Sixty-one (61) local youth from around North Perry Airport had the opportunity to fly at the first official EAA Young Eagles Rally
FREE first time flights for Broward kids
The North Perry Airport Community Association (NPACA) had a mission; to break down the fence between the airfield and its neighbors right next door in Pembroke Pines, Miramar, and Hollywood Florida. Over 60 kids had the opportunity to cross that fence and hop into a private airplane for their first "discovery flight" on Saturday November 2nd, 2019. The EAA Young Eagles Rally was entirely run by volunteers donating their Saturday mornings, treasured aircraft, and expensive AvGas to share their love of aviation with kids. There were countless smiles and life long memories planted that morning.
Over 124 kids registered for chance to fly over their home town. Since most of these small privately owned aircraft can only accommodate between 1 and 5 passengers, only 61 were selected for the early morning flights. The focus was on middle-school aged children, 10-14, and immediate neighbors of the airport. Residents often see the small planes buzzing back and forth over their roofs, but many have never been inside the airfield. The NPACA decided the best thing to do was to invite everyone into the airport so they could see how meticulously maintained the aircraft are and how well trained the pilots a required to be. Many of the volunteer pilots have thousands of hours and decades of experience flying. Another Young Eagles Rally is planned for the spring, and similar events happen around the country every week. Visit YoungEagles.org to search for upcoming events. Volunteer pilots will ensure the wait listed kids have an opportunity to fly before Christmas.
Flying over your home town gives you a different perspective. The streets you know so well walking to-and-from school have a completely different appearance from 1,000 feet overhead. You can recognize the same landmarks; the inter-coastal waterway, the Hard Rock stadium, MacArthur High School but the experience is unlike anything they've seen before. The EAA, Experimental Aircraft Association, has been hosting these rallies for over 25 years nationwide. Pilots flew in from Miami Executive Airport (formerly Tamiami), Ft Lauderdale Executive and Pompano air park to participate.
Simultaneously, a mini-expo was held for parents and siblings that featured local flight schools, the Navy, Civil Air Patrol, Air Traffic Controllers, and aviation groups such as the Organization for Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), Latino Pilots Association (LPA), and the female pilots group The 99s. Kids had an opportunity to interact with pilots, mechanics, and air traffic controllers. They could even take a free class on the parts of the plane hosted by Katie Koch. Lunch for volunteers and pilots was donated by Chik-Fil-A, and drinks from Van Wagner.
This first EAA Young Eagles Rally host by the North Perry Airport Community Association, was a success based on the number of high-fives given on the ramp. Parents were thrilled to have such a unique experience in their own backyard. The association hopes to have many more events and increase the community partnership in the airport.