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.
Casey Owen, EAA 1091410, got his first taste of flight in a small aircraft at the age of 5 when he took a helicopter ride at Boyceville Municipal Airport in Boyceville, Wisconsin.
“It was a great feeling to leave the ground, and see things from above,” he said. “I really enjoyed the experience of flying. I don’t think I stopped smiling for the rest of the day.”
Six years later, in 2011, his father took him to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the first time, which inspired Casey to join EAA and attend a Young Eagles camp in Oshkosh the following year.
“My dad had just dropped me off for the first day of camp … I walked out the door and a gentleman asked if I wanted to go flying and I said sure!” Casey said. “This was my first ride an airplane and it was awesome. My dad had given me a new logbook to take to camp, and this was my first entry.”
During his first year of high school, Casey took online ground school courses through Aero Scholars and the following summer took Sporty’s Learn to Fly online course offered free through Young Eagles and passed the FAA written exam. In January 2016, he started flight training; in September he passed his checkride on his 17th birthday.
Shortly before he began flight training, Casey joined the Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol cadet program and in 2016 participated in the group’s Blue Beret program, which allowed him to work as a flightline marshal at AirVenture.
“The Civil Air Patrol Blue Beret program is a wonderful opportunity to experience Air Venture while also playing a crucial role in supporting this great aviation event,” he said. “I am proud to say that I have been part of it.”
He’s still in high school and has only had his certificate for a few months, but Casey said he’s already focusing on his future.
“I plan to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering while continuing to advance my aviation training,” he said. “My goal is to find a position where I can combine my appreciation for both.”
Casey also said he’s looking forward to flying Young Eagles himself in the future and encouraging other young people to follow in his footsteps.
“Most kids … think that learning how to fly is only for adults, that the FAA rules must be difficult to learn, and that training is expensive,” Casey said. “Without the Young Eagles program, very few young people would get a chance to see how special it feels 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.