EAA Young Eagles Announces Milestone in Sporty’s Online Course

The Learn to Fly course is offered free to Young Eagle flight participants.

Young Eagles is one of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) most visible programs, and from its launch in 1992, the volunteer pilots who dedicate their time and aircraft to this highly successful program have flown 2,202,308 Young Eagles ages 8 to 17 as of March 9, 2020. After this first introductory flight has been completed, these youth are offered a free Learn to Fly Online Course from Sporty’s Pilot Shop as a means to continue their work towards eventually earning a private pilot certificate.

Sporty’s and EAA recently announced a major milestone with the online course, reaching more than 75,000 youth who had previously taken a Young Eagles flight. The online course is a follow-up to their initial introductory flight and is a comprehensive online ground school, test prep, and flight training companion that provides all the knowledge and concepts to pass the FAA Private Pilot written test, oral exam, and check ride.

“Because many young people have been restricted to online education right now, we’ve seen a remarkable increase in enrollment in this Sporty’s Learn to Fly course in recent weeks,” said Brian O’Lena, EAA manager of Young Eagle and Eagle Flights. “Our thanks to Sporty’s Pilot Shop for making this course available at no charge to our Young Eagles, especially as access to classroom-based instruction is limited at this time. The course is a marvelous way to remain enthused and engaged in aviation.” O’Lena added that “Sporty’s has been excellent to work with over the years. They understand EAA’s mission to grow participation in aviation and have been a strong supporter of the Young Eagles program for decades.”

Sporty’s Learn to Fly online course
More than 75,000 EAA Young Eagles have now taken the free Sporty’s Learn to Fly online course. Courtesy of EAA

The concept to provide Sporty’s online courses at no charge for Young Eagles was developed with input from EAA pilots who had been flying Young Eagles. Those pilots reported that after their flight, many of the young people wanted to discover more about aviation but lacked access to reliable and professional resources. The goal was to build the next generation of aviators and boost student pilot starts with a group already engaged through the Young Eagles program.

“It’s essential to make sure that young people have opportunities after their initial Young Eagles flight, now more than ever,” said Michael Wolf, president and CEO of Sporty’s. “The Sporty’s Learn to Fly course has always been a valuable resource for young people to pursue their aviation dreams, but we are even more gratified to have this resource available as a pathway to aviation accomplishment when traditional methods may not be accessible. Sporty’s has been educating pilots for nearly 60 years, and the opportunity to work with EAA to provide our Learn to Fly course to Young Eagles is especially rewarding.”

The Sporty’s online Learn to Fly course is so complete, FAA has accepted it for use in approved flight schools. It features immersive real-world video to put the student in the cockpit for a “pilot’s-eye-view of everything they’ll see during their flight lessons, and offers a personalized training experience so each student learns at their own pace. Embry-Riddle flight instructor support is now part of the course, which can culminate with an FAA private-pilot knowledge-test endorsement. The course is recommended for people ages 13 and up.

EAA has made it attractive for volunteer pilots to get involved in the Young Eagles program by securing Phillips 66 Aviation as a presenting sponsor that offers a fuel rebate program to support Young Eagles pilots. In place since 1994, the rebate program offers a $1.00 per gallon rebate to Phillips 66 Aviation credit card holders when avgas is purchased at FBOs that sell their fuel. More than 5,000 pilots have already taken advantage of the rebate to introduce more than 350,000 youth to the wonders of flight through the EAA Young Eagles program.

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