EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (Oct. 16, 2009) - Two of the highest priorities for the future of aviation, introducing young people to aviation and uniting toward common goals, are being met through an EAA program whose success is based on a simple premise: One pilot, one young person.
The EAA Young Eagles program will celebrate another milestone during the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., as a total of 1.5 million young people have been flown since the program's inception in 1992. There have been more than 42,000 pilots and an equal number of ground volunteers who have made it happen, along with partners from throughout the aviation industry.
"Young Eagles is the most successful youth aviation education program in history, but its beauty is its simplicity: A pilot introducing aviation to a young person on a one-to-one basis," said Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman/president. "It is making a difference for the future of aviation and, therefore, for the companies who rely on aviation for their future. Young Eagles has deservedly drawn industry-wide support for volunteers who fly kids and make the program happen in their hometowns."
Examples of current Young Eagles corporate support that benefit aviation include:
* Sporty's Pilot Shop, which has donated access to its Online Complete Pilot Training Course to all Young Eagles. Since introducing the option in April 2009, more than 1,500 young people have registered for their "next step" in pursuit of flight.
* ConocoPhillips, longtime supporter of Young Eagles through a fuel rebate program that allows pilots to save money on aviation fuel to fly Young Eagles. Thousands of pilots have taken advantage of the ConocoPhillips fuel rebates, currently two dollars per gallon through the end of 2009, to fly Young Eagles.
* A variety of aviation companies, including those who are often rivals in the marketplace, who understand that sparking aviation interest in young people is essential to future corporate success. Those companies support Young Eagles through the annual Gathering of Eagles fundraiser during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. This effort, the largest fundraiser in the aviation industry, is chaired by Cessna Aircraft Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton.
"Flight has always had the potential to inspire young people, and that remains as strong today," Poberezny said. "Young Eagles is creating the pilots, engineers and innovators of tomorrow who will lead our aviation community. It is our responsibility as an aviation industry to support their dreams."
In September, EAA welcomed Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles, the cockpit crew of famed US Airways Flight 1549 that safely landed in the Hudson River in January 2009, as the new co-chairmen of the Young Eagles program. They succeeded actor/pilot Harrison Ford, who had served as chairman since 2004.
Young Eagles was founded in 1992 and has provided more than 1.5 million free demonstration flights to young people around the world. More information is available at www.youngeagles.com.
EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world's most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA's 160,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org.