The Young Eagles Program
In 1991, the EAA Aviation Foundation conducted a survey of long-time Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) members to help determine the organization’s future priorities. Nearly 92 percent said EAA’s primary objective should be to involve more young people in aviation. The survey also showed that a flight experience, provided by a relative or friend, helped guide the respondents toward aviation. On May 13, l992, following several months of coordination by members of the EAA and Foundation Boards of Directors, EAA management, staff and volunteers, the Young Eagles Program was announced at a Washington, D.C., news conference.
The mission of the Young Eagles Program is to provide a meaningful flight experience - free of charge - for 1 million young people (primarily between the ages of 8 and 17) by the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight (December 17, 2003). We reached that goal on Thursday, November 13, 2003, when The Young Eagles program registered it's 1 millionth Young Eagle.
More than 35,000 EAA member pilots have participated in the program. Pilots volunteer their time and aircraft to make the flights possible. In addition, countless thousands of other volunteers and supporters assist the program in a variety of roles.
Young Eagle Rally
Young Eagle Flight on 11-5-2010
Three new Eagles
Megan, Carmen and John
Taking a young person for a first airplane ride is unique. The youngster might be afraid at first to even get into the plane, but Mom urges her on. "Go ahead, you'll love it." The young teen clenches her hands and closes her eyes at takeoff. The pilot gently banks the plane and taps his nervous passenger to point out her house below. This distraction breaks into the apprehension, and she ventures a peek -- and another. Soon she is excitedly pointing out school, church and shopping center. Then, the pilot removes his hands from the controls and suggests she try it. "Oh, no, I couldn't do that!" "Sure you can. Look, the plane is flying itself. All you have to do is show it which way to go." Tentative at first, she soon is confidently turning and twisting over the countryside, now not wanting to go back to the airport. But we must. The real reward comes after landing when the youngster slips out of the seat with new-found confidence and sense of adventure, turns and says, "Thanks mister; I don't have to be afraid any more!"
That is why we fly.
Contact us to Become a Young Eagle.