The Young Eagles program offers a free chance to explore the world of aviation for people age 8-17. Intended for young people interested in becoming pilots, it gives them a chance to fly in an airplane with a licensed pilot and learn what it takes to fly.
The program started in 1992 as a national effort of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), as a way to get more young people interested in aviation. Locally, it is sponsored by EAA Chapter 731 of Hickory, NC, which conducts the flights out of Hickory Regional Airport. The flights are free of charge by EEA member volunteers.
A typical Young Eagles flight gives kids a chance to learn about the flying process from start to finish. This can include learning about the particular plane they will fly in, reviewing the flight plan and charts in advance, and going through the pre-flight checks with the pilot. In the plane, participants will learn about the instrument panel and may even be allowed to take the controls during the 15-20 minute flight. After the flight, there is more time to talk and ask any questions about the flight, the plane, or flying in general.
Young Eagles flights are held month in Hickory and are usually on the first Saturday of the month, as the weather allows. Check-in is at 9:00 am in the Terminal Building. The group can also facilitate the Aviation Merit Badge for Boy Scout troops. Troops and large groups planning to attend the program should call in advance so the schedule and number of instructors can be adjusted accordingly. For more information, contact Al Bormuth at 828-403-4745 or e-mail email@example.com.