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Tue, Sep 25, 2018

Kids Reach For The Skies With Local EAA Chapter In Leesburg, FL

More Than A Dozen Potential Pilots Take A First Flight Through The Young Eagles Program

The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 provided flights for 13 youngsters at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg, FL on Saturday. Kids from the ages of 8-17 are given an opportunity to fly for the first time in a general aviation aircraft through the EAA Young Eagles Program.

The national EAA organization, through their local chapters, have been flying young people at no charge for over twenty-five years and more than two million have taken advantage of this program. They do this to expose young people to the magic of flying with the hope that one day they may choose to become a private pilot on their own and / or seek out a career in aviation. They are trying to spark this interest at an early age.

The program is run by EAA volunteers at community airports across the country. The chapter members are EAA pilots who volunteer their time and airplanes, retired pilots, aircraft maintenance people or folks who just have an above average interest in promoting aviation.

When the kids sign up for the program they go to their local EAA chapter Young Eagles event and are assigned a pilot who will take them up. While they are flying they might even get a chance to take the controls of the plane under the watchful eye of their skilled EAA pilot. Usually when they land there are big smiles and comments like “wow that was awesome” or “when can I do that again”. After flying each person is given a certificate of flight and an official log book signed by the pilot.

If they wish to pursue this interest further EAA offers them free an online ground school course, free admission to science and technology museums, a free Academy of Model Aeronautics Student Membership and one hour of free dual instruction at any flight school of their choice after completing the ground school.

On this day in Leesburg 13 young people took advantage of the Young Eagles Program. Five of this group came from the Dads for a Day program from The Villages, Florida. The Leesburg, FL EAA Chapter 534 provided five fixed wing aircraft and pilots and eight other  volunteers taking care of the paperwork and escorting folks safely to the flight ramp.

One of the things that made this day unique was the arrival of a pearl pink flower bedecked airplane, an RV-12, flown by new chapter member Judie Betz. Judy has over 5000 hours of flight time and comes from Loves Landing in Weirsdale, FL, a flying community. She has been flying for 35 years and has flown over 100 Young Eagles. She is certainly a good role model and mentor for young ladies who show up to fly Young Eagles who might have thought, this is really just a boy’s thing.

A relatively new EAA pilot, Carroll Drake with 150 hours, flew his first Young Eagle. His flight instructor a year ago was John Weber the chapter Vice President. Although he is a relatively new Light Sport Pilot he had many hours as a back seater in US. Navy jets.

(Image captured by Ted Luebbers provided with EAA Chapter 534 submission. [L-R] New EAA Chapter 534 pilot Judie Betz gets acquainted with her Young Eagle Grace Goodspeed before starting their pre-flight)

FMI: www.eaachapter534.org

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