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Friday, May 6, 2016

Youth take to the skies through Young Eagles program

Monday, September 14, 2009

Adrienne Bills, 10, prepares for take-off with members of Putnam County Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter No. 1374 Saturday during Airport Appreciation Days at the Putnam County Municipal Airport. Bills was one of dozens of youth who took an airplane ride through EAA's Young Eagles Program.
GREENCASTLE -- Dozens of youth got a taste of piloting over the weekend thanks to the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association and the EAA's Young Eagles Program.

Members of Putnam County EAA Chapter No. 1374 took children ages 8 though 17 on short airplane rides throughout Airport Appreciation Days, held over the weekend at Putnam County Municipal Airport.

Ten-year-old Adrienne Bills had never been in an airplane before Saturday.

"It was fun," she said with a wide smile. "I got to drive and talk with the pilot."

The Tzouanakis fourth-grader said she was apprehensive at the start.

"I was nervous at first," she admitted. "But it sounded quite fun, and once I got the hang of it, it was awesome. I finally just said I'd do it, and I did."

Duane Skoog, president of EAA Chapter No. 1374, said the Young Eagles Program was launched as a way to get children interested in flying.

"EAA was started by a bunch of ex-World War II aviators," he explained. "In the early 1990s, as that generation started to pass on, it became apparent that we would have to do something to generate interest in general aviation."

The program has been wildly successful not only in Putnam County, but on a national level.

Siblings Adrienne Bills, 10, Andrea Bills, 11, and Andrew Bills, 8, all received their Young Eagles certificates Saturday after going up in airplanes with members of Putnam County Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter No. 1374 during Airport Appreciation Days at the Putnam County Municipal Airport.
"The goal is to put one kid with a pilot and give them a really good, quality experience," Skoog said. "They get to sit in the front seat, touch the controls and talk to the pilot."

Skoog said the Young Eagles Program is the "highlight of the year" for local EAA members.

"What I love is when a kid is real tentative when they get in the plane, then they go up and when they're done, they bounce back across the tarmac to their parents to tell them how cool it was," he said with a smile. "We live for that."

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I would like to say "Thank You" to EAA members. One of the passengers was a young 12 year old boy who is going through some difficult times with his parents being divorced. This was the "highlight" of his life.


-- Posted by Taxpayer5253 on Mon, Sep 14, 2009, at 7:50 AM

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