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Young Eagles take first flights
Pilots offer free rides to kids
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Youths prepare to board a small airplane, Saturday at the Great Bend Municipal Airport. Area pilots offered free plane rides for the annual Young Eagles Flight Rally. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Area young people 8-17 years old had a chance to take to the skies on Saturday, May 12, as Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 1134 hosted a Young Eagles Flight Rally at Great Bend Municipal Airport.
Rick Schenk, spokesman for the event, said six pilots brought airplanes and 37 youths received free rides during the morning.
“We had to shut down around 10:30 because a heavy haze was moving in,” Schenk said. Pilots had originally planned to accept registrations until 11 a.m., but everyone who arrived before 10:30 got to go up in an airplane. Youths received Young Eagle certificates and photographs of themselves with their host pilot and airplane.
Schenk and about nine other volunteers served on the ground crew.
Some of the youths were apprehensive but by the time they got off the planes all were smiling, Schenk said.
The chapter offers the Young Eagle program every spring.
“It’s a big undertaking,” he said. All of the volunteers are screened and go through youth protection training.
The rally is part of the EAA Young Eagles Program, created to interest young people in aviation. Since the program was launched in 1992, Volunteer EAA pilots have flown more than 2 million young people who reside in more than 90 countries.
“Free airplane rides are just part of the Flight Rally,” Schenk said last week. “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.”
The Young Eagles’ names will 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 Internet at Additional information about EAA and the EAA Young Eagles program is available on the internet. Access to EAA’s Home Page is available at The Young Eagles website is