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.
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."