Pilots give kids a chance to fly

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By Vicki Brown

Local pilots from Walterboro and other nearby airports flew 14 kids around the skies over Summerville on Saturday, October 30 as part of the Young Eagles program. Six of these children are in the JRTOC program.

According to pilot Doug St Pierre, Eaa477, this is the first of many more rallies.

“We held a very successful and small Young Eagles Rally on October 30th at the Summerville airport for a small group of ROTC kids getting ready to take their aviation evaluation test for a scholarship they are applying for,” said Liz Birch, Young Eagles coordinator. “In addition to the six ROTC cadets, we also flew an additional eight kids that had previously reached out to me

interested in going for a flight. Due to the generous volunteers, we had four pilots and seven ground volunteers, that allowed us to get all 14 kids a one-on-one flight. In addition to going for a plane ride, the kids also got the chance to fly a simulator (courtesy of CRAFT Flight Training and Simulation), do a quick ground school with a Cessna 150, talk to Eddie in his maintenance hangar, and watch an aviation documentary in the FBO.”

The next Young Eagles event is planned for November 13th at the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro, beginning at 8:00 a.m. “We haven't finalized all the details yet, however it's our regular meeting date,” said St. Pierre.

In Hangar 20, each of member of chapter eaa477.org with airplanes have all the necessary current qualifications with both FAA and EAA and are able to fly youngsters either at one of the rallies or as a single pilot with a single passenger.

EAA chapters are the only outlet for sanctioned rally flights. Launched in 1992, the Young Eagles program has more than 25 years of giving youth ages 8–17 their first free ride in an airplane. It’s the only program of its kind with the mission to introduce kids to the world of aviation.

More than 2 million kids have enjoyed a free introductory flight through the Young Eagles program. These flights are made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers. “A kid gets to go for a ride, and that's the goal of every member,” said St. Pierre. “Our chapter EAA477.ORG in 2022 is planning six to eight rally flights with four to six focused on groups who have some type of aviation program to offer the youngsters, and others AKA public, if seats are available beyond our core group,” St. Pierre added.

“More information will come soon about two rallies that will be fully open to the general public, to try to get kids in the air who may never have any other way of riding in an airplane.”

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