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International Young Eagles Day Brings Smiles

EAA Chapters hold over 150 events

From L-R Thomas Kelbert, Dylan Murphy and Adin Krebs-Oppenheimer participate in EAA Chapter 29's (Hayward, CA) Young Eagle's Day with Young Eagle's Co-Chairman Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger. Photo by Tyson V. Rininger View IYED Gallery
Cleveland area children were treated to rides from EAA Chapter 127 members in a Stinson 108, Cessna 172, and this Cozy.

Cleveland area children were treated to rides from EAA Chapter 127 members in a Stinson 108, Cessna 172, and this Cozy.

Newly minted Young Eagles in Hickory, North Carolina. EAA Chapter 731 flew 19 kids before sitting down to a nice lunch of fried chicken.

A Young Eagle gets belted in during a rally held by EAA Chapter 643 at Sky Manor Airport in Pittstown, New Jersey.

June 13, 2010 —EAA members around the world took time on Saturday, June 12, to introduce thousands of children to the wonder of aviation through International Young Eagles Day. The Young Eagles program has always been a worldwide program, but for EAA Chapters that held more than 150 planned events, each was its own unique local celebration of flight. Here are a few that we’ve heard from so far:

In Pittstown, New Jersey, EAA Chapter 643 provided flights at the Sky Manor Airport. Low clouds slowed the rally for less than an hour before the flights began. Young Eagle Coordinator Scott Ducey expressed the feelings of many EAA members as to why flying Young Eagles is so important.

“I get the distinct privilege to bring joy to a great group of kids from all kinds of backgrounds - some have never been in the air before, others have disabilities, and a few come back every year,” Ducey wrote to EAA. “Many times after I step out of the airplane I am greeted by a parent thanking me for the great gift I provided to their child. But honestly, it is me that should be thanking them for allowing me to bring happiness to their children.”

Down the coast in Hickory, North Carolina, home of EAA Chapter 731, first flights were not limited to the children, as Peedie Montgomery flew his first Young Eagle in his Cessna 150. Other chapter members assisted with a C-172 and Cirrus SR-20, and by lunch time 19 Young Eagles had flown. The effort at Hickory Regional Airport so impressed Allen VanNoppen that he joined the chapter and pledged to return the next day and fly kids in his plane.

In the Atlanta area Alex Belaski is probably the most famous Young Eagle of the day as his first airplane ride was commemorated in a Youtube video (see below). J. F. (Chip) Fisher, EAA 94990, was Alex’s pilot, and was one of a dozen pilots from EAA Chapter 468 - the South Atlanta chapter in Williamson, Georgia. The chapter reports flying 30 Young Eagles.

In Cleveland 16 kids received their Young Eagle flights from an eclectic collection of aircraft, including a Cozy, Stinson 108, and a Cessna 172. EAA Chapter 127 members used a Midget Mustang as a ground demonstrator aircraft, which was very useful for explaining aircraft and homebuilding to the fledgling aviators.

In central Texas, EAA Chapter 187 of Austin, partnered with Fault Line Flyers, a nearby soaring organization, to give 15 children their first glider flight. The event highlighted that flying for fun takes many different forms. Taking advantage of the afternoon heat, each child rode the thermals and was given ground instruction on aircraft systems, flight characteristics, assembly, and training methods.

EAA Co-Chairman Sully Sullenberger gave rides to kids in Hayward, California as part of EAA Chapter 29’s Young Eagle rally. Successful rallies were also held in Ray, Michigan (near Detroit) and Norwich, NY.

For the pilots and volunteers that conduct these events, the best reward is the enthusiasm these Young Eagles show after their first airplane ride. EAA has teamed with Sporty’s to ensure that the enthusiasm continues by encouraging kids to participate in the Next Step Program, which offers free access to the online Sporty’s Complete Pilot Training Course to children who receive a Young Eagles ride. The program also includes several incentives for kids who complete the ground school, including flight training and scholarship opportunities.

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