This morning, with the Owensboro Air Show and Navy Blue Angels still fresh on their minds, nearly fifty children, ages 8-17, gathered at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport (OWB) to take to the air.
This opportunity was made available through a partnership between the OWB, the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Young Eagles and the Hancock County Airport. The EAA Young Eagles is a program that offers young people the opportunity to go up in a general aviation plane with a volunteer pilot.
OWB Administrative Manager Cameron Howard said OWB put a link on Facebook advertising “to send 50 aviation enthusiasts up in the sky.” Out of the entries received, 50 participants were randomly selected.
One of those 50 was 11-year-old Simon Matthews, who, according to his dad David, has always loved the idea of flying, but is not quite sure if he wants to be a pilot or not.
“I actually got to meet the Blue Angels,” Simon said mid-flight. “It was super fun.”
Volunteer pilot Stuart Snow explained each move he made to direct the plane from start to finish while the two were in-air.
“Flying a plane is a lot like steering a car,” Snow said. “But a little more up and down.”
At one point in the flight, Snow simulated weightlessness and allowed Simon to take the controls and “fly” for a bit.
Two eager 9-year-old girls were also able to experience their first flight with volunteer pilot Tim Powers. Maya Krampe attended the airport’s Girls Aviation & Aerospace Day on Sept. 8. and thoroughly enjoyed it. Maya now has hopes of being a pilot — but not just any pilot — the Blue Angel kind.
“I know a lot about it,” Maya said. “I want to do the stunts.”
Her in-flight partner Raegan Duncan added that she wanted to “twirl” in the air as well. Raegan’s aunt signed her up for the OWB contest because Raegan had shown a strong desire to fly over the last two years. Her mother, Demetra, said when Raegan found out she won the chance to fly it was “like a happy surprise.”
Gary Long and his wife Karen, EVV Young Eagle volunteers out of the Hancock County chapter, could not help but notice the increase in girls, of all ages, who signed up to fly this year.
“There have been quite a few little girls,” said EVV Volunteer Karen Long.
Each Young Eagle received a certificate and took a photo with their pilot to show off their in-flight experience.
To learn more about the EAA Young Eagles, please visit their website here.
Editors Note: This story was updated to correct the last name of the airport Administrative Manager.