Submitted by Jim Jackson, Sr., EAA Chapter 1049 Board Member
This piece was originally published in the May 26, 2016 issue of the Teton Valley News as part of the weekly Nonprofit Spotlight presented by the Community Foundation of Teton Valley.
It may be hard to believe but this summer EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) pilots will meet the goal of taking their 2 millionth Young Eagle on a free flight. This would not have been possible without the support of dedicated EAA volunteers, pilots, and sponsors. Since 1992 more than 50,000 EAA members have donated their time, talents, and resources to support what has become the greatest youth aviation program in the world. Over 1.8 million young eagles have had the unique experience of flight to date!
Our local EAA chapter 1049 at the Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport not only hosts free flights to students 8 thru 17 during the summer but also sponsors flight training scholarships to Jackson & Teton Valley High School Seniors through the Tin Cup & Old Bills fund raisers each year. The monies generated for the scholarships are from generous donations by people with a passion to share aviation and aerospace education. The scholarship pays for the flight instruction, aircraft flight time, and ground school education. Interested students may see their high school counselor or these applications can be found on the Community Foundation of Teton Valley and Community Foundation of Jackson Hole websites.
According to EAA Chapter 1049 President Chris Schuler, over 20 local scholarship awardees have become FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved licensed pilots and some have gone into aviation/aerospace professional careers. What a great accomplishment and a wonderful professional start in life for our local youth!
What is The EAA?
The Experimental Aircraft Association is an international aviation membership association founded in 1953 and headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Local chapters are located in all 50 states and many countries. Members are aviation enthusiasts of every age group, including many airline and commercial pilots, engineers, business people and even astronauts. They enjoy all types of airplanes, including “experimental” aircraft, those aircraft built by individual craftsmen, rather than in a factory. “Experimental” refers to the category of aircraft designed by the FAA for these types of airplanes. Similar to standard category aircraft, Experimental aircraft are inspected and certified airworthy by FAA.
What to expect with a flight experience:
Your Young Eagles® flight will last approximately 20 minutes and you will see the earth andSky in an exciting way. Many people remember this experience for the rest of their lives.
- On the ground: Your pilot explains what will happen during the flight. You may talk about the airplane, review an aeronautical chart (or map), and complete a careful “walk-around” preflight inspection of the airplane.
- Just before takeoff: Your pilot explains the interior of the airplane, including the operation of the aircraft door, safety belts, and instrument panel.
- In the air: The flight lasts between 15 and 20 minutes. And, if you want, your pilot may let you take the controls!
- Back on the ground: There’s more time for you to ask questions about the flight. Your pilot is happy to tell you more about flying and their particular airplane.
YOUTH FIVE STEP `FLIGHT` PLAN
This five-step journey includes a free first flight, an EAA student membership, a free on-line training program, an actual free training flight & also a list of aviation scholarship possibilities is designed to inspire young people and keep them flying after their first Young Eagles flight. Visit www.eaa.org. and find the Young Eagles section. Look for the Youth Five Step Flight Plan. This 5 step process gives our youth a true feeling of becoming a pilot. Life can be exciting if you want!
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