EAA International Young Eagles Day
Thousands of young
people will take to the sky on Saturday, June 10, as EAA volunteers
continue an outstanding aviation tradition - International Young
Eagles Day. The annual event brings together kids and pilots as
part of the EAA Young Eagles program, the largest youth aviation
education program ever created, which has flown more than 1.2
million young people free of charge since its inception in July
Each year since 1994, approximately 10,000 young people are
flown on or around International Young Eagles Day. The flights are
provided by volunteer EAA-member pilots in aircraft ranging from
the newest airplanes to vintage biplanes. Such interesting aircraft
as gliders, helicopters and even hot air balloons and blimps have
also been used for Young Eagles flights.
More than 40,000 pilots have volunteered to support the program
including current program chairman Harrison Ford. The well-known
actor and aviator has personally flown 200 Young Eagles and is an
outspoken advocate for the program.
"Aviation has provided me enjoyment and challenges," Ford said.
"Flying can be a great teacher and motivator for young people. I
encourage my fellow EAA members to give the gift of flight to a
young person, especially on International Young Eagles Day. It is
certainly an experience you'll both remember."
During International Young Eagles Day, pilots will fly young
people on individual flights or as part of Young Eagles flight
rallies, which often bring together hundreds of youngsters and
dozens of aircraft in many communities. These activities are also
part of the effort to fly 1.25 million Young Eagles by EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh 2006, "The World's Greatest Aviation
Celebration," which takes place July 24-30 at Wittman Regional
Airport at Oshkosh, Wis.
The Young Eagles concept has been so successful became it's
simple. A young person between the ages of eight and 17 is matched
with a volunteer pilot. The pair then does a preflight
"walk-around" of the aircraft, where the pilot explains the parts
of the airplane and how they work. After reviewing the preflight
safety checklists that pilots use prior to every flight, the pair
takes off for a brief flight (typically 15-20 minutes) to
experience the true sensation of flying an airplane.
After landing, the young person receives a Young Eagles
certificate signed by the pilot and Harrison Ford. The new Young
Eagle's name is then entered into the "World's Largest Logbook"
that is on permanent display at the EAA AirVenture Museum in
This year, Young Eagles are also encouraged to explore a new
website designed especially for them. Along with the World's
Largest Logbook, the Young Eagles website is filled with
interactive activities, games, aviation information and much more
to support aviation interest among young people.
"Young people still have enormous curios
ity about flying, and it provides great lessons in freedom and
responsibility," Ford said. "I'm an active Young Eagles pilot
because I know it makes a tremendous difference to these
youngsters, not only because of what they learn during the flight,
but the possibilities that are opened to them through our
volunteers' efforts. That's why I urge every pilot to be a part of
the Young Eagles program."