June 13, 2012—EAA chapters across the land held flight rallies for the 19th annual International Young Eagles Day last weekend. The weather cooperated for the most part, allowing volunteer pilots and ground workers to share the love of flight with kids ages 8-17.
"Thousands of kids at hundreds of local events throughout the United States and Canada had a chance to get up in the air and experience the thrill of flight," said Brian O'Lena, EAA Young Eagles program manager, who flew several kids himself at an event sponsored by EAA headquarters at Wittman Regional Airport Saturday. "Our members fly Young Eagles throughout the year, but International Young Eagles Day provides a special way to highlight this program and create awareness in communities around the country for the most successful youth aviation program in history."
The 20th anniversary of the Young Eagles program will be celebrated at AirVenture 2012.
Along with the Oshkosh event, at which seven pilots flew a total of 51 kids, EAA continues to receive reports from local events. There were also countless individual EAA pilots who took the initiative to provide flights in their airplanes. Here is a sampling of reports.
La Crosse, Wisconsin, Chapter 307 flew 18 kids at La Crosse Municipal Airport (LSE).
Hartsville, South Carolina, Chapter 1058 flew 160 Young Eagles, with more than 50 volunteers at HVS: "It was great weather, the kids had a blast, and it was a great turnout!"
Limington, Maine, Chapter 141 flew more that 50 kids at Harmon-Limington Airport (63B) - "Some of them had so much fun that they are considering becoming pilots. Way to go kids!
Kingston, New York, Chapter 1359 flew more than 20 kids at Kingston-Ulster Airport (20N).
Potosi, Missouri, Chapter 1424 flew 44 kids with four airplanes.
Cynthiana, Kentucky, Chapter 1522 flew 287 kids at the Cynthiana-Harrison County Airport (0I8).
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada - Flights were weathered out on Saturday so they were moved to Sunday, and more than 100 kids went up.
This comment from a parent from Mason, Michigan: "My son took his first flight via Young Eagles. What an amazing job you guys did. Thank you so much. My son was smiling from ear to ear the whole weekend. We may have a future pilot on our hands."
From a parent whose kids flew at Chapter 47's event at Albert Whitted Airport, St. Petersburg, Florida: "Boys had a blast today flying in a plane at courtesy of the EAA - Young Eagles Chapter 47. Thanks to all the pilots and volunteers! It was so cool!"
See more comments and photos - or add your own - at the Young Eagles Facebook page.
EAA volunteer pilot Wayne Daniels takes a group of kids through a preflight inspection at EAA's International Young Eagles Day June 9. (H.G. Frautschy photo)
Brian O'Lena, Young Eagles program manager, took Bryce Miracle up for his Young Eagles flight June 9.