Staff Report

Youngster’s ages 8 to 17 will have the opportunity to get free airplane rides at a Young Eagles event to be held at 9 a.m. on June 12, at the Santa Ynez Valley Airport. The local chapter of the national Experimental Aircraft Association, EAA Chapter 491 is hosting the event which will include an aviation ground school and information on aviation scholarships and careers. 

The Young Eagles program under the auspices of the EAA has, since 1992, given rides to more than 2 million youth through the hundreds of local chapters and the thousands of pilots who volunteer their expertise and airplanes.

“The kids only get to see our airplanes at a distance and then only the dirty underside. Here they’ll get the opportunity to sit with the pilot and get some understanding of how the airplane works and to experience the sensation of flight in a small general aviation aircraft,” noted Allen Maris, Vice-President of hosting EAA Chapter 491.

Long time local pilot Robert “Captain Bob” Perry will teach a ground school prior to the actual flight covering the basics of aerodynamics, the descriptions for the array of instruments in the aircraft, and airport operations.

During the flights, which usually last about 20 minutes, Young Eagles participants will see the local area from the perspective of the pilot. Experienced pilots will explain how the instruments, controls, and flight surfaces provide accurate control of the aircraft and the aerodynamics of flight.

Sign ups for the event begin at the airport lawn at 9 a.m. with flights beginning about 10 a.m. or as weather conditions permit. Early sign-ups can be done online by going to to register.