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What Goes Around ...

Former Young Eagle flies his first

New young eagle
Young New Eagle Karson Jarrett and former Young Eagle and pilot Robert Bruce following their November 20 flight.

Robert in 2004
In 2004, Robert’s (center) life was forever changed after his Young Eagles flight with Larry Bishop.

December 2, 2010 ...Gwinnett tower, Cessna N53069 at the EAA hangar would like clearance to depart to the north...”

That message is often heard at the Briscoe Field (LZU) tower in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, but it held a special significance on November 20, 2010. Seventeen-year-old Robert Bruce, EAA 766558, flew his first Young Eagle, 8-year-old Karson Jarrett, that day. The pilot, a senior at Collins Hill High School, met the Gwinnett County third-grader Karson moments before the flight, and as they soared into the air, Karson declared to Robert, “I like flying!”

Robert could certainly relate to that; after all, he had his name entered into the world’s largest logbook six years earlier at age 11 after flying with Larry Bishop, EAA Chapter 690 secretary, in Bishop’s Mooney. Robert definitely caught the aviation bug: He continued to fly and soloed on his 16th birthday, February 26, 2009. Exactly one year later he passed his checkride and earned his private pilot certificate.

While neither of his parents are aviators, Robert’s grandfather, Bill Bruce, would tell him stories about his father-in-law - Robert’s great grandfather, Harold K. Boysen - who was a pilot in the British Royal Air Corps during World War I. Boysen earned ace status after shooting down five enemy planes, and even flew against Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron.

As a child, Robert always gravitated toward toys that had planes with airports, said his mother, Laura. When he was 7 he wanted his birthday party to be Delta-themed. He attended various aviation camps over the years, including three EAA Air Academies. Robert hopes to attend Georgia Tech next year to study aerospace engineering and someday dreams of test-flying his own aircraft design.

Karson likes air shows and attended June’s Peachtree DeKalb air show and more recently the Dobbins Air Force Base in October.

After Robert and Karson’s flight, Duane Huff, EAA 690 Young Eagles coordinator and organizer of the chapter’s monthly rallies at LZU, announced that Robert had flown his first Young Eagle. Cheers and hearty congratulations followed, to which Robert said, “This was just something I really wanted to do, to fly a Young Eagle, just like I was given the opportunity.”

The EAA Young Eagles program gives interested young people ages 8-17 a chance to fly in a general aviation airplane. These flights are free of charge and are possible due to the generosity of EAA member volunteers. Since 1992, more than 43,000 EAA-member pilots have flown nearly 1.6 million young people, each of those ranks growing by one on November 20, 2010.

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