Colin Milo of Tribes Hill decided to face his fear head-on.
“I have a fear of heights and I wanted to tackle the fear,” said Milo, one of the youngsters ages 8 to 17 who decided to fly in a single-engine plane Saturday. He flew last year as well.
He was one of several youths to take advantage of 15 to 20 minutes of flight on Young Eagles Day at the Fulton County Airport. The annual event is sponsored by Adirondack Chapter 602 of the national Experimental Aircraft Association.
Mike Clukey, left, of Johnstown, instructs Luis Ramirez of Fonda in an replica airplane used for instructional purposes as others look on during the Young Eagles Day sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association at the Fulton County Airport Saturday.
The EAA is “a social club to promote aviation,” said chapter president Patrick Morris.
“It’s fun for us to share a sport, to get younger people interested in aviation.”
Though the organization’s name includes the word “experimental,” some EAA planes are bought or built by their owners and a few involve experimental designs that occasionally improve aircraft functioning, Morris said.
Michael Clukey of Johnstown said the kids really enjoy the experience. Some like a calm ride, others more adventurous, such as pulling up the nose and suddenly dropping it like a rollercoaster.
Jesse Whitney is a boy who loves trains, cars and planes.
“I like taking the joystick and sharing it,” said the Hadley resident, referring to the controlled experience of being a co-pilot.
Pilot Doug Sterling of Edinburg was pleased that one 13-year-old boy, who had his first flight at 9, wants to fly solo at 16 and pass the test for a pilot’s license at 17.
Before going up with a pilot, the youngsters sit in a small wooden plane and are taught about how airplanes fly and maneuver.
“The main purpose of our organization is educational,” Morris said. “That includes public education and education for pilots.”