I hope you enjoyed a great July 4th holiday weekend. It was a beautiful time for flying in Florida and I had a special treat I’d like to share with you.
Thanks to EAA’s spectacularly successful AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 program, nearly two million young Americans have had the chance to go aloft with a capable pilot and experience the magic so many aviators enjoy. Taking a young person up in a light aircraft gives them an intimate view of the planet few humans know and may encourage them to take up flying at some point in their life. The program has not stimulated a great rise in the number of certificated pilots, however, it can help educate young minds to the benefits of flying and give those youth a touchpoint with a pilot, his or her airplane, and an airport. I believe those are extremely worthy qualities.
Yet it isn’t only young people that can love flying …
Over the July 4th holiday weekend that celebrated American independence 239 years ago, I gave a few “Eagle” flights in a Light-Sport Aircraft, specifically a brand-new CTLSi owned by local dealer Brian Boucher and his Florida Light Sport Aviation. Brian also represents the Super Petrel LS and … full disclosure, I am a minor partner in the CTLSi though I have no business affiliation with the dealership.
I took a few folks up but the two that were most satisfying were the opposite of a Young Eagle, indeed both members of “Greatest Generation.” Jim is 93 years old (photo) though he not got in and out of the CTLSi like a much younger person. He seemed to enjoy taking the stick aloft and did a credible job of flying the LSA. He said, “I’ll remember this flight for the rest of my life.”
Mary is the mother of very close friends (photo) and this was our second flight together. At 90 years old, she had told me on an earlier flight that she wanted to stay up longer next time, so we took a pleasant jaunt down Daytona Beach to the Canaveral National Seashore, operated by the National Park Service on the north end of NASA space launch facility.
As with Young Eagles, giving someone a flight when it is truly enjoyed is extremely gratifying and can only help more people understand why it is we love to fly. If you have the chance to fly someone in your airplane I encourage it for your well being, your passenger’s delight, and to help burnish the image of personal aviation.