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Chapter 677 Marks Record Year for Young Eagles

500 youths flown in 2012

Members of EAA Chapter 677
Members of EAA Chapter 677 pose with 9-year-old Teszai Munoz, the chapter's 500th Young Eagle flown this year.

Teszai Munoz and pilot Ken Sines
Teszai Munoz, left, was also the 1,201st Young Eagle flown by pilot Ken Sines of Chapter 677.

October 30, 2012 - Chattahoochee Valley EAA Chapter 677, based at Columbus Airport (CSG) in Columbus, Georgia, reached a major milestone at its October 27 Young Eagles rally. The 43 kids flown that day pushed the chapter's 2012 total to a record 500, more than doubling last year's effort. The chapter had something special in store for No. 500.

Teszai Munoz, 9, of Phenix City, Alabama, was lucky Young Eagle No. 500, who was greeted by cheering volunteers upon returning from his flight with chapter member Ken Sines. Later Teszai received a special certificate commemorating the occasion, as well as a gift certificate for an introductory flight training package.

"I have a big future ahead of me," he said. Added his mother, Cherylann Wilkinson, "This is just wonderful."

For pilot Ken Sines, Teszai represented Young Eagle No. 1,201 - which is the most flown by a pilot in Georgia. "If you live long enough, you get to be part of a lot of good things," he said, deflecting any personal credit for the accomplishment.

The flight training package was donated by Skyline Columbus and includes ground school, all necessary textbooks, and two hours in a flight simulator with an instructor - a retail value of nearly, $1,200. Todd Shellnutt, owner of Skyline Columbus and past president of EAA 677, provided the prize to encourage the recipient to pursue pilot certification and perhaps fly his or her own Young Eagles in the future.

"This was a team effort," said EAA 677 President Ernie Kelly. "Without our ground and pilot volunteers, and the support of Skyline Columbus, Flightways Columbus - whose facilities we use - and the Columbus Airport, none of this would be possible."

Skyline Columbus is the only comprehensive flight training facility in the region.

Chapter 677 holds Young Eagles rallies on the last Saturday of each month. The chapter also provides support for the Thunder in the Valley Air Show, introduces adults to flying on International Learn to Fly Day and through Eagle Flights, and participates in Sun 'n Fun and EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

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