Young Eagles fly up, up and away
Saturday, April 28, was a special day at the Mack Mesa Airport in Mack, Colorado for the airport and for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 800. After weeks of planning for a “Young Eagles Day” by the EAA members at their regular monthly hangar meetings for this special day, it was finally here.
And the weather was fantastic. No wind, warm sunshine and Colorado blue skies. It was perfection itself. A growing crowd of smiling kids and their parents, all excited about the idea of flying kids free that morning, waited their turn outside the open hangar door to register. Many had pre-registered; others held the waiver and registration forms needed to get their chance in the air. Some brought along their younger brothers and sisters who jealously watched, counting how many years until they, too, would be able to fly free at this family event. For most of the children, it would be their first airplane ride.
This was the local Chapter 800s second time to host a “Young Eagles Day” at the Mack Mesa Airport. They had hosted the same event many times in the past at GJCT Regional Airport (Walker Field). The Chapter 800 has permanently moved their meetings and events to Mack Mesa Airport. This April “Young Eagles Day” promised to be bigger and better than ever before. Chuck Pearson, photographer, was there to take pictures for “The Fruita Times”. (Chuck told us he’s a pilot, too, like my husband).
One of the reasons it did turn out BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER was that Syndi Jochums and husband, Lane, had researched, both online and in person, what other Chapters around the country offered the public on their Young Eagles Day. She brought those ideas and suggestions to the monthly meetings for the membership to discuss and vote if any would be feasible for our chapter. She ordered T-shirts printed in two different colors with various sizes. They were all lined up for sale on a table where Nancy Hurst, her assistant, stood helping and waiting on customers…
Sterling Hurst helped out at the table set up offering a $2 lunch of fresh boiled hotdogs, buns, chips and bottle of water, or can or soda. A heaping platter of chocolate chip cookies, next to containers of cold lemonade and punch sat on a nearby table.
Another member assistant was Margie Stolle, who talked to the eager kids, showing them how to construct a model airplane. At the other end of her table sat Steve, who interacted with the younger kids waiting to cut out pre-marked, foam dinner plates, before shaping them into little airplanes to fly and take home later.
Syndi Jochums sat at her laptop and printer at the first table, taking in and reviewing each completed registration form and waiver from each parent before assigning them to a flight. A new member’s wife, Barbara, helped out with the paperwork. At the completion of each flight, she printed out a Young Eagles Certificate with their name inscribed, and their pilot signed the certificate. Each child also got a Young Eagles Logbook to keep which shows his/her air hours and their pilot’s signature. They will be formally registered and counted on the international EAA website www.EAA.org.
Syndi was the Young Eagles Coordinator. Her name, phone number and address were used in the newspaper and announcements for anyone to contact her if they needed more information. Wow! What a job you did, Syndi! We salute you and all the many EAA members who helped out in many ways, on the road leading to the airport, on the runway, taking pictures, and sharing their knowledge and love of aviation. We especially thank the seven EAA certified pilots who volunteered to take 44 local children up flying for a joyful experience that will last a lifetime, and perhaps to an aviation career.
There were 44 boys and girls, all between the ages of 8 and 17, who flew that day. For many of them, it was their first time in an airplane and this was their introduction to the world of aviation. There were a total of seven volunteer pilots: six from the local Chapter 800, and one from the Montrose Chapter 1373. Some EAA members attend both Chapters’ meetings and share in each others’ presentations or air events. Tip: Another “Young Eagles Day” is scheduled for September in Mack. Watch for it.
Next week: We’ll tell you about the “Final Roberts Farm Show.” Always a fun show for 15 years, we went out there Sunday, April 29. Chuck Roberts, the owner, told us they had 80 tractors for the Tractor Pull on Saturday and 84 on Sunday, “the biggest number we’ve ever had.” My article and Ray’s pictures will be in “The Fencepost,” but we’ll also tell you about it here. (Thanks, guys. So many people have come up to me to say, “I read you every week in “The Fruita Times.” Love to get that feedback).
Coming up: May 12 and 13, Carson & Barnes Circus will be at Rimrock Adventures Rodeo Arena, 927 Hwy 340, across the river from downtown Fruita. So if you see an elephant wandering through the McDonald’s drive-thru, or in the double roundabout, head him in the right direction.