Young Eagles provides an opportunity for kids 8 – 17 to fly free in a small airplane. The program is put on by the Experimental Aviation Association. Kids learn about being a pilot from a passionate volunteer, and then get to fly in a small aircraft, spending about 20 minutes in the air. Each Young Eagles session is first come, first served so come early. Sue took her boys and here’s what they found.
Kids Fly Free with EAA Young Eagles
There were times when it felt like your heart was in your throat, but take-off and landing were smooth. So smooth, the plan was in the air before he even noticed.
That was how my 14 year-old described his flight with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles.
The Young Eagles program has been on my bucket list for a while, but the combination of end-of-summer and an upcoming CBS Better Mornings segment on Free in Atlanta is what got me out to Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville to check it out.
The EAA Young Eagles program gives a taste of flight school for teens and kids as young as 8. And yes, you read that right, the Young Eagles program is free for kids ages 8 – 17. I’m marking it down as one of my favorite field trips. It’s not every day you can go flying in someones personal plane!
The Science of Flight at EAA Young Eagles
One of the first questions our instructor/pilot Duane Huff, a former teacher, asked is whether or not the boys had ever flown.
When they both admitted they had recently been on a commercial jet, he replied, “so you’ve never REALLY flown. We can fix that.”
With this knowledge, he showed the boys around his airplane, which he completely rebuilt himself, and invoked some science concepts that my teen recognized from school.
The 10-year-old nodded a lot, but admitted that all he remembered was when something spins and the air gets pulled back, the thing that is pulling the air back gets pushed forward.
think he’s referring to lift and although he may not have gotten it 100 percent right, I guarantee next time they talk about it in school, he’ll have a reference point that is pretty darn cool.
Soaring with EAA Young Eagles
Once we learned a little about the plane and the science behind flight, it was up in the air for a flight that lasted about 15 – 20 minutes and took the boys to Stone Mountain, and downtown Atlanta.
The 10-year-old was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to take the controls more, as his momma, I’m grateful they opted to have the seasoned pilot drive rather than my novice son.
EAA Young Eagles Flight Plan
After our flight, Duane printed out the boys certificates and gave them their first log book, noting the flight.
He also let them know they were now EAA student members and eligible for an online flight training course (ages 14-17) which my teen immediately looked up.
If your child wishes to take the online flight training course (a $200 value), Young Eagles also offers them a voucher for their first flight lesson with an instructor (after the first half of the online flight school training course is complete). If money is an issue, there are flight training scholarships available.
What to know about a EAA Young Eagles Training Flight
There are Young Eagles chapters all over the country. Check out the website to find a chapter near you. In Atlanta, the most active chapters (read most responsive) are in Columbus and Lawrenceville.
At Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville, they offer Young Eagles training flights once a month on the third Saturday. Parents must accompany kids and sign a waiver for them to go flying.
Make sure to call ahead to schedule your flight. The instructors are all volunteers who are looking to give back and grow the next generation of aviators, but they are volunteers, so be mindful of their time.
Looking for more ideas for family fun in Atlanta? Check out our 365 Atlanta Family Calendar.