By Paul Schafer, EAA Lifetime 202519
EAA’s National Capital Chapter 186 usually flies their monthly Young Eagle rallies from their chapter house at Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF). For the past several years, the chapter has been celebrating International Young Eagles Day by hosting a rally at Winchester Regional Airport (KOKV), in Winchester, Virginia, about 40 miles northwest. The rally flies fifth graders from the Frederick County Public School system.
This year’s rally was a huge success. Beautiful weather and enthusiastic volunteers allowed the chapter to fly 131 Young Eagles, an increase of 25 from the previous year’s rally. As always, it was a team effort. Volunteer pilots flew in from three different states representing three different EAA chapters. One of the families who provided ground support drove in for the rally from North Carolina. Our aircraft ranged from experimental to vintage, with a new RV-10 parked next to a 1947 Luscombe 8E. Unique this year was a Pietenpol, which one of the pilots flew in for the rally. The aircraft was used as a static display, as well as providing an opportunity for some terrific photos.
An informal survey indicated almost all of the Young Eagles had never flown in anything other than a commercial airliner and for many it was the first time they had ever flown. The smiles on their faces after the flights were infectious, and they could not stop thanking the volunteers.
The chapter is already planning to return next June for International Young Eagles Day.