EAA Eagle Flight #1, check

OSHKOSH — Diane Thornton from Dallas was the inaugural passenger in EAA‘s new Eagle Flight program on Tuesday morning at AirVenture. Modeled after the successful Young Eagles program, which has flown more than 1.7 million kids (aged 7-18), Eagle Flight aims to expose adults to flying.

Thornton’s Eagle Flight was with EAA President Rod Hightower in his T-6.

Diane Thornton (center) before her Eagle Flight with Rod Hightower (left), EAA president and Jeff Skiles, VP of Chapters and Youth Education.

“This has always been a dream of mine,” said Thornton just before the flight. “Father was a pilot, but my mother was less than thrilled at the idea of any of her six kids flying.”

Upon landing, Hightower taxied up to the entry of Phillips 66 Plaza where he and Thornton jumped out.

“This was a lifetime experience for me,” beamed Thornton. “I can’t thank Rod enough for the opportunity.”

Diane Thornton (right) was thrilled with her ride, the first ride of EAA’s new Eagle Flight program. Rod Hightower offered up his T-6 for the first flight.

“This is what it is all about,” Hightower added. “I could see Diane in the mirror, and she was smiling from the time the throttle came up to rollout.”

Thornton is the National Director of Learning for Life which includes the Aviation Career Exploring pathway for reaching out to youngsters.

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