Tyler Whitney, 16, of Fenwick, Michigan, probably never looked at himself as an aviation pioneer. He is one, however, as he became the first EAA Young Eagle to pass his FAA Private Pilot written test through the Sporty’s Online Pilot Training Course now offered free to all Young Eagles.
The opportunity was announced last April by EAA and Sporty’s Pilot Shop of Batavia, Ohio, one of the world’s leading pilot and aviation suppliers. Through this partnership, young people who receive an introduction to flight via the EAA Young Eagles Program also receive from Sporty’s the tools they’ll need to take the next steps in pursuing their interest in aviation.
Upon completion of a flight with a Young Eagles volunteer pilot — often the youth’s first time aboard a general aviation aircraft — the child will receive a logbook for recording this and subsequent aviation experiences. The Young Eagle also receives an access code to the Sporty’s Online Complete Pilot Training Course. Both the logbook and the flight training course are free of charge to Young Eagles.
“EAA and Sporty’s made this program possible so the excitement of flight that comes from a Young Eagles flight doesn’t stop there,” said Brian O’Lena, EAA’s youth programs manager.
Neither of Whitney’s parents have aviation background, but after he took his Young Eagles flight in June 2008 with pilot Robert Allers of Greenville, Mich., he wanted to explore flight training. The Sporty’s Online Pilot Training Course allowed Whitney to work toward his goal at no additional cost.
“After my Young Eagles flight I knew I had to fly. It’s what I want to do,” Whitney said.
After about 35 hours of flight training with instructor Jeff Ostrander, Whitney’s next goal is to earn his Private Pilot Certificate on his 17th birthday — the earliest date he can take his flight test.
“We know Tyler will be only the first of many, many young people who have the opportunity to discover and explore the world of flight through the Young Eagles program and the support Sporty’s has provided for aviation future,” O’Lena said. “There are more ‘next step’ programs coming for Young Eagles that will make the experience more than simply an initial airplane ride.”
EAA’s Young Eagles program was founded in 1992 and has provided more than 1.5 million free demonstration flights to young people around the world, through the efforts of 43,000 volunteer pilots and 50,000 ground volunteers.