Once you have tasted flight… A challenge and an offer

My ultimate goal with all this flying, writing and excitement for aviation is to encourage others to feel the same happiness I feel when I am in the air. Yes, there is a selfish sense of escape, freedom, control, power and romance that I am overcome with, but when I land I want to shout out from the roof… I mean hangar-tops that,ย “I hope anyone who is capable of enjoying this as much as I do gets the chance to feel this excitement!”

So I ask myself, all the time… How can I help make this possible for more people. How can I get someone, who has never even sat in a small airplane, in touch with an undeveloped but potentially life changing experience? We must make that initial contact with the airplane possible. We must get kids who want to fly, up in the air. It was Leonardo DaVinci who said, “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return”.
My friend Greg Anderson, the president and CEO at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, is very active with the EAA’s Young Eagles program (www.youngeagles.org). This is an organization that gets kids, ages 8-17 the opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane. The flights are free to the kids and generously donated by EAA volunteers. Since 1992, more than 1.6 million Young Eagles have experienced flight through the program.
I have decided to become a Young Eagles volunteer… and I want you to do it with me. I would like to issue a challenge to all the pilots reading this blog, to join me in extending a flight to a future pilot.
You must be current, have your medical, and have at least your sport pilot’s license.
Not a pilot? Tell a child or the parent of a child who would be excited or motivated by a flight in an airplane to contact me and I can help them get started.ย 
This amazing organization has done wonders and I think it would be great if we could all chip in towards the amazing goals they are working toward.
Imagine yourself at that age, maybe 14 years old… searching for what makes your heart soar. If you were given a gift like this, where would you be today? What special place would you hold in your heart for the person that took you flying for the first time?
Let me know if you are in.
P.S. If you are an adult and YOU want to get involved in aviation, let me know! Let’s go out to the airport… let’s look at planes… let’s talk about what it is going to take to get you up in the air. I promise you… IT IS POSSIBLE.

27 thoughts on “Once you have tasted flight… A challenge and an offer

  1. Amelia, I am so impressed by you and your passion. I have 3 children, 8, 6, and 4. My 6 yr old son, Braedon has wanted to fly since he was old enough to talk. He keeps telling us he wants to be a pilot. I always tell him it’s because he had his first flight in a helicopter when he was 2 days old. He spent 5 days in NICU in Lubbock, Tx. I do think that, and my love of planes, has helped fuel his desire. Unfortunately, he is going to have to wait another year and a half to be old enough for this program. I will continue to fuel that desire with your posts and your pictures. Thank you for living your dream and showing us that anything is possible when you have a dream in your heart.

  2. Airplanes….the thrill of flight….cutting through the air on the freedom of the currents….it is something that I have always wanted to be a part of! Congrats on following your dreams and giving back – that is what it is all about!!! What we are given, we must give away!!! I applaud you and look forward to your posts every day!!! Keep up the great work and live the dream!

  3. Great idea, Amelia! You are 100% correct about the need to expose new people of all ages to general aviation. The passion & enthusiasm you share is contagious and the Young Eagles is a great program. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  4. I agree with Cameron entirely! I started my Private Pilot training back in 2008 and was 2 lessons away from my final check ride before I had to stop for money reasons. However, I have not given up by any means! since then I have been stashing away money in preparation for my return to the sky which can not come soon enough. I want to thank you for inspiring future aviators and of course inspiring me to keep the dream alive ๐Ÿ™‚ I got the flying bug when I was very young and it has not left me since. You are such an inspiration to me Amelia, during school and during my job with the Forest Service I have been around many pilots both fixed wing and rotor wing and you just don’t see that many women in this field, I think what you are doing is just wonderful. Not only that I applaud your current choice of aircraft ๐Ÿ™‚ The Cirrus SR-22 looks like an absolute blast to fly and once I get licensed that is definitely on my list to get checked out in. Keep up the good work Amelia! I look forward to hearing (and seeing, great photos by the way) where your next adventure will take you

  5. Wow, this is one of your greatest posts! To fly a Plane is one of the best things in live, if it is not even the best!

    I have a German glider pilot license and a license to fly tourungmotorgliders. So I share your passion. I’m following your blog for a while and a think that your posts are very inspiring. They provoke appetite to fly! That is a great thing, that you are doing to share the spirit. As more people become infected with this great virus, as more affordable private aviation will get. However, it is already affordable if you are a average employee and you are really eager to become a private pilot! It’s not much expensive as most people think!

    I also write in my blog about my experiences being a private pilot. I wrote that posts in German, maybe I should translate them to share the spirit to a wider public …

    Go on with your dreams and share the spirit. I’ll do that here in Germany with my possibilities.

  6. I just started my flight training last year and soloed just before Christmas. I love it! And I can’t wait to join you in passing the thrill of flight on to the next generation.

  7. I just sat down at a Jet Center yesterday with an adult who wants to be a pilot. It felt great to “pass on” a bunch of my training materials, offer a ride in my plane in the future, and send him my solo videos on YouTube. Many pilots helped me during my training and now I want to help others. I hope to one day participate in the Young Eagles program (we have several in my area), however, I would first like to get checked out in more reliable / newer airplanes. Taking an unknown child up I want to be safe.

  8. I have tasted flight. Last year, at the AOPA Day (5/21/2011), I flew backseat in a Cirrus SR-22. After that, I solidified my decision to try and learn to fly. However, real life got in the way. A wife and 2 1/2 year old, along with the financial demands of normal life, threw my plans back into idle. Not to mention a sudden medical issue. After watching an episode of Flying Wild Alaska and the Diabetes Polar Flight, I knew I was good on that front.

    This weekend, I even went to a local flight school and sat in a Cessna 162 Skycatcher. This has pushed me more into looking for a way to do this. I have a ground school course that I have gone over. I am doing what I can.

  9. Amelia,
    You are immensely inspiring. Thank you for your posts and story. I, too, have just become a Young Eagles pilot. I’ve been a member of the EAA for about three months now.

    On my blog, at my site address above, I’ve documented my first YE flight. It’s amazing how much of a rewarding experience it is. I flew with my Dad when I was very young and remember the awesome feeling. It’s good to pass it along. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congrats on your latest journey. I look forward to more exciting stories from you in the future

    Ron Phillips

  10. Amelia, are you going to go to EAA Airventure in Wisconsin this summer? Its a great weeklong opportunity to be around people who love to fly. I’ve gone to it the last 6 years. I heard about EAA’s new Eagles program for adults, I’d love to be the first one ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve had several chances to ride in small planes but never actually flown one. I love flying. Hopefully some day I will have the chance before I get too old.

  11. The Young Eagles has been a great program! I got my step-daughter a flight at 15 years old! What I thought would be a 20 minute flight around the patch ended up 1 hour later, and about a dozen touch and goes, her doing most by herself!! That feeling of sharing is almost as much fun as flying itself. My wife also reminded me at that time that if she wanted a an airplane instead of a car I was going to have to figure out how to deal with that ! Keep up the excitement !

  12. Count me in…several years ago I looked in to the Young Eagles and got the flight packet, but have yet to act on it. I share your passion of flying and wish I had your ability to communicate it so well. Over the years when people learn that I fly, they ask if it is my profession…I answer no, its my obsession.

    On occasion, I able to give a patient a lift by donating my time, talent and transportation through Angel Flight. It is so gratifying to help another and to complete a mission with such an important purpose.

    You have a powerful platform to promote aviation. I’m thrilled that you are taking this journey and sharing it with us all. God speed.

  13. Thank you,i wish some one would have made that offer to me, evan as an adult I have always wanted to fly
    So on behalf of all the people you help
    Thank you

  14. A local pilot signed me up and took me up in his Super Cub quite a bit when I was in grade school. I loved flying with the door and window open. Now, a senior in college, I’m following my dreams and the Air Force is going to instruct me far past my what my PPL covers when I graduate. I attribute some of my love of flight to that pilot and his Cub. He is now giving a few flights for the Young Eagles program, I can’t think of a better example. If I didn’t have my PPL I would definitely drive up the road and take you up on your offer. Thanks for the all your doing for aviation.

  15. Pingback: Once you have tasted flightโ€ฆ A challenge and an offer | Amelia … | Share My Aircraft News

  16. Amelia, first of all: congratulations for being so entusiastic and inspiring. I’ve a private pilot license, here in Brazil, since 1997, and for many years, I took several people up in the air so they could experience what you wrote in this post. I couldn’t find any similar program, here in Brazil, like EAA Young Eagles. If you might, I’d like to help expand this great opportunity to our kids in Brazil. I own a Cirrus SR22 GTS and would love to participate in any way I can. Count me in! Sincerely, Botter

  17. In Holland we have the “Hoogvliegers” organisation to help give ill children a nice flying experience. But if someone knows an other, healthy, kid with just no change to get a flight, you can contact me also. Sometimes seats are left emty for no reason in Photoflights.

  18. Absolutely love this and the idea of starting with the kiddos at a young age.

    I’m not a pilot, however have a passion for aviation of all types. My 2 year old daughter and I pass KAPA twice each day and we ALWAYS stop by the ramp to look and see what’s out there.

    Aviation itself, even if you have never ridden in the front seat, creates a deeply rooted urge to get into the sky. I could spend hours watching others take to the thermals and do hope I have that chance some day soon.

    Well done Amelia!

  19. Amelia,

    I am a 36 year old that has always dreamed of flying. I come from a family of pilots. My Dad, Grandfather and Grandmother have all had a pilots licenses. I flew planes at a very early age with my Dad. We would fly from Raleigh, N.C. to First Flight Airport in Kill Devil Hills where the Wright Brothers first tasted the wonders of flying. I have even taken the controls of a glider flying over Boulder. Flying is something I would really enjoy but I don’t think I can afford it. Last summer I was exploring some options to get me in the air but the company I managed in Boulder, Ellie’s Eco Home Store, went out of business and I am still unemployed. I realize that I can’t do this with the little income I have now but I should have a good job soon. My question to you is, Are there affordable flight schools in Colorado and if so, can you recommend a course of action for me? I am a born Pilot with little resources, can you help guide me in the right direction?Thank you for inspiring me to ask for help!

  20. When I was about 6 or 7, I got a model airplane as a gift. It was one of those 69 cent jobbers that has a rubberband and a plastic propeller. I flew that thing until it fell apart, then I used twist-ties to put it back together. With 12 or so twist-ties holding it together- wing segments had holes punched in them to use the ties- of course it would no longer fly. It did start a long line of model airplane building and flying. At 10 or 11 my Dad got a man to take me for an airplane ride- That was it. All of my paper route money went to model airplanes, airplane plans and saving for flying lessons. During high school the recession was in full force, and the best I could do was to go out to the airport an watch the airplanes. I learned to fly at 18, loved it so much I took a job pumping fuel at the airport for $3.50 an hour. But hey! I got to spend all day at the airport! And, I got to actually touch the airplanes (fuel that plane sonny- move that Bonanza over there). Flying is not without struggles and failures- but the victories are hard to compare with. I introduced flying to 4 people so far this last year, and one of them is actually just about to finish his private. Keep inspiring Amelia!

  21. Hi Amelia! I am entering your contest for the camera. I did all 3 things, hoping to be entered 3 times. It would be awesome to put the camera on my Ranger Z21 Bass Boat and see if it will hold up on those 70 mph rides out to my fishing spots!!! I can also video my friends and I fishing in tournaments.

    Thanks for all you do. It is awesome watching your flights!

  22. Like my father, I started at a young age, 14. I am now 64. I am a former CAP commander and a current EAA YE pilot. There is nothing like giving back. My granddaughter started in helicopters at age 12, and at age 15 she routinely flies the Robinson R22 as well as the R44, as well as numerous fixed wing aircraft including the Cirrus, Piper Warrior and too many others to list. Last month, still at age 15, she was awarded her gold wings from the captain of a local medevac (helicopter) company. What a joy it is for me to be a part of watching our next generation learn and grin!!!

    For Memorial Day 2012, another young person that I am mentoring flew a North American T-6G in formation over Michigan parades and cemeteries, to honor our veterans. She is now just 15.

    I have forwarded this site to Anna, to give her inspiration and faith that she can make a difference. And she will! She is going to the EAA advanced academy this summer, then Women Soar, as well as private instruction during the same visit to Oshkosh.

    All of this comes about because of people like Amelia, and the passion and belief not only in aviation, but in our fellow man as well. During her Memorial Day flying, Anna had the responsibility of being a GIB, calling traffic and helping the PIC maintain formation. All of this while also flying a high performance tail dragging airplane, and conforming to civilian formation flying rules and regulations. (Not to mention the parade smoke!!!) On the ground and in her flight suit, she had the responsibility of dealing with hundreds of people on the ground, and instantly learned that being a pilot in that T-6 earned her instant respect (and complaince) from an enormous crowd, despite her age. So in this regard, aviation is an enormous confidence builder and sets people like Anna apart from the rest of us! (We are VERY proud of her!)

    I hope that all of you that are participating in this site will take a moment and contact your local airport manager and remind them that the EAA YE program is where our next generation of pilots will come from. The young people need our support, be it eye-to-eye or through simple research to find ways to get them into the air. There is no cost to the airport or to the new Young Eagles.

    In my 50+ years of flying and commanding, nothing has been more rewarding than taking the time to fly new Young Eagles, or taking the time to find new aviation adventures for them, or being a mentor for them and provide guidance.

    In a man’s world, it has been especially rewarding to work with the girls and let them challenge their peer “boys” in the air! So far, the girls win, hands down!!!

    Amelia, thanks for providing this forum and a way to share information. God Bless.


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