by Scott Thompson
Our chapter is celebrating a couple of important events that have occurred in the last month. We had a great Airport Fun Day in September that was a precursor to an outstanding Young Eagle Rally that just occurred…this past Saturday (October 12). And we also have a personal milestone achieved by one of our chapter’s younger members, so all in all it has been a good past month.
The chapter’s Airport Fun Day was held on Saturday, September 14, and featured a cross section of all the things our chapter has to offer. We had a static lineup of aircraft for visitors to examine, and a bunch of activities in our hangar that included a flight simulator, a hands-on riveting table, an RC model display, and information tables for our chapter, the Young Eagles, and our Air Academy sponsorships. We served more than 125 hot dog lunches and we are guessing at a public attendance in excess of 150 people. We were quite pleased with the turnout and public response.
One of the goals of the Airport Fun Day was to generate some interest in the October Young Eagle Rally, and it did just that. That day marked the opening of our online registration for the Rally, and we had a couple of dozen signups right off the bat. By the time of the rally we had just about filled our schedule with 75 kids signed up and a waiting list to boot. The Rally day arrived with blue skies, calm winds, and enthusiastic kids. We ended up with ten pilots flying a total of 69 Young Eagles over a five-hour time span. We had a bunch of happy kids and families at the airport for the event, and I think we generated new interest in some kids as to the possibilities of aviation in their futures.
Both of these events required a commitment of volunteers from our chapter, and it was nice to see good participation by those that came out. From behind the scenes it can be difficult to put together these events because we do not always know how many are coming out to help. Thankfully, we have some very dedicated individuals in the chapter who are there consistently and tirelessly for these events. We are moving forward with plans for our Holiday Party in December and initial planning for events in 2020. Among those plans are to sponsor two more young people for the EAA Air Academy for next summer. More details on that will be coming soon, but we have already opened registration to apply for that program with information available on our chapter’s website.
And, I need to extend my personal congratulations and that of our chapter to Amy Whelan, one of our chapter members, for being awarded an EAA Ray Scholarship. The Ray scholarship provides up to $10,000 in chapter administered funds for flight training, and Amy is going to pressing forward rapidly this coming winter and spring in an effort to complete her training to receive her Private Pilot certification. It is a huge opportunity for her as she is hoping for and planning for an appointment to the Air Force Academy in 2020 with a future career as an Air Force pilot. She is a very capable young woman who our chapter has been able to help in the past (she was sponsored by our chapter for the 2019 EAA Air Academy) and we are looking forward to seeing her achieve much in aviation in the future.