When Luc Zipkin soloed a Piper Cub on his 16th birthday back in January, he knew that it was only the beginning of his plans for 2021. The founder of Young Pilots USA believes strongly in setting an example for his peers to follow in aviation—and that keeping historic aircraft flying is a cause with value far beyond preserving fabric, metal, and rivets.
“I remember volunteering at Oshkosh with my younger brother for the first time in 2018 and noticing that we were the youngest people around, usually by several decades (granted, we were in the Warbirds area),” said Zipkin. “Although it was a lot of fun, the demographics didn’t always make it the dynamic experience it could have been with more young people. It certainly didn’t serve to increase my confidence in young people being as in love with aviation as I am.” To this end, he launched Young Pilots USA, a chapter-based organization to engage young people in aviation, encourage them to learn to fly, and preserve skills and safety in the next generation of pilots.
To build recognition for the organization, and to raise money for a trio of charitable aviation projects close to Zipkin’s heart, the pilot has planned a cross-country flight in the family’s 75-year-old 1946 J3 Cub with a launch date in June. The trip will take him from Goodspeed Airport (42B) in East Haddam, Connecticut, to Flabob Airport (KRIR) in Riverside, California. The monies raised by the flight will benefit the AOPA “You Can Fly” scholarship series, the Gary Sinise Foundation for veteran support, and the Barstool Fund for COVID-19 small business relief.
Young Pilots USA also plans an annual fly-in event, a guest speaker series, and the building of an aviation community across the US with its intended chapter growth. For more information, visit the website.