EAA Program Will Help Ensure Young Eagles Guidelines Are Maintained


Even as it celebrates 30 years of success with its Young Eagles initiative for providing youth an introduction to general aviation, EAA reports a growth in discrepancies within the volunteer program and its guidelines, including some “inappropriate Young Eagles practices.” The association announced in a statement today (Sept. 20) it has launched an effort to address the issue.

According to EAA, “These practices have ranged from incorrect waiver usage or outright failure to use it at all to co-mingling the Young Eagles flights with third party organizations and improper reporting. These practices put the program, and the insurance coverage provided to the program, at risk.”

To further ensure Young Eagles volunteers are educated on current program guidelines and requirements, EAA will initiate Young Eagles risk management training starting this December 2022. Training will include a 30-minute prerecorded webinar followed with a short quiz. “Similar to youth protection training, this course will need to be completed every three years for renewal,” said the association.

EAA further advised, “Young Eagles coordinators will be required to complete this training before your chapter’s first rally of 2023, or by April 30, 2023, whichever occurs first. Other Young Eagles volunteers and chapter officers will be encouraged to take this training.”

EAA wrote, “EAA Young Eagles has earned an outstanding reputation because of your dedication, passion, and attention to detail that you pour into the program. With your help, we can maintain our well-earned reputation and keep the Young Eagles program thriving for generations to come. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Maybe it is because I work in front of a screen all day, but the words 30-minute pre-recorded Webinar, caused my heart to sink to my boots.
    What is wrong with just writing things down on paper and posting it, or at least emailing it so it can be printed, or read on screen? Apart from anything else, it is much easier to learn if it is on paper — even for the little ones in school today.

    • One of my peeves as well – maybe it’s because we grew up reading instead of watching talking heads read to us.

    • It’s easier to track if someone has played a video than if they’ve read a document. It’s for the insurance companies.

    • Agreed. The “required video watching and training” is a bit much to ask of volunteers, who are VOLUNTEERING their OWN TiME and OWN AIRCRAFT for the program.

      It reminds me of the “Great Loyalty Oath Crusade” from the Book “Catch-22”–if you didn’t swear a “Loyalty Oath”–“you MUST be guilty of disloyalty.”

      Like many companies, EAA develops more and more self-induced constraints as it ages. I support the original concept of introducing kids to aviation–but as a 28 year EAA member and FBO–and PROVIDER OF THOSE FREE RIDES–I’ll do it outside the self-imposed restrictions of EAA. This proposal is like asking people to donate to any other charity–and imposing restrictions on their donations.

      I have no problem with GUIDELINES–but draw the line at MANDATED AND SCRIPTED rules for my donation of time and aircraft.

      • It is about liability, and uniformity of safety across the board, especially when it is large scale. How many guidelines have been written out and read through completely from important documents to directions on assembling a toy? No way of telling, if at all. In Young Eagles, this becomes a serious issue especially when each chapter is allowed to make their own rules, or none at all, under the umbrella of EAA, it’s insurance and legal responsibility. I organized the first two YE rallies in the NYC metro area back in 1993, which not only included the flights but “ground school” and pre-flight briefing at NJ Aviation Hall of Fame and the second at Liberty Science Center. One of the VPs from EAA flew in, and the 2nd the YE Director from WI. We had to cross every t and dot every i, as precious lives were in our hands…as they still are. The kids are the reason we jump through the hoops, and creating the best and safest possible experience. So if anyone wants to operate outside of the parameters that EAA sets, no one is stopping you, just do not use EAA Young Eagles, and take on the liability.

        • Susan,
          I agree with you that there is a need for safety and protection of our youth. The disagreement comes from in what form and how much burden is required?

          Right now, my professional education requirements span, depending on the state, between 75 and 150 hours a year.

          Adding mandates like the EAA from a variety of organizations include an hour here, an hour there. By the time you add all the avocational mandates (church, community, civil) add easily another 25 hours a year.

          The organizations need to think about that. Taken together, it is the equivalent of a month of downtime based on a standard work week. One state’s mandate alone is causing me to consider not relicensing in that state due to the present mandated 10 hours a hear of “video” learning, the expense associated with it and the indirect costs of time associated with it. Half an hour here and there may not seem like much, but we are only given 3.2E9 seconds or so on earth and each hour costs us 3600 of those seconds.

          As for insurance and liability, I carry adequate insurance, including aircraft, and personal liability. This liability we all take whenever we embark for flight. Every time.

          I am undecided whether or not I will continue to participate in EAA activities of this nature, although I will still offer independent flights as I have done long before I joined the EAA on an ad hoc basis. Like the long gone $25 flightseeing, increasing mandates and regulatory burdens will reduce the willingness to participate and the opportunities to promote aviation.

          And you are correct. No one is stopping me, but will the EAA’s strong relevance wane over time?

          • I think it is important to point out that only Young Eagles coordinators are required to take the training… There is NO requirement for the pilots.

          • What I am saying is do what you can do within the parameters required by the organization (s). The rules or guidelines etc… are established with the idea there are many pilots of all levels of various backgrounds involved. Can you imagine everyone wanting to operate in their own way? And some are bigger risk takers than others. If anyone is involved in too many activities where you feel so much time and energy is involved. That’s ok to sit out the event.

      • So you say … until you get sued and wish you had the benefit of the EAA Insurance coverage for YE flights, which you won’t if you didn’t participate in the “required video watching and training.” Have you own insurance? Well, perhaps it would nice to have the EAA Insurance as the Primary carrier on a claim, which might save your own insurance from being canceled due to having to cover the litigation, etc.

      • Oh yes, god forbid Jim H. should have to follow some rules when taking the lives of other people’s children in his hands. Watching a 30 minute safety video is too much, eh? Then it sounds like it’s working already – keeping people like Jim out of the program.

        • I follow ALL the relevant rules–and it WORKS. This is my 6oth year of flying–53 in the FBO business–487 airplanes owned, 363 unique types flown, ATP MEL, Commercial ASEL, MEL, airplane single and mullti-engine sea, Glider, Helicopter, Balloon, Type rated in 5 jets, 436 parachute jumps, owned 5 FBOS–been doing introductory rides for decades, AND NEVER HAD AN ACCIDENT OR A VIOLATION.

          And YOU worry about “taking the lives of other people’s children in his hands” for a free ride? I don’t worry–I’m insured–I pick the conditions–and I delivery everybody SAFELY. It is a record that even EAA can’t match.

          And YOU seek to be the “arbiter of safety”–based on nothing more than someone going through a groupthink by watching a movie?

    • “What’s wrong with writing things down on paper and posting it?”

      No one reads the ragged eared papers stuck on a bulletin board, or even handed out prior to a flight. No ‘Duh’! here. I agree that watching a video solo might be problematic, however there’s no prohibition I can see in the description of this (IMHO) very important policy update that would prevent EAA chapters from requiring a group review of the material, and some discussion.

      If the problem is as described, requiring explicit training for pilots to participate is long since overdue. Kudos for EAA getting off the dime.

      • Group review–I think you’ve found a better solution! All too often, I’ve seen pilots come back from Young Eagles flights with pale-faced kids holding sick-sacks. When asked about the flight, they explain “NOTHING BAD–we just circled his house, and the school, and where his Dad works”–each time looking down, instead of on the horizon.

        I’ve seen Private pilots demonstrating stalls–“to show the kids that there is nothing to be afraid of.” I’ve seen them make low passes down the runway, “Because the kids said it hardly looks like we are moving.”

        All too often, the kids are moved into an airplane after waiting in line–no familiarization with the airplane before flight–no explanation of ‘what we are going to do’–and no post-flight discussion on what it takes to be a pilot, pilot careers, or non-flying careers in aviation.

        It’s often a horrible introduction to flight by not letting people know what to expect–and even worse–after exposing them to a unique and fun experience–to simply say “Goodbye” to them. Is it any wonder why such a small percentage of kids exposed to flying actually continue?

        Every good flight school makes a point to debrief and answer questions. The BEST actually PRACTICE the introductory flight–“here is how old you have to be to solo an airplane” (and here is how old you have to be to solo a glider)–here is a photo of you getting out of the airplane–here is a “logbook” entry (or “first flight certificate”) to prove you did it–here are careers–here are some aviation magazines you can have–when you are ready, here is a pre-solo package so you can become a pilot.”

        EVERY kid wants to be able to do something unique–and EVERY kid wants to be able to do adult things–something that the myriad training supplies companies figured out years ago. If EAA wants to “Make the sale” on teaching kids to learn to fly–there is no shortage of materials–and a video by EAA on “How to make the sale for Young Eagles” would be welcome. What they’ve done so far is a start–but could be better.

        As for “safety briefings”–“peer pressure” is far more effective than simply “going through the motions with no follow-up” to keep an errant pilot from ruining an otherwise fun time.

  2. Every 3 years for renewal doesn’t seem to be the answer in my opinion.
    We require Flight Reviews for FAA currency every two years and that is not working for a lot of pilots.
    What is needed is just like the 1st requirement to solo in FAR part 61.87(d).

    “Proper flight preparation procedures, including preflight planning and preparation, powerplant operation, and aircraft systems;”

    Proper preflight is important for every flight and includes meeting EAA Young Eagle procedure requirements.