Pilots fueling up for flight rally

Published 7:20 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It’s time to start fueling up for the annual Young Eagles Flight Rally taking place this Saturday at the Austin Airport.

Open to all children ages 8 to 17, the rally is a chance for kids to gain a lesson on flight from aviators before going on their own personal flight. The rally is hosted by members of Chapter No. 386 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, who are volunteering their planes and time.

“Free airplane rides are just part of the flight rally,” said Mike Bibus, one the four pilots for the event. “We hope to build a one-to-one relationship between pilots and young people, giving a new generation a chance to learn more about the possibilities that exist in the world of aviation.”

At the flight rally, each child is given the full experience. After registration, the child walks around the airplane with the pilot. The pilot explains the purpose of each of the components of the plane. Next, the pilot secures his self and the child in the cockpit were he explains the controls of the plane.

Then, it’s time for take off. The pilot takes the child on an approximately 15 minute flight, depending on the number of kids who come to the rally. During the flight, the pilot allows the child to take a turn flying the plane. The plane is dual control, so the pilot is still able to maintain control with his own driving stick. Finally, the pilot lands the plane and the child is awarded with a certificate the makes them an official Young Eagle. The child will also have their name entered into the “World’s Largest Logbook,” which is on display in the EAA Air Adventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wis.

“We want to focus in on the experience of flying. Since the small aircraft have bigger windows, the kids get a better view than they would on a commercial plane,” Bibus said.

The EAA is organization that encompasses all stripes of people with a passion for aviation. The organization helps its members share with one another their ideas for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. EAA also hosts flights schools and airplane rallies through the volunteer efforts of its members.

Registration for the flight rally begins at 10:45 a.m. in the terminal building. Flights begin at 11 a.m. with registration closing at 1:45 p.m.

Young Eagles Flight Rally

What: One-on-one flights with a pilot

Where: Austin Municipal Airport

When: Flights start Saturday at 11 a.m. Registration will be held in the terminal building Saturday from 10:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Cost: Free