NORFOLK — Local pilots are trying to get kids interested in flying.
On Saturday morning, the Norfolk Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association hosted a Young Eagles program at the Norfolk Regional Airport, where area kids had the chance to go on a plane ride. EAA Member Randy Neuharth says the program is a way for kids to get introduced to the world of aviation.
“It’s a way of getting kids interested in flying, getting them to learn a little bit about aircraft, what it’s like to fly. Many of them have never been in the air, many have never been in a big plane. Small planes are a lot different, so if we can get them interested maybe we can grow general aviation.”
Since the program’s beginning in 1992, Neuharth says the program has given over two million kids rides across the country. Neuharth says its always fun to see the kids’ reactions when they fly.
“You know sometimes when they first start out, it’s a little apprehension, a little nervous, a little concern about what might happen. Once you get in the air and get off the ground, sometimes it’s just like riding a ferris wheel. You take off, and here we are, we’re in the air. Once you get leveled off, they’re looking around, checking out things. When they get off they’re generally smiling.”
Organizers say five planes took over 50 kids up in the sky today. Neuharth says the airport and EAA members are to thank for the experience.
“The pilots donate the airplanes, they donate the fuel, they donate their time. It’s all free, so we enjoy the support we get from the community.”
In the years they’ve hosted the program, Neuharth says the reactions from parents and kids have been positive.
“Once they get up there its great. They really enjoy it. Good reaction from the parents, good reaction from the kids, and that’s what it’s all about. Have some fun, learn a little bit about aviation, and who knows where that will take you.”