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EAA Young Eagles Program Rolls Ahead; Next Stop: 1.25 Million

 

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (April 13, 2006) — The EAA Young Eagles Program, the most successful youth aviation education initiative ever created, is keeping the promise of flight alive for the next generation with extensive activities in 2006. These will be highlighted by Young Eagles volunteer recognition over the next several months and during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006, The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration, on July 24-30 in Oshkosh, Wis.

The program is also on track to fly a total of at least 1.25 million Young Eagles by EAA AirVenture 2006. That total would mean 250,000 additional young people had discovered the excitement of flight in less than three years since the one millionth Young Eagle was flown during the flight centennial year of 2003.

"Young Eagles has been embraced throughout the aviation community as the way to introduce flight to the next generation, and that effort has been led by the 40,000 volunteer pilots and similar total of ground volunteers who make it all possible," said EAA president Tom Poberezny. "EAA members have always stepped forward to meet a challenge. Our next goal is to reach the 1.25 million Young Eagles total by the time we all meet in Oshkosh this summer, so together let's make it happen!"

Through the weeks leading to EAA AirVenture 2006, the organization will recognize those pilots who donate their time, aircraft and fuel to opening the world of flight to young people through these free flights. Each month in April, May, June and July, pilots who submit completed Young Eagles registration forms will be entered in drawings for valuable aviation-related prizes.

In addition, the pilot of Young Eagle No. 1,250,000 will be invited to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006 to receive formal recognition. The Young Eagle and his or her family will also be invited to Oshkosh and enjoy The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration on July 24-30.

During EAA AirVenture, special recognition will be given to Young Eagles pilots who have dedicated themselves to securing the future of flight, as well as those who flew the most Young eagles during each of the preceding four months. This salute will be in addition to the annual Young Eagles volunteer awards announced at Oshkosh each year that are presented by actor and pilot Harrison Ford, an EAA member who has flown hundreds of Young Eagles as well.

Dozens of Young Eagles rallies are already scheduled throughout the nation over the next four months. Highlighting that schedule is the annual International Young Eagles Day on Saturday, June 10, where approximately 10,000 young people enjoy flights that introduce them to the excitement and possibilities within aviation. More information is available on these events and other Young Eagles activities at www.youngeagles.org.

The effect of Young Eagles is felt throughout the aviation community, where previous Young Eagles are now part of every major collegiate aviation program, as well as in flight training in all of the nation's military service academies. In addition, some Young Eagles from the program's initial years are already beginning their own aviation careers as pilots, instructors and maintenance professionals.

"There were some who were skeptical that pilots would volunteer to fly a million young people in 10 years when EAA introduced Young Eagles in 1992," said Steve Buss, Young Eagles executive director. "After these volunteer pilots reached that goal in 2003, some thought the program would fade. That is not the case; in fact, the program is now a part of general aviation's culture and gives all another reason to be proud of being aviators.

"We look forward to celebrating Young Eagles' latest achievement during EAA AirVenture this summer.">

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. EAA AirVenture information is also available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org.

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