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Indian Hills Pilots Give Free Airplane Rides to Young People

By Ron Kilber

February 3, 2001

Salome, Arizona -- Fifteen airplanes were on hand this morning piloted by Indian Hills Airpark pilots providing free rides for thirty-three young people from the Salome and Phoenix areas. The event was organized under the Experimental Aircraft Associations' (EAA) Young Eagles Program. The EAA is best known for its premiere airshow held each year in Oshkosh, Wisc.

Young Eagles Airplanes
Fifteen airplanes in the early morning hours stand ready for free rides.

Airpark residents and EAA members organized today's program, drawing on dozens of Indian Hills volunteers to pilot airplanes, administrate sign-in, control traffic, load airplanes, demonstrate principles of flight and bake cookies.

Young Marines
Participants arriving for today's EAA Young Eagle Program.

The Young Eagles Program mission is to provide free introductory airplane rides to one million kids (ages 8-17) before the 100th anniversary in 2003 of the Wright brothers' first powered flight. The program aims to inspire a new generation of kids into aviation. More than 670,000 rides have been given already.

Landing airplane
Airpark volunteer Andy Ross uses a model airplane to demonstrate ailerons and rudders.

All of today's participants are members of the Young Marines, the official youth program of the Marine Corps League. Twenty-two came from the Young Marines of Wenden, Ariz., commanded by area resident Joe Deschaine. Eleven are members of the Firebird Young Marines from Glendale, Ariz., lead by Kevin Lawrence. Both Young Marine units are part of a battalion headed up by area resident George Davis, founder of the Wenden unit four years ago.

In the cockpit
Airpark volunteer Ernie Wright helps Young Marine Janette Edwards into a Piper J-3 Cub.

The Young Marines was founded in 1958 to promote the mental, moral and physical development of boys and girls aged 8 to 17. The organization offers a variety of activities specifically designed to develop greater self-esteem, discipline and self-confidence for its members. There are more than two-hundred Young Marine units throughout the US. Lawrence's unit was the first in Arizona.

Landing airplane
While one airplane returns, another waits for take-off.


Copyright (C) 2001 Ron Kilber Non-commercial reproduction permitted in its entirety with this copyright notice intact.

9:16PM 2/4/01

© Copyright 1996 - 2001 Ron Kilber All rights reserved.