EAA Young Eagles Program #Review
Free airplane rides for kids
Early one cold and blustery morning in December, my husband and I routed our boys out of bed, fed them, and hustled them out the door. Soon we were standing in the lobby of Flightways Columbus, ready to become Young Eagles and take a free airplane ride.
Parked on the apron were eight single engine airplanes. In the lobby were a group of volunteer pilots ready to introduce youngsters to the joy of flight. The EAA Young Eagles program offers kids ages 8 to 17 a free introductory ride in an airplane. Over 2 million youngsters have experienced the joy of flight since the Young Eagles program launched in 1992.
We met our volunteer pilot, Jack Bartholet, who lead us outside to his plane, a Cessna 177B Cardinal. Mr Jack explained what all we would see and do, including how airplanes work. He showed us an aeronautical chart on his iPad and described the interior of the airplane, including the instrument panel.
Within 10 minutes, they were taxiing down the runway and soaring north over the Chattahoochee Valley — their faces plastered to the windows as Mr Jack pointed out local landmarks and places they recognized. By the time the Cessna’s wheels touched down 20 minutes later, my two were bubbling with awe and excitement.
After the flight, Mr Jack presented them with a certificate and logbook, noting the flight. On the back of the logbook was a unique code to activate a free EAA student membership, which we did as soon as we got home. Student members are eligible for an online flight training course (ages 14-17). They also get a voucher for their first flight lesson with an instructor. Flight training scholarships are available if your child wishes to get his pilot’s license.
What to know if you go:
Young Eagles chapters are located all over the country. The Chattahoochee Valley EAA Chapter 677 based in Columbus, GA is one of the most active chapters in the southeast.
The flights are free of charge and are made possible through the generosity of local EAA volunteer pilots. Each Young Eagles pilot is certified with the Federal Aviation Administration or Transport Canada. Flights are conducted according to federal regulations and no aerobatic maneuvers will be performed.
When: Last Saturday of each month (weather permitting), from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Each Young Eagle session is first come, first served so make plans to arrive early.
Where: Flightways Columbus (KCSG), 3250 W Britt David Rd, Columbus, GA 31909
Requirements: Parents or guardians must accompany kids and sign a waiver for them to go flying. Large groups (e.g. schools, churches, Scouts) should contact the chapter in advance.
Contact: Call Gary Brossett at 706-615-6964 or visit the chapter’s website (677.eaachapter.org/youngeagles.htm)
Parents are not permitted to fly; it stinks, we know, we’re sorry.