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EAA Chapter 534 Hosts Successful Flying Start Event

By Marty Harris, EAA #445422

August 2019 - Under a sunny Florida sky, EAA Chapter 534 hosted its first annual Flying Start event at the Leesburg International Airport in Florida. Initiated and developed by EAA National, the event featured six flight-ready planes and eager pilots being welcomed by 12 adult guests (aged 35 to 70) who were anxious to start or restart their aviation pursuits. Instructors from Sunair Aviation and Village Flyers Club were on hand to outline the steps for getting airborne. Members of the EAA chapter described how and why they fly, and the words "fun" and "freedom" were heard repeatedly. After a brief EAA PowerPoint presentation highlighting the Flying Start program, guests walked with their pilots to the birds waiting along the flightline.

After participating in preflight preparations, the new co-pilots secured themselves comfortably in their cockpits, and like a gaggle of ducklings they all taxied for takeoff. One by one each airplane took to the sky and, once in stable flight, each guest was encouraged to take the controls under the supervision of the EAA pilot. Following a pleasant 30-minute flight, each airplane returned to earth for the next batch. All the guests enjoyed their flight experiences, and several signed up as new chapter members. In addition, many now intend to sign up for lessons.

These adults are like so many of us who wanted to fly before life and family got in the way! Now these folks are in a position to pursue their dream with the little nudge they got from EAA 534. Thank you to all who made this a successful event. Due to the interest level, Chapter President Joel Hargis says we will host another event next season. For more information on Flying Start, visit EAA.org/FlyingStart.

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