On Saturday, May 18, 2019, members of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 465 of Paso Robles will offer free airplane rides to youth from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (weather permitting) at the Paso Robles Airport, located at 4912 Wing Way. The aeronautical experience called the Young Eagles Free Flight Program, created by the national EAA, is open to youths between the ages of 8 and 17. A parent or legal guardian will be required to sign a permission form prior to the flight.

Launched in 1992, the program strives to show children and young adults the wonders of flight. According to EEA, more than 2 million have taken advantage of a free airborne jaunt since its inception. The program also introduces fledgling aviators to the Young Eagles program that encourages youngsters not only to become pilots but also open their eyes to the possibility of a career in the field of aviation whether it be as a mechanic or air traffic controller or any number of aviation based jobs.

Former Naval Aviator and retired airline pilot Bill Siegel offers free flights to those interested in joining the Young Eagles program year-round. He and several of his fellow EAA pilots will facilitate the free 20-minute long flights and happily answer any questions the young ones toss at them.

Participating in the program automatically allows youths to become EAA members free of charge until they turn 19 and gives them access to a free online ground school and flight training course. They will also receive a voucher for their first flight lesson and the opportunity to win scholarships that start at $5,000 to help pay for their flight education.

For more information on the Young Eagles program, visit eaa.org.