EAA and Sporty’s Pilot Shop have created a partnership to enhance the EAA Young Eagles program.
Through the “next step” program, Young Eagles will receive a number of tools from Sporty’s to take the next steps to pursue their interest in aviation.
Since its inception in 1992, Young Eagles has provided first airplane rides to more than 1.4 million kids, according to Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman.
“We’ve sparked a lot of interest in these kids,” he said. “There’s no more enthusiastic people than kids who have just experienced flight for the first time. But what’s next?”
The new program will put a logbook in every Young Eagles hand, complements of Sporty’s, with room for 20 flights. Young Eagles also will receive an access code to Sporty’s Online Complete Pilot Training Course, allowing them to complete the course for free.
“We want to move Young Eagles from the right seat to the left seat,” said Hal Shevers, founder and chairman of Sporty’s.
Shevers also hopes EAA chapters around the country will get involved, providing mentors for the nation’s newest pilots.
“How many moms know their child can solo an airplane at just 16 years of age, and a glider at 14?” he said. “How do the kids get on the other side of the fence to take that first lesson? That’s where the knowledge of the EAA members comes in.”
Getting the next generation involved in aviation is critical, Poberezny added.
“This is the future of EAA, and AOPA, and all the other organizations, as well as the aviation community at large,” he said.