Young Eagles Flight: It Only Takes One Spark

By Robert Mark on August 23rd, 2017

By Jennifer Adams, Guest Writer

A love of aviation is often passed down through families from one generation to the next. Such was not the case for me. In fact, my passion for things with wings has usually been viewed by my family with an air of exasperated patience. “Don’t mind her – she likes airplanes.” This has not stopped me, however, from trying to encourage my kids to become interested in aviation, and a Young Eagles flight was a key.

If you read my previous story, then you know that after dragging my daughter, Cici, to numerous aviation events, it finally dawned on me to just ask if she’d like to go for a flight. To my delight her answer was a resounding yes. We had to wait until June when a local EAA chapter scheduled a Young Eagles flight near us. It was with a fair bit of excitement (OK, mostly on my part) that we headed to a nearby GA airport one sunny Saturday morning. Having never attended a Young Eagles event before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was quite surprised and pleased to see the large number of families already waiting when we arrived.

When my daughter’s name was called, we were escorted out to a Cessna 172 along with two younger children. The pilot introduced himself and much to my daughter’s delight, he put her in the front seat. I could barely contain myself as I watched them taxi out and take off. When the plane landed it took every ounce of will-power not to pounce on my daughter and demand a moment-by-moment recap of the flight. Cici, being the cool teenager that she is, was annoyingly calm about the whole experience. Me: “Did you love it?” Her: “Yeah, it was fun.” Then after a moment she added, “I got to take the controls.” Me: “Oh wow! What was that like?” Her: “Oh it was pretty neat.”

Pretty neat? Is that a good thing? It was difficult to judge from her reaction how she really felt. However, a few days later she approached me and asked if there was another Young Eagles flight coming up. I told her there was – the very next weekend. Then she announced, “I told Liz and Emma about my flight and now they want to try it. Can we go again and take them?” I explained to Cici that I’d be happy to take the girls, but she would have to get one of their parents to come along to sign the permission forms. Knowing that getting parental permission can sometimes be a challenge, I really thought that would be the end of it.  To my surprise my daughter was completely undaunted. “Fine, I’ll talk to them.”

And so I found myself driving to a second Young Eagles event at Jim Moore Field (KDLZ) in as many weeks, with an equal amount of excitement and three additional passengers. The girls were allowed to fly together, this time in an RV10. When the plane landed there was a lot of giggling, excitement and chatter. Liz demanded flying lessons immediately. Much to my surprise, my daughter announced she wants them too. Hooray!

So what did I learn in my quest to introduce aviation to the next generation? Well, sometimes teens are more interested than they let on. Also, don’t under-estimate their ability to inspire and influence each other.

A couple days after the second Young Eagle flight my daughter approached me again. “Hey Mom – are there going to be other Young Eagles flights this summer? Because I talked to my Venture Scout troop and now they all want to go.”



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One Response to “Young Eagles Flight: It Only Takes One Spark”

  1. Jim Thompson Says:

    Great article, thanks for telling me about it shortly after it happened. You may have created a “Monster” or a bunch of them, HA! Now who gets to pay for the lessons?

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