Aviation group starts youngsters flying

Christian Ramirez, 12, had thought he’d seen all his hometown had to offer until he took his first flight and saw it from the sky, according to a June 21 article in the Chico (Calif.) Enterprise-Record.

“Butte College looks bigger on the inside,” Christian, a Chico native, said. “It just looks so small from up here.”

Christian attended a Young Eagles rally at the Chico airport with his family, June 20. The event, which hasn’t taken place in Chico for the past five years or so, is intended to get kids interested in aviation, said John Patrick, who has been flying for more than 40 years and spent 15 years as an American Airlines captain.

Ten local pilots fueled their planes and volunteered time for the Young Eagles, a program chaired by Harrison Ford that organizes free plane rides for kids with local pilots who are insured through the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Pilots at the Chico event took children ages 8 to 17 up in their planes. Patrick, the most experienced pilot, took his Bonanza and its young passengers up on four trips throughout the morning, pointing out landmarks to the youngsters, who tried to spot familiar buildings. Visibility was 20 to 30 miles in most directions, Patrick said. The flights were mostly smooth, aside from a few bumpy spots caused by thermal activity and increasing temperatures, he said.

All of the Young Eagles participants were given certificates and those 15 and older received log books, in an effort to encourage them to fly again in the future.


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