By TED LUEBBERS
A group of young folks came to Leesburg International Airport (KLEE) in Leesburg, Florida, Oct. 7, 2017, to take flight for the first time as part of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 Young Eagles day.
At 9 a.m. cars with kids and adult leaders from the “Dads for a Day” program based in the Villages, Florida, and others pulled into the parking lot in front of the EAA hangar at the Leesburg Airport. They all seemed excited to get into an airplane and head off into the wild blue yonder.
After a briefing by Joel Hargis, the chapter Young Eagles Coordinator, the youngsters signed in and were assigned to their pilots and airplanes. They were shown how to do a pre-flight before getting in and fastening their safety belts.
Flights lasted between 20 to 30 minutes. Many of the kids were given the opportunity the take the controls of the airplane under the watchful eye of their EAA pilots.
After completing their flights, they returned to the hangar where they were given a log book and an official EAA certificate certifying their first general aviation flight.
They are also given free access to an online Sporty’s Pilot Shop course to take the next step towards becoming a pilot.
On a national basis, EAA has now flown more than 2 to million young people in this free Young Eagles program. The objective is to introduce young people ages 8 to 17 to the world of General Aviation so that when their time comes they might seek out careers in aviation or become private pilots.