It Runs in the Family

It Runs in the Family

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.

Twenty-two-year-old William C. Buck III got more from his father and grandfather than a family name, he also got a love of aviation.

“I grew up around aviation thanks to my dad and grandfather,” he said. “I have always enjoyed being out at the airport listening to the engines and watching aircraft operations. I don’t remember much about my very first airplane ride since I was very young when it took place but my dad was the one who really got me into aviation and got me hooked with the flying bug.”

William’s father gave him his first airplane ride in a Maule M5 and later encouraged him to participate in Young Eagles in 2004. At 14, William soloed in a glider and at 17 began taking lessons in powered aircraft.

“I did my high school senior project on achieving my private pilot certificate,” he said.

While William, EAA 884321, had a strong family background in aviation and a good support system, he said the Young Eagles program was a big factor in encouraging him to pursue becoming a pilot. Today, he is giving back to the program by flying Young Eagles himself and gave his 50th Young Eagles flight in November 2016.

William after flying a group of Young Eagles.

“The Young Eagles program is a fantastic program and is such an inspiration for many kids interested in aviation,” William said. “For many, including myself, Young Eagles was one of the driving factors in my desire to become a pilot. I would encourage every Young Eagle to pursue their dreams no matter who tells them they cannot achieve them for whatever reason. There is always a way to get where you want to be. It may take hard work and at many times may seem like desperation, but if you keep trying and never give up you can achieve your goals.”

If you or someone you know has a Young Eagles story to share, e-mail us at You can also share your Young Eagles photos or video with us on Twitter and Instagram using #YoungEagles25.

Read all 25 for 25 stories here >>

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Katie, EAA 1186406, is an avid aviation lover and learner and assistant copy editor in EAA publications.