May 15 Is International Learn to Fly Day

Sometimes it just takes a proffered opportunity to grow a passion.

International Learn to Fly Day

International Learn to Fly Day

One of my personal goals this year is to follow one of the directives issued at the recent Women in Aviation International Conference and promote general aviation in my local community. Lo and behold, as often happens when you put goals out into the universe, opportunities seem to appear.

Last night I attended my first local EAA chapter meeting — and yes we each stood up and said our names and how long we had been flying. One of the items discussed was EAA’s inaugural International Learn to Fly Day on Saturday, May 15. (First announced by EAA at last year’s AirVenture.)

It turns out that in Orlando, Flight Training Professionals will host the event at Orlando Executive Airport (KORL). The event will consist of a free seminar/open house that includes a presentation, tour of the flight school and flight line. Participants will also have the option to take a discovery flight offered at reduced pricing. And, as a Cessna Pilot Center, all participants will be eligible for two drawings: a $10,000 flight training credit and a $5,000 flight training credit at a CPC. In addition, FTP is holding a local drawing for a free Cessna Sport/Private kit and their first flight lesson.

If someone you know (a family member, kid, neighbor, friend, colleague) has an interest in aviation, tell him or her about International Learn to Fly Day. They can find the closest event to them at learntofly.org. I got four hits when I entered my zip code, so if a person lives anywhere close to a decent-size town, there should be an event nearby. By signing up online ahead of time for the Free Ticket to attend, they'll also be automatically entered to win a free flying lesson from Pilot Journey.

I’m a believer in opportunities … giving and taking them. And certain that if my father hadn’t been heavily involved in GA, I would have never known that I could enjoy flying, so I’m lucky. I never dreamed about learning like so many kids and adults do — and in fact I was mildly afraid of it until I was given the yoke. Even if it’s just one person you know who might be interested in learning how to fly, tell him or her about International Learn to Fly Day, or if you have an airplane, offer a ride. It can make a difference to general aviation’s future.

Last night happened to be my second opportunity to become involved in promoting GA locally. My first came last week when I was at dinner with my sister, niece and nephew. They started talking about the Flight School summer camp the principal of the kids' school was going to conduct for 3rd to 6th graders. I contacted the principal the next day and offered to provide some Flying promotional materials, and, even more important, it's an opportunity to introduce them to EAA's Young Eagles program. And hopefully I will be able to get one of our chapter's members to be a guest speaker. He was most appreciative and commented that he doesn't fly but has a passion for science. Along the way, he discovered that couching science-related education into the realm of flying makes it more interesting to the kids. Imagine that.

My third opportunity will be this coming Saturday, when I’ll help out one of the Chapter 74 members leading the Orlando Youth Aviation Center (the Chapter’s own follow up to those who have completed the Young Eagles program) tour of the KORL ATC tower. (Yes, the FAA prudently lifted its ban on kids in the tower, thank goodness!) You’ll be sure to hear about that!