We had the privilege of attending EAA’s Young Eagles awards dinner last Tuesday at AirVenture 2011 as new contributors to the EAA Young Eagles program. The event honors those EAA members who give their time, talent, and tender to support Young Eagles. Jeff Skiles and Sully Sullenberger presided. The event was emotional and heart warming.
During his remarks, Mr. Skiles asked for audience participation. He asked EAA members who had given more than 50 Young Eagles flights to stand up. A crowd rised up. He upped the number, asking only those who had given more than so many flights to remain standing. 100, 500, 750 all ticked by, with a room of volunteers still standing. 1,000 …. 1,500 … 2,000 … 2,500. Still standing. The winner: 2,992 Young Eagles flights given. If you gave one Young Eagles flight every day starting tomorrow, it would take more than 8 years to achieve the same. Truly impressive and inspirational.
Near the end of the ceremony, Hal and Sandy Shevers of Sporty’s received an honorary lifetime membership to the EAA. “I didn’t prepare any remarks”, said Mr. Shevers, and he went on to share one very memorable thing. “In life”, he said, “you learn … you earn … and you return.” Simple, memorable advice that we take to heart.
We at ForeFlight are happy to “return” some of what we have earned making software for pilots. In an agreement signed with EAA just before AirVenture, ForeFlight committed to underwrite four scholarships to the EAA Air Academy. The funds will provide four youths annually the means to attend EAA’s remarkable Air Academy summer program. In addition, all Young Eagles enrolled in the Young Eagles Flight Plan that solo – step four in the EAA Young Eagles flight plan – will get free access to ForeFlight Mobile software, keeping them connected to aviation when off field.
Since 1992, the EAA Young Eagles program has provided more than 1.8 million youths the chance to experience flight. This is a truly remarkable program, and the perfect way for pilots to pay it forward to future pilot generations. If you have access to a plane and time to share, please consider becoming a Young Eagles volunteer. It’s an ideal way to pay it forward to future pilot generations.