A student learns about flying. Photo by Bernadette Lauritzen
By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
If you want to know whether your child has a passion for flying, mark Aug. 1 on your calendar and prepare for the local Young Eagle Program.
The program has a host of local pilots who have a passion for aviation to share with kids. The event, coordinated by pilot Amy Ross allows youth the opportunity to tap into the fun of flying small planes, referred to as general aviation airplanes.
“All of the pilots and other volunteers are members of the Experimental Aircraft Association, an organization with the mission to support and promote the spirit of aviation,” Ross said. “They fly a variety of planes and come from all walks of life, engineers, graphic designers, business owners and scientists.”
Registration will kick off at the Los Alamos Airport Terminal beginning at 8:30 a.m. and will close at 11:30 a.m. Students ages 8 to 17 are invited to bring their parent or legal guardian to the field where they and their family will talk about what they’ll be doing during the flight, do a pre-flight walk around to talk about the aircraft and how it flies, followed by a free flight for the kids.
The 20-25 minute flights take place over White Rock and Los Alamos in the hopes that the new pilots can try to find their houses from the air. The event of course does depend upon having fair weather.
One of our local pilots may have had a similar start at an even younger age, when David Roe had the experience as a youngster when put in a similar situation that ignited the spark to fly.
“I remember sitting just high enough to see outside and I could just barely see the right main wheel leave the ground during take-off,” said Roe. “I remember just loving the sensation of floating away from the ground like that. That’s where it all started for me.”
Roe’s plane is a RV8, which Roe describes as pretty small, seating two people in tandem, which means one in front of the other, not side by side. The plane is a low wing metal airplane with a bubble canopy which gives a spectacular view of the sky and cloudscapes and cruises just under 200 mph with very nimble and responsive controls.
Roe believes this is a rare opportunity for kids that enjoy flying planes in video games. While some game equipment allows teens to gather some real skills, the Young Eagle flight will take things up a notch when they enjoy the real experience.
“The only thing missing for them at that time was the feeling of getting tossed around in the wind and turbulence and the noise of the engine and the smells and the sense of being pushed back in your seat during a turn,” Roe said. “I felt that Young Eagles really helped validate those flying aspirations and sparked a little something in those minds.”
Those wishing to make inquiries prior to Aug. 1 can email event coordinator, Amy Ross at email@example.com or call her at 505.500.8034.