The Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA’s) Young Eagles Program is more successful than any other program at getting young people involved in aviation, the association announced March 2. Results of a joint EAA/FAA study of the program since its 1992 inception indicate that Young Eagles participants are 5.4 times more likely to earn a pilot certificate, EAA said.
The study matched the names of Young Eagles aged 15 to 34 flown since the program was launched in 1992 with names in the FAA registry. Those who took a Young Eagles flight were 5.4 times more likely to earn a certificate than individuals of the same age who had not received a flight. The study also found that 7.3 percent of all pilots who are younger than 35 are former Young Eagles. That number is projected to grow as the group reaches the age—late thirties to early fifties—when their participation in aviation accelerates, EAA said.
Two out of every 100 young people who take their first Young Eagles flight at age 17 earn a pilot certificate, the study found, noting that the older a child is when he or she takes a flight, the more likely that he or she will become a pilot. The more flights a young person takes, the greater the likelihood that he or she will pursue a certificate.
Other findings indicated that 9 percent of pilots in the study are female. By comparison, women represent 6 percent of the current U.S. pilot population.
“Since the Young Eagles program began, it has become the most successful youth aviation education program in history,” said EAA President Paul Poberezny. “Now with nearly 20 years of flights by EAA-member pilots, the numbers show that Young Eagles is making an impact on the pilot population that is unmatched by any other single program.”