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EAA Air Academy Sessions Begin This Week

Young Eagles in a Bell 47
Two Young Eagles campers prepare for a flight in a Bell 47 helicopter.

Young Eagles in a Bell 47
An EAA pilot brings two Young Eagles campers back to ground level in a Bell 47 helicopter.

June 16, 2011 — Young aviation enthusiasts from all over the country have begun to arrive in Oshkosh to attend EAA’s Air Academy. The program welcomes kids ages 12 to 18 to seven different camps that stagger throughout the summer. The first session, the Young Eagles Camp, began on Monday. 

Academy camps have always been popular, but this is the first year that all seven sessions are at full capacity with about 56 kids in each, according to Bob Campbell, EAA’s manager of museum operations and resident education. “Chapters all over the country have been great at promoting the Air Academy, along with additional efforts from the development department in securing scholarship funds for campers. Within the last two years, there has been a significant increase in attendance,” he said. 

The Advanced camps usually have a waiting list every year, but this is the first time the Young Eagles and Basic camps are also near capacity, Campbell added. There is also a good return rate in attendance, with nearly half of the kids coming back to the Academy the following summer.

The Young Eagles introductory camp for 12- and 13-year-olds is broken into two four-night/five-day sessions. The first one began this week and the next is scheduled for July. Kids learn the basics of aviation by doing small group activities like building a small wing rib and foam wing rib, using a flight simulator, participating in ground school, building a balsa glider from scratch, and launching compressed air rockets.  

The Basic camp is for 14- to 15-year-olds and has three five-night/six-day sessions. In this camp, teens progress their aviation knowledge by participating in more hands-on activities, such as building larger wing ribs and foam ribs, fabricating metal, launching pyro-tech rockets, using an advanced flight simulator, participating in ground school, and more.

The Advanced camp is the most popular, mainly because it occurs during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. There are two eight-night/nine-day sessions where kids ages 16 to 18 handle more advanced projects including learning aircraft restoration skills like welding, fabric covering, and sheet metal and fiberglass work. All camps also provide flight opportunities in EAA’s Cessna 162 SkyCatchers and the Bell 47 helicopter.
To learn more about EAA’s Air Academy camps, click here.

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