After a pandemic-induced hiatus last year, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s International Young Eagles Day will pick up again on Saturday, June 12. At local airports throughout North America, EAA chapters and member volunteers will provide youngsters from ages 8-17 the chance to experience a flight in light aircraft at no charge. Since the Young Eagles program launched in 1992, more than 2.2 million young people have taken to the skies, many for the first time in their lives. EAA reports that thousands of those Young Eagles have gone on to become professional and recreational pilots, air traffic controllers and aviation technicians, and to launch other careers in aerospace.
Leading the charge to inspire youth to become involved in aviation are Young Eagles program chairman and veteran airshow performer Sean D. Tucker, as well as Young Eagles co-chairman, NFL tight end Jimmy Graham, an avid pilot himself. Young Eagle flights are often conducted as part of EAA chapter activities, so the participants are also able to meet and talk with aircraft builders, restorers, and other pilots and instructors. EAA notes that a Young Eagle event can be an enriching experience for the whole family.
In announcing the resumption of the annual Young Eagle Day event, EAA CEO Jack Pelton called it a “restart point” for the program as COVID-19 restrictions are winding down. “One thing that never faltered [during the pandemic],” he said, “was the enthusiasm of our volunteer pilots and ground support teams, who are eager to introduce kids to the possibilities of flight, once again.”