EAA Chapter 421, part of the international Experimental Aircraft Association of aviation enthusiasts, hosted its annual Young Eagles rally on July 9 at Grimes Field, Urbana.
Kids ages 8 to 17 were given the opportunity to fly an airplane with a certified pilot for free while learning the basics of aviation. After taking off from the airport runway, the pilot passed the controls to the young eagle to let them experience the thrill of flying.
The chapter flew a total of 60 kids that day. All was made possible by the generosity of the pilots who donated their time and money to fly the young eagles, junior and senior volunteers from EAA Chapter 421 who organized the event, and families who signed up and brought their kids to the rally to fly.
The first pilot to make it to the event and volunteer to fly young eagles was Gavin Shoenleben, a 2022 graduate from Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s aviation program with a Certified Flight Instructor Instrument license (CFII).
The event was directed by Junior President Chris Carter, who also graduated from Ohio Hi-Point Career Center’s aviation program in 2022 and plans to attend Columbus State Community College this fall as an airframe and powerplant mechanic.
“We host Young Eagles rallies to introduce kids to aviation,” said Carter. “We hope that these events inspire young people to take the leap into aviation and give them the resources they need to jumpstart their dreams.”
EAA Chapter 421 strives to be active in the community and inspire kids into the world of aircraft flying and maintenance. Located in Grimes Field, Urbana, the chapter consists mostly of younger members, many of whom plan to pursue future careers in aviation.
The junior members who volunteered at the Young Eagles rally included Carter (Jr. President), Blake Barr (Jr. Treasurer), JD Knopp (Jr. Media & Technology), Mitchell Marlette (Jr. Assistant), Sophie Taylor (Jr. Assistant) and Shoenleben (Jr. Young Eagles).