Truckee EAA volunteer pilot flies 1,841 Young Eagles
Special to the Sierra Sun
Earlier this month, Truckee EAA flew 43 Young Eagles. Over a dozen local EAA members volunteered to introduce local youths, eight through 17, to aviation by providing free introductory flights. While exhilarating for the Young Eagles, this is much more than a joy-ride; it is an introduction to many STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Making this happen requires dedicated Truckee EAA members to not only donate their time, but also provide their airplanes and fuel. Additional “back office” work is provided by other EAA volunteers to assure that the aircraft and pilots are current and meet national EAA and FAA requirements and that each Young Eagle is properly registered.
Several EAA members, including Charle White and Vince Bruno, the Young Eagle Coordinator, have flown over 300 Young Eagles each.
But this is far overshadowed by chapter member Tom Meadows.
Meadows has flown more Young Eagles than all but one active California pilot, having flown 1,841 youth over the past 28 years and is number 21 in the nation.
Meadows, an FAA Certified Flight Instructor, is passionate about the program. “The only thing that’s more rewarding than flying is helping youngsters discover the freedom of being aloft, and hopefully kindling a spark for a further interest in aviation,” said Meadows. “Several of our local Young Eagles have continued on to professional flying in the military and in commercial or charter aviation.”
Meadows goes on to tell dozens of stories about his Young Eagle flights.
“One day a few years back, I was in the flight school and a young man reminded me that I had flown him as a Young Eagle years prior. ‘Tom, and that Young Eagle Flight, is why I became a pilot.'” Blake Sorter is now a professional pilot flying multi-million dollar turbo-prop airplanes.
Meadows gave Jesse Pollard his first Young Eagle flight; Jesse is now a captain flying A320s.
Twins Dani and Ali Adams both flew with Meadows as youngsters. Now Dani is a Navy helicopter pilot. Ali also benefited from STEM exposure provided by the program and went on to become an OBGYN doctor.
Meadows is instrumental in bringing pilots into the program to create their own memories and successes influencing our youth.
Ken Aronson is one such pilot recruited by Meadows. Ken now flies an average of three Young Eagles every month and has flown a total of 154, quite an accomplishment, as his airplane has only two seats.
EAA Truckee Chapter 1073 flies Young Eagles every second Saturday of the month, weather permitting. It all starts with a pancake breakfast open to everyone in the community from 8 to 10 a.m. Come out a see the huge grins on these young aviators’ faces or bring your child 8 through 17 to fly.
For more information on the Young Eagles Program visit http://www.youngeagles.org.
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