EAA launched its new Young Eagles program for adults, branded simply as Eagle Flights, this week at AirVenture, with a dual flight in a T-6 flown by EAA President Rod Hightower. The first flight went to Diane Thornton, an educator affiliated with the Boy Scouts' Aviation Explorers program. "When I was growing up, my dad flew a plane in support of his business," she told the media gathered on the ramp, "but our mother didn't like the idea of her kids going flying." Thornton said she only got to fly with her father once, and that experience left a lasting impression. Jeff Skiles, who leads the education program at EAA, said the ongoing effort to attract new adults to aviation "will be a major focus for EAA going forward."
Pilots in EAA chapters will be encouraged to not only give introductory flights but also to act as mentors to new pilots, Skiles told AVweb in a podcast interview. Some chapters may conduct rallies, similar to those for Young Eagles. EAA also plans to offer various kinds of ground-school opportunities, and EAA staff will provide support and counsel to new recruits. Click here to listen to the podcast.