Global Aerospace and Young Eagles: Getting Young Aviators Airborne

Global Aerospace Editorial Team, August 28, 2018
Giving Back

Founded in 1953 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an organization that supports its members and the aviation industry in a number of ways. It is perhaps best known for assisting pilots who want to build and fly their own aircraft, as well as for the annual AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in airshow, the largest event of its kind in the world.

However, an equally important part of the organization’s mission is to encourage young people to explore and develop an interest in aviation, as they are the future of our industry. One of the ways the EAA does that is through its Young Eagles® program. Launched in 1992, this one-of-a-kind program has been providing kids 8-17 years of age what is often their first flight in an airplane for over 25 years.

“I come from an aviation family,” says Global’s Bryant Dunn, an assistant vice president and underwriting manager based in New Jersey, who is also an EAA member and volunteer pilot. “My father is a private pilot, my brother is an airline pilot… flying has always been a big part of our life. But it wasn’t until I took a Young Eagles flight when I was a kid that I really developed a passion for aviation.”

A Program Geared to Give Kids a Great Flying Experience

The Young Eagles program provides a wealth of information and education to aspiring young pilots and their families. All of it is very useful in helping a child understand what’s involved in earning a pilot’s license and what that license can mean for their career and recreational opportunities. But, the most powerful resource the program offers is its Young Eagles Rallies, where kids get to fly with a seasoned volunteer pilot completely free of charge.

“It’s not uncommon to hear kids say, ‘I’m free!’ and ‘I feel like I’m flying the plane!’ during or after their flight,” says Dunn. “For a pilot, or anyone in aviation, that’s music to our ears. Our industry is a critical one, but one that many people understand very little about. To know that a short flight you provided to a young person may be the spark that ignites a lifelong interest is very gratifying.”

As part of their Young Eagles adventure, participants get both on-the-ground and in-the-air experiences including:

  • Education and inspection. The pilot describes what will happen during the flight. This may include talking about the airplane, reviewing an aeronautical chart, and conducting a preflight inspection
  • Onboard systems introduction. The pilot explains the interior of the airplane and demonstrates operations such as opening the door and fastening safety belts. The pilot also describes the instrument panel.
  • A short flight around the area. In some cases, the pilot may even offer to have the participant take the controls.
  • Post-flight debrief. The pilot is available after the flight to answer what are often a number of questions from the participant about the flight and the aircraft.

Participants also receive a certificate and an official Young Eagles logbook with a personal code to activate a free EAA Student Membership and Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course.

“Large Young Eagles Rallies like the annual event in Oshkosh in conjunction with the airshow provide rides to well over 100 kids, and local rallies all around the country will get dozens of area kids aloft,” adds Dunn. “In addition, our volunteer pilots will often coordinate with a family to take a child on a flight just as a one-off trip.”

EAA also has programs geared for adults and designed to nurture their interest in aviation.

Global Aerospace is a Proud Supporter of Young Eagles

Recognizing the powerful, positive impact the Young Eagles program has on kids and the aviation community as a whole, Global Aerospace is proud to be a sponsor of The Gathering dinner and auction event that is hosted annually at EAA AirVenture and raises money for youth programs in aviation. Proceeds from The Gathering support EAA’s most vital education, safety, and outreach initiatives.

Whether a young person is considering a career in aviation or wants to become a pilot simply to enjoy the kind of freedom that only flying can provide, we think it is important that they have organizations they can turn to for positive information and real-life experiences.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that my Young Eagles flight was life-changing,” says Dunn. “It set me on a path to earning my pilot’s license and ultimately into an interesting and satisfying career in aviation insurance, where my work and my passion merge. I hope some of my young passengers are as fortunate.”

More information on Young Eagles is available on the EAA website. If you have questions about our support of Young Eagles or our aviation insurance products, please contact us at your convenience.