Sunday, December 4 , 2016, 12:21 am | Fair 40º


96 Students Take to the Skies for Santa Barbara County’s Young Eagles Day

Experimental Aircraft Association pilots provide youth with a different view, from above, in hopes they'll make their own flight plans

Something extraordinary happened at the Santa Ynez Airport on Saturday morning. Ninety-six teenagers from organizations throughout Santa Barbara County took flight behind the controls of an airplane, thanks to the men and women of the Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez chapters of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

On a crystal-clear morning on the tarmac waited 21 EAA pilots and their aircraft, eager to show the nervous and excited teens, many of whom had never been beyond their neighborhoods, what the world looked like from a different point of view.

For plane enthusiasts it was a unique display of aircraft. Piper Arrows, Cessna 172s and 182s, RV-7, Cessna 205, Piper Comanche, Cessna 140, Symphony, Cessna 150, Piper Cherokee, Cessna 170 and Aeroncas filled the sky as the youth went up with one attitude and came down with another. Heads held high, the new aviators watched as their logbooks — donated by Sporty’s Pilot Shop — were signed, signifying that that they had flown an airplane.

“This is a safe way to get high!” Jenny exclaimed after her flight.

Hot dogs and hamburgers were barbecued midmorning and lunch was served, thanks to the generous donation from El Rancho Market in Santa Ynez and American Charities Foundation.

By noon it was easy to see that it wasn’t just the students who had experienced something special. Counselors, teachers, mentors, parents and grandparents were all inspired by what they had witnessed. It was a perfect example of organizations coming together to provide an empowering experience for our youth.

In all, 42 men and women from the EAA donated their time, talent and money to take students on airplane rides. Two flight schools from Santa Barbara also donated pilots and aircraft for the event: Above All Aviation and Red Baron Aviation.

Participating organizations included A Different Point of View, American Charities Foundation, SafeLaunch, Santa Barbara Airport Future Flyers Program, Santa Ynez Men’s Mentoring Group and the Vandenberg Air Force Base After-School Program.

Meanwhile, 96 students were transformed into potential aviators, thanks to their experience with the Young Eagles program.

“In 1953, EAA began leading the way in promoting the joy and freedom of flight for future generations.”(EAA)  I am here to report that our Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez chapters continue to do just that.

To learn more about the EAA and the Young Eagles Program, contact 
Carl Hopkins, president of the EAA Santa Barbara Chapter, at 805.967.2943 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or contact John Westra, president of the EAA Santa Ynez Chapter, at 805.693.5178.

— Lynn Houston represents the Santa Barbara Airport Future Flyers Program.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >