Oshkosh, Wis. – April 16, 2007 — The EAA Young Eagles program, the world's most successful youth aviation initiative in history, recently registered the 1.3 millionth Young Eagle flown. She is Arlene Martinez, age 12, of Yuma, Arizona, who took her flight on March 17 at Somerton Field (54AZ) in a Cessna 170 piloted by Paul Rachels, EAA 633950. Rachels is president and Young Eagles coordinator for Yuma EAA Chapter 590.
“Arlene was very enthusiastic,” Rachels recalled. “She definitely enjoyed the flight and would like to do it again.” Rachels is a certificated airframe mechanic with an avionics background who works as a technical representative on Harrier jets for the U.S. Navy.
Rachels has flown 123 Young Eagles and always gets a kick out of how kids react to their special flights.
“They just absorb it,” he explained. “But it’s as incredible an experience for me as it is for them, and I have 700 hours of flight time.”
Steve Buss, EAA Young Eagles executive director, said this was “another important milestone” for the program, which this year marks its 15th anniversary year. “It’s wonderful to recognize Paul and Arlene’s flight, but we also applaud the outstanding continuing support and enthusiasm for Young Eagles by our members. We extend our congratulations to all who have helped the program reach this unprecedented level of participation.”
Buss encourages EAA chapters throughout the world to mark June 9 on the calendars and create special events for the annual International Young Eagles Day. He added that plans are under way for special activities to further celebrate the program’s 15th anniversary at EAA AirVenture 2007.
Pilot Paul Rachels and the 1.3 millionth Young Eagle Arelene Martinez in the cockpit of Paul’s Cessna 170.