Colorado Youth Find Mentorship in Antique Aviation Community
Founded in August of 1953 by Robert L. Taylor, the Antique Aircraft Association is the world’s oldest organization specifically devoted to antique and classic aircraft. Yet as airfield accessibility continues to diminish and the general aviation community continues to grey, there is growing concern among antique aircraft enthusiasts: how can we appeal to youth in order to grow and support the next generation of pilots?
The Antique Aircraft Association of Colorado took up the challenge in an innovative way with the creation of aircraft workshops. Using existing member expertise and generous club donations, the organization set out to acquire and rebuild a light sport aircraft with the help of the local youth community. In February of 2008, the club purchased a 1946 Taylorcraft BC-12D. Shortly after, the organization held its first “Young Aviators” meeting to begin the exciting T-Craft restoration.
The number of youth volunteers has grown from 3 to over 20 participants in roughly two years. Not only do the children have an opportunity to learn the restoration trade, including everything from engine overhaul to fabric covering, they also have the opportunity to experience flight firsthand. Many club provide free flights to youth; in fact, one of the “T-Craft Project” workers, Devika Douillard, flew her dual cross-country flight to the AAA gathering in Blakesburg, Iowa, piloting a 50-year old airplane using just a compass and current charts. As the organization states, they are hoping to “form a core group of young people interested in aviation and mentor them to further their aviation education and goals.” Join Aero-TV as Douillard describes her participation in the project, and how the aviation community has shaped her future.
Copyright 2009, Aero-News Network, Inc., All Rights Reserved.