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Young Eagles Rally gives kids an opportunity to fly

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Photo by Tamie Meck Students can learn about aviation and take a free flight at the North Fork Valley Airport on May 4 during the Experiential Aircraft Association Young Eagles Day. The first local event of its kind, it's limited to the first 45 students

Does your child dream of flight? Is he or she interested in a career in aviation? Here's an opportunity they don't want to miss.

Area students are invited to learn the basics of aviation at the Young Eagles Rally. The event happens from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 4, at the North Fork Valley Airport, with a rain date of May 18.

The rally is sponsored by the Experiential Aircraft Association (EEA) Chapter 1373 of Delta and Montrose counties. For 25 years the EEA Young Eagles program has given youth their first free ride in an airplane.

The event is open to the first 45 students ages 8-17 to register. Registration is required.

The first local event of its kind, "The goal is to excite kids about the potential of aviation," said co-organizer and pilot Neal Schwieterman. Students will meet the pilots and receive a pre-flight training. Pilots will explain the basic science of flight, how airplanes work, and provide an introduction to an aeronautical chart (flight map) and other details of aviation.

Then comes the fun part: Pilots will take students flying. Ten planes and one helicopter will be on hand to take students on one of two flight patterns. Students will spend 15-20 minutes in the air and follow the basic steps of their flight pattern.

Safety is always a top priority in aviation. All pilots, who are donating their time and fuel to the event, are EAA members and certified with the Federal Aviation Administration or Transport Canada. All flights are conducted according to federal regulations. No aerobatic maneuvers will be performed.

One of the reasons for the event, said Schwieterman, the aviation industry is facing a severe shortage of pilots and technicians. The event will help students decide if a career in aviation is right for them.

Following their flight, participants will receive an official Young Eagle certificate, Young Eagles logbook, and a personal code to activate a free EAA student membership and Sporty's Learn to Fly Course.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. today (April 17), and closes once 45 students are registered. Parents must attend the event and provide a signed parental permission form. Register students at youngeaglesday.org/?340. For more information and directions to the airport, visit the registration site or call Neal Schwieterman at 970-527-5188.

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North Fork
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flying, Paonia
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