June 8 Marks 20th Annual EAA International Young Eagles Day
Wayne Daniels conducts a preflight briefing at the 2012 International Young Eagles Day rally in Oshkosh.
April 25, 2013 - Thousands of young people will take to the sky in GA aircraft on Saturday, June 8, as EAA volunteers continue a 20-year aviation tradition - International Young Eagles Day.
The annual event brings together kids and pilots through the EAA Young Eagles program, the largest, most successful youth aviation education program ever created. Since its founding in 1992, Young Eagles volunteers - 45,000 pilots and 50,000 ground-based - have provided nearly 1.8 million free demonstration flights to young people around the world. Young Eagles is a driving force behind EAA's mission of growing participation in aviation.
Since 1994, approximately 8,000 young people are flown annually on or around International Young Eagles Day. Flights take place in a wide range of aircraft - production aircraft and homebuilts, warbirds, vintage biplanes, gliders, helicopters - even hot air balloons and blimps.
Nearly 150 events are planned by local EAA chapters during that weekend, not counting the many individual EAA members who will fly Young Eagles on their own.
"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," said Brian O'Lena, EAA Young Eagles manager. "Young Eagles flights take place every day, but International Young Eagles Day is a chance to focus on the program and share the freedom to fly with a new generation."
According to recent research Young Eagles are five times more likely to become pilots than non-Young Eagles. They also already compose 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.
A Young Eagles flight is the first step in EAA's Flight Plan which includes a free EAA student membership, free access to Sporty's Online Learn to Fly Course, and more.