October 2010 -
EAA has a winner with its Young Eagles program. Besides being a fun, feel-good activity for everyone involved, the program is making strides in growing the population of pilots and in showing the general public how important General Aviation can be.
The program, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has introduced over 1.7 million youth (1,715,760, to be exact) to flight in a General Aviation aircraft. That’s more than eight times the number of active, certificated private pilots in the United States.
According to the YoungEagles.org website, 7 percent of current pilots are former Young Eagles. Jeff Skiles and Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger are honorary co-chairmen for the program, which has volunteers in 90 countries.
Dedicated volunteers David and Laramie Resler have coordinated their Fort Wayne, Ind. EAA chapter’s Young Eagles program for the past seven years. EAA Chapter 2 began holding Young Eagles rallies in 1992, introducing over 6,500 youth ages eight to 17 to flying.
Since the Reslers took over the coordinating duties, they’ve doubled the number of flights accomplished—in a third of the time. For their part, David and Laramie have flown 700 kids in their white Piper Cherokee 180, N55057. “We enjoy seeing the kids’ faces light up after a flight,” Laramie said. “We’re hooked.”
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