At some point, most children wish to fly. This Saturday youths between the ages of 8 and 17 will have an opportunity to experience for themselves just what it feels like to lift off from the ground and soar into the clouds during the Young Eagles Program.
The Young Eagles Program, hosted by the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, kicks off Saturday at Sulphur Springs Airport, offering free 20-minute flights for youths ages 8 to 17 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Pilots with the Sulphur Springs Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1094 donate their time, aircraft and fuel — no small consideration these days — for the program, which targets children who have never flown in aircraft before.
Parents will be required to sign a permission slip and liability waiver for each child prior to the flight. Adults will not be permitted to accompany their children on the flight unless special medical circumstances exist. Children may sign in as late as 11:30 a.m. Arrivals will be flown on a first-come, first-serve basis, so parents and children are encouraged to register as early as possible after 9 a.m. Once registered, each child will be assigned a flight time.
Each participant will learn about the airplane, review aeronautical charts identifying reference points they will see during the flight, observe a "walk around" preflight inspection of the airplane, as well as becoming familiar with the parts of the plane and the instrument panel.
At the conclusion of their flight, each child participating receives a photograph and certificate to commemorate the event.
In the event of rainy or especially windy weather, the event will be called off with no make-up date. The current forecast does not call for rain, but wind gusts of up to 20 mph are predicted. If unsure of weather conditions, contact Sulphur Springs Airport at 903-885-4911 and ask whether the Young Eagles event will still be taking off.
Sulphur Springs EAA Chapter 1094 has about 60 members and is part of the EAA, an international aviation membership association founded in 1953. More than 170,000 people belong to EAA, with chapters in all 50 states as well as other countries. Membership consists of aviation enthusiasts of all ages, including airline and commercial pilots, engineers, business people, astronauts and even celebrities such as Harrison Ford, who serves as chairman of the Young Eagles Program.
The Young Eagles Program started in 1992 at a Fly-In Convention in Oshkosh, Wis. The initial goal of the program was to fly 1 million children for the 100th anniversary of flight in December 2003. They reached that goal by November of 2003. Since then, EAA's goal for Young Eagles is to introduce 100,000 kids to Young Eagles each year. More than 1.3 million Young Eagles, flown by more than 41,000 volunteer pilots in more than 90 different countries, have been registered on the “World's Largest Logbook.”
For more information about the Young Eagles event, contact Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport.
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