Doug Milius, EAA 190535, is one of just 14 pilots who have given Young Eagles rides every year since the program began in 1992. Doug, like the vast majority of Young Eagles pilots, doesn’t do it for the recognition.
Still, he was recognized on Friday, during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, when Young Eagles Chairman and legendary air show pilot Sean D. Tucker gave him a ride in his EXTRA 300 to acknowledge the work Doug has done for Young Eagles over the years.
Doug described his ride — which included him in control of the stick for some rolls and inverted flying — as “the chance of a lifetime.”
“I’m not used to doing aerobatics; I’m used to straight and level flying,” Doug said. “The inverted shot, close quarters … I’ve never flown inverted for that length of time. [You’re] pulling on the straps, looking at the chase plane, and realizing you’re upside down.”
In addition to flying Young Eagles at his air shows, Sean also likes to give rides to volunteers like Doug who make the program possible and successful.
“I love taking the volunteers, to thank them for all of their hard work,” Sean said. “It’s truly volunteer pilots and coordinators who put this together. We fly 50,000 kids, and they do it for the right reasons. They sacrifice their time; they spent their own money on this. These are wonderful people.”
Doug was thrilled, and exhausted, after his flight with Sean, and confirmed he is involved in the Young Eagles program for the right seasons, although getting to fly with Sean D. Tucker was certainly much appreciated.
“I always loved aviation, and I thought, ‘If I can give kids the opportunity to fly and get into aviation, it would be a wonderful thing,’ and it is,” Doug said. “It’s a terrific program. And there’s so much support from everybody.”
Sean and Doug both spoke highly of the Young Eagles program, and Sean noted young people’s lives can be changed for the better, thanks to the work of so many generous volunteers across the world.
“The parents are there, and they see that their kid is special, maybe for the first time in their life,” Sean said. “It really empowers the parents to keep that kid special. And for the kid, for them to see just being who they are, that they’re special, we let them know that their dreams are relevant, and they can come true.”