Hundreds of Young Eagles Soar With EAA Chapter 18
Jeff Barnes of EAA Chapter 18 and two new Young Eagles give enthusiastic thumbs-up signals after their flight on May 12 in Milwaukee.
More than 300 kids took Young Eagles flights courtesy of Chapter 18 pilots and ground volunteers on May 12-13.
May 16, 2012 - EAA Chapter 18 in Milwaukee helped the Wisconsin National Guard 128th Air Refueling Wing open its Armed Forces Week event last Saturday and Sunday (May 11-12) by conducting a large Young Eagles rally at Mitchell International Airport (MKE). Members of the chapter flew a total of 319 kids with about 15 volunteer aircraft and pilots each day.
"We have an amazing group that makes this all happen," said Stephanie Schulko, Young Eagles coordinator for the chapter. "And the 128th is just awesome to invite us to participate in their open house."
Along with the pilots who fly the kids, an army of about 20 ground volunteers performed registration duties and coordinated the large group of kids and their families. And ATC, Schulko said, went above and beyond making things safe for the airplanes to operate at the major metro airport.
Pilots and planes mostly came from Chapter 18, which is the chapter located at Timmerman Field on the other side of town - the former Curtiss-Wright Field, where EAA was born and the fly-ins were held from 1953-1958. Other pilots flew in from areas like Wausau, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. They arrived in a variety of airplanes that included Cessnas and Pipers, an Ercoupe, a Rutan Defiant, RVs, and others.
The GA airplanes may have seemed a bit small compared to the KC-135s parked on the ramp, and some of the kids appeared somewhat nervous before their flights, Schulko said. But thanks to thorough briefings by volunteer pilots, they all emerged after the flights with smiles on their faces.
"Some kids were nervous at first, but they were excited to fly," she added. "They all were literally glowing afterwards, and many asked of they could go up again." The only unfortunate thing was that some late-arriving kids had to be turned away due to time constraints.
Chapter 18 conducts these Young Eagles rallies with the 128th about every three years. There was also significant local coverage of the event, including the report below from Fox Channel 6.