Local pilot takes 300+ kids into the sky through EAA

DeKALB – Jack Bennett of DeKalb has been recognized by the Experimental Aircraft Association for his dedication to the Young Eagles program. Bennett has given free airplane rides to more than 300 young people through the program.

Bennett is one of more than 45,000 pilots around the world who are introducing a new generation to the world of aviation through the Young Eagles. Pilots explain the safe operation of airplanes and principles of flight before giving short trips to children ages 8 to 17. Young Eagles flights are provided by volunteer EAA-member pilots in aircraft ranging from the newest airplanes to vintage biplanes. Such interesting aircraft as gliders, helicopters, and even hot air balloons and blimps have also been used for Young Eagles flights.

Since 1992, the EAA Young Eagles program has flown more than 1.7 million young people free of charge. Recent research shows that these young people are five times more likely to become pilots than non-Young Eagles. They also already comprise more than 7 percent of the nation’s pilot population under age 35 – nearly 20,000 of today’s pilots are former Young Eagles.

A Young Eagles flight is the first step in EAA’s Flight Plan, which helps young people move from an initial flight toward the full potential of aviation. Among the menu of Flight Plan activities available is a free EAA student membership, free access to Sporty’s Online Pilot Training Course, a free flight lesson, and reimbursement for the costs of a successful FAA written test in addition to more than $300,000 in scholarships and awards available to young people each year.

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