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Fright and 'The Thrill Of Flight' Mingle for Young Co-pilots

Volunteer pilots in Oregon are giving children and teenagers a taste of flying by taking them up as co-pilots for free, via the Young Eagles Program held by members of Chapter 617 of the Experimental Aircraft Association. This is the eighth year of the program, which pairs licensed pilots with kids aged 8 to 17 to introduce them to the thrill of flying. "Our big thing is to introduce kids to aviation," says chapter President Michael Lamb. "Some will like it. Some will pursue a career in it, and others won't. But a lot of these kids have never had a chance to fly." One of the young people taking part in the program was 16-year-old Jared Matwich, who flew in a Cessna Cardinal with retired pilot Mike DeHate, who ran through the pre-flight checklist with Matwich then began their takeoff: "Fifty-five knots, pull the nose up. And we're airborne." Matwich said that the ride, during which DeHate narrated each maneuver as he made it, confirmed his long-held view that piloting will be part of his future. Other young people taking part included 9-year-old Jett Heckathorn and 12-year-old Gordon Wallinger, who both enjoyed their ride, although Gordon's twin sister Bri said she found it a bit scary.

April 26, 2009

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