Kids get heads up in the clouds at first annual fly-in


Nov. 07--COLUMBUS -- Siblings Kendra, Josey and Brock Tiemeyer were back on the ground.

But they weren't worried when they were up in the air. The three had just gotten off a Cessna airplane at the first annual Aerospace Fair and Fly-in of the Columbus Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.

More than 50 kids were expected to take part in the opportunity to fly with a pilot from the Experimental Aircraft Association. The event was held Saturday at Columbus Municipal Airport.

"You said you were nervous and scared," Brock, 8, said to Josey.

The 10-year-old admitted she was a bit rattled when first taking off, but said she got used to it during the approximate 20-minute flight. It was the first time in an airplane for both, while older sister Kendra, 13, had flown in a larger plane once before.

The fly-in was an initiation to airplanes for most children, and that was what the event was all about, said Maj. Steve Sutton of the Columbus Squadron.

"Kids get to fly. They have never been on a plane before. It also gets them interested in it, and it promotes Civil Air Patrol," Sutton said.

The event was open to kids 8-17 years old. Those who did fly received a Young Eagles certification. Young Eagles is a program of the Experimental Aircraft Association, an international aviation group that sponsors education programs.

Civil Air Patrol is an organization that's main objective is to teach aerospace education, provide emergency services and promote cadet leadership. The local group is lead by Commander David Burgess and has about 15 members.

Burgess said the organization has many benefits that go beyond flying, though that is one of the main attractions and the main focus on Saturday. The fly-in was a good chance for youth to get a close look at an airplane.

"For me it is the experience with a lot of hands-on, not just talking about how to make a plane fly, you get to touch," Burgess said.

Kids weren't taking over the controls from pilots when they were up in the air, but they were able to see how a plane is flown and were able to ask the pilot questions.

A few of the youth who took part in the fly-in did sign up for membership to the Civil Air Patrol. Aside from the aerospace aspect of the Civil Air Patrol, the group also assists in many emergency situations like search and rescue missions and natural disasters.

Hopes are to make the fly-in an annual occurrence in Columbus. Other squadrons around the state including Fremont, have similar events.

For more information about the Civil Air Patrol, visit the website www.cap.