Young Eagles Flights Continue After Fatalities...

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No Systemic Problems Suspected

"With 500,000 flights and 1.2 million kids safely flown as Young Eagles, we think our safety procedures are pretty sound," EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told AVweb on Tuesday. "But we are working with the NTSB on their investigation and if they turn up anything they think we could do to enhance safety even further, we will certainly do whatever we can." The deaths of two young girls near Seattle last Saturday were the first since the program began in 1992. The instrument-rated pilot was well-qualified, Knapinski said, and had flown Young Eagles in the past. "As far as we know now, there was nothing unusual about the flight, or the pilot, or any of the procedures on that flight," he said. "A few pilots have called to check if scheduled events are going on as planned, and we say yes, go ahead. We know of nothing to give us any cause not to proceed." The pilot community is "a very responsible community," he added. "Especially when flying kids." The Piper PA-28 had just taken off from Paine Field, in Everett, when it failed to gain altitude and crashed on a vacant lot in a residential area. "He flew just over the trees and started to turn to his left and lost altitude, then disappeared behind the trees," witness Keirstin Smith told The Seattle Times. According to some news reports, the girls were scheduled for a different flight, but when it was late in arriving were switched to the Piper.