Scouts sample aviation at national jamboree

July 18, 2013

Scouts flood the AOPA tent to fly the AOPA Jay by Redbird.When the Boy Scouts of America promised participants in the 2013 National Scout Jamboree “high adventure like you've never seen” for 10 days in the mountains near Mount Hope, W.Va., AOPA was there to help deliver that adventure by introducing scouts, volunteers, and staff to general aviation.

The introductions to aviation came from none other than AOPA President Craig Fuller and AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman, with Jamboree participants getting to experience some hands-on aviation thrills in the process.

It was clear that general aviation and scouting make a good match.

“I travel the country talking to pilots and AOPA members, but even I rarely get to see so much enthusiasm from so many young people as I have today at the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in Mt. Hope, West Virginia,” wrote Fuller in a July 18 blog entry.

By then, more than 1,000 scouts had already visited AOPA’s tent at the jamboree, with many trying their hands at a flight experience at the controls of the AOPA Jay flight simulation device by Redbird. By the end of the event, 4,000 scouts had come through the tent to fly the Jay.

“It was an amazing event for AOPA and a great way to introduce young people to general aviation,” said AOPA Vice President of Membership Michelle Peterson. “We had several scouts who were currently in flight training and even a few who were already pilots.  Many said their parents were pilots and members.”

On July 18, about 600 scouts had signed up for AOPA’s special AV8RS membership program, available to teens ages 13 to 18, Fuller said.

In keeping with the Airborne Day theme for July 18, all eyes took to the sky as a flyover led by Hirschman soared above The Summit, the 10,600-acre site of the jamboree, in the New River Gorge National River Area.

The 2013 Jamboree, running July 15 to July 24, was expected to draw 50,000 participants as the event debuted in its new permanent home at the West Virginia site.

Boy Scouts Fly Jay - DE

Boy Scouts fly the AOPA Jay by Redbird at the 2013 Boy Scout National Jamboree.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.