Best of all, it won’t cost parents a dime.
The experience is made possible by the Young Eagles project of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), a not-for-profit organization with a branch — No. 468 — in Williamson that serves the purpose of introducing children to flying.
The current Young Eagles co-president is Chelsey Sullenberger III, who became famous for ditching US Airways Flight 1549 in New York City’s Hudson River in early 2009.
At Young Eagles events, local pilots volunteer their time and gas to fly children around, hoping to spark an interest for aviation. That is why the event is free of charge.
“You just show up,” said Bill Hutton, the EAA coordinator for the Williamson branch, adding that a registration form and the company of a parent or legal guardian are required. “We fly as long as there are kids to be flown.”
A Young Eagles day typically starts with ground school of about 30 minutes. There, children learn all about airplanes, including safety issues and what keeps an airplane in the air after takeoff.
“It’s extremely safety-aware,” said Hutton of the educational seminar.
After that, it is all about elevating up in the air, as each airplane ride takes about 20 to 30 minutes going “up and around the field,” said Hutton.
When it’s all over, children receive a Young Eagles certificate and logbook as a memory of their special day.
“The kids love it. It’s such a wonderful thing,” said Hutton’s wife, Joyce.
The first Young Eagle event this year for children to fly in small airplanes begins around 9 a.m. April 23.
For more information on the program, go to www.youngeagles.org.