Young Eagles Program Offers Kids Free Plane Rides


Rim Country children and teens will get a chance to spread their wings on Saturday when the Young Eagles program offers free introductory flights to inspire youngsters to pursue aviation.

Rim Country children and teens will get a chance to spread their wings on Saturday when the Young Eagles program offers free introductory flights to inspire youngsters to pursue aviation. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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The Young Eagles program has introduced more than a million and a half youth to flying over the past 20 years.

Marie Fasano hopes to add to that number of young flyers this weekend at the Payson Airport.

Rim Country children ages 8 to 17 can have a free introductory flight on Saturday, Oct. 6 through the Young Eagles program.

To inspire teens to pursue aviation, students ages 13 to 17 will receive a log book with an access code to a free ground school class, necessary to receive a private pilot license. The cost of ground school is normally $200.

“We’ll start taking them up at 7:30 a.m., on a first-come, first-serve basis,” said Fasano.

She said students would go through the pre-flight process with a pilot. Once in the air, the pilot will turn over the controls to allow the students the chance to fly the plane independently. “All the pilots are experienced with certified airplanes,” said Fasano. Parents will need to give permission for their child to fly.

On its website (www.youngeagles.org), the organization has an official countdown clock that shows over 1.72 million young eagles have flown with the program.

The Young Eagles program started in 1992 after members of the Experimental Aircraft Association learned from surveys that the members felt more young people should be introduced to the profession of aviation.

Since the first flight on July 31, 1992, well-known pilots such as Chuck Yeager, the first person to break the sound barrier, Harrison Ford, award winning actor, and “Miracle on the Hudson” pilots Chesley Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles have introduced students to the thrill of flying.

“Here is a chance for youngsters to take a flight around our beautiful Rim country and see if aviation is a possibility for them,” Fasano said.

For questions, please call Marie Fasano at 928-978-5139 or e-mail her at RNPilot2@aol.com.

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