POSTED: Monday, November 21, 2011 - 1:54pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 21, 2011 - 7:16pm
EL PASO- Imagine having the chance to go on a field trip high above the skies of El Paso by flying on a private plane.
That's what a group of volunteers do for students in the Borderland through a program called the Young Eagles. While teaching kids about aviation, they also learn about math and science. "Most of the kids love it. They think it's a riot," said Young Eagles Chapter 125 president Jorge Briones.
“Typically we have on average 30 to 40 kids. It can go up as high as 60, sometimes pretty close to 70 kids," said Jorge.
Young Eagles is an international organization that gives kids the opportunity to fly in a general aviation plane and the chance to see their hometown from hundreds of feet up in the air.
“Because east El Paso’s considered a pretty much a training area for pilots, we keep them out to the east of El Paso. We'll take them south, fly them over Socorro, Fabens," said Jorge.
Volunteers fly their private planes to Horizon Airport once a month and give the kids a field trip they'll never forget. "Even if they don't become pilots, it gains their interest in science and the fascination with flight and the technology behind it and the camaraderie that exists in an organization like this," said Young Eagles volunteer pilot Alan Russell.
Before getting on the plane, the volunteers go over some basic information about the aircraft and about the flight they're about to experience. And once in the air, the pilots let kids take control of the aircraft. "As soon as they get to a safe altitude, they get to go hands-on. They fly the airplane, do straight and level, slow turns, and accelerate and decelerate," said Young Eagles volunteer pilot Michael Robinson.
Once they land, the kids are given Young Eagles certificates for completing their flight as a reminder of their special experience. "It’s just a great experience to see the big smile on their face and how excited the kids are and they're coming down jumping up and down and being excited with their parents. That's why we do it," said Michael.
The Young Eagles are set to meet again sometime in December. We'll keep you posted. To learn more about Young Eagles chapter 125, visit www.eaa125.com