On Saturday morning, Oct. 22, 2016, 29 young people from the greater Leesburg, Florida, area took to the sky through the EAA Young Eagles program at the Leesburg International Airport (KLEE).
According to organizers, it was a nice sunny day with hardly a cloud in the sky when the young people, accompanied by parents and adult leaders, converged on the EAA Chapter 534 hangar to sign up for their first rides in an airplane.
There was one large group from the Villages United Methodist Church, some Boy Scouts, and some Aviation Explorer Scouts from EAA Chapter 534 Explorer Post.
After they filled out the necessary paperwork, the Young Eagles then met their volunteer EAA pilot, who went through the pre-flight of the aircraft.
Next they climbed into the plane, put on a headset and got ready for an exciting flight. The flights can last 20 to 30 minutes and they get a bird’s eye view of what the world looks like from 2,000 feet.
Many times the Young Eagles actually get a chance to fly the airplane under the watchful eye of their experienced EAA pilot.
As some of the kids got off the plane, chapter members report they heard comments such as “I drove the airplane for real” and “that was awesome.”
EAA Chapter 534 provided four fixed-wing aircraft, one helicopter and five volunteer EAA pilots. On the ground there were another eight chapter volunteers handling paperwork, watching over safety concerns on the ramp, giving tours of the hangar and answering questions.