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Gathering of Eagles Raises $2.2 Million to Support Future Youth Programs
July 29, 2016 - The EAA community came together once again Thursday night to help build aviation’s future, as approximately $2.2 million was raised for EAA’s aviation education programs at the annual Gathering of Eagles held in the EAA AirVenture Museum’s Eagle Hangar.
The more than 1,000 people at the event included legendary aviators, leaders of aviation industry, and personalities such as Harrison Ford. Ford, who was EAA Young Eagles chairman from 2004 to 2009, was one of four Young Eagles chairmen who attended. Joining him were current Young Eagles Chairman Sean D. Tucker, as well as the program’s co-chairs in 2009-2013, Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles.
“It is always rewarding and gratifying to see the unity within the aviation community at this event in support of EAA’s aviation education efforts,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO/chairman. “It was an evening of celebration as we reached 2 million Young Eagles flown earlier in the day, giving an already wonderful evening an extra charge of enthusiasm. A big thanks to everyone who joined us to build the foundation for aviation’s future.”
A highlight of the evening was the auction of Ford Motor Company’s one-of-a-kind Ford Mustang designed to honor Bob Hoover, one of the finest pilots in aviation history. The car, bearing the markings of Hoover’s famed P-51 Mustang Ole Yeller, was sold for $295,000, joining a list of Mustangs over the past decade that have honored the Apollo program, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and the Tuskegee Airmen, among others.
Through the evening, the “Raise the Windsock” activities raised an additional $300,000 toward the total and kept the audience engaged in the evening’s primary mission of supporting EAA’s education mission. While Young Eagles is perhaps the best-known of EAA’s successful education programs, there are a variety of EAA aviation education programs for youth and adults that benefit from the evening’s proceeds.