The next generation weighs in

What can adults do to encourage kids to become interested in aviation? It’s a question that’s on the minds of many in GA as the pilot population continues to decline.

Who better to go to to find the answers than the kids themselves? Two young men who are helping build a four-place Bearhawk for EagleFlight Aviation Ministries in Olathe, Kansas, shared their ideas:

misc 001Colby Davis, 18 (left): “I think the best way for parents to help is to first spark that interest. It can be very easy, just go flying with your kids in a small aircraft. That way they see everything that’s going on in the cockpit and are part of the action. Most small airports will point you in the direction of a good pilot to take you up for a reasonable price.”

“If you are interested in becoming a pilot or mechanic, I would recommend joining a small group like EagleFlight. So far it has helped me learn valuable information and put it in use without having to spend large amounts of money on books, materials, or classes.”

misc 020David Pittman, 17 (left, in brown hoodie): “I grew up in Africa and I was not even close to an airport, but I enjoyed looking at planes while they were in the air. When I got a chance to fly in a plane my first time, it was like my dream coming true, even though I didn’t know much about it.

Colby’s dad, Todd, adds: “My oldest son has expressed his interest in becoming a professional pilot for several years. I believe that having a desire to learn about physics, technology, aviation history, and flight has been a catalyst to my kid’s desire to pursue aviation as a potential career. As a parent, I feel it is important to nurture those desires when there is interest. I remember studying rocketry in the Scouting program my boys were involved in, and how that brief introduction to avionics and the history of flight really intrigued them. As that portion of the Scouting program came and went, I saw the interest still lingered, so my wife and I continued to feed into that and purchased books about flight and flight history. We invested in flight simulators, and I eventually joined the Civil Air Patrol with them so we could learn even more and serve our country simultaneously.

“I often find myself telling my friends about the blessing it is to have found a common bond with my kids and to be able to spend as much time with them doing things we enjoy, and pursuing the dream of becoming a pilot alongside them,” add Davis, who at 41 is starting his flight training alongside his sons.

“I think parents should talk to kids more about aviation, encourage and give support to their kids. From very small things to big things like building a plane, kids just appreciate adults who will take time to invest in a kid and share their knowledge and passions.”

Read all about the EagleFlight’s Bearhawk project in the April 6 issue of General Aviation News and online in the near future.

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