Mayor Murray takes to the skies

Monday, August 30, 2010
Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray, right, gets a tour of her city from above, as Putnam County Airport Manager John Layne pilots her in a Chinese-build YAK aircraft. Murray was at the airport to sign a proclamation that Sept. 6 through 12 is to be Young Eagle Week in the city. Banner Graphic/JARED JERNAGAN

GREENCASTLE -- Mayor Sue Murray visited the Putnam County Airport Friday to sign a proclamation proclaiming the week of Sept. 6 through 12, 2010 as Young Eagle Week.

After the mayor signed the proclamation, she was treated to an airplane ride courtesy of Dixie Chopper Air, LLC.

The mayor took a flight in a YAK aircraft flown by John Layne, the manager of the local airport. The mayor then had a chance to observe Greencastle from the air.

The YAK is Russian designed and Chinese built and was used by both countries as an advanced pilot trainer aircraft.

Area young people ages 8 to 17 will have a chance to take to the skies on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11 and 12 as Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1374 hosts a Young Eagles Flight Rally at the Putnam County Airport in Greencastle during the annual Airport Appreciation Days.

Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray steps aboard a YAK aircraft with airport manager John Layne Friday at the Putnam County Airport. Murray also signed a proclamation Friday making Sept. 6 through 12 Young Eagle Week. Banner Graphic/JARED JERNAGAN

The rally is part of the EAA Young Eagles Program, created to interest young people in aviation. Since the program was launched in 1992, the initial goal was to fly 1 million children prior to the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight.

The goal was achieved ahead of schedule; now the goal is to introduce 100,000 young people each year to the world of aviation. Volunteer EAA pilots have now flown more than 1.5 million young people who reside in more than 90 countries.

"Free airplane rides are just part of the Flight Rally," Jack Sutton, spokesman for the event, said. "We hope to build one-to-one relationships between pilots and young people, giving a new generation a chance to learn more about the possibilities that exist in the world of aviation."

Pilots at the event will also explain more about their airplanes, allowing young people to discover how airplanes work and how pilots ensure safety is the prime concern before every flight.

Following the flight, each young person will receive a certificate making them an official Young Eagle. Their name will then be entered into the "World's Largest Logbook," which is on permanent display at the EAA Air Adventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wis. The Logbook is also accessible on the Web at

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