By TED LUEBBERS
On Saturday, March 18, 2017, members of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 flew 12 Young Eagles at Leesburg International Airport (KLEE) in Florida.
The EAA Young Eagles program introduces young people ages 8 to 17 to the wonders of flight by giving them the opportunity to fly in general aviation aircraft. For many, this is the first time they have ever flown.
The purpose is to kindle an interest in aviation either as a hobby or a career.
Many of them go on to become private pilots or go into aviation careers in later life. To date, EAA chapters across the U.S. have flown more than 2 million kids.
EAA Chapter 534 makes the Young Eagles program a primary activity for their membership. When not volunteering with Young Eagles, many of the members are involved with aircraft building or flying their own planes. Currently there are 60 members in this chapter.
On the latest Young Eagles day, they provided four fixed wing aircraft and four volunteer pilots.
While they are in the air many of the kids actually get to fly the plane under the watchful eye of their EAA pilot.
There is no charge for this event. The chapter members volunteer their time and airplanes.
Some volunteers are on the ground directing people to and from the planes while others are in the EAA hangar handling the paper work.
Each Young Eagle receives a log book signed by their EAA pilot and a certificate suitable for framing attesting to their flight.
They also receive an online Learn to Fly course from Sporty’s that help them prepare for their FAA written exam should they wish to become a private pilot.
On top of that, they are given a free flying lesson.
On this day Chapter 534 flew eight Young Eagles, two young people from the local Civil Air Patrol and two members of the Chapter 534 Aviation Explorer Post.