Aitkin Flyers offer kids fly program
“There’s nothing better than the beaming smile and excited chatter of a kid, or teenager, after their first flight, and once in a while it sparks an interest that lasts a lifetime,” a member of the Aitkin Flyers said.
AITKIN — The Aitkin Flyers are offering Free First Flights Sept. 18 to kids ages 8-17 at the Aitkin Airport.
First Flights, also known as “Young Eagles Flights,” will be hosted 8-11 a.m. Those interested can sign up at https://bit.ly/3gpBOoE to guarantee a spot, or walk in and join the fun. It is first come, first served, until slots are full.
The Aitkin Flyers is a group that enjoys creating fun get-togethers several times a year for anyone who has a love of flying, its website stated. The group also offers education opportunities to the community, scholarships and sponsors the Young Eagles Program by providing planes and pilots to take kids for their first flight.
Founded in 1992, the Young Eagles program is dedicated to giving youths an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane. These flights are offered free of charge and are made possible through donations.
The Aitkin chapter has been doing the flights since the program first began.
“We have flown several hundreds of kids over the years. Nationwide, the program has flown over 2 million,” a chapter member stated in a news release. “At our event, we have a greeter that shows parents and kids how to fill out their paperwork, then we walk them out to do a preflight.
“Putting their hands on an airplane, and showing them the important parts that we check before every flight, let’s them relax and enjoy the experience. We answer all questions and eventually have our loaders escort the kids to their aircraft where their pilot will settle them in and make them feel comfortable. They’ll explain the controls and instruments, but mostly they’ll ensure that the kids have an enjoyable experience. That’s our number one goal.”
Afterwards, the pilot will accompany the kids into the debriefing room where they can sign a personal logbook in front of the family, receive a few take-home items, answer any other questions in a more relaxed environment and take a few photos.
The Flyers member said they work hard to make this program possible because it’s something dear to their hearts.
“There’s nothing better than the beaming smile and excited chatter of a kid, or teenager, after their first flight, and once in a while it sparks an interest that lasts a lifetime.”