By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
EAA this week released more details about their plans to develop a new first-flight program for adults, similar to Young Eagles. The program will launch in January, will provide the same insurance protections as Young Eagles, and will be driven by the organization's local chapters, EAA said. "The new program will have a lot of the same trappings as Young Eagles," Charlie Becker, EAA director of member programs, told AVweb this week. "It will preserve the rally format. We really want it to be a one-on-one flight experience." That is, it's important that every adult participant gets to ride up front and handle the controls, Becker said. "They'll get to experience being at the yoke and trying out some maneuvers," he said. The new project was announced by EAA CEO Rod Hightower last month at AirVenture.
The details of how the program will work and what kind of follow-up will be offered are still under discussion, Becker said. "We really hope some mentorship relationships can develop," he said. "And even if these participants don't go on to be pilots, you've made a friend for aviation. It's another way to break down barriers at the airport, to get people beyond the fence, and develop good will for the airport in the community."
Another detail still under discussion is the name for the program. "It won't be 'old buzzards' or anything like that," he said. "But we're open to suggestion. If any AVweb readers have any ideas for the name or any other aspects of the program, they are welcome to email me."
AVweb's Paul Bertorelli gave his take on the idea in a recent blog post; click here to join the discussion.