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Chapter 67 Participates in Red Bull Air Races
By Brian Crull, EAA Chapter 67 President, EAA 795892
January 2017 - On October 1 and 2, the Red Bull Air Races held its inaugural race at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). To give the event a local feel, IMS wanted to involve the local aviation community in an area they were calling the Learn to Fly Zone.
The Learn to Fly Zone was home to several local flight schools, the Civil Air Patrol, and a handful of local aviation organizations. One of the organizations invited to set up a display booth was EAA Chapter 67 of Noblesville, Indiana.
We had the opportunity to speak with many other EAA members who attended the races, and they said they were happy to see we were representing EAA at the event. It was interesting to see how far some of them had come to see the air races.
In addition to current EAA members, we met many local people who were interested in EAA, so we invited them to join us at our next Chapter 67 sponsored event. Many of the locals were already familiar with our chapter from attending the multiple pancake breakfast fly-ins we host each summer.
A main focus of Chapter 67 is promoting aviation to local youth. We accomplish this during our annual fly-ins and Young Eagles Rallies, where we find kids who have the same passion for aviation as we do! Since the main draw to the Learn to Fly Zone was local youth, we set up our flight simulator for the children to try their hand at flying. We had a steady line waiting to fly the sim anytime there was a break in the Air Races.
One of the highlights of the event was made possible through the efforts of Scott Taylor, who is one of our past Air Academy kids and a current pilot with FedEx. Scott was able to set up a handful of our former Young Eagles with a ride around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a classic Indy 500 pace car. Four kids we currently are mentoring and whom we have sent to the EAA Air Academy were part of the race pilot introductions. As each pilot was introduced, an announcement was made about a local youth who would join for the traditional parade lap.
The traffic to our booth exceeded our expectations, and having some of our Young Eagles join the pilots during their parade lap made the Red Bull Air Races a very rewarding event to be a part of. Chapter 67 has great members who give much of their time to events such as this, so it was rewarding to see the enjoyment that they got out of sharing their passion for aviation with event attendees.
The IMS and the Red Bull Air Race officials were happy with how well the event was received. Due to the tremendous success of the Learn to Fly Zone, event organizers are looking to enlarge the area for 2017. Chapter 67 is looking forward to participating in next year’s event and making our booth all the more successful!