Siblings Mason (L) and Hailey have flown in a helicopter but only Hailey enjoyed the experience. Mason said, “They leave the doors off, are you kidding me, that’s scary. I didn’t enjoy that at all.” Mason experienced her first airplane flight on April 22 with the Young Eagles EAA program at the Mesquite Airport and it changed his mind about flying; he loved the planes. Archived Photo by Teri Nehrenz

For  more than 25 years Young Eagles have taken to the skies in what may be the one singular experience that sparks a career, or a hobby dedicated to flight. The Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles program was launched in 1992 to give interested young people an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane. These flights are offered free of charge and are made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers.

On Saturday, March 30, a group of EAA members from St. George will soar down to Mesquite to offer this exciting experience to Mesquite children thanks to the local efforts of Larry LeMieux, who brings the program to town each year.

LeMieux always tries to offer something new and exciting for everyone; along with the free airplane rides for the kids, LeMieux has procured the help of Mesquite local Ingrid Martell. Ingrid and Steve Martell own a hot air balloon by the name of ‘Obsession’; a fitting name as hot air piloting happens to be Ingrid’s obsession. The Martell’s have generously agreed to bring a balloon and offer some tethered balloon rides for the day and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them. Mercy Air will also be onsite to give tours/demos of some of the finer points of their helicopter and Batman will have the Batmobile along for any photo opportunities you may want to take.

Since 1992, more than 1.6 million Young Eagles have enjoyed a flight through the National program and all the participating chapters. Young Eagles have been registered in more than 90 different countries and have been flown by more than 42,000 volunteer pilots. The Young Eagle flight is the first step in a five step program: Young Eagle Flight, EAA student membership, Sporty’s Learn-to-Fly online course, First Flight Lesson and finally, scholarships for continued education. The Young Eagle program is your path from first flight to licensed pilot and soaring just like young eagles do.