Learning to flyPublished 10:25am Monday, June 20, 2011
The Experimental Aircraft Association and the Austin Municipal Airport gave kids an opportunity Saturday to experience flight through its Young Eagles program.
Three planes rotated throughout the day to give kids free flights in an effort to open them up to the world of aviation.
“We’re just trying to get kids involved in aviation,” said Kyle Nelson, a flight instructor at the airport and one of three pilots taking the kids up. “Show them there’s maybe more than what they know.”
The pilots took the kids in quick loops around Austin, showing them a birds-eye view of Austin and the surrounding area.
“It was fun,” said Hannah Schmit, 16, who got a view of a relative’s house on one of Nelson’s flights.
“I wanted to see what it was like being in a plane because I’ve never been in one.”
The program was hoping to expand on a popular turnout last year when 93 kids took advantage of the opportunity. While this year’s numbers were not available Saturday, Nelson said the interest was evident early when the day got a jump-start 30 minutes earlier than the 11 a.m. scheduled start.
“There were people waiting here at 10:30 a.m.,” he said.
With the opportunity comes the wide range of emotions the kids show during their flights. They range from Schmit’s enjoyment of her first flight, to straight up fear.
“They will start off kind of uneasy, but usually when they get back down, they want to go again,” Nelson.
Even if the kids don’t want to take the opportunity to fly through the clouds, the pilots involved still want them to make that connection to aviation.
“We let them sit inside the plane, show them how it runs,” Nelson said. “We still want to get them involved.”