EAA Young Eagles Program Celebrates 15 Years in 2007 by Surpassing 1.3 Million Kids Flown
International Young Eagles Day coming on June 9
EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (April 19, 2007) — The EAA Young Eagles program, which has become the largest youth aviation program in history, is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2007 by reaching another milestone and planning to help even more young people experience the wonders of flight.
EAA-member pilots, including the program's chairman, pilot and actor Harrison Ford, have now flown more than 1,300,000 Young Eagles, supplying flight experiences free of charge to young people on six continents. The flight of Young Eagle #1,300,000 took place on Saturday, March 17 - St. Patrick's Day - as Paul Rachels of Yuma, Ariz., flew 13-year-old Arlene Martinez, also of Yuma. More than 40,000 pilots have participated as volunteer flight leaders since the first flights in July 1992, with an equal number of ground-based volunteers that make the success of the program possible.
"Each time the Young Eagles program reaches another notable milestone, we are reminded of two things: The increasing number of seeds we've sown that will grow the future of aviation, and the continual dedication of our EAA-member volunteers to the program," said EAA president Tom Poberezny. "Young Eagles has made a difference and will continue to make a difference, whether a young person is instantly drawn to aviation after a flight, or whether a personal dream of flight becomes reality years later. Young Eagles is working, and it's because of each volunteer's effort to make it successful."
The most successful for the Young Eagles program each year is International Young Eagles Day, which this year will be held on Saturday, June 8. On or near that day, thousands of EAA -member pilots volunteer their time, aircraft and fuel to inspire young people's dreams of flight. Typically, about 10,000 Young Eagles are flown on that date, although Young Eagles are flown on nearly every day of the calendar year.
Throughout the nation, Young Eagles flight rallies are scheduled on International Young Eagles Day, allowing groups of pilots and other volunteers to work together to fly groups of young people. These events are often coordinated by local EAA Chapters with outreach to local youth groups in their home communities and regions. Other EAA Chapters work with local organizations to reach underprivileged youth in their areas.
A Young Eagles flight is designed to provide a basic, safe flight in a general aviation aircraft. Volunteer pilots explain to each Young Eagle how parts of the airplane work and how pilots prepare to fly safely on each flight. That is typically followed by a 15- to- 20-minute flight with the young person where the pilot further describes the operation of the aircraft. Following the flight's return, each Young Eagle receives a certificate signed by the pilot and Harrison Ford, and also receives opportunities to further explore aviation in various ways.
"It's up to each of us who flies to welcome others into this unique environment, where one can experience the freedom and responsibility of flight," said Ford, who has served as Young Eagles chairman since 2004. "That's why I fly Young Eagles and urge all pilots and aviation enthusiasts to become involved in the program. The future of personal flight depends on us."
The Young Eagles program will also celebrate its 15th anniversary during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration," on July 23-29 at Oshkosh, Wis. The first Young Eagles flights took place at Oshkosh during EAA's 1992 fly-in convention.
EAA's Young Eagles program was founded in 1992 and has provided more than 1.3 million free demonstration flights to young people around the world, through the efforts of 40,000 volunteer pilots and 50,000 ground volunteers. More information is available at www.youngeagles.org.
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.