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Chapter Flies Young Eagles at Girls for Aviation Day
By Chuck Fisher, EAA 1030744
October 6, 2016 - San Antonio’s EAA Chapter 35 brought smiles to dozens of young women as they integrated a Young Eagles activity with Girls in Aviation Day Camp held at Stinson Municipal Airport. This event, hosted by the Alamo City Chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI), involved more than a dozen other agencies. These groups worked together to provide a structured aviation learning event for more than 50 young ladies and their families, culminating in a Young Eagles flight provided by chapter volunteers under the leadership of Phil Vaneau — who had just arrived back from Africa in time for the event.
The event was held at Stinson Municipal airport (KSSF), the second oldest continuously operating airport in the United States as it celebrates 100 years in operation. The location was emblematic as the airport was founded by aviation pioneers Katherine and Marjorie Stinson as a flight school before World War I — long before women would enter aviation in large numbers.
EAA Chapter 35 has supported large, multi-agency events hosted by the City of San Antonio to enhance education in aviation including the airport’s centennial celebrations and city’s Fiesta events and was specifically asked to help again. This chance to participate as partners with WAI, an organization that mentors and supports girls and young women, was enthusiastically supported.
The day camp was a structured educational event. Teams of young ladies rotated among eight teaching stations of about 30 minutes each. These included a basic aircraft fundamentals and safety briefing by EAA Chapter 35; hands-on displays of military, AirLife helicopter, and civilian aircraft; preflight planning; fundamentals of navigation; a control tower visit; Hallmark University Academics; USAF Remotely Piloted Aircraft demonstrations; introduction to the Civil Air Patrol; and demonstrations by San Antonio’s Boeing aircraft maintenance facility. The academic day ended with a career presentation and women’s question and answer session.
Sponsors and participants of the event included Boeing, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Airlife, SkySafety, Flight Safety, Hallmark University, Civil Air Patrol, Commemorative Air Force, PreFlight, Alamo Colleges, the Dee Howard Foundation, Hispanic Aviation Association, Bario Aviation, The Pilot Shop, and San Antonio Airport System.
Chapter 35 pre-coordinated and integrated seamlessly with the general aviation-centric air traffic controllers and ground staff to provide a sterile ramp and pre-coordinated routes for nearly two dozen sorties. The chapter’s seven pilots and dozen ground volunteers provided a professional, safe aviation experience and each participant left with an armload of materials and an enormous smile. The event was covered by television news and extensively on social media.
Our chapter is grateful for the superb volunteerism of our pilots and ground team, and want to specifically also thank the Stinson Brown Bag Touch ’n Go restaurant which supplied breakfast and lunch for the girls and volunteers, the Stinson Airport Staff who provided us with fantastic support with ramp operations, maintenance, security, facilities, and the most general aviation friendly air traffic control anywhere!
Through cooperative efforts like this, Chapter 35 is proud to highlight the extraordinary accomplishments of our aviators, builders, and restorers while helping to inspire a new generation of aviation professionals.