EAA Young Eagles Program Marks 1.4 Million Milestone
Ken Sines flew the 1.4 millionth Young Eagle, Noah Barfield (blue shirt) on June 28.
July 16, 2008 — EAA’s Young Eagles program recently passed another milestone - the 1.4 millionth child flown since the program’s launch in 1992. Ken Sines, EAA 453045, of Columbus, Georgia, provided the flight to Noah Barfield, 10, of Midland, Georgia, on June 28 in a Piper Cherokee. Sines has flown 755 Young Eagles.
EAA-member pilots, including the program’s chairman, pilot and actor Harrison Ford, continue supplying flight experiences free of charge to young people worldwide. More than 40,000 volunteer EAA pilots have flown Young Eagles, with an estimated additional 50,000 volunteers providing ground support.
“While we celebrate this milestone, it’s important to also recognize that each Young Eagles flight has significance to the young person and the pilot who flies it,” said EAA President Tom Poberezny. “The seeds planted through the program will continue to grow aviation’s future, whether a young person is instantly drawn to aviation, or 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.”
A Young Eagles flight provides a basic flight experience in a general aviation aircraft. Pilots explain to each Young Eagle how parts of the airplane work and how to prepare to fly safely on each flight. A 15- to-20-minute flight follows, where the pilot further describes the operation of the aircraft. After landing, each Young Eagle receives a certificate signed by the pilot and Ford. The flight information is then recorded in the World’s Largest Logbook.
Following the flight experience, Young Eagles are encouraged to visit the official Young Eagles web site (www.youngeagles.org) where they can explore other aviation opportunities, catch up on the latest aviation news, ask an aviation expert a question, or explore more than 1,001 aviation images. Young Eagles can also subscribe to the monthly Aviation Insider e-newsletter.
The Young Eagles program will celebrate the 1.4 million milestone during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, as Ford joins other Young Eagle volunteers and supporters at the annual Young Eagle awards dinner on Wednesday, July 30 (sign up here for a free ticket), as well as the annual Gathering of Eagles fundraiser on Thursday, July 31.
In addition to the volunteer support of EAA members, Young Eagles has also received philanthropic support from the aviation industry. Among the many companies and organizations which have provided financial contributions are Young Eagles presenting sponsor ConocoPhillips; Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, awarding scholarships to encourage and support youth in the pursuit of flight-based, secondary education and sponsor of the developing second flight program; the Buehler Trust, which funded the development of the Young Eagles website and “next step” initiatives; and SC Johnson, supporter of the annual Young Eagles award dinner.