Fifteen boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 17 took to the air during the latest Experimental Aviation Association Young Eagles first flight event March 19 at Leesburg International Airport.
The event was held by local EAA Chapter 534 at its hangar at the airport. Each youth was assigned to a pilot and airplane for their flight. Chapter 534 provided five fixed-wing general aviation aircraft. These were small single-engine planes capable of carrying between one to three passengers. The flights last between 20 to 30 minutes.
If the kids on a particular flight live nearby, pilots will often fly over that young person’s home. Many times, the youngster sitting in the right seat may be asked if they would like to try flying the plane. If they agree, they will take control of the aircraft under the watchful eye of the EAA pilot.
Upon completion of their flight, each youngster receives a Young Eagle logbook filled out by their pilot recording the necessary flight information as well as an official Young Eagles Certificate commemorating the flight. At this point, they may elect to become official EAA Student Members.
As student members, they qualify for a free online Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course, free admission to 300-plus science and technology museums, a free electronic copy of EAA Sport Aviation magazine, and a free-flying lesson valued at $ 120 upon completion of the course.
EAA chapter members and pilots volunteer their time, planes and the cost of aviation fuel to make these first flight adventures a success. At no time is anybody charged for anything. The organization’s motivation for doing this is to acquaint young people with the joy of flying and hope that sometime in the future they might choose to become a private pilot or consider an aviation career.