On Saturday, Sept. 27, beginning at 9 a.m., the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 249 of Greenville, S.C., will offer free flights to the first 100 8- to 17 year-old kids that ask for a Young Eagles flight at the Southeast Aviation Expo‘s (SEAE) main registration area, which will be near the Greenville Downtown Airport’s (GMU) main terminal.
The program is organized by Dale Ellis, Chapter 249’s Young Eagles coordinator.
Young Eagles flights are designed to give kids, who may never have a chance to fly, an approximately 20 minute ride: To experience the freedom of flight, that many people only dream about; to teach what real pilots do on the ground and in the air; and to give some a try on the aircraft’s controls.
Following the flight, participants will receive a certificate making them an official Young Eagle. Their name will be entered into the “World’s Largest Logbook,” which is on permanent display at the EAA Air Adventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wis,
The new Young Eagle will have free access to Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s Complete Pilot Training Course which is an $199.99 value (recommended for children over 13). This interactive online course uses real-world video and 3D animations to help teach the basics of flight. It can prepare students to take the FAA written exam. More than 20,000 kids have already taken advantage of this opportunity.
After completing the first three volumes of the Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course, the student will qualify for a free first flight lesson at a flight school of their choice, which is a $120 value. (Must be 14 to 19 years old to qualify). Once the entire Sporty’s program is completed, students will be eligible to apply for flight training scholarships (Must be 16 to 20 years old to qualify).
All Young Eagles are also offered a free EAA Student Membership until their 19th birthday. It includes a membership card, e-newsletters, member discounts, an electronic version of Sport Aviation Magazine and free admission to more then 300 science and technology museums, as well as, a free membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
The Young Eagles Program was created to give the next generation a chance to learn more about the possibilities that exist in the world of aviation. Since the program was launched in 1992, Volunteer EAA pilots have flown more than 1.8 million young people. For many, it was the start of their journey to become a pilot, aircraft mechanic, air traffic controller or to enter another aviation career. A recent EAA study found that: Young Eagles are five times more likely to become pilots, nearly 19,000 (7.3 % of all pilots) under 35 are former Young Eagles, 9% of them are female (current female pilot population is just 6%) and the older the youth is when taking the flight the more likely they are to become a pilot.
A Young Eagles airplane ride requires a biological or adoptive parent or legal guardian’s signature on a registration form. Registration forms will be available at the event.
The flights are dependent on the day’s weather. If the weather is deemed unsuitable for flying, unfortunately no makeup day will be scheduled.
“This will be the first time that this cool event, which helps dreams take flight, will lift off from Greenville as part of the Southeast Aviation Expo,” stated Joe Frasher, GMU’s Airport Director. “Mentoring of aviation’s future pilots, engineers, mechanics, designers and other industry professionals, is needed to maintain and build a thriving and airworthy community.”