Young Eagles Program to Again take Flight

July 11, 2022
The Young Eagles program, based at the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, is once again expected to take wing. It was shuttered earlier this year due to construction at the airport.

Jul. 9—A local program that shares a love of aviation with children is back.

The Young Eagles program, based at the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, is once again expected to take wing. It was shuttered earlier this year due to construction at the airport.

Founded in 1992, the Young Eagles is a product of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). The Vacaville EAA Chapter 1230 was established by the late Air Force Lt. Col. James Warren, an iconic Tuskeegee Airman.

Larry Smigla, president of EAA Chapter 1230, advised that free flights will again be given for youths ages 8-17. Rides are usually given from 7:30-11 a.m. the third Saturday of the month, March to November. Flights are dependent on the weather and are first come, first served.

A parent or guardian must give permission to participate.

"Currently there is a pilot shortage for commercial airlines, so if we can introduce the young ones to aviation and possibly an aviation career in the military or commercial airlines we are doing our job," Smigla said. "We have had Young Eagles pass thru (sic) our Young Eagles flight program and pursue a military career as well as a commercial airline career.

"It is a pleasure to see the huge smiles on the kids when they return from their first flight."

Smigla himself is not a pilot, but said that doesn't dampen his enthusiasm for aviation. He's passionate about photographing World War II aircraft and both he and fellow volunteers are excited to give kids a taste of flying.

"Our Young Eagles program itself would not be a success without the numerous volunteers that we have, chapter members, office personnel, pilots, ground crews and Civil Air Patrol Squadron 22 assisting us to put Young Eagles together," Smigla emphasized.

A few more pilots are needed to help out. Their last flight had nine aircraft participating and the aim is to get at least 10 the next time around.

For more information, contact Larry Smigla at 689-4848 or email him at [email protected].


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