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Stay InspiredEAA is your guide to getting the most out of the world of flight and giving your passion room to grow.
From Young Eagle to Young Eagles Pilot
By Owen Leipelt, EAA 1102131, EAA Chapter 62 Vice President
December 1, 2016 - In 2013, when I was 13 years old, I took my first Young Eagles flight with pilot Tom Hail, Young Eagles coordinator at the Watsonville Airport (EAA Chapter 119, Watsonville, California) in a Cessna 172. I was hooked.
I can say without a doubt it was the most life-changing 30 minutes of my life. I knew then and there that flying was what I wanted to do when I grew up.
I did my research and began saving cash doing odd jobs around the neighborhood. By the time I was 15 I had saved enough money and was finally old enough to begin my flight training. I was ecstatic.
My first flight lesson took place on May 21, 2015, and I soloed less than a month later on my 16th birthday with nine hours of flight time.
Just over a year later; I passed my private pilot check ride on May 2, 2016 with 60 hours of flight time.
This fall I returned to Watsonville for the first time since my Young Eagles flight, this time not as a Young Eagle, but as a pilot. I flew eight kids that day and had a blast.
It was an amazing feeling to give back and inspire the next generation of aviators, and I look forward to continuing to spread the joys of flying to others.