International Young Eagles Day Inspires Thousands to Take Flight
New Young Eagle Jared Erdman, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and pilot Jim Busha give the thumb's up sign after their flight at the June 13 EAA flight rally in Oshkosh. Busha is editor of EAA's Warbirds of America magazine.
June 24, 2009 — With more than 2,000 registrations received at the EAA Young Eagles office - and plenty of others on the way - EAA experienced another successful International Young Eagles Day (IYED) on June 13, according to Steve Buss, Young Eagles director. "There were 125 special events scheduled throughout the country and we've been pleased with the reports that have been coming in," he said.
This was the 16th annual IYED, which typically provides 8,000-10,000 flight experiences to young people ages 8-17 and represents the largest single day of participation for the year-round program. Since its inception in 1994, the EAA Young Eagles program has given flight experiences to more than 1.4 million youths.
One of the June 13 rallies was sponsored by EAA at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh at which seven pilots provided airplane rides for 87 kids. In addition to receiving a Young Eagles flight, kids have an unprecedented opportunity: free access to the Sporty's Complete Online Pilot Training Course, allowing them to further explore the wonder of flight. Young Eagles also receive a special logbook provided by EAA and Sporty's, where they can track their flight experiences. More than 400 people have registered since the program's launch in April.
The Young Eagles program involves more than 90,000 pilots and ground volunteers who volunteer to support the program, including current program chairman Harrison Ford. The well-known aviator and actor has personally flown nearly 300 Young Eagles. All kids who take a flight also receive a certificate signed by Ford, plus are included in the "World's Largest Logbook" that is on permanent display at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh.