July 31, 2009
By Mike Collins
“Not everyone can go from [aviation] enthusiast right to pilot,” EAA President Tom Poberezny said in announcing EAA’s first International Learn to Fly Day, which will be held on May 15, 2010. International Learn to Fly Day will be an important outreach to those enthusiasts, he explained.
“Our goal is to grow aviation and do it in a collaborative way,” he said. “We’re here collectively to promote aviation.” International Learn to Fly Day supporters so far include EAA, AOPA, Cessna, Remos Aircraft, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, and NAFI.
The event is different from EAA’s Young Eagles Day, held in June, which focuses on getting young people interested in aviation. “This is going to focus on learning to fly,” Poberezny noted.
While EAA’s chapters can promote the event at the grass-roots level, AOPA can spread the word internationally. “I also serve as president of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said at the press conference announcing International Learn to Fly Day. IAOPA represents the interests of general aviation in 68 countries around the world.
“We’re always looking for ways to reach more people and get them involved in aviation,” he added.
Fuller introduced Emmanuel Davis, from AOPA-France, who was attending AirVenture. “We all share something—and aviation is all about sharing,” Davis said. “AOPA-France is fighting this battle also, to get young people interested in aviation.”
Poberezny said International Learn to Fly Day, which will take place annually on May 15, is intended to help increase awareness of personal flying, as well as student starts. “It’s a focal point,” he said. “It’s not a panacea. It’s not going to solve all our problems.”
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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