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International Young Eagles Day

International Young Eagles Day
Low ceilings kept kids on the ground at EAA’s Oshkosh International Young Eagles Day event, but several of them got an airplane tour from Adam Smith.

June 16, 2011 — Nearly 150 EAA chapters worldwide celebrated International Young Eagles Day on Saturday, June 11, by giving thousands of young aviation enthusiasts the opportunity to learn about aviation and fly in an aircraft for free. Each chapter coordinated its own event for the day, making each one unique.

Chapter 309 in Charlotte, North Carolina, had a record-setting number of youth participants this year as nearly 200 kids showed up at the Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport for the event. The chapter’s Young Eagles Coordinator, Chuck Porter, said he was overwhelmed and thrilled at the number of Young Eagles in attendance.

In Sherman, Texas, the Young Eagles were ecstatic for the chance to fly. Last year, EAA Chapter 323 had to cancel the flights on Young Eagles Day due to weather issues. This year, the kids flew around in mostly clear skies with low winds, making it a fun and great learning experience for the eager future aviators.

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate in places like DeKalb, Illinois, and Oshkosh, Wisconsin. EAA Chapter 241 in DeKalb had about two dozen kids attend the Young Eagles Day event, but they were unable to fly due to heavy fog. Rose Ellen May, Young Eagles Coordinator, said that since they couldn’t fly, the kids were excited to participate in a mini-ground school. They explored the cockpits of smaller planes while pilots explained the controls to them.

Low ceilings hindered the Young Eagles Day event in Oshkosh. Though participants were informed beforehand that there would be no plane rides, a handful of Young Eagles did attend and were able to ask pilots questions about aviation. Arrangements were made with the Young Eagles to return to Pioneer Airport anytime this summer and receive their free flight.

Since its foundation in 1992, the Young Eagles program has launched more than 1.6 million flights, introducing aviation to a whole new generation. 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.

A Young Eagles flight is the first step in EAA’s Flight Plan, which helps 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. For more information, click here.

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