Young Eagles Flights Help Kids Take to The Skies
As president of EAA Chapter 84 in Snohomish, I encourage all WPA members who are also EAA members to conduct Young Eagle flights on a safe basis. A couple salient points:
- Must be a current national EAA member, do not have to be a Chapter 84 member, but … see below
- Must have taken the EAA online course for YE pilots and have the cursory background check. Both free. There are a couple interesting items in the course, such as pilots cannot transport the YE via their car to the airport.
- Young Eagle flights can be flown 365 days a year, not just at rallies.
- All youth 8 to 17 are eligible. Those who have reached their 18th birthday are not.
- Young Eagles get about $500 in benefits, if they take advantage of all of them. Such as:
- A student membership in national EAA until they are 18.
- A free membership in the national RC plane flying club.
- A free ground school – online from Sporty’s Pilot Shop, a $249 value – free to all Young Eagles.
- Reimbursement up to $150 for taking the pilot written exam.
- Reimbursement up to $150 for a pilot lesson. Not necessarily their first lesson. This is up to $100 for plane rental and $50 for instructor cost.
- Scholarships of $10,000 are available from EAA for young folks to obtain their pilot’s license. No guarantee, but our Chapter 84 currently has one young lady taking her lessons via a $10,000 scholarship. EAA gives 100 each year.
- You must fill out the paperwork BEFORE each flight. EAA wants you to use their forms, not copies. Forms are available for free from EAA, the most popular is a 10-pack. We also keep forms available in the Chapter 84 hangar.
- Make sure the parent signs the waiver and fills out the youth registration form. Pilots must sign the form before taking off or they don’t get the extra insurance.
- You must have insurance for your plane and EAA provides an additional one million dollars insurance for each Young Eagle flight.
- As mentioned, you must be a national EAA member (takes only minutes online) and PLEASE put EAA Chapter 84 on the registration form. We get credit for each YE flight.
- Young Eagles are not limited to one flight. Just fill out the paperwork for each flight, then send it to national EAA. Address is on the form.
- Make sure you give the Young Eagle their logbook after the flight. The code on the back of the logbook gets them all the benefits. No code – no benefits. Also give them their certificate of achievement. DO NOT give them the registration form; send that to national EAA. They must have their logbook code and be registered with national EAA as a Young Eagle for their benefits.
Once you’ve given your first private Young Eagle flight you’ll see how easy it is. During rallies we do all the paperwork for you, but it is very easy for private flights.
One benefit of private YE flights instead of rallies – if I have 3 Young Eagles who want flights, I do 3 flights so each gets to be co-pilot and fly the plane (when I had my 172). We can’t do that at rallies with sometimes over 200 youth to fly, so of 3, only one gets to be co-pilot and the other 2 get a back seat ride. All 3 are still Young Eagles, but you can see how much more fun it is for them to control the plane. Personally, I tell them I will take-off, fly in the airport pattern, and once we are away from the airport and at a safe altitude, they can follow me on the controls and then control the plane themselves. Then I take control again getting low and close to the airport and land the plane.
Remember – No aerobatics, no cross country, no night flights. Clear VFR only. Land and take-off at the same airport. Most flights are about 20 minutes, but there is no limit. Pilots must pay their own expenses and cannot be reimbursed for fuel, get lunch, or any other compensation.
I usually shoot video, using 4 cameras, and edit and post on Youtube. While The waiver does have the parent give permission to use photos and such to promote Young Eagle flights, I always ask if it is OK. Most of the time I make the video public so they can search for it 5 years from now, but occasionally make it unlisted, which means the public cannot see or search, only those with the link can see. Making it public means they can find themselves even if they lose the link.
If you have any questions, please contact me and I can explain things and answer question. The Young Eagle program has flown over 2.2 million youth worldwide and I have flown over 260.