Young Eagles Day “Kids 8-17 Fly Free” at Massey Aerodrome

On Sunday Sept. 10, 2017, Massey Aerodrome & EAA Chapter 1536 (Middletown, DE) sponsored Young Eagles Day.

Blessed with perfect weather we flew a new record of 70 Young Eagles! Many Thanks to our on-field EAA Chapter #1536 for organization and free food and the pilots who devoted their time and equipment: Ray Lynn, Jeff Auen, Bob Dierker, Rusty Lowry and Ralph DeGroodt. Even with the large crowd, I recognized many of Tracy Hodge’s Galena E.S. science students from their field trip here this past Spring.

EAA’s Young Eagles Program was initiated to expose young people to aviation in the hope that a spark will be lit that progresses from perhaps just wanting to fly again to a career in aviation. In the current atmosphere of ever fewer pilot candidates, it’s easy to lose sight of the sheer joy one flight can engender in some of these kids. It was very satisfying to see how happy these Young Eagles (and their parents) were to experience their flight. One young woman was fairly dancing from the plane when she met her mother after her flight in Jeff Auen’s Air Cam, the body language unmistakable, all the while capped with an elated smile. Ralph DeGroodt will often tease his passenger before buckling them into his Cub, I loved the expression of surprised doubt on a young girls face while she was processing whether to believe the pilot’s patter. Tony Saienni played along as he closed the door, the youngster giggling now that she was in on the joke. What Fun!

While we all agree with the Young Eagles Program goal to raise awareness of aviation and ultimately increase the number of new pilots, in the near term it’s more important that we have brought happiness to these young people through flight. It’s gratifying and humbling to see their smiles.

We would like to reach out to surrounding schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops etc. but this will require more pilots and planes than we have available right now. I’m sure we could fly 100 Young Eagles next year if more pilots participated. Please consider joining with us to accomplish this. You must be a member of EAA and there is an on-line application including a background check requirement. It takes about 25 minutes to complete. We have to accept that nothing is as simple as it was before 9/11 and that we live in an era of smothering litigation, so I ask that you not let the minor annoyance of a little red tape deter you from being a Young Eagles pilot. The rewards speak for themselves in the faces of the children.

Please call the Massey Air Museum @ 410-928-5270 or send an Email to .

Everyone is welcome to join our EAA chapter (not a requirement), they meet here at Massey the first Sat. of every month at 10 am – just show up and introduce yourself.

For more photos See: Young Eagles Album in our Photo Library.

Fresh Young Eagle climbs out of Jeff Auen’s Air Cam
Elated Young Eagle greets Mom after a flight in Jeff Auen’s Air Cam. (A downcast younger sibling looks like she may feel left out for deciding not to fly too.)
Mic check before his Young Eagles ride in Jeff Auen’s Air Cam.
The expression says ‘He better be joking’ when Ralph teases that “We’re ready to go now, nothing fell off on the last flight.”
Our Young Eagle happily goes along with the joke now as Tony Saienni too teases her while he closes the door.
Three Young Eagles pose with Ray Lynn after their Young Eagles ride at Massey Aerodrome.
Ralph DeGroodt poses with a young woman after her Young Eagles ride in Ralph’s Cub.
Pilot, Bob Dierker poses with two young men before their Young Eagles ride.
Two young Women after their Young Eagles ride. They never stopped smiling!