SHERMAN, Texas — There’s a nationwide shortage of pilots in the United States, but one organization has a program to help inspire youth to pursue careers in aviation.
On Saturday, the Experimental Aircraft Association hosted its Young Eagles program at the North Texas Regional Airport. It offers kids ages eight through 17 the opportunity to interact with pilots and learn how to fly.
“Our hope is that by doing this, we can spark an interest in an individual and they will seek a career in aviation,” said John Horn, speaking for the organization’s local chapter.
So far, the EAA chapter has given around 2,000 kids the opportunity to take control of an airplane.
Phillip Salas, an aspiring pilot, took part in the program for the second year. He says he wants to be a pilot someday.
“Being able to take people places, the feel of the controllers in your hand,” said Salas. “That wasn’t the first time I flew, but once I was up in the air, I didn’t want to come out.”
Once the kids are in the air, the kids are given opportunity to control the aircraft.
“He flew straight and level, did a turn when I asked him to and he didn’t over or under control,” said Phillip’s pilot, WaaDee Hudson.
Hudson said he believes Phillip will be a good pilot if he continues to practice.
For now, Phillip said he’s going to take every opportunity he can to fly. “If I had the chance to do this every weekend, I’d more or less take it.”