By TED LUEBBERS
The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Program presses on at Leesburg International Airport (KLEE) through the hot Florida summer getting a donated Mini Max airplane back to flyable condition.
This airplane had been damaged during a tornado at another airport and was donated to the chapter for its Aviation Youth Program.
The plane sustained serious damage to both wings and ailerons. The engine, a two-cylinder two-stroke Rotax, had not been run for some time and was inoperative.
When the fabric was removed from the wings and ailerons, it revealed serious damage to the main spars, some of the ribs and the leading edges of both wings and ailerons.
With the help of their mentors at EAA Chapter 534, the kids are learning how to repair the wing structures and recover them.
They removed the engine several times to make repairs to the magneto, the pull starter chord, and the exhaust system.
Recently the engine was ready for its first test run and much to the delight of the young crew and their mentors it started well and ran smoothly.
Now that the engine work is behind them, they are now repairing the wings and ailerons.
EAA Chapter 534 recently added a flight simulator for the kids’ use. It uses the Microsoft Flight Simulator X program and has all the controls necessary to operate a single-engine general aviation airplane. This simulator was put together through hardware and software donations from chapter members.
This simulator will be used to teach basic flight techniques to members of the Aviation Youth Program who wish to learn more about flying an airplane. They will be mentored during its use by EAA Chapter 534 pilots.
The EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Program is headed up by John Hunt Weber, who is vice president of the chapter. Besides being a practicing veterinarian, he has built several planes and is a Certified Light Sport Flight Instructor.
The youth group meets at the EAA hangar at the Leesburg International Airport on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and lunch is served by the chapter. Volunteers help John with the teaching, which starts with the proper and safe use of tools. Among the volunteer teachers are pilots, aircraft mechanics, and other adult aviation enthusiasts.
The chapter is always ready to accept young people between the ages of 10 and 17 into this free program. Chapter official say they look for kids who have a keen interest in aviation and want to learn more about it. This should be considered a serious time commitment on the part of the student as well as the parent or guardian, officials note.
To find out more about the EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Program contact John Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org.