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EAA Young Eagles Nearing 1.25 Million flown; Special Recognition for Volunteers Under Way


EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (May 25, 2006) — The volunteer pilots and support personnel who have made the EAA Young Eagles program the most successful youth aviation education program in history will be specially recognized for their efforts over the next several months, as the program reaches its next goal of 1.25 million young people flown.

The program will celebrate reaching this next milestone at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration, being held July 24-30. In the weeks leading to the event, EAA will hold drawings to reward the volunteers who provide the tens of thousands of free demonstration flights that introduce aviation to young people.

"The more than 40,000 pilots and equal number of ground-based volunteers who make Young Eagles so successful can be very proud of their achievements, and we are very, very proud of them," said Steve Buss, Young Eagles executive director. "As we approach the next significant milestone for Young Eagles, we wanted to put a spotlight on these volunteer efforts."

For the three months prior to the start of EAA AirVenture 2006, EAA will have drawings for great prizes, including Garmin GPS units, Sporty's Pilot Shop gift certificates and EAA merchandise certificates. Pilots will have their names entered into the monthly drawing for each Young Eagle registration form EAA receives during that month. In addition, special recognition for the pilot and the EAA chapter that each flies the highest number of Young Eagles during the month will be noted in EAA publications, as well as the www.eaa.org and www.youngeagles.org websites.

In addition, the EAA-member pilot who flies Young Eagle No. 1,250,000 will receive an expense-paid trip to Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture 2006. Pilots and ground volunteers will also be honored during Young Eagles events at AirVenture, including the annual Young Eagles evening program with Chairman Harrison Ford on Wednesday, July 26, at EAA's Theater in the Woods.

"In a program as large and successful as Young Eagles, the thousands of people who make it work at the local level are the true stars, as they are preparing the next generation of flight," Buss said. "While we know they are involved because they want to make a difference by giving back to aviation, EAA wants to step forward with extra recognition for them as we reach another impressive milestone in this program."

The EAA Young Eagles program began at the 1992 EAA fly-in convention with an initial goal of flying 1 million young people by the 100th anniversary of flight on Dec. 17, 2003. That number was reached in October 2003, with more than 200,000 young people flown since that achievement.

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.

"Aviation can and will continue to see the effect of the Young Eagles program in the numbers, but those volunteers involved know the reward from the smiles, the excitement and the enthusiasm they encounter from each Young Eagle," Buss said. "Spring is a great time to fly Young Eagles, so be part of reaching our goal and help make kids' dreams come true by flying Young Eagles."

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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