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Introduction to Flying Programs

From January 2015 Bits & Pieces Newsletter

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, Lloyd Richards, EAA Canadian Council, and Patrick Gilligan, Vice President – COPA

From time to time, it is important to remind ourselves about EAA’s purpose and mission. We are a community of passionate aviation enthusiasts that promotes and supports recreational flying. Our vision: a vibrant and growing aviation community. Our mission: to grow participation in aviation by promoting the Spirit of Aviation.

We serve the community by:

inspiring new participants in aviation

  • inviting the public to experience flight
  • providing a compelling view of possibilities
  • nurturing interest in aviation
  • supporting clear pathways to participation

enriching the participation experience

  • protecting rights and the freedom to fly
  • encouraging affordable flying in a local environment
  • cultivating and providing knowledge, information, and resources
  • embracing diverse interests, camaraderie, and fun
  • supporting and promoting aviation events and activities.

The purpose and spirit of any introductory aviation program is to provide added value to our flying community. Aviation as a whole needs pilot ambassadors that will spark interest in our younger generation, educate the public and communities to the importance of our airports and the actual and potential services aircraft provide to our society, and debunk TV and movies stereotypes regarding aircraft, all the while doing what we love best – sharing our passion of flying.

EAA Young Eagles, EAA Eagle Flights, Women of Aviation Week, COPA for Kids, or a pilot introducing friends, family, or neighbours to flying is the best contribution to aviation a pilot can provide.

We’ve had questions over the years about the differences between the COPA for Kids program and the EAA Young Eagles program. The most important thing to remember is that both have exactly the same intent and that they complement each other rather than compete. However, there are a few differences of which you should be aware.

In the COPA program, kids can only be flown as part of a COPA for Kids event. A Young Eagle can be flown either at a Young Eagles event sponsored by a chapter or individually, provided the same conditions are met. You can read about those conditions in our December 2012 newsletter.

Both organizations agree that the pilot must be a current member of his organization and be current with their licences and medical. In both cases, the pilot and the parent must complete the permission form before the child flies. Both programs have “hold harmless” clauses.

People have asked whether the EAA insurance is suitable for Canada. The simple answer is yes. Both EAA and COPA want the pilot to have a minimum $100,000 passenger liability insurance, but that is added to, when flying a youngster at an EAA Young Eagles event or a COPA for Kids event in Canada, with $1 million of insurance from EAA or COPA, provided all the prerequisites have been met. An organized EAA Young Eagles event increases this insurance to $2 million.

In addition, there are some follow-on benefits that only exist in the EAA Young Eagles program. As we reviewed in the 2012 issue:

  • Step 1 – The Young Eagles Flight (ages 8 through 17) can be either single or at an event.
  • Step 2 – Free EAA Student Membership (valid until age 19)
  • Step 3 – Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course ($249 value offered free)
  • Step 4 – Free Flight Lesson ($120 value). After a Young Eagle (YE) completes the solo portion of the Sporty’s online course, we issue a voucher to the YE who takes it to a local flight school. EAA pays the flight school directly, not the YE. Members with a local flight school can let the school know that this is available to them following a Young Eagles Flight.
  • Step 5 - Flight Training Scholarships (to help pay the cost of flight lessons).

With more than 1.9 million Young Eagles flown so far, maybe we can make it 2 million by EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015. If you haven’t flown a Young Eagle in a while, or ever, now is the time to start planning and get the paperwork into EAA as soon as you can. If you have flown Young Eagles, bravo, thank you; you’ve made an unforgettable impact in someone’s life.

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