Young Eagles day at Oakdale Airport

Today our local Experimental Aviation Association (Chapter 90) held it semi-annual Young Eagles day.  Young Eagles is a program started by the EAA where children aged 7 – 17 are given free airplane rides in attempt to interest them in aviation.  We didn’t expect a huge turnout this time and we were not disappointed.  In fact, the only kids that did turn out belonged to a family from my church that I invited!  My friend, Christian brother, and fellow deacon Steve Linebarger brought his sons Aaron and William for a surprise airplane ride with, surprise, me.

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After they filled out the required paperwork (name and address, insurance waivers, last will and testament, etc) it was time to fly.  Aaron drew the short straw so he had to go first.

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After ensuring that Aaron couldn’t get away it was time for me to climb in and fire her up.

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“Now, Aaron, I’m going to have to keep my elbow planted firmly in the middle of your stomach.  That won’t be a problem will it?  Good lad.”

So we taxied out, I did my normal runup preflight check and we launched into the sky.  Aaron did himself proud by not screaming or vomiting.  We flew out over Woodward Lake, then over the house of another family we know, the Kjeldgaard’s, then over toward what was the highlight of the trip, the Riverbank sewage treatment plant.  I then turned the controls over to Aaron and he was able to successfully bring us back to the airport.  I took the controls back for landing because I like to be the one to put scratches in the airplane’s paint.  One half way decent landing later I had Aaron back on the ground and into the loving arms of his father who said, “Hey, we couldn’t even hear you screaming.”  Or some such other words of reassurance.

Next it was Will’s turn.  The only thing funner than strapping a victim into your airplane is, strapping two victim’s in a row into your airplane!

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Will struggled more, I had to hold the door closed until the sedatives took effect.

Again we launched skyward and went on the same tour as with his older brother; the lake, the Kjeldgaard’s, the sewer plant, and having Will fly us back to Oakdale.

Both young men did well and enjoyed their ride.  I don’t think they had as much fun as I did though.  Both were enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoyed their rides.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning.  Thank you Steve for bringing your boys out, and and extra special thanks to Mrs. Linebarger for entrusting her boys to me and my homebuilt airplane.  Just remember, the Titanic was built by professionals, Noah was an amateur.  Enough said.

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