Young Eagle Sosa Lopez (left) and his EAA Chapter 534 pilot John Weber get ready for takeoff for Sosa’s first general aviation flight. Story and photos by Ted Luebbers.
The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 was busy with Young Eagle flights on Saturday February 3, 2018 at the Leesburg International Airport. EAA Chapter 534 held its monthly Young Eagles event with parents and young people gathering in front of the EAA hangar at 9:00 AM with a lot of excitement and anticipation of flying in a single engine general aviation airplane. The kids could hardly wait to get into the air and the parents bring along their cameras to help them chronicle the event.
The local EAA chapter in Leesburg offers these flights to young people at no charge with the hope that this experience will cause them to want to become private pilots or seek aviation careers later in their lives. Currently there is a shortage of all types of pilots and this situation will get worse in the coming years as airline pilots retire, and private pilots reach a point in their lives when they can no longer fly.
On a national basis, the Experimental Aircraft Association has encouraged local chapters to take part in the Young Eagles Program and has flown over two million young people for almost 26 years.
This program is open to kids ages 8 to 17 and it gives them the opportunity to fly in a single engine, general aviation aircraft, a free on- line Learn to Fly Course, free admission to 300 science museums, and 1 hour of dual instruction if they want to continue on to acquire their private pilot’s license.
On this day EAA Chapter 534 furnished three volunteer pilots and three fixed wing aircraft. Flights lasted 20 to 30 minutes and some of the Young Eagles were given the opportunity to control the plane under the watchful eye of their skilled EAA pilot. The chapter also provided 10 other volunteers doing the necessary paperwork, answering questions and escorting people back and forth to the flight line.
If you would like to find out more about the Young Eagles Program or EAA Chapter 534 you may go to the following web sites.
www.eaachapter534.org or www.youngeagles.org/join