Saturday, June 21, 2014

Young Eagles Day Returns to Morgantown Municipal Airport (KMGW), West Virginia


Young Eagles Day returned to the Morgantown Municipal Airport on Saturday. Kids from the ages of eight to 17 were invited to take a free plane ride around the city of Morgantown.

Each ride lasted 20 minutes and went approximately 2,500 feet in the air. Not only does this event give children the opportunity to experience a plane ride, but it also sparks their desire to learn more about aviation in general.

"It's encouraging their advancement in aviation, trying to get a career in aviation, thinking about being a pilot, air traffic controller, and aircraft mechanic" said Richard Judy, president of Morgantown Pilots Association.

Kid's received pre-flight training by learning the in's and out's from a 1966 Cessna 150F. More airline pilots begin training with this type of plane than any other.

Riders were able to see sites like the WVU Coliseum, Mountaineer Field, and the Monongahela River from a different point of view.

Branden Purdum took part in this event for the very first time. He said the most surprising component of the ride was how smooth both the take off and landing went.

"It felt very comfortable without having to stand and look around. You just could see it from all above, and you didn't have to move your head" said Purdum.

This was the 10th year for Young Eagles Day and those in charge said the best part is always seeing the smiles on the kids faces after they get off the plane.

"A lot of the kids will come up, and they'll be really nervous and they're not sure about going up in this thing with wings. When they get back they just bounce off the airplane and they're like can I go again, can I go again?" said Judy.

There is expected to be a growing need for airplane pilots and mechanics in the coming years.

"Probably five years from now there's going to be a severe shortage of aircraft pilots and aircraft mechanics. All of the guys who came back from Vietnam, are going to start to retire out," Judy said.

The goal is that events like this will encourage more kids to study aviation in the future. Over the past 10 years, this program has allowed 2,500 kids to take a ride around the Morgantown area. Organizers hope the event will continue to grow in the coming years.


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