Nineteen Boy Scouts from seven Florida troops came together at the Leesburg International Airport (KLEE) in Leesburg, Florida, on Saturday April 22, 2017, to spend the day earning their Aviation Merit Badges with the help of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534.
The Scouts came from the Florida towns of Mount Dora, Eustis, Lady Lake, Leesburg, Fruitland Park and Cape Coral.
The course of instruction was given by EAA Chapter 534 member Steven Barber who has had a long career in aviation with the United States Air Force and American Airlines.
Steve prepared the syllabus and workbook for each student based on the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America Aviation Merit Badge.
The EAA Young Eagles Program was also tied into the requirements of the Aviation Merit Badge so each scout had the opportunity to fly in a general aviation aircraft.
For most of them it was the first time they had ever flown in a small single engine aircraft, and was the high point of the day’s activities. Many of them actually got to fly the plane themselves under the watchful eye of their EAA pilot.
The Young Eagles Program has flown over 2 million kids from ages 8 to 17 over the last 25 years.
On this day the scouts were given lectures on the aerodynamics of flight, visited the Leesburg Airport Control Tower and the Fixed Base Operations at Sun Air.
The scouts also built and flew a balsa glider and a foam plate glider. The foam plate glider is a design found by Steve Barber and is made from a foam plastic dinner plate. These are then flown in a competitive contest to see whose glider flies the furthest. Airplane model kits were awarded as prizes.
EAA Chapter 534 volunteer pilots provided three fixed wing aircraft and one helicopter for the Young Eagles event. Other chapter volunteers were available to provide a BBQ lunch for everybody, keep up with the paperwork and escort scouts to and from their airplanes.