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EAA 'Flight Plan' Provides Next Steps for Thousands of Young Eagles Each Year

Sporty’s Pilot Shop major partner/supporter of youth aviation effort

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (April 14, 2010) — Helping young people move from an initial EAA Young Eagles flight to the full potential of aviation has taken a dramatic “next step,” as EAA has unveiled its full “Flight Plan” available to young people who participate in the Young Eagles program.

The Young Eagles Flight Plan was unveiled during the annual Sun ’n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Fla., a major season-opening aviation event, and in conjunction with Sporty’s Pilot Shop, a primary supporter of EAA’s youth aviation programs.  Among the menu of Flight Plan activities announced are a free EAA student membership; a continuation of free access to Sporty’s Online Pilot Training Course; a free flight lesson; reimbursement for the costs of a successful FAA written test; and more than $300,000 in scholarships and awards available to young people each year.

“With EAA’s Flight Plan, a young person can take that initial spark of curiosity from the Young Eagles program and pursue a direct path toward their own aviation participation,” said Brian O’Lena, EAA youth programs manager.  “Just as with a flight plan, there is a detailed list of activities, many of them free of charge, which can guide a young person as they make a dream of flight a reality.  It is a practical, direct way, that EAA and outstanding supporters such as Sporty’s are building the next generation of aviation.”

EAA Young Eagles, which began in 1992, has become the largest youth aviation education program in history, with more than 1.5 million young people flown by EAA-member volunteer pilots. As those young people ages 8-17 receive their flights, the Flight Plan will offer them a variety of “next step” activities – some of which are now available and others that are being introduced this year.

Those opportunities include:

  • A free EAA student membership, beginning in Fall 2010.  This free membership, good through a young person’s 19th birthday, gives eligibility to EAA scholarships; access to members-only websites and newsletters; exclusive discounts during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh; and an electronic version of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.
  • Sporty’s Next Step Complete Flight Training Course, a $215 value offered free of charge, where young people can discover more about the world of flight and make progress toward their own success on the FAA pilot written test.
  • A free flight lesson, upon completion of the first part of Sporty’s Next Step Course.  This EAA voucher, a $120 value, is good at a flight school of the student’s choice.
  • Rewards for written test success, as a student passes the FAA written test, he or she can choose either an aviation headset or reimbursement for the cost of the test.
  • EAA scholarship and awards, which currently include financial assistance for university studies, internships and the EAA Air Academy, and is growing to include financial support for flight training.

“Young Eagles was created as an initial step to welcome young people into the world of flight, and it’s been incredibly successful over the past 18 years,” O’Lena said.  “The Young Eagles Flight Plan now offers what the aviation community has been seeking – a direct, practical way for young people to receive the help and support they need to reach their own aviation dream.”

EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts.  EAA’s 160,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft.  For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org .  For continual news updates, connect with http://twitter.com/EAAupdate.

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