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Young Eagles Program Receives ‘Spirit of Flight’ Award

June 25, 2014 - The National Aviation Hall of Fame has named EAA’s Young Eagles program the recipient of its 2014 Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” Award; an honor given to groups or organizations that are “exemplary in improving and advancing aviation.”

“The committee responsible for the 2014 selection process clearly believes that the positive impact the EAA Young Eagles program has had on fostering the growth of American general aviation is worthy of this recognition,” said Enshrinement Director Ron Kaplan in his letter to EAA.

The “Spirit of Flight” Award is named after the late Milton Caniff, a famous American cartoonist known for his comic strips, like Terry and the Pirates, and one of the founders of the National Cartoonists Society. Caniff’s popular Steve Canyon comic strip tells of the story of an U.S. Air Force pilot in the Korean War.


Since its creation in 1992, the Young Eagles program has provided more than 1.8 million young people from ages 8-17 with free flights in GA aircraft. For many it was the start of their journey to becoming a pilot, aircraft mechanic, air traffic controller, and endless other career paths. More than 40,000 EAA members have volunteered over the years to make this experience possible. 

“Without the thousands of volunteers this program would not have the history of success it has today,” said Brian O’Lena, manager of EAA Young Eagles and Youth Pathways. “They are building a new generation of aviation, and inspiring others every day through their hard work, devotion, and passion for aviation.” 

The Young Eagles program helps foster aviation awareness for the younger generation and these flights give youth an experience of a lifetime, and can even lead them in the direction of a career in aviation.

Previous winners of the Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” Award include AOPA, the Tuskegee Airmen, WAI (Women in Aviation, International), and NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) and many others.

This prestigious award will be presented at the Young Eagles dinner set for Wednesday, July 30, at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014.

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