OSHKOSH, Wis. — An area pilot has now given more than 600 young people a free demonstration airplane ride as part of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program, which is introducing a new generation to the world of flight.
Among the more than 45,000 pilots around the world who have donated their time and aircraft to the effort is William Sommers of Grass Valley.
All pilots in the Young Eagles program explain the safe operation of airplanes and principles of flight before the short trips.
Young Eagles flights are provided by volunteer EAA-member pilots in aircraft ranging from the newest airplanes to vintage biplanes.
Such interesting aircraft as gliders, helicopters and even hot air balloons and blimps have also been used for Young Eagles flights.
Since 1992, the EAA program has flown more than 1.7 million young people, free of charge.
Recent research shows that these young people are five times more likely to become pilots than non-Young Eagles.
They also already comprise more than 7 percent of the nation’s pilot population under age 35, as nearly 20,000 pilots are former Young Eagles participants.
Participating young people become official Young Eagles with the flight, with the names of the pilots and the participants also included in the “World’s Largest Logbook” that is on permanent display in the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wis., and online through the Young Eagles website.
A Young Eagles flight is the first step in EAA’s Flight Plan, which helps young people move from an initial flight toward the full potential of aviation.
Among the menu of Flight Plan activities available is a free EAA student membership, free access to Sporty’s Online Pilot Training Course, a free flight lesson and reimbursement for the costs of a successful FAA written test in addition to more than $300,000 in scholarships and awards available to young people each year.
Visit www.youngeagles.org for more information.