More than 40,000 people. Nearly 450 events nationwide. Those kinds of numbers alone made EAA’s inaugural International Learn to Fly Day on Saturday, May 15 a tremendous success. More importantly, though, the initiative introduced thousands of people to general aviation, through flights in GA aircraft, ground school seminars, and meetings with pilots, instructors, and other aviation enthusiasts, according to EAA officials.
“With participation from PilotJourney, AOPA, Cessna and others, International Learn To Fly Day truly was an industry-wide effort aimed at a single goal: Introducing more people to aviation,” said EAA president Tom Poberezny. “EAA and its members are committed to providing pathways to participation so more people can enjoy the freedom and fun of flying. With this kind of enthusiastic beginning, it’s a great start to what we can achieve in the future to open opportunities for more people and build aviation.”
A survey conducted by Pilot Journey.com showed 64% of respondents introduced to aviation during International Learn To Fly Day plan to pursue flight training within the next three months.
The nation’s media also took notice, with 500 documented news stories about local events, along with numerous social networking postings from Facebook, Twitter, and similar websites.
About 150 Learn To Fly Day events were organized by EAA chapters, like one hosted by Chapter 979 in Port Huron, Michigan. That included the largest scheduled event, at Sporty’s in Batavia, Ohio, held in conjunction with the annual Sporty’s Fly-In. Between 300 and 400 aircraft and an estimated 2,000 people attended.
Pilot Journey also reported it issued a total of 15,526 free tickets for seminar-type events through its website.
“The success of International Learn to Fly Day followed a formula that has been so successful for EAA’s Young Eagles program,” Poberezny said. “Welcome people to flying in their hometowns, with people and neighbors they know, to make that immediate connection to aviation. EAA members are already eagerly anticipating next year’s event on May 21, 2011. That day – the third Saturday of May – will continue as International Learn To Fly Day thanks to a recently passed U.S. House of Representatives resolution.”
For more information: EAA.org