Saturday, June 07, 2014

Young Eagles take a flight of a lifetime: Queensbury, Warren County, New York

QUEENSBURY — Ten year old Tanner Barger of Greenfield Center sat in the cockpit of Doug Sterling’s Cherokee airplane. Wearing headphones and listening intently to Sterling’s instructions, Barger smiled from the window as they began taxiing down the runway.

 Barger was one of numerous young enthusiasts taking part in the Young Eagles Program on Saturday at Warren County airport.

Participants begin with a 15 minute ground school, where instructor and pilot Tony Romanazzi explains the basics of flying. They then team up with a pilot, who walks them through a basic pre-flight check of the aircraft, and then take a 10 to 15 minute plane ride. Depending on the degree of participation desired by the young pilot, they have the chance to put their hands on the controls and help guide the plane.

“The ground school is to educate the kids about the airplane,” said Bill Scheidigger, vice president of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 353 of Glens Falls, sponsors of the program.

“Tony teaches the kids about all the different control surfaces, what keeps a plane in the air, the principles of flying and so forth, before they get in the plane. We don’t want to just give them a ride.

Normally we don’t want the parents to go with the kids, because it’s meant to be a kid experience, but exceptions can be made for participants who may have medical issues,” he said.

The Experimental Aircraft Association is an international aviation organization with chapters in all 50 states and many countries. Their interests lie in a wide variety of aircraft and sharing their enthusiasm for aviation with others. Local chapters serve their communities by cultivating interest in the sport through programs like the Young Eagles.

Developed in 1992, the Young Eagles Program is manned by volunteer pilots and members of EEA’s Glens Falls Chapter 353 and Johnstown Chapter 602. Cessnas and Cherokees are the most common small airplanes used for the program.

Cameron Grover, 10, of Queensbury, took his first ride in a small aircraft in pilot Mike Shearer’s restored two seat 1939 Aeronca 65C.

“We started out by Cameron learning what movements make the picture change,” said Shearer, meaning the angle and trajectory of the airplane. “And then he flew the airplane from over Glen Lake, all the way back here, made a left hand turn to downwind, flew it right down to base, and then I took it back because I figured I’d better land it.”

When they took off, Grover exclaimed, “Boy, this is nothing like a commercial jet!” When asked if he was interested in learning how to be a pilot, he said, ‘Yeah, of course! I liked it.”

Jewel Ingraham, 11, of Glens Falls, was flying for the second time through the program. “I had fun the last time,” Jewel said. “The best part is going up in the air.”

“At first, she was scared,” said Jewel’s father, Rodney Ingraham, about her initial flight last year. “Then the pilot actually let her hold the controls, and she was fine after that.”

“She’s been wanting to go again,” said her mother Bonnie Ingraham.

“We live to do this,” said Scheidigger. “When the kids complete their flight and get out of the plane, they’re grinning ear to ear.”

The program continues from 9 a.m through 2 p.m. Sunday and is for children ages 8 to 17. It is open to the public and free of charge. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.