Pilots providing first flights. Children beaming from cockpits. These are the sights at airports nationwide—and perhaps worldwide—today, International Learn to Fly Day.
The goal is to get as many people out to an airport as possible to expose them to the joys of general aviation and encourage them to learn to fly. Many Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapters are sponsoring Young Eagles flights, some flight schools are offering discounted introductory flights, and airports are hosting events to attract their community. (Search EAA’s International Learn to Fly Day calendar to see if an event is taking place in your area.)
But you can still participate in the day even if you don’t live near a planned event. Just take someone who has always dreamed of learning to fly—someone who practically screams “Take me out to the airport!”—to your local airfield for a few hours.
Consider taking someone up for a first flight or showing a friend around the airport to get an up-close look at airplanes. Eat at the airport restaurant. Pack a picnic lunch or grab some ice cream and just watch aircraft takeoff and land. The time you spend with that person—explaining how airplanes fly, the camaraderie among pilots, and the thrill of piloting an aircraft—could be enough to help him or her take that first step toward flight training.
International Learn to Fly Day was announced at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., last summer as an important outreach opportunity to encourage aviation enthusiasts to learn to fly.