By TED LUEBBERS
Youngsters in Lake County, Florida, who want to learn how to build and repair homebuilt experimental airplanes now can take advantage of a free program.
Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534, based at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg, Florida, has launched a program to teach young people the technical aspects of building and repairing experimental general aviation aircraft.
This program is open to both boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 18 years old. There is no charge for the program, which is mentored by EAA Chapter 534 volunteers who have experience with experimental aircraft building. Chapter members who are certified airframe and power plant aircraft mechanics watch over the work, chapter officials note.
The EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Group meets at the EAA hangar from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, with lunch served by the chapter members.
Kids will be taught the proper use of tools and safety procedures before working on airplane projects.
This program will be spiced up by enrolling each youth member in the EAA Young Eagles program so they will get to fly periodically in single engine general aviation aircraft.
The idea behind the youth program is to introduce young people to aviation by both working on real airplanes and getting to fly. This is done with the hope that this experience will cause some of them to ultimately seek out aviation careers or become pilots, chapter members said.
There is a lot of concern in the aviation industry that the numbers of pilots and aviation mechanics are slowly diminishing and new ways need to be found to interest young folks to consider aviation vocations in the future.
“It is the hope to make this a fun learning experience that will produce kids who get excited about aviation and begin to dream about a future in this endeavor,” chapter officials said.
EAA Chapter 534 is looking for kids who already have some interest in aviation and want to explore this a little further. This will require a strong commitment by both the child and their parents or guardians to follow through with the program.
To find out more about the Youth Program contact the group’s leader, John Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can supply the proper parental consent forms that need to be filled out or arrange for a visit to the EAA hangar on a Saturday when the youth program is operating.