By Fred “Crash” Blechman
On April 21, 62 boys and girls took to the air on Young Eagles flights at Van Nuys Airport. For many, it was their first flight in light planes, but for some, it was their first flight in any type of plane.
Charlie Ducat, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 40 president, and his staff organized this event in addition to its regular Young Eagles flights, given on the fourth Saturday of every month at Whiteman Airport (WHP) in Pacoima.
Eight pilots volunteered to fly the children. They included Tom Hastings and Kent Yarnell, in their homebuilt Cirrus VK-30 single-engine pusher aircraft; Ceci Stratford in her Piper Cherokee 180; Stacie Crowther in a Cessna 172; Doug Abney in an RV-6A; Katherine Presson in a Cessna 172; Tom Smalley in a Grumman Tiger; and Don Hagopian in a Cessna 182.
Each Young Eagles flight, intended to welcome young people, ages 8-17, into the world of aviation, takes place in a registered airplane flown by a licensed pilot, and conducted according to federal regulations. The flights are free.
Founded in 1953, EAA has more than 170,000 members and more than 1,000 chapters. EAA chapters are in all 50 states and many countries.
The Young Eagles program has provided flights to more than 1.3 million children at airports all over the country. For more information, call 877-806-8902 or visit [http://www.youngeagles.org].