In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the EAA Young Eagles program in 2017, we’re featuring 25 Young Eagles whose stories inspire and exemplify the impact of the program.
By Allen Allnoch, EAA 1109247, Chapter 677 Public Information Officer
Rachel Broom’s first flying experience was in a commercial airliner. At the pace she’s going, she’ll be working in the cockpit of one before too long.
Rachel, EAA 1128264, is a freshman at Middle Georgia State University’s School of Aviation (MGA), where she’s pursuing a Bachelor of Science in aviation science and management. Her goal is to become an airline pilot, and thanks to EAA’s Young Eagles program, she’s well on her way.
After that initial flight experience, Rachel’s introduction to general aviation came at a Young Eagles rally hosted by Chapter 677 in Columbus, Georgia. Flying in a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, she was captivated and quickly became a fixture at chapter rallies, meetings, and other gatherings.
That was in September 2013. Less than two years later, she attended EAA’s 2015 Advanced Air Academy in Oshkosh, on a scholarship funded by EAA credits for the chapter’s Young Eagles activities.
“It was one of the best weeks of my life,” Rachel recalled, fondly remembering experiences that including hands-on construction projects, making new friends, and flying a Cessna 162.
By the time she began college classes last fall, Rachel had spent time in the left seat of a variety of aircraft — many of them with Chapter 677 pilots — including a Cessna 170B, a Skyhawk, a Cardinal, and a Piper Tri-Pacer.
It was no surprise, then, when she soloed on November 11, 2016, just two months after beginning her formal flight training at MGA. Being alone and aloft in a Piper Warrior only confirmed her sense that aviation is the career path she’s meant to follow.
“Looking over and realizing that your instructor is not there to answer your questions is one of the scariest, yet best feelings you can have,” she said. “It brings a whole new meaning to freedom. When I was up there, I wasn’t really thinking ahead, but once I landed, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I always looked at getting my pilot’s license as being so far in the future. I never would’ve thought that I would be halfway done with it just three years after my first Young Eagles flight.”
Rachel completed her first stage check in December then headed home to Columbus for the holidays. She attended the annual chapter Christmas party, where the members surprised her with a Clarity Aloft Pro headset to take back to school with her.
Her winter semester courses include aviation safety, instrument ground school, and aviation law and she’s continuing to progress toward her private pilot checkride. She plans to pursue CFI training at MGA as well.
“I absolutely love my college,” Rachel said. “I can fly every day if my schedule and funds allow it. I’ve made great friends who help me with my flying, I have great roommates, and the overall experience has been amazing so far. My college hires students who earn their CFI certificate, so I would like to work for them when I graduate.”
Wherever she ends up after that, it’s a safe bet Rachel won’t forget her aviation roots.
“EAA has been a huge influence in helping me start my interest in aviation,” she said. “My grandfather, who flew for the Air Force, originally got me interested in flying, but without EAA and the Young Eagles program, I wouldn’t have been able to fly and know for sure that I wanted to fly for a living. EAA has truly been a blessing in my life, and my chapter has done so much to help me pursue my passion to fly.”
If you or someone you know has a Young Eagles story to share, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also share your Young Eagles photos or video with us on Twitter and Instagram using #YoungEagles25.