Experimental Aircraft Association volunteers fly local kids Saturday morning Chapter 251 of the Experimental Aircraft Association offered free flights to local children at the Alamogordo White Sands Regional Airport on Saturday morning.
The flights were part of a Young Eagles Rally, which strives to introduce children, 8 to 17 years old, to aviation by giving them the opportunity to fly and learn about airplanes with a certified local pilot.
“This was their first time on a plane,” said Charlene Reed, who’s children participated. “It’s important to have events for kids that are inexpensive. There is nothing here until they build that rec center.”
Chapter 252 holds Young Eagle Rallies typically in May and October.
“What we’re doing is hoping to expose them to aviation, perhaps get them interested in anything aviation related not just piloting, there’s all kinds of job skills that go a long with aviation,” said Ralph Ketter, Young Eagle Coordinator. “Not all of them think of that as a possible career choice, so we’re just trying to expose them to that possibility.”
A Young Eagles flight typically begins with the pilot talking about the airplane, showing a aeronautical chart and completing a preflight inspection of the airplane. After the pilot and passenger are seat belted in, the pilot explains the interior of the plane and the instrument panel. Each flight is typically a duration of 15 to 20 minutes. Chapter 251 offered participants a free T-shirt and a certificate signed by their pilot.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been sponsoring Young Eagles locally for the last two years and is located on Holloman Air Force Base. Civil Air Patrol was also in attendance of the Young Eagles Rally, helping keep parents and children safe at the airport.
Since 1992, more than 1.9 million children have participated nationally in a Young Eagles flight from EAA’s network of volunteer pilots. The pilots are EAA members who are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration or a governing organization outside of the United States, such as Transport Canada.
EAA is an international aviation membership association founded in 1953 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Local chapters are located in all 50 states and many countries around the world. EAA members are aviation enthusiasts including many airline and commercial pilots, engineers, business people and astronauts.
“Experimental Aircraft Association mostly involves pilots who are interested in building their own airplanes, so they’re called experimental when they build their own,” Ketter said. “Anybody that is interested in aviation can join and we have a monthly meeting at the Alamogordo White Sands Regional Airport.”
Chapter 251 of EAA meets the second Tuesday of every month, except December, in the pilot’s lounge of the Alamogordo White Sands Regional Airport at 6 p.m. For more information on Chapter 252, visit http://251.eaachapter.org/