Thousands of young people will take to the sky on Saturday, June 11, as EAA volunteers continue an aviation tradition – International Young Eagles Day.
The annual event brings together kids and pilots as part of the EAA Young Eagles program, which was founded in 1992 and has provided more than 1.6 million free demonstration flights to young people around the world through the efforts of 45,000 volunteer pilots and 50,000 ground volunteers.
Each year since 1994, approximately 8,000 young people are flown on or around International Young Eagles Day. The flights are provided by volunteer EAA-member pilots in aircraft ranging from the newest airplanes to vintage biplanes. Such interesting aircraft as gliders, helicopters, and even hot air balloons and blimps have also been used for Young Eagles flights, according to EAA officials.
Nearly 150 events are planned by local EAA chapters during this weekend, not counting the many individual EAA members who will fly Young Eagles independently.
“Thanks to the work of the volunteer EAA-member pilots and ground volunteers, the Young Eagles program has proven to be extremely successful in attracting young people to aviation and helping them on the pathway toward becoming an aviator,” said Rod Hightower, EAA president/CEO. “While Young Eagle flights take place nearly every day of the year, International Young Eagles Day is a chance to focus on the program and share the freedom to fly with a new generation. Join us at an event near you as we grow the next generation of aviators.”
A Young Eagles flight is the first step in EAA’s Flight Plan, which help young people move from an initial flight toward the full potential of aviation. Among the menu of Flight Plan activities available is a free EAA student membership, free access to Sporty’s Online Pilot Training Course, a free flight lesson, and reimbursement for the costs of a successful FAA written test in addition to more than $300,000 in scholarships and awards available to young people each year.