagles Day, pilots will fly young people on individual flights or as part of Young Eagles flight rallies, which often bring together hundreds of youngsters and dozens of aircraft in many communities. To find an event near you, click here.

A Young Eagles flight is the first step in EAA’s Flight Plan, which help young people move from an initial flight toward the full potential of aviation. Among the menu of Flight Plan activities available is a free EAA student membership, free access to Sporty’s Online Pilot Training Course, a free flight lesson, and reimbursement for the costs of a successful FAA written test, in addition to more than $300,000 in scholarships and awards available to young people each year.

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