Aviation Education Expo 2014: Young Eagles Cynthiana

Friday, August 1, 2014

 

Gordon Davis has always been fascinated with airports and aviation. He used to watch small aircraft take off and land through the fence at his local airport and dream of flying. He took up RC planes as a passionate hobby. He knew aviation was in his blood, he just wasn’t convinced it was a lifestyle accessible to an everyday guy like himself. At the age of 47, Gordon achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a private pilot and finally found himself on “the other side of the fence.” He has never looked back.

Today Gordon is pursuing a new lifelong dream: To help more people like himself find their place in general aviation and get on “the other side of the fence” as well.

It was this strong desire that prompted Gordon to become active with his local EAA Young Eagles chapter in Cynthiana, Kentucky where he currently serves as chapter president.

The EAA Young Eagles is a nation-wide program which was developed in 1992 to introduce young people between the ages of 8 and 17 to the world of aviation by allowing them to experience a safe and enjoyable flight piloted by a licensed member of the local EAA chapter. The length of each Young Eagles flight is approximately 20 minutes long and is followed by an open question and answer session. Young Eagles also receive follow-up information about a free on-line ground school course, details about other youth aviation programs, and EAA scholarships.

The Cynthiana chapter of the EAA Young Eagles was formed about 15 years ago. It hosts an annual Young Eagles event at the Cynthiana, Kentucky airport (OI8) which boasted more than 200 children this summer. At first Gordon volunteered for the event as ground crew. His wife, a special education teacher, worked alongside him, encouraging timid first-timers, organizing the children and running crowd control. Soon Gordon’s desire to share the wonder of flight with young people led him to become an EAA Young Eagles pilot. It’s a joy that still seems unreal at times.

Gordon believes that general aviation can become a part of nearly any family’s lifestyle for a smaller investment than many believe. He encourages families to simply spend time at their local airport, offering to volunteer at events or simply to grab a cup of coffee and watch planes take off and land. Today Gordon enjoys spending time at the Cynthiana, Kentucky airport with his wife and children, either flying his 1961 Piper Cherokee 150 or working on his pet project – building an RV-7a.

“I love to be around aviation. I’m so thankful for the gift of flight. It has a spiritual quality to it. You learn things about yourself and the world that you just can’t see from the ground.”

When asked how others can get involved with their local EAA Young Eagles chapter, Gordon said there are many opportunities for pilots and non-pilots alike. Simple donations like folding chairs and tables for events are welcomed, as are people willing to donate their time as ground crew, crafts volunteers, face painters and hot dog wranglers. One specific donation his chapter could use is several hundred small pilot wing pins to hand out after a Young Eagle completes his or her first flight. A symbol of the day they set their dreams of flight into motion.

The most important step for a person of any age who dreams of flying according to Gordon is simply to get out to his or her local airport. Become part of that community. Talk with other people who love the sky. You may find that your dream is a lot closer to reality than you think.

To learn more about how you can volunteer with the EAA Young Eagles Chapter 1522 in Cynthiana, KY or to schedule a Young Eagles flight, visit their website: http://www.1522.eaachapter.org/youngeagles.htm

To learn more about an EAA Young Eagles program in your area, visit: https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/aviation-education-and-resources/eaa-youth-education/eaa-young-eagles-program/request-an-eaa-young-eagles-flight

To learn more about the upcoming Kentucky Aviation Museum’s 2014 Aviation Education Expo, sponsored in part by AirMart Aircraft Sales and Brokerage, visit: http://aex2014.com/