Morgan youth eagerly watched the skies, hoping for a cloud free morning this Memorial Day. After a rained out flight schedule on Saturday, the young fliers were especially excited to be out in the beautiful weather Monday morning.
While many were still enjoying the extra sleep that holidays provide, pilots from across the valley volunteered their time and equipment to provide a once in a lifetime experience for some Morgan youth ages 8-17.
These flights are offered free of charge in hopes that going up in one of these planes would ignite a youthful desire to continue on and choose aviation as a hobby or even as a career.
The Young Eagles program was developed in 1992 by the EAA to welcome young people into the world of aviation. Aviation is exciting and vital to our nation’s future and the best way to convey that message is to actually experience flight in a first-hand setting. To date, the EAA has given over 1.8 million rides.
36 young aviators took the chance to circle the skies above their homes. Some of those even had a chance to take control of the aircraft if they wished during the flight. Ethan Vesper said, “I actually got to control the plane. It was amazing!” Vesper was given a log book upon his departure with a 30 minute flight already logged and couldn’t wait to get home and sign up for the online course.
Young Eagle Flight Coordinator Tom Holt said, “Most people don’t know that a student pilot can solo at age 16 and earn their license at age 17. For those that are serious, the next step is a free online ground school that is made available to Young Eagles. Once 50% of the course is completed, the student receives a pass for a free first lesson redeemable at Ogden, SLC, Provo and Heber airports.”
Vesper’s younger brother was terrified to leave the safety of the ground and go up in his first airplane. He couldn’t even muster a smile upon take-off, but by the time the landing gear was down you could not wipe the grin off his face.
It seemed to be contagious because as each child exited the runway, smiles were abundant. Each child was given a certificate of flight and had the opportunity to have their pictures taken with their pilot in front of the aircraft.
Each parent thanked the generous pilots as they left the air strip. Pilots included: Matthew Haag of Mountain Green flying his Cessna 170B; Stan McGrew of Mountain Green flying his unique Piper PA-20, this plane was built in 1950; Russ Coburn of Layton flying his Cessna 172; and David Walker of Ogden flying his Cessna 172.
“Our chapter loves coming to the Morgan Airport every year to do our Young Eagle flights. It is really fun to see the excitement in the kids and their parents. Morgan is just the airport to inspire the dream of flight,” said Holt with the same enthusiasm seen in the youth.