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EAA Chapter Hosts Successful Flying Start Day

Young Eagles Gives Blueprint for Recruiting Success

Chapter 534, a particularly active bunch under the EAA's umbrella, showed off a program best described as "Young Eagles, but for older pilots", showing the effects that a passionate group of enthusiasts can have on a community.

The 'Flying Start Program' is designed to be a little introduction to the fun and breadth of flying, just as the Experimental Aviation Association's Young Eagles program is for the under-18 crowd. Flying Start lets adult participants do the same, try out the basics of flight and get a taste for joining the ranks of pilots the world over. Chapter 534 held a successful Flying Start Program at their home base in Leesburg, Florida's Leesburg International Airport, and showed off their chops. In total, ten attendees showed up to enjoy a nice, leisurely day of flying.

Their Flying Start program starts off with a classroom meeting to revise some of the basics, which is always good when bringing in totally new people to the fold. While pilots naturally, tacitly understand the wide array of regulatory oversight that flying brings, non-pilots may believe it's as hands-off as other hobbies or activities. Boning up on the regs, the licensure, certification, and legality of operations is always part of the learning process, as well as some of the physical aspects of flying safely for the first time. A slideshow and video help prep passengers for what's to come, and some final paperwork paves the way for everyone to take their turn 'ghosting' the stick for their own 30-minute increment. 

The flights all went perfectly, giving attendees a chance to take the controls under the watchful eyes of local chapter CFIs. Chapter 534's Vice President and LSCFI John Weber moderated the event, with assistance from 5 more pilots and their aircraft. The chapter came together to volunteer their time and equipment, resulting in hardly any cost to the program and chapter at all. Chapter 534 brass notes that after all was done, they found every participant was related to a previous attendee of one of their Young Eagles' days. While somewhat coincidental, that highlights the fact that the very best recruitment comes through community, and those who love to fly are the best way to bring in new faces. 

FMI: www.eaa.org


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