Decatur students soar high -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Decatur students soar high

October 10, 2007

Bainbridge-- It's loud, exciting, and just a little bit scary.  And its something many people will never have the chance to do. High School senior Kristen Stone is one of 110 kids who did get a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a brand new view on the world.  "A better view, you get lower and you can see your house and stuff. You can't do that in a commercial airline and its pretty cool to be able to see your house," Stone says.

The 110 Decatur county students are just a fraction of the children who've flown since the Experimental Aircraft Association started the young Eagle project.  "Our goal was to fly one million kids, so far we've flown almost 1.4 million," explains Kelly Phillips, treasurer of chapter 445 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Before take-off, the kids go through what's called a pre-flight so they understand more about how the plane works in addition to what it feels like to fly.  "Through that, teach them a little bit about aviation and hopefully come up with some future pilots or plane designers or just a general interest in aviation," says Phillips.

The private pilots from Tallahassee say they do this all over the area, but Decatur county is always one of their favorite places to fly kids.  Phillips says, "The pilots do this just because they like to, all of us love to teach kids, we work with kids and donate our time, our gasoline, and our planes to this effort." It's the smiles on the kids faces after their very first flight that they say makes it all worthwhile.  "Some of them say 'I want to be a pilot!' and that's what we like to hear," says Phillips.  Even if they don't make aviation a career, their eyes are opened to a whole new way to look at the world. 

A few of the students from Decatur county who've flown for the first time as part of the Young Eagle project in past years are now headed to the airforce academy.