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Big Day for Chapter 444’s Wings ’N Wheels Fly-In and Young Eagles

May 26, 2016 - A few EAA staffers made the trip over to EAA Chapter 444’s Wings ’n Wheels Fly-In at Northport Airport in New London, Wisconsin, last weekend. It couldn’t have been a more picture perfect day for Glory Aulik, David Leiting, Kyle Voltz, Tom Charpentier, and Mack Dickson to visit this chapter. Read each of their recaps below.

By Glory Aulik, EAA 1186242, Social Media & Community Manager

This was particularly exciting for me being my first time experiencing Young Eagles flights and a chapter fly-in. There were various events planned throughout the day for the public to enjoy including a spot landing competition, 50/50 raffle, muscle car and hot rod show, kid’s games, and flight simulators. Not to mention a spread of delicious food, sweet treats, and beverages that were prepared by dedicated kitchen volunteers.

I made my way to the chapter building where I ran into a familiar face, Jerry Graf. I had just met Jerry two weeks prior at my first fly-in lunch in Iola, Wisconsin. He asked if I had heard of the kids from Weyauwega-Fremont High School who recently won the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge. He directed me to a table displaying all of the recent press releases documenting this monumental accomplishment – they were up against 75 other high schools around the nation. Later that afternoon, the group of GAMA kids were recognized for their hard work and dedication – we all couldn’t be more proud them!

Back outside, parents and kids were waiting and listening carefully for their name to be called for the next flight. Volunteers would chaperone them to the plane as the parents would hesitantly wait back at the flightline until they were motioned closer for a quick photo op. The smiles on the faces of these kids right after their first flight was absolutely priceless. As one Young Eagle was approaching the plane she was putting her hands up in her face, almost in total denial of what she was about to do. I didn’t realize until after that she almost backed out of her flight until her mom gave her a little push by suggesting she take her spot instead. Apparently that was all she needed to hop into the plane. Afterwards I heard her talking about how much fun her flight was and that she was so glad she went. I asked what her favorite part was and she said, “Seeing everything so high up – everyone looked so small!”

Another moment that stood out to me was when Tom asked his next Young Eagle if he was okay with flying without the doors on the STOL. Tom spoke gently and showed his courage by saying, “I’m okay with flying without the doors if you are.” The little boy simply replied, “Yeah, I’m okay with flying without the doors. I’m a little fearful, but I’ll try it.” How brave and honest I thought, but more than anything it showed how great all of our Young Eagle pilots and volunteers are at interacting with kids and understanding how important their first flying experience is.

Mack Dickson was able to fly his first Young Eagle as well, since completing his private pilot certificate just a few days prior. Mack flew a total of nine kids that day even though he had intended to be a spectator at the event.

Being my first chapter event I didn’t know what to expect, but I couldn’t have been happier that I was able to participate and experience such an incredible event. From meeting new people, seeing the joy from parents and children as they experienced the thrill of flight, to the volunteers and pilots who made everything possible it was inspiring to see that a small local chapter like 444 making a significant impact in their community. A total of 62 Young Eagles were flown that day with pilots flying at least nine or more Young Eagles each. The end of the day came quick followed by exhaustion, but it’s the most rewarding feeling to know that we all played a significant part in inspiring young aviators. This very flight could be the reason one of these kids grows up to become a pilot.

By Mack Dickson, EAA 1096940, Government Advocacy Specialist

With my private pilot certificate newly in hand, I was ready to attend my first grassroots fly-in hosted by EAA Chapter 444. Myself and chapters department intern David Leiting loaded up in the EAA employee flying club’s Cessna 172 and made the short hop to the beautiful Northport Airport (38WI) just west of New London, Wisconsin. I knew Young Eagles flights would be occurring at the event and came prepared to help out in any way I could. Little did I know I would be spending a majority of my time at the event in the air. Nine Young Eagles later, I can say with confidence that there is no other way I would have wanted to spend my Saturday. I took a Young Eagles flight myself as a kid and now, years later, I am incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to introduce younger generations to the amazing world of aviation. It was a great first week as a private pilot and I’m ready for more adventures!

By Kyle Voltz Jr., EAA 880499Chapter Field Rep.

It’s a gorgeous morning as I arrive at the hangar in Oshkosh. The mission this morning is to Poppy’s Field (38WI) for a Young Eagles rally and Wings & Wheels Airshow. I’ve always had a passion for Young Eagles as it was a springboard for my aviation career, and I’m incredibly excited to fly today as I’m going to be flying one of my favorite planes the RV-6A (N6YE) off of a grass runway at a grassroots airport!

Flying is always more fun with friends, and today Glory Aulik from EAA’s marketing department has joined me as my copilot! I can’t wait to get in the air, so we begin preflighting the airplanes to make the short hop to Poppy’s. I can barely contain myself with excitement as all three of the flying club airplanes taxi out together to depart with a little bit of loose formation flying en route.

I have flown Young Eagles with this chapter, and school program for a few years now. I was not disappointed to see the same fantastic teachers welcome me to Poppy’s to fly their students again this year as I taxi up. After warm greetings it was time to get down to work; we have a lot of kids to fly. Introducing new kids to the wonders of flight never ceases to amaze and I am always impressed with the caliber of thought they seem to put in to their questions. My favorite part however is the sheer delight in their voice when one of them says “My stomach kinda tickles, I love it!

When the day is done the chapter had flown 62 Young Eagles. I got the pleasure of spending the rest of the day flying and hanging out with Glory and the gang fromSimplyFly who flew up from Chicago. Flying is always better with friends and today was a home run with Young Eagles and friends all around.

By David Leiting Jr., EAA Lifetime 579157, Chapters Office Intern

I recently began my second stint as an intern in the EAA Chapter Office and within my first week back at the office, I was headed to a local chapter event. As the sun rose on Saturday morning, I met a group of fellow EAA employees to prepare for a short flight to Northport Airport (38WI) in Royalton, Wisconsin. I joined Mack Dickson, from the EAA government office, in the EAA flying club Cessna 172. Smooth air and clear skies welcomed us as we motored north towards Northport. A newly minted private pilot, this was Mack’s first flight to a grass strip, and his landing was picture perfect!

We were greeted by a ground worker from Chapter 444, who asked Mack if he was going to be flying Young Eagles. As those who volunteer with EAA know, we don’t spectate; we participate, and that’s just what Mack did!

Ken Johnson, Young Eagles coordinator of Chapter 444, recently completed his Zenith 801, and put the aircraft on static display for the event. I was assigned the job of teaching the kids the ins and outs of the cockpit, and how the aircraft was piloted. After the first few kids got to crawl into the cockpit and get the pilots prospective, it didn’t take long for a line to form to hop inside Ken’s Zenith.

I was amazed by the knowledge of the kids who were asking questions about the airplane! I lost track of how many knew what an aileron was, how the controls worked, and could identify all the components of an airplane!

The remainder of the event, from the car show to the spot landing competition was incredibly well organized. The food was great, the weather was perfect, and as always the people were fantastic. Hats off to Chapter 444 for a successful fly-in and Young Eagles rally!

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