August 9, 2012—EAA's and Sporty's Pilot Shop's partnership has now allowed more than 15,000 EAA Young Eagles to pursue aviation interests beyond their first flight through Sporty's Complete Flight Training Course, as part of EAA's Flight Plan program.
EAA's five-step program is creating a clear pathway to aviation for those who have participated in the Young Eagles program, which offers free introductory flights to young people ages 8-17. The EAA Flight Plan provides free access to Sporty's Complete Flight Training Course online. Since the joint effort began in April 2009, Sporty's has donated courses that have a retail value of more than $3 million.
"Sporty's support has been the key element in developing our Young Eagles Flight Plan program" said Manager of Young Eagles and Youth Pathways Brian O'Lena. "The Sporty's Complete Flight Training course offered free online to Young Eagles has produced excellent results turning Young Eagles into pilots."
The EAA Flight Plan begins with an introductory Young Eagles airplane ride with a volunteer EAA pilot in a GA aircraft. From there, participants have access to a free EAA Student Membership, the Sporty's online course, a free first flight lesson at a local flight school of their choice, and numerous scholarships available to support continued flight training until a pilot's certificate is obtained.
"We can't think of a better investment for Sporty's to make than in helping to create a future community of pilots," said Michael Wolf, Sporty's president/CEO. "We're proud to be part of the Young Eagles program and pledge our continued support of this unique effort."
Over the last 20 years, the EAA Young Eagles program has flown more than 1.7 million young people free of charge. Recent research shows that these young people are five times more likely to become pilots than non-Young Eagles. They also already comprise more than 7 percent of the nation's pilot population under age 35, as nearly 20,000 pilots are former Young Eagles participants.