Free airplane rides for kids at Young Eagles Day event

Have you ever dreamed of flying in an airplane but never thought you would have the opportunity?
That dream can become a reality for local youths ages 8 to 17 at an upcoming Young Eagles Day to be held at the Cairo Municipal Airport.
The event is being sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 445 of Tallahassee.
The prospect of a Young Eagles Day in Cairo was first introduced in February of this year when former Cairo resident and ex-president of the EAA Chapter 445, Danny Deason, introduced the Cairo City Council to the EAA Young Eagles program.
After the February council meeting, the EAA officials were asked to meet with the city’s airport committee to discuss hosting a Young Eagles Day here and it was decided that a September or October time frame would be best.
Henry Brown, secretary of the airport committee, and Denny Warren, who is also a member of the committee, met with the city council this week to recommend hosting the event on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Brown noted that similar events have been held in Thomasville, Camilla and Bainbridge and the airport committee was supportive of holding a Young Eagles Day here.
According to Brown, children ages 8 to 17 will be eligible to take the free plane ride. Parents or guardians must sign release forms, but only the children can go up on the flight.
Danny Deason told the council in February that only pilots with excess of 500 hours of flight time would be taking children up for the plane ride.
The former EAA Chapter 445 president also said the event is covered by a $1 million insurance policy, which is over and above the $1 million carried by individual pilots.
According to the EAA website, the program was launched in 1992 and since then more than 1.6 million Young Eagles have enjoyed flights in aircraft.
Chapter 445 and EAA is interested in getting youngsters involved and interested in the aviation industry. They note there are over 300 jobs associated with the aviation industry and they say this a fun, safe way to get children interested in aviation.
Flights are tentatively scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Brown said the activity would not interfere with other airport traffic.
City Manager Chris Addleton asked the airport committee representatives how many pilots would likely be involved in the local event. Brown said approximately 10 take part on average, but Warren said it would likely only be three or four here as the group plans to start off small and expand in the future.
Both Brown and Warren said such events give positive exposure to the Cairo Municipal Airport, and airport activity helps the city maintain Federal Aviation Administration funding for the local airport.
The council unanimously approved of holding the Young Eagles day on Oct. 20.

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