Want to get your 8 to 17-year-olds away from the remote or video game? Sign them up for the Young Eagles program in a city near you and let them take to the sky and man the joystick — for free. The Young Eagles program, sponsored by the US Experimental Aircraft Association (EEA), invites youths interested in aviation to fly free on board a registered airplane flown by a licensed pilot.
Young Eagles flights go for approximately 20 minutes, giving the child or teen a chance to see the earth and sky in a new and exciting way, and to feel the freedom of flight that many people only dream about.
On the ground, the certified pilot explains what will happen during the flight, and may talk about the airplane. The child helps review an aeronautical chart (or map), and helps with the preflight inspection of the airplane. Inflight, the pilot usually lets the child have a chance to take the controls. Back on the ground: There’s more time for you to ask questions about the flight. Your pilot is happy to tell you more about flying and their particular airplane.
After the flight, the child’s name will be entered into the world’s largest logbook, preserved in time next to other aviation greats like the Wright Brothers and Charles Lindbergh.
Endorsed by honorary chairman Harrison Ford, the Young Eagles Program reached a milestone when it flew one million children by the year 2003 – the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother’s flight at Kitty Hawk and the dawn of aviation’s second century. The program has been so successful that it has been extended indefinitely.
Know Before You Go
- WHAT: Young Eagles 8 to 17-year-olds fly free in California cities, with a licensed pilot.
- WHEN: Various locations and dates every year.
- WHERE: Many California cities (and most U.S. states) have Young Eagles locations. Go here and select your state from the drop down menu to find a flight location near you.
- SAVVY TIP: California locations currently listed on their website include: Apple Valley, Arcata, Auburn, Bakersfield, Borrego Springs, Camarillo, Compton, Concord, Corning, Delano, Edwards Air, Escondido, Fresno, Grass Valley, Hanford, Hayward, Hollister, Jamul, Lincoln, Livermore, Lompoc, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Merced, Montague, Monterey, Napa, Nevada County, Oakdale, Orange County, Oxnard, Paradise, Petaluma, Pine Mountain Lake, Placerville, Porterville, Rancho Murieta, Redding, Riverside, Sacramento, San Andreas, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Marino, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Santa Ynez, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Stockton, Susanville, Temecula, Truckee, Upland, Vacaville, Watsonville, Woodlake, Yucaipa.